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"The destroying of the infants of Sodom, and the neighboring cities; which cities, destroyed in so extraordinary, miraculous and awtul a manner, are set forth, as a signal example of God's dreadful vengeance for sin to the world in all generations; agreeable lo that of the apostle Jude, verse 7. To say here, that God could make it up to those infants in another world, must be an insufficient reply. For so he could as easily have made it up to Lot, or to ten or fifty righteous, if they had been destroyed in the same fire: Nevertheless it is plainly signified, that this would not have been agreeable to the wise and holy proceedings of the Judge of all the earth." vol. vi. pp. 202, 453, 254.
But this passage teaches nothing to the purpose, except in the reference lo Jude, verse 7; and that proves nothing, uvless the reviewer means to admit that Jude teaches infaut daindation. Besides, it is ibe temporal death of insants, of which, in this passage, Edwards is speaking, and not their eternal death ; for the point of debate between him and Taylor was, not whether infants are damned in consequence of imputation and desert, but whether they are sinners by imputation, and deserving of punishment at all, of any kind or degree. And the argument he urges is, that temporal death is a punishment for sin—ihat therefore the death of infants proves guilt, wbich, as it cannot be actual, must be original by iinputation; and the apostle Jude is quoted as giving an instance of the death of children, in which it is supposed to be inflicted as a punishinent. But the text itself excepts infants from the vengeance of eternal Gre; for it is said expressly that those who were set forth as an example of suffering, were ibose who “ gave themselves to fornication, and went alier strange flesh.”
The objection, too, that God might make it up to infants, shows that the sufferings to be made up were the sufferings of temporal death ; for how could God make up to them the sufferings of eternal death?
The following is the last passage adduced in the second attempt to sustain the charge that Edwards believed in the damnation of infants.
“Merely persons' being born in covenant, is no more evidence of their having moral sincerity, than saviny grace. Yea, there is more reason to suppose the latter, than the former without it, in the infant children of belieying parents. For the Scripture gives us ground to think, that some intants have the habit of siving grace, and that they have a new nature given thein ; but no reason at all to think, that ever God works any mere moral change in thein, or infuses any habits of mral virtue, without saving grace: And we know they cinnot come by moral habits in infancy, any other way than by iininediate infusion: They cannot obtain thein by huinan instruction, nor contract them by use and custon. And especially there is no reason to think that the children of such as are visible saints, according to Mr. Williams' scheme, have any goodness infused into them by God, of any kind. For in his scheine, all that are morally sincere may lawfully receive the privileges of visible saints; But we have no Scripture grounds to suppose that God will bless the children of such parents as have nothing more than moral sincerity, with either common or saving grace. There are no promises of the covenant of grace made to such parents, either concerning themselves or their children," vol. i. pp. 497, 498.
But here, the question at issue between Edwards and Williams is, not whether infants will be saved or lost, but what are the
requisite qualifications for communion in adults? Williams relied on moral sincerity and a blameless lise, and on the actual membership and right to communion of all who had been baptized. Edwards undertakes to show bim that his argument is a felo de se -that if moral sincerity is indispensable, there is no evidence that infants possess it—that “merely persons' being born in covenant is no more evidence of moral sincerity than it is of saving grace"
-nay, that there is more reason to suppose that infants have saving grace, than that they have moral sincerity ; because we have some instances of sanctification from the womb, but none of moral sincerity being communicated without regeneration ; and as they cannot obtain moral sincerity by instruction, and only by infusion, he concludes we have no reason to think, i. e. have no evidence, that God does communicate to the children of unrenewed men, either moral sincerity or holiness, as a qualification for subsequent sacramental communion.
Now then for the reviewer's syllogism.
“ 2. Edwards says that the infants of mere morally sincere men cannot have saving grace. Therefore,
“ 3. Edwards believed that no such infants can be saved.”
But Edwards does not say they cannot have saving grace-he merely says that we have 110 positive evidence that it is communicated. And he says this only with reference to such as live, and not at all with reference to such as may die in infancy, for the stale of such was no part of the subject in debate.
The following are quotations from Bellamy to prove insant damnation :
No. 1. It is plain and evident, from facts, that Adam was considered and dealt with under the capacity of a public head, and that death natural, spiritual, and eternal, were included in the threatening; for all his posterity are evidently dealt with just as if that had been the case. They are born spiritually dead, as has been proved in the former discourse. They are evidently liable to natural death, as soon as they are born. And if they die and go into eternity with their native temper, they must necessarily be miserable in being what they are, unlike to God, and incapable of the enjoyment of him, and contrary to him. And God must necessarily look upon thein with everlasting abhorrence. vol. i. p. 312.
No. 2. So that, to a demonstration, God's thoughts of mercy towards a guilty, undone world, did not, in any measure, take its rise from any notion that mankind had been hardly dealt with, or that it would be anything like cruelty or unInercifulness to damn the whole world for Adain's first sin. vol. I, p. 321.
No. 3. Munkind vocre, by their fall, brought into a state of being infinitely worse than not to be. The danned in hell, no doubt, are in such a state, else their punishment would not be infinite; as justice requires it should be. But mankind, by the fall, were brought into a state, for substance, as bad as that which the damned are in. For the damned undergo nothing in bell, but what, by the constitution with Adam, and the law of nature, all mankind were, and would have been, for substance, exposed unto, if mere grace had not prevented.” vol. i. p. 3:33.
To the objection, how can men have a heart to propagate their kind, if they are born children of wrath, in a state of being worse than not to be, Bellamy answers thus :
No. 4. As to godly parents, they have such a spirit of love to God, and resignation to his will, and such an approbation of his dispensations towards mankind, and such a liking to his whole scheme of government, that they are content that God should govern the world as he docs; and that he should have subjects to govern; and that themselves and their posterity should be under him, and at his disposal. Nor are they without hopes of mercy for their children, froin sovereign grace through Christ, while they do, through him, devote and give them up to God, and bring then up in the murture and adınonition of the Lord. And thus they quiet themselves as to their souls. vol. i. p. 3:36.
No. 5. It was at God's sovereign election, to determine, whether to grant any relief, or not : and what relief to grant: and when, and to whom. To give his Son to die with a view to save all mankind, or only a part; to send the news of the Gospel to all nations, or only to soine ; to give every child of Adam, born in a Christian land, opportunity, by living, to hear the glad tidings, or only to grant this to some, while others die in infancy, and never hear. Those who die in infancy, may as justly be held under law in the next world, as those that live may in this. God is under no more obligations to save those that die, than he is lo save those that live; to grant the regenerating influences of his Spirit to them than he is to these. Vol. ij. pp. 36), 370.
No. 6. As to carnal inen, since they are enemies to God and his holy law, it is no wonder they are at eninity against ils whole scheme of conduct as Governor of the world. Did they understand how God governs the world, and firinly believe it, I doubt not it would make all their n live enmity ferment to perfection. They would wish themselves to be from under God's government, and hate that he should ever have anything of their's lo gurern. As soon as ever they enter into the eternal world, and see how things really are, this will, no doubt, actually be their case. vol. i. p. 3:36.
The reviewer adduced, No. 2. chiefly " because it is so striking." What it strikes, or what he thought it struck, I cannot tell; as all it teaches is, that all mankind might have been punished justly for Adam's sin. But what has this to do to prove that infants are damned ?
Nos. 1 and 3 were adduced to prove, “ just what Dr. B. admits them to prove, and no more,” viz. infant depravity, and, if they die in infancy, the necessity of renovation, lo exeinpt them from misery, and prepare them for heaven.
It is from Nos. 4, 5, and 6, that the reviewer insers that Bellamy believed in the actual damnation of infants. He admits that Bellamy does not say that there is no hope for the children of unbelievers, dying in infancy, or that they are sent to bell; and it is his rot saying that there is hope, in bis circumstances, which brings to the reviewer's mind the “ irresistible evidence," that it was his opinion ihat the infants of unbelievers are lost.
But suppose that Bellamy, like the Reformed, and moderate Calvinists, and Dickinson, (as the Scriptures had decided nothing,) could not tell what became of the infants of unbelievers, and could only answer the objection in respect to minds who have implicit confidence in God, and some revealed hope for their children; does it follow, because he did not answer an objection which he could not for want of information, that therefore, without information or evidence, he believed that infants are damned? The whole evidence, so irresistible to the mind of the reviewer, amounts to this, that Bellamy said nothing, where the greatest number of
ried, and cessiy of who ad
Calvinists have said nothing ; because, knowing nothing, they had nothing to say.
In No. 5, Bellamy insers, as all who admitted imputation and desert, had done, the necessity of infant regeneration, and that if any die vuconverted, and go into eteroity alienated from God, ihey are under law, and may as justly be punished there for their sins, as if they had become actual transgressors in time. But he does not say that they cannot be regenerated without hearing the Gospel preached, nor does he say, or intimate a belief, that those who die in infancy are not sanciified. Siill the reviewer urges silence, which, according to the predominant opinion of Calvinists, was the result of ignorance, as evidence of positive faith in infant damnation. The thought seems never to have entered his mind, ihat there is a difference, really a difference, between not knowing what becomes of the infants of unbelievers, and believing positively that they are damned. As is, because Socrates could not te!l what became of the soul after death ; therefore he believed it to be annihilated. Is the reviewer never to be beaten off from a mode of reasoning, which he did not need to be told is nothing to the purpose, inserring from the concession, that because God is under no obligation to regenerate infants dying in insancy, more than to regenerate adults, therefore he certainly does not regenerate them ; that because election and reprobation may possibly have the same relation to children, as to aduits, therefore ihey certainly do have the same, and some infants are in fact reprobated! How long will it be, before the reviewer will believe hiinsell, in saying and reiterating, that infant desert of punishment proves nothing to his purpose ?
The only remaining sentiment from Bellamy, which can seem to imply the actual perdition of infants is, that God's enemies in the future state, when they see how things really are, would wish themselves to be from under bis government, and hate that he should have anything of theirs to govern. Anything of theirs,' the reviewer takes to mean their infant children in hell. But in so doing, he falsifies the author's own most express meaning; for be says, if they saw things as they are in the providence of God in this world, they would not be willing to have anything under bis government, neither infant children nor adults.
Besides, in the future world, some children of unbelievers are doubtless in heaven, if not converted in infancy; and, contrary to the reviewer's supposition, the dissatisfaction of wicked men extends as really to God's disposal of theirs in heaven, as in hell, Are not wicked men unwilling their children should come voluntarily under God's government on earth, by becoming pious and joining the church? It is the opinion of Calvinists that the same enmity will have the same effect in hell, as in time, and that the wicked will no more be pleased that their children are in
VOL. III. NO. II.
heaven than they now are that they join the church. This is the natural and necessary import of Bellamy's language. It has reference to the feelings of the wicked to God's entire government, and has no reference to actual infant damnation.
IV. It is a point settled by this discussion, that infant damnation is not a doctrine of the Calvinistic system.
That it is, the reviewer has attempted to prove,
1. By quotations from Calvinistic authors which teach infant depravity and desert of punishment.
2. By a reference to the doctrines of election and reprobation. To this I replied,
1. That infant desert no more proves infant damnation, than adult desert proves adult damnation.
2. That election and reprobation prove only that God has most mercifully determined to recover to holiness a part, and not the whole, of the human race; but that this determines nothing as to the destiny of infants, it being as consistent with this general purpose to save a part, that infants should be included, as that ihey should be excluded : That the phrase, “elect infants," while it implies a belief that some are certainly saved, does not of necessity, and did not actually, in the estimation of approved authors, imply that some are certainly damned; but only that the children of believers are saved, while concerning others, having no evidence, they formed no opinion, but left them in the hands of a merciful God. I then challenged the reviewer to name a single doctrine of the Calvinistic system from which the doctrine of infant damnation follows necessarily, and to point out coolly and clearly the connexion between the premises and the conclusion. To this the reviewer replies, that he did not need to be told that original sin proves only infant desert, and does not prove infant damnation ; that “it is the doctrine of reprobation, wbicb, to the praise of Calvinistic justice, casts the little ones into hell,” and that the quotations to prove infant depravity and desert were intended merely to show
bow naturally the doctrine of infant damnation results froin original sin, and how it is connected with vital, essential doctrines of the system.'
Now really, when, in the opening of his attack upon my note, the reviewer proposed to “ adduce bis authorities for asserting that the doctrine of infant damnation is connected with essential, vital principles of the Calvinistic system,” and brought out his array of quotations in proof of infant depravity and desert without one intimation that he knew they were nothing to the purpose, I really thought that by the connexion of infant damnation with essential vital principles of Calvinism, he meant the logical connexion, and that he quoted evidences of infant depravity and desert, as the premises, from which, as a conclusion, infant damnation followed necessarily. The thought never entered my mind that, by con