Imatges de pàgina
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or of the mind and practice in conjunction, by which a perfon chufes to do what in reafon and juftice he ought not, or chufes to avoid what in reafon and justice he ought to do; confequently, no one can be guilty of fin, till they do actually chufe to do, or avoid doing as aforefaid; and therefore whatever weakness or diforder Adam brought upon himself, and his pofterity, by his tranfgreffion, which makes them lefs able to withftand temptations, and strongly inclines them to comply with those temptations, when under them, fuch a diforder is indeed mankind's misfortune, but it cannot, in the nature of the thing, be their crime; because it is not the tranfgreffion of a law, but only a great difadvantage to those who are obliged to be governed by a law, and are liable to fuffer for the breach of it. Thus, for example, suppose a man to be of a very cholerick difpofition in his nature, which very strongly difpofes him to finful anger, when provoked, this cholerick difpofition is lodged in his constitution, and is what he cannot prevent or remove, and therefore in itself can be no crime; but if when he is provoked, he doth not bridle and restrain this dif pofition, but fuffers himself to be hurried into finful anger by it, then indeed he becomes criminal. It is not his cholerick difpofition, but his tranfgreffing of a law, which that difpofition contributed to, which is finful; and therefore tho' that difpofition is his great misfortune, yet it is not his crime. The cafe is the fame in all those difpofitions and inclinations which mankind may be fuppofed to receive from Adam, and to be labouring under; they are fo many impediments in the way of our duty, but they are so far from being criminal in themselves, that on the contrary they do rather, in reafon and equity, leffen and extenuate that crime, which they are the occafion

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ccafion of betraying us into fuch fins being called fins of infirmity; and God is fo far from taking an advantage against us for it, or imput ing it to us as a crime, that on the contrary he in pity to us, on this account, gave us fuch an highprieft as was touch'd with the feeling of our infirmities, who was in all points tempted as we are, and yet without fin, as in Heb. iv. 15, He appointed that his Son, or our high-prieft, fhould take upon him our flesh, and become man, that in experiencing in himself the weakness and frailty of human nature, and how much bodily appetites and fuffering do tempt and difpofe to fin, he might be the better difpofed to commiferate, pity, and help all in thofe circumftances; and fo might be, as well a merciful as a faithful high-prieft, in things pertaining to God, as in chap.ii. 17. Befides, when men talk of receiving from Adam an inclination to fin, it looks as if they did not as all confider what they talk about; because if we receive fuch an inclination, this must be an inclination at all times; for otherwife, as it would not be natural, if it was only upon fome occafions in us, fo if there were fome times when we are free from this inclination, we should certainly be free in the time of infancy, and confequently no one would be a finner, till this inclination did actually take place in him.

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Again, As this inclination must be at all times,: fo it must be to only one particular fin, or elfe it muft be to all kind of fin in general. If to only! one particular fin, then it must be to that particular fin which Adam was guilty of, viz. the gras tifying his appetite against law; but that all mankind have a perpetual inclination to gratify their appetites against law, is falfe in fact, for a diforder in our bodies oftentimes takes away tite to eating and drinking, and we are fo far N

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from having in us an inclination to gratify our appetite against law, that on the contrary our inclination is against the gratifying our appetite at all. If this inclination is to all fin in general, this is impoffible; because fome fins are so contrary to others in their nature, that we cannot have an inclination to one, but we must have an aversion to the other. Thus the man who is inclined to the fin of coveteousness, is averfe to the fin of profufenefs. The cafe is the fame with respect to many other fins. That there is in men an inclination to gratify their appetites and affections, and that this inclination is natural, I readily grant; but that this inclination is finful, this I deny; becaufe as it is natural, fo it is the work of God in us; for as God planted in our nature those appetites and affections, so it was he that planted in us the inclination to gratify them; and this took place in Adam, antecedent to his tranfgreffion, or else he had never tranfgreffed; for if he had not had in himself an inclination to eat that which did appear to be good for food, he had never eaten of the forbidden fruit; nay, he had not eaten at all.

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Here it may not be amifs to observe the weaknefs human nature was under when in its original. State, as appears from Adam, who was drawn into fin upon fo flight a temptation. Men are apt to make a wide difference between Adam's state before he had eaten the forbidden fruit, and after he had eaten it, with refpect to his inclination to fin; but if this matter was carefully confidered, it would appear that the difference was not fo great as it is ufually reprefented to be; becaufe he could fcarce be drawn into fin with a weaker temptation after it, than he was before it. And even now, men must be grown old in wicked-, nefs, before they commit fin without a tempta

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tion. Upon the whole, I think it abundantly evident, that no perfon is a finner, till he actually and perfonally tranfgreffes, either with the mind fingly, or with the mind and practice in conjunction. And as to thofe places of fcripture, which the objection refers to, when they are examined, it will appear, that they are far from proving what they are produced for.

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As to Job xiv. 4. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. To this I answer, that this text is quite befide the objectors purpose. The words confidered barely by themselves (without any relation to the subject Job was treating of) are a general affertion, viz. that à clean thing cannot be brought out of an unclean; which is the fame as to fay, the ftream cannot be more pure than its fountain. Now this, as a general affertion, is true; but when this is ufed metaphorically, and is applied to other fubjects, then it must be brought under fuch limitations as the subject it is applied to, doth require. Thus our Lord faith, Every tree is known by its fruit, a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a currupt tree bring forth good fruit; this our Lord applies to the falje prophets, and tells his difciples, by their fruits they fhould know them, as in Matt. vii. 15---20. Here the tree is as the fountain, and the fruit is as the stream; but if the metaphor be strictly ap plied, this is not true; for a good tree does fometimes bring forth evil fruit, tho' not generally fo. The cafe is the fame with men and their actions, which are as the fountain to the stream. David was a good man, and yet he brought forth fome bad fruit or actions; and Ahab was a bad man, and yet he brought forth fome good actions. viz. he humbly himfelf at the divine threat, and God fpared him from the destruction threatened for its fake, as in Kings xxi. 29. Thus we fee that when

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when the aforefaïd affertion, is metaphorically applied, to other fubjects, then it must not be taken ftrictly, but under fuch limitations as the fubject requires. But if we should apply this to a man and his feed, it is not at all true; for a very bad man may have very good children, and a very good man may have very bad ones. Thus, Jerobo ham, whofe character is that he made Ifrael to fin, had a good fon, even Abijah; for in his youth there was found in him fome good thing towards the Lord God of Ifrael, in the house of Jeroboham, as in 1 Kings xiv. 13. Here we fee the stream was more pure than its fountain, a clean thing came out of an unclean (if it were just to apply the me taphor in this cafe) and therefore it is to no purpofe to urge the general affertion of Job, in a cafe which, when applied, is not true. Sin is not propagated by generation, and therefore if Adam was never fo great a finner, it does not follow that all his pofterity muft be fuch. Sin is a moral and not a natural evil; and therefore, though natural evils may be propagated by generation, yet moral evils cannot, because they have a dependance upon the will of him to whom they cleave. Upon the whole, I fay, though we cannot difcern to what end Job urged this affertion, nor how he applied it to the fubject he was treating of, which was the Shortness and frailty of man's life; yet we are fure he could not apply it to a man and his iffue, except it was to prove, that an immortal fon could not be produced by a mortal Father; in this cafe the metaphor was just and true, and the reafon he urges in the next verfe is wholly applicable to it. Verfe 5. Seeing his days are determined, the number of bis months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. But for Job to apply this to the propagation of fin, as it was wholly for

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