« AnteriorContinuar »
is the losing of life. Death is opposed to life, and must be understood according to the nature of that life, to which it is opposed. Now the death here threatened can, with any cer.' laisty, be opposed only to the life God gave Adam, when he created him, verse 7. Any thing besides this must be pure conjecture, without solid foundation.”
To this I would say, It is truc, death is opposed to life, and must be understood according to the nature of that life, to which it is opposed : But does it therefore follow, that nothing can he meant by it but the loss of life? Misery is opposed to happiness, and sorrow is in scripture often opposed to joy ; but can we conclude from thence, that nothing is meant in scripture by'sorrow, but the loss of joy ? Or that there is no more in misery, than the loss or absence of happiness? And if it be 80, that the death threatened to Adam can, with certainty, be opposed only to the life given 10 Adam, when God created him; I think, a state of perfect, perpetual and hopeless misery is properly opposed to that state Adam was in, when God created him. For I suppose it will not be denied, that the life Adam had, was truly a happy life; happy in perfect innocency, in the favor of his maker, surrounded with the happy fruits and Testimonies of his love : And I think it has been proved, that he also was happy in a state of perfect righteousness. And nothing is more manifest, than that it is agreeable to a very common acceptation of the word life, in scripture, that it be understood as signifying a state of excellent and happy existence. Now that which is most opposite to that life and state Adam was created in, is a state of total, confirmed wickedness, and perfect hopeless misery, under the divine displeasure and curse ; not excluding temporal death, or the destruction of the body, as an introduction to it.
And besides, that which is much more evident, than any thing Dr. Taylor says on this head, is this, viz. that the death, which was to come on Adam, as the punishment of his disobedience, was opposed to that life, which he would have had as the reward of his obedience in case he had not sipped. Obedience and disobedience are contraries : And the threalenings and prcaniscs, that are sanctions of a law, are set in direct
opposition; and the promised rewards and threatened punish. ments, are what are most properly taken as each other's opposites.' But none will deny, that the life which would have been Adam's reward, if he had persisted in obedience, was eternal life. And therefore we argue justly, that the death which stands opposed 10 that life (Dr. Taylor himself being judge, p. 120. S.) is manifestly eternal death, a death widely different from the death we now dic....to use his own words, If Adam, for his persevering obedience, was to have had ever. lasting life and happiness, in perfect holiness, union with his maker, and enjoyment of his favor, and this was the life which was to be confirmed by the tree of life ; thien doubtless the death threatened in case of disobedience, which stands in direct opposition to this, was a being given over to everlasting wickedness and rrisery, in separation from God, and in enduring his wrath.
And it may with the greatest reason be supposed, that when God first made mankind, and made known to them the methods of his moral government towards them, in the revelation he made of himself to the natural head of the whole species ; and let him know, that obedience to him was expected as his duty ; and enforced this duty with the sanction of a threatened punishment, called by the name of death ; I say, we may with the greatest reason suppose in such a case, that by death was mcant that same death which God esteemed to be the most proper punishment of the sin of mankind, and which he speaks of under that name, throughout the scripture, as the proper wages of the sin of man, and was always from the beginning understood to be so in the church of God. It would be strange indeed, if it should be otherwise. It would have been strange, if when the law of God was first given, and enforced by the threatening of a punishment, nothing at all had been mentioned of that great punishment, ever spoken of under the name of death, (in the revelations which he has given to mankind from age to age) as the proper punishment of the sin of mankind. And it would be no less strange, it when the punishment which was mentioned and threatened on that occasion, was called by the sarbe name, even deatla,
yet we must not understand it to mean the same thing, but something infinitely diverse, and infinitely more inconsiderable.
But now let us consider what that death is, which the scripture ever speaks of as the proper wages of the sin of mankind, and is spoken of as such by God's saints in all ages of the church, from the first beginning of a written revelation, to the conclusion of it. I will begin with the New Testament. When the Apostle Paul says, Rom, vi. 23. the wages of sin is death, Dr. Taylor tells us, p. 120. Ş. that “ this means eternal death, the second death, a death widely different from the death we now die." The same apostle speaks of death as the proper punishment due for sin, in Rom. vii. 5. and chap. viii. 13. 2 Cor. iji. 7. I Cor. xv. 56. In all which places, Dr. Taylor himself supposes the apostle to intend eternal death. And when the Apostle James speaks of death as the proper reward, fruii, and end of sin. Jam. i. 15. “ Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." It is manifest that our author supposes eternal destruction to be meant.t And the Apostle John, agreeable to Dr. Taylor's sense, speaks of the second death as that which sin unrepented of will bring all men to at last. Rev. ii. 11. xx. 6. 14. and xxi. 8. In the same sense the Apostle John uses the word in his Ist epistle, chap. iii. 14. “ We know, that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren : He that hateth his brother, abideth in death..
In the same manner Christ used the word from time to time when he was on earth, and spake concerning the punishment and issue of sin. John v. 24. “He that heareth my word, and believeth, &c. hath everlasting life ; and shall not come into condemnation ; but is passed from death to life.” Where, according to Dr. Taylor's own way of arguing, it
• Sce p. 78. Note on Rom. vii. 5. and Note op verse 6. Note on Rom. 1, 20. Note on Rom. vii. 8.
+ By comparing what he says. p. 126, with what he often says of that death and destruction which is the demerit and end of personel sin, wbich ha says is the second death, or eternal destruction,
cannot be the death which we now die, that Christ speaks of, but eternal death, because it is set in opposition to everlasting life. John vi. 50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die." Chap. viii. 51. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death,” Chap. xi, 26. “And whosoever liveth and believetla in me, shall never die.” In which places it is plain Christ does not mean that believers shall never see temporal death. See also Matth. x. 28, and Luke X. 28. In like manner, the word was commonly used by the prophets of old, when they spake of death as the proper end and recompense of sin. So, abundantly by the Prophet Eze kiel. Ezek. iii, 18. « When I say unto the wicked man, thou shalt surely die." In the original it is, Dying thou shal: die. The same form of expression, which God used in the threatening to Adam. We have the same words again, chap. xxxiii. 18. In chap. xviii. 4, it is said, The soul that sinneth, il shall die. To the like purpose are chap. ii. 19, 20, and xviji. 4, 9, 13, 17....21, 24, 26, 28, chap. xxxiii. 8, 9, 12, 14, 19. And that temporal death is not meant in these places is plain, because it is promised most absolutely, that the righteous shall not die the death spoken of. Chap. xviii. 21. He shall surely live, he shall not die. So verses I, 17, 19, and 22, and chap. iii. 21. And it is evident the Prophet Jeremiah uses the word in the same sense. Jer. xxxi. 30. Every one shall die for his own iniquity. And the same death is spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah. Isai. xi. 4. With the breath of his life shall he slay the wicked. See also chap. Ixvi. 16, with verse 24. Solomon, who we must suppose was thoroughly acquainted with the sense in which the word was used by the wise, and by ihe ancients, coruinually speaks of death as the proper fruit, issue, and recompense of sin, using the word only in this sense. Prov. xi. 19. As righteousness tendeth 10 life, 80 he that pursueth evil, purrueth it to his own death. So chap. v. 5, 6, 23, vii. 27, viii. 36, ix. 13, s. 21, xi. 19, xiv. 12, xv. 10, xviii. 21, xix. 16, xxi. 16, and xxiii. 13, 14. In these places he cannot mean temporal death, for he often speaks of it as a punishment of the wicked, wherein the righteous shall certainly be distinguished from them ; as in Prov. xii. 28. fnt the way of righteousness is life, and in the pathway thereof is no death. So in chap. x. 2, xi. 4, xiii. 14, xiv. 27, and many other places. · But we find this same wise man observes, that as to temporal death, and temporal events in general, there is no distinction, but that they happen alike to good and bad. Eccl. ii. 14, 15, 16, viii. 14, and ix. 2, 3. His words are remarkable in Eccl. vii. 15. * There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. So we find David, in the Book of Psalms, uses the word death in the same sense,when he speaks of it as the proper wages and issue of sin. Psal. xxxiv. 21. « Evil shall slay the wicked.” He speaks of it as a certain thing, Psal. cxxxix. 19.“ Surely ihou wilt slay the wicked, O God." And he speaks of it as a thing wherein the wicked are distinguished from the righteous. Psalm lxix. 28. “ Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be writ. ton with the righteous." And thus we find the word death used in the Pentateuch, or Books of Moses ; in which part of the Scripture it is, that we have the account of the threatening of death to Adam, When death, in these books, is spoken of as the proper fruit, and appointed reward of sin, it is to be understood of eternal death. So Deut. xxx. 15. “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.” Verse 19. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing." The lise that is spoken of here, is doubtless the same that is spoken of in Levit. xviii. 5. “ Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in thens' This the apostle understands of eternal life, as is plain by Rom. X. 5, and Gal. ii. 12. But that the death threatened for sin in the law of Moses, meant eternal death, is what Dr, Taylor abundantly declares. So in his Note on Rom. v. 20, Par. p. 291. “Such a constitution the law of Moses was, subjecting those who were under it to death for every transgression ; meaning by death eternal death.” These are his words. The like he asserts in many other places. When it is said, in the place now men