תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

then Cain, added to himself; and then Abel added to Cain and himself; and in this manner will ultimately represent all that shall partake of the human nature which was at first complete in himself. The Rev. Mr. Craig vindicated the truth on this subject in the Presbytery which arraigned Mr. M'Chord, when he said, that the covenant of works constituted the bond of union between Adam and his posterity, so that the apostacy of Adam is imputed to all mankind.

“ But the question is not,” says the Plea, p. 26., “what binds humanity in a covenant relation with God? But, what binds all the human race together? What is it that identifies them with Adam their common head, so as to render them one with him in the relation in which he stood to God? I have named natural generation as the bond; your Confessions and Catechism conspire to name it frequently; and they name no other. This your Presbytery have noted as a heresy; and I call upon this Synod to chastize their error.” Dr. Gray admits, that the Confession and Catechisms of the Presbyterian church teach the doctrine, that natural generation is the bond of union; and then proceeds to show, that they and Mr. M'C. are both unscriptural. We are at issue with these gentlemen on this point; and we assert, that our standards do not represent natural generation to be the bond of union; they merely state, as descriptive of all Adam's posterity, with the exception of Christ, that all mankind descending from him by natural generation, were included with him in the covenant of works, so that they sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression. This description includes all that were by divine covenant and purpose connected with Adam, except Eve, who was, as Dr. Gray has clearly proved, represented by Adam in the covenant of works. Our Confession and Catechisms, therefore, tell the truth on this subject, but they tell not all the truth, for while they justly exclude Jesus Christ, they include not our first mother. They do not say that Christ's extraordinary generation, exempted him from the covenant; but that he, a person not descended from Adam, by ordinary generation, was not included with Adam. The passages quoted by Mr. M'C. to prove his assumed bond of union, prove that all human persons were bound together in Adam by covenant, excepting Evé, of whom they say nothing: for thus we read; “God gave Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity, to personal, entire, exact and perpetual obedience."

The most plausible evidence adduced by Mr. M'C. is the answer to the 26th Question of the Larger Catechism, in which it is said, “ Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way, are conceived and born in sin.” Plea, p. 44. Now to convey something from one to another, is a very different thing from binding two persons together in a covenant relation. If by the instrumentality of natural ge. neration original sin is conveyed, it must be conveyed on account of some previous purpose, arrangement, or covenant relation subsisting between the fountain head, and all the individuals to whom it is conveyed. In the preceding question, original sin is represented as con. sisting in three things; Ist, the guilt of Adam's first sin; 2dly, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created; and 3dly, the corruption of his nature. By natural generation and birth, every child of Adam is brought into a state, in which God treats him as he would have done had he been personally tried, and disapproved at the time Adam was; God treats him as a being liable to experience the penalty of the law broken by Adam, and in this sense God imputes Adam's sin to Eve and every human person. Why does he impute it? Because his counsels constituted Adam a covenant head, and he resolved to try but one man, and him for all, under the covenant which promised life on condition of perfect obedience; that he being proved insufficient, and all men in him, the new and better covenant might be introduced, and the Mediator of it proclaimed as the rock of salvation. Natural generation forms no such relation between Adam and all human persons, that in consideration of it, Jehovah resolved to make Adam the representative of all, and to consider all as

[ocr errors]

standing or falling with him: neither is it the reason why death passes upon all, even those who have not committed actual sin, and so “sinned after the simili- . tude of Adam's transgression.” Yet, by it, we are introduced into life, under the violated covenant, in such circumstances that God imputes not to us original righteousness, as he would have done had Adam stood: and by it, finally, is transmitted a depraved bodily constitution,-a corrupted constituent part of our nature.

With the exception of his insinuation that our Calvinistic Confessions maintain Mr. M.Chord's error about the bond of union between Adam and his posterity, we approve of Dr. Gray's discussion of the covenant of works, and think he has displayed more argument, clear conception, and eloquence, in a few pages, than any other writer on the subject. Oh that he had been as unanswerable and satisfactory in his ingenious reasonings about Christ's righteousness! We shall give a specimen of his fine writing, and accurate sentiment; while we express in his language our own opinions.

But, one thing is certain, from Eve's reply to the tempter, that she did consider herself under the bond of the covenant. “The woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said ye shall not eat of it. Certainly Eve did consider herself as under the covenant; and, as she had no instructor but either God or Adam, it is impossible she should have been instructed wrong. It is true, some commentators (suo more) have borne hard upon the phrase neither shall ye touch it, as an officious addition to the divine law; but they forget that Eve was, at that time, female innocence in person, and stood as yet far too high for the censure of any of her degenerate sons or daughters: and even though these words should not have been in the original institute, (a point on which, as we know nothing, we need say as little) they should be suffered to pass as the amiable comment of an innocent female; who, timid least she should tarnish her honour, is willing to keep farther from danger than is absolutely necessary to avoid it.

“We may argue Eve's interest in the covenant of works, from a different set of promises. For, if she had no interest in that, she can have none in the covenant of grace: if she be VOL. I.

2 C

No. 2.

not one of them that died in Adam, neither is she of those who shall be made alive by Jesus Christ. If Eve was not under the law, and Jesus Christ was made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, she has neither lot nor portion in his redemption; and then, as the law of works and the law of grace, are the only laws ever God gave to mankind, it will follow, that Eve never was under any law. The koran of Mahomet alone can inform us for what worthy purpose such a being was introduced among us." p. 15–17.

“Let us again tread metaphysical ground. It is very true that Adam represented his own person; and that we then existed substantially. But I apprehend that this is true only in respect to these mortal bodies: begging pardon of the physiologists for trespassing on their grounds, I must deny that our souls existed in Adam in any sense. My soul refuses to acknowledge any father but the Creator of angels and of men, the God and Father of Jesus Christ. How little then did actually exist in Adam, only the germs of these animal structures; how much have we by natural generation from him, only the germs of these animal structures, miris in mo. dis; but soon to be a feast to the worms. And this is another proof that I did not decide erroneously, that it is not natural generation that is the bond of our union to Adam in the covenant-for on that supposition he could have represented only our bodies, our souls he could not represent; and then, on the one hand, bodies without souls were not worth representing and were incapable of either guilt or righteousness-And, on the other, our souls are perfectly free from Adam's guilt, have no interest in Christ's righteousness, never were under the law of works, nor the law of grace, nor any other moral law. It is therefore a mere figure to say, we substantially ex. isted in Adam. I grant that it is a fair figure, for the Scriptures use it; there was a material unity established by the law of creation, between our bodies and his—And there was a moral unity established between our souls and his, by the law of the covenant. It is, therefore, only figuratively true that we all substantially existed in Adam, that we all are no more than Adam evolved. The proper use of figurative language should be known.” p. 70-71.

"It is now too late to call in question, whether the glorious reformation, in which God said, let there be light and there was light: and intellect burst her chains, and religion poured her light; and science burst forth into birth; and tyranny shrunk back; and the spirit of liberty waved her fag, and cried, to arms, my sons, to arms; when Europe was regenerated, to become the regenerator of the world. It is too late to enquire whether this was the work of God! Can I believe that the Melancthons, and the Luthers, and the Morells, and the Calvins, and the Jewels, and the Owens, and twenty others, whom I could name, and a thousand others of whom I have never heard, did not understand the gospel. In reading their works I have often paused and palpitated, and asked what has become of this race of noble blood? Were they all Monks? Have they no sons at all? In this age, scarcely can be found a man who holds a lamp that can show us how to step over a gutter: those held lamps that shed light over half a world. How were they so great? Surely God poured on them his spirit in no ordinary degree-surely they studied the holy word-surely they prayed for the spirit of illumination when they studied. I find them expressing for each other a manly esteem; and I see them interchanging sidelongglances of love, in a way that lovers only can see: but I have not found a single puff at each other, in all that I have read of them. Indeed they were made of too weighty metal to be puffed up by the breath of mortal man. And am I to be told that these men did not understand the gospel? Am I to be told that they chattered' the gospel call in terms that made Jesus Christ a cheat and a liar.

“I do not say that they were always right. God left so much human frailty in them, as warns us to depend not on them, but on his own spirit and word.* In some instances I think them wrong, and then, with timid step, I take a different way. But never have I told, and never shall I tell, the public, that I learned the way to truth by my father's errors. No, ye heroes, if ever I name your name, save for praise, may my name rot."

P.

90_91. Had we room for quotations, we could cite many expressions of Dr. Gray, which are too light, and high. ly censurable, such as his comparing our blessed Saviour to the drummer of some recruiting sergeant, “ beating up for volunteers;" but we must decline the disagreeable service. We shall take notice of only one more point attempted to be established by the Doctor, which is this; that all Jehovah's moral attributes re. quired that he should make an offer of the righte. ousness of Christ to all mankind; and that he would not have been just not to give it to all, provided he thought

Their doctrine I believe to be always right-when they chanced to slip in a bit of philosophy, a system, it was wrong.

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »