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THE

CHRISTIAN
REMEMBRANCER.

No. 36.]

DECEMBER, 1821.

[VOL. III.

ORIGINAL SIN.

He asserts (Christian Remem

brancer, p. 129), that“no benefit has The controversy of which we are been obtained by attributing to hua now to take our leave, has extended man nature those degrading properthrough the greater part of the pre- ties which are frequently ascribed to sent year. It sprung from three it," “ by describing us as totally Essays with the signature N. R., corrupt; not only as having a prone. which appeared in our 27th, and ness and propensity to evil, and be. 28th, and 29th Numbers. And ing very far gone or removed from when the doctrine of those Essays righteousness, but as actually sinful was censured with severity, by seve by the very nature which God gives ral able correspondents, we declared us." This proposition mav be fairly our intention to publish any remarks considered as the sum and substance with which we might be favoured of N. R.'s doctrine ; and while we either in reprobation or in defence are disposed to think that there is of the Essayist, and to take an op- an inaccuracy in the wording of the portunity of reviewing the whole, passage, we deny that there is any As the third volume of our Journal fair ground for charging it with is drawing to a conclusion; and the Socinianism or Pelagianism. It dewriters who have favoured us with clares the frailty of human nature their remarks have had ample op- in the very words of the Church portunities of explaining their sen. herself, and it proposes to undertiments--the time has arrived for stand and interpret them after the redeeming our pledge. But we can manner of her wisest and most esnot refuse to insert an explanatory teemed sons. But referring to the letter from N. R., which has reach- distinction which our Articles and ed us while these observations were Homilies most expressly make bepreparing for the press, and which tween original and actual sin * ; it is subjoined to them for his own applies this distinction not only to and the reader's satisfaction. For our actions but to our natures, and ourselves, as the letter makes no intimates that the latter is not sinful. material alteration in the opinion If the writer had contented himself which we have formed respecting with saying, that our nature is not the Essays, we shall content our- utterly corrupt and polluted (and selves with allading to it very probably this was all that he inslightly. At the same time, we are happy to find that the interpretation which we had put upon the for.

Art. II. “ Not only for original guilt

but also for actual sins of men.” Homily mer communications of our corres.

on Salvation-“'To obtain thereby (viz. by pondent, is sanctioned and con

God's mercy and Christ's sacrifice) God's firmed by his concluding explana. grace and remission as well of our original tion. We proceed to make some sin in baptism, as by all actual sin comremarks upon his original papers. mitted by us after baptism,”. REMEMBRANCER, No. 36.

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tended to say), do just objection are "very far gone from original could have been made to hin doe- righteousness in consequence of trideg!' 'But by neglecting to observe Adám's sin. The second Fesay the proper limits of the fore-men. proceeds to prove that when tioned distinction, he has fallen into proneness to evil is changed into an error, which pervades his Essays, total pollution,' and loss of oriduid of which we shall have more to "ginal righteousness into " consumsay hereafter.* Renierbering then mate depravity," then though the that the writer's object is to oppose substitutes are often to be found the exaggerated statements which “among men, and are even deelared #re so often put forth upon the sub- by Seripture to belong to them, yet ject of Original Sin, we shall find no they are not so appropriated by a difficulty in appreciating the latter strict natyral necessity. If this be part of his labours.

a slice of the Socinian or Pelagian Ibu In his second Essay, he contends Heresy, the great body of the Eng. that when wan is spoken of in "lish Clergy, are and long have been Scripture as “totally corrupt and heretics, and all our standard thedepraved," these epithets do not ologians are involved in the same refer to man as he is yaturally and condemnation. If Original Sin is by God's appointment; but as he has synonymous with utter pollution, frequently and too generally become utler pollution is derived to us from " by his own fault and wickedúess. Adam. If by the lapse of our first ato adverting to several of the Parent, we have become weak; frail

, strongest scriptural declarations prone to evil, but not totally des upon the subject, such as "every praved and abandoned, then depraimagination of men's hearts was

was vity cannot properly be attributed conly evil continually," &c. &c. the to nature. And this was the real , writer maintains that these declara- meaning of our ingenious Essayist; - tions do not refer to the inevitable his words carefully interpreted will Si consequences of the Fall, but to the bear no other meaning. effects, the avoidable effects of ac His third and last Essay which rtual crime. «« By nature children has been so severely handled by an-of wrath,' and in my flesh dwell- other correspondent, bears addi.

eth no good thing' these and other tional testimony to the accuracy of likė pussages whatever of actual this interpretation. The drift of depravity they may imply, yet have it is to shew that " being inimical no connecting cause in them from to God," “ hating goodness," and Adam, so as to make it a necessary « having no spark of righteousness, intimation that we are totally core are qualities which cannot be as. " rupt, wholly evil by descent from cribed to man as he is by nature. * him." (Christian Remembrancer, p. “It vindicates the character of man * 194.) We conceive that the first of from the charge of being evil totally

these texts is improperly applied, and continually and from his real and it may be doubted whether the nature," (Christian Remembrancer, second has any direet application to p. 250.) and maintains that men do the question before us. But they not hate God until bad examples, were selected by our correspondent bad suggestions, bad habits of their because he had been referred to own acquiring, produce an indispothem by Mr. Simeon in his Appeal, sition to religion. " Then indeed

as proofs of man's total corruption comes all that evil which actually v. by pature. And the answer of N. R. does disgrace and vilify our nature,

is satisfactory and short. The de- and which is declared concerning

pravity thus ascribed is not natural men in strong and full general ext but aðventitious. His first Essay pressions in the Seripture, but ** set out with acknowledging that we which is falsely attributed to the

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(pature which God gives them,' In correspondent who has called our these remarks and in many that attention to it. But at the same resemble them, we confess that we time those thanks are not intended see nothing to censure. If the writer to imply approbation of every exhad asserted we could love God as pression in his Essays, and in prowe ought to do by our natural ceeding to notice hiş various oppostrength, his assertion would never nents, we shall have occasion to dishave found its way into this Journal. sent both from him and them. But when he denies that by nature O.xoniensis enters deepest into the all men hate God, he speaks the merits of the Essayist, and with him language both of the Church and therefore we shall begin. He tells the Scripture ; and his declaration us in the beginning of his first letand his proofs are not undeserving ter, p. 333, that the doctrines which of attention, For many persons he controverts may be reduced to have been perplexed in their enqui- these two propositions. "1. That ries after truth, by their ignorance human nature, employing that term of the distinction for which N. R. in its

proper

and strict sense, being contends. They read that man's na * that by which we are what we are ture is faulty and corrupt; that he by God's appointment,' is not, and carpot turn and prepare himself by cannot be opposite to God's will," his own natural strength and good or 'adverse to true religion,' or 'haye works to faith and calling upon implanted in it any seeds of evil." God, and that works done before 2. That whenever such characters the grace of Christ have the nature are ascribed to human nature, the of sin. This is the doctrine of the term is employed loosely, only a Church of England, and too many subordinate nature or habitual usage of ber children conceive that they is in fact intended,' superinduced

are testifying their filial obedience, by bad examples, bad suggestions, i when they draw together every pas. &c.'" We were certainly somesage in which the Seripture speaks what surprised when our intelligent of the wickedness of man, and put correspondent first informed us, that them forward in support of the we had given circulation to such Tbirty-nine Articles. And then sentiments as these. But when he should it happen, as undoubtedly it said in the next sentence, that the must, that such passages being de. Essayist admitted the necessity of scriptive of particular individuals or God's grace to support us against nations, contain stronger expressions temptation, and allowed also, that than any

that the Church bas ap we are by the very terms of that plied to the universal human race, nature, which God gives us since the inference is that the Articles Adam's Fall, prone to sin, our sur

have underrated our unisery, and prise was not unmixed with a more v must be understood to signify a disagreeable feeling, Oroniensis

great deal more than they say. The had already assumed a magisterial best method of counteracting this tone, talked of crude hypothesis, prevalent absurdity, is by observing complete incompetency, palpable and calling upon others to observe misconception, and sundry other the distinction that has now been harsh sounding qualities; he had pointed out. It is not a new disco- taken a part of a sentence, an awk. for very, but has been long understood ward sentence we adorit, but still vi and recognised. It is not a vain lo- perfeotly pla 1 and intelligible, and

gical or scholastic nicety, but is of pronounced it and the whole essay real and substantive importance in incomprehensible and chaotics and

the great analogy of faith; and we then he proceeds to reduce it into 1. cannot quit this

portion of our ex. form by rejecting exactly one half, sistensive subject without thapking the The admissions of N. R. respecting

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grace, &c. are put aside, because our Essayist abandons the orthodox Oxoniensis thinks them i inconsis. doctrine of the Church. It is not tent with other passages, and ob- necessary to dwell upon the opening viously contradictory to the whole of Oxoniensis's case, since it is the hypothesis.' Is this a proper me. mere result of misapprehension--an thod of reducing : a rude and in honest and indignant and eloquent digested mass' to regularity and tirade against an imaginary deserter order? Was nọt the critic bound from our ranks. The letter which to enquire whether the inconsisten. is appended to the present article cies which disturbed bim were real will convince every one that it was or apparent? Ought he not to have not necessary to appeal to the Artihesitated before he gave the hard cles and the Liturgy, since their nanie of heresy to writings which doctrine which they are cited to confess the very doctrine which he establish was never impugned. The asserts that they deny ?

more curious and important part of But to come to the propositions the controversy, is that which rethemslves. When N. R. asserts, that lates to the different significations human nature is not, and cannot be of the word Nature, and of the texts opposite to God's will and true reli- in which that word occurs. N. R. gion; the context and the whole argu, appeals to Macknight and Bishop ment distinctly shew that he can only Butler in defence of that significa mean to say, that nature is not op- tion, which he has said, is often posed, &c, to the extent for which put upon the word. Oxoniensis some contend, or in the sense which adds Hammond and Grotius to the he is combating. If he intended list: and Erasmus, Jeremy Taylor, any thing else, it must be that men and Whitby may bring up the rear. çannot sin at all; and even Oxoni. “ By nature here is most likely ensis has not charged him with so to be meant what Galen calls quois absurd a proposition. He denies ETIXTITOS, an acquisite nature, that That men naturally hate God; and is, customs and evil habits. By who can prove that he is in the nature means not by birth and na. wrong? For our parts we are quite tural extraction, or any original deprepared to attirni, that such a pro. rivation from Adam, in this place, position does not enlist hini among for of this these Ephesians were no either Pelagians or Socinians; and more guilty than every one else, and without defending the expression po more before their conversion which he has used respecting seeds than after; but by nature signifies'' of evil,' we are unable to discover outws aanlos, so the Greek scholiast that his general sentiments are in renders it, really, beyond opinion; correct.

plene and omnino, entirely or wholly, The second proposition is col. so the Syriac; and so st. Jerome lected with greater fairness, al- affirms, that the ancients did exthough by the words, such charac- pound it, and it is agreeable to the ters' it may be supposed that N. R. usage of the same phrase, Gal. iv. 8." attributes nothing worse to the sube Polemical Discourses, p. 723. ordinate nature of grossly wicked the English translation of Erasmus's men, than opposing God or being paraphrase, appointed by Cranmer adverse to religion, whereas in fact to be fixed up and read in our he speaks of them continually in Churches, the same interpretation much stronger avd more appro- is given,

" That death is eternal priate language. Let us consider, that is appointed to the wicked; however, whether Oxoniensis esta. whereunto we also were subject as blishes this part of his charge, viz. much as others touching our own that by distinguishing between the state and condition. We had adTeal and acquired nature of man, dicted ourselves into it of our free

choice, but it was not in our power God is the rule of the actions of to wind us again out of that most men, and any aberration from that miserable servitude." See also rule is sin: the law of God is pure, Whithy on Ephesians ii. 3. who and whatsoever is contrary to that speaks precisely to the same effect, law is impure. - Whatsoever, therer Now, for our own parts we do not fore, is done by mau, or is in man agree with these illustrious men, having any contrariety or opposition nor have we any doubt that the pas, to the law of God, is sin. Every sage upon which they comment al- action, every word, every thought ludes to Original Sin. The Church against the law is a sin of comnis. Catechism puts this plain and obvi- sion, as it is terminated in an ob. ous interpretation upon the text, ject dissonant from, and contrary to and we require no better authority the prohibition of the law, or a nefor doing likewise. But will it fol, gative precept. Every omission of low that a writer who thinks dif- a duty required of us is a sin, as ferently is a heretic? May we not being contrary to the commanding dispute the received meaning of a part of the law, or an affirmative text without incurring the charge of precept. Every evil habit contractSocinianism ? Sueh liberty was ed in the soul of man, by the action granted in the best days of the committed against the law of God, Church; and without the slightest is a sin constituting a man truly a inclination to take advantage of it sinaer, even then when he sinneth ourselves, we are not prepared to not. Any corruption or inclination refuse it to others. Erasmus and in the soul to do that which God Hammond, and Taylor and Whitby, forbiddeth and omit that which God and Butler are authorities to which commandeth, howsoever such corthe Pelagian is not wont to appeal. ruption and evil inclination came They err at times like other men; into the soul, whether by an act of

their rank and estimation must his own will, or by the act of the be strangely altered, before it can will of another is a siu, as being be necessary to apologise for being something dissonant and repugnant found in their company,

to the law of God." Pearson on Having mentioned the passage, the Creed, Article X. Ephes. i. 3. we are reminded of our Such is the declaration of this intention of reverting to a declara- great divine; if it can be matched, tion of the Essayist, from which it it cannot be surpassed within the would appear that he thinks that whole compass of English theology: there is not sufficient authority for and if disputants on both sides saying, that human nature is sinfulwould consider it carefully, there We have already observed, that the might be some chance of terminat. declaration is inconsistent with his ing the controversy to which it reown admissions, and that therefore lates. Human nature is sinful, not the dispute between us is probably as Calvin teaches, by the imputation verbal. But to clear up miscon- of Adam's sin, but because it is inçeptions we will state our own view clined to do that which God forof the subject. In the words of biddeth, and omit that which God Pearson we believe, that "the law of commandeth. The facts are such as

Jeremy Taylor would willingly ad* There is a very remarkable exposition mit, and if he had reasoned upon of this text in Nowell's Catechism under them with the accuracy of the logithe title Baptism., M. De baptismo ergocal Pearson, he might have avoided primum die quid censeas? A. Quuni na. tura filii iræ, idest alieni ab Ecclesiâ, quæ

those errors into which he too surely,

fell. Not that he can be justly Der familia est simus, baptismus velnti aditus nobis est per quews in eam aduit

called a Socinian or a Pelagian, for timur, &c. &c. 38 **Mut18.1.6 19,13 he firuly believed in the indispen

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