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count of the origin of all things. And doubtless it was es pected, by the great author of the Bible, that the account in the three first chapters of Genesis should be taken as a plain account of the introduction of both natural and moral evil into the world, as it has been shewn to be so indeed. The history of Adam's sin, with its circumstances, God's threatening, and the sentence pronounced upon him after his transgression, and the immediate consequencès, consisting in so vast an alteration in his state, and the state of the world, which abides still, with respect to all his posterity, do most directly and sufficiently lead to an understanding of the rise of calamity, sin and death, in this sinful, miserable world.
It is fit we all' should know, that it does not become us to tell the Most High, how often he shall particularly explain and give the reason of any doctrine which he teaches, in or. der to our believing what he says. If he has at all giren us evidence that it is a doctrine agreeable to his mind, it becomes us to receive it with full credit and submission ; and not sullenly to reject it, because our notions and humors are not suited in the manner, and number of times, of his particularly explaining it to us. How often is pardon of sins promised in the Old Testament to repenting and returning sinpers? How many hundred times is God's special favor there promised to the sincerely righteous, without any express mention of these benefits being through Christ? Would it therefore be becoming us to say, that, inasmuch as our dependence on Christ for these benefits, is a doctrine, which, if true, is of such importance, God ought expressly to have mentioned Christ's merits as the reason and ground of the benefits, if he knew they were the ground of them, and should have plainly declared it sooner, and more frequently, if ever he expected we should believe him, when he did tell us of it? How often is vengeance and misery threatened in the Old Testament to the wicked, without any clear and express sig. nification of any such thing intended, as that everlasting fire, where there is wailing and goashing of teeth, in another world, which Christ so often speaks of as the punishment appointed for all the wicked ? Would it now become a Christ
ian, to object and say, that if God really meant any such thing, he ought in reason and truth to have declared it plainly and fully ; and not to have been so silent about a matter of such vast importance to all mankind, for four thousand years together.
- CHAPTER 111.
Observations on various other Places of Scripture,
principally of the New Testament, proving the Doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN.
Observations on John iii. 6, in connexion with some other fras
sages in the New Testament,
THOSE words of Christ, giving a reason to Nicode. mus, why we must be born again, John iii. 6, “ That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit, is spirit ; have not, without good reason, been produced by divines, as a proof of the doctrine of original sin ; supposing, that by flesh here is meant the human nature in a debased and corrupt state. Yet Dr. Taylor, p. 144, thus explains these words, That which is born of the fiesh, is flesh: " That which is born by natural descent and propagation, is a man, consisting of body and soul, or the mere constitution and powers of a man in their natural state." But the con. stant use of these terms, flesh and spirit, in other parts of the New Testament, when thus set in opposition one to another, and the latter said 10 be produced by the Spirit of God, as here, and when speaking of the same thing, which Christ is here speaking of to Nicodemus, viz. the requisite qualifications to salvation, will fully vindicate the sense of our divines. Thus in the 7th and 8th chapters of Romans, where these terms flesh and spirit (oups and envue) are abundantly repeated, and set in opposition, as here. So, chap. vii. 14. The law is spiritual (@VIOLATIX@.) but I am carnál (capaixo) sold under sin. He cannot only mean, “ I am a man, consisting of body and soul, and having the powers of a man.” Ver. 18. “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” He does not mean to condemn his frame, as consisting of body and soul ; and to assert, that in his human constirution, with the powers of a man, dwells no good thing. And when he says in the last verse of the chapter, “ With the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin;" he cannot mean, “ I myself serye the law of God; but with my innocent human constitution, as having the powers of a man, I serve the law of sin.” And when he says in the next words in the beginning of the 8th chapter, “ There is no condemnation to them, that walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit ;" and ver. 4, “ The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh;" he cannot mean, ** There is no condemnation to them that walk not according to the powe ers of a man," &c. And when he says, ver. 5 and 6, “ They that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; and to be carnally minded is death ;" he does not intend, « They that are according to the human constitution, and the prowers of a man, do mind the things of the human constitution and powers ; and to mind these, is death." . And when he says, ver. 7 and 8, “ The carnal (or fleshly) mind is enmity against God, anrl is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be'; so that they thai are in the flesh, cannot please God;" he cannot mean, thats" 10 mind the things which are agreeable to the prowers and constitution of a man," (who, as our author says, is constituted or made right) " is enmity against God; and that a mind, wbich is agreeable to this right human con stitution, as God hath made it, is not subject to the law of
God, nor indeed can be ; and that they who are according to such a constitution, cannot please God." And when it is said, ver. 9, “ Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit;" the aposule cannot mean, “ Ye are not in the human nature, as constie cuted of body and soul, and with the powers of a man." It is most manifest, that by the flesh here, the apostle means some nature that is corrupt, and of an evil tendency, and directly opposite to the law, and holy nature of God; so that to be, and walk according to it, and to have a mind conformed to it, is to be an utter enemy to God and his law, in a perfect inconsistence with being subject to God, and pleasing God; and in a sure and infallible tendency to death, and utter destruction. And it is plain, that here by being and walking after, or. according to the flesh, is meant the same thing as being and walking according to a corrupt and sinful nature; and to be and walk according to the spirit, is to be and walk according to a holy and divine nature, or principle : And to be carnally minded, is the same as being viciously and corruptly minded; and to be spiritually minded, is to be of a virtuous and holy disposition,
When Christ says, John iii. 6. « That which is born of the flesh, is flesh," he represents the flesh not mereiy as a quality ; for it would be incongruous, to speak of a quality as a thing born : It is a person, or man, that is born. Therefore man, as in his whole nature corrupt, is called flesh: Which is agreeable to other scripture representations, where the corrupt nature is called the old man, the body of sin, and the body of death. Agreeable to this are those representations in the 7th and 8th chapters of Romans : There flesh is figuratively represented as a persoli, according to the apostle's manner, observed by Mr. Locke, and after him by Dr. Taylor, who takes notice, that the apostle, in the 6th and 7th of Romans, represents sin as a person ; and that he figuratively distinguishes in himself two persons, speaking of flesh as his person. For I know that in me, that is in my AS, dwelleth no good thing. And it may be observed, that in the 8th chapter he still continues this representation, parking of the flesh as a person: And accordingly in the 6th and 7: !
verses, speaks of the mind of the flesh, Ogarnus vape@, and of the mind of the spirit, Opompece aruparo; as if the flesh and spirit were two opposite persons, each having a mind contra
y to tbe mind of the other. Dr. Taylor interprets this mind of the flesh, and mind of the spirit, as though the flesh and the spirit were here spoken of as the different objects, about which the mind spoken of is conversant. Which is plainly beside the apostle's sense ; who speaks of the flesh and spirit as the subjects and agents, in which the mind spoken of is ; and not the objects about which it acts. We have the same phrase again, ver. 27. He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the spirit, porque ornar ; the mind of the spiritual nature in the saints being the same with the mind of the Spirit of God himself, who imparts and actuates that spiritual nature ; here the spirit is the subject and agent, and not the object. The same apostle in like manner uses the word, wr, in Col. ii. 18. Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 70 T8 v. ons capr. autą, by the mind of his flesh. And this agent so often called fiesh, represented by the apostle, as altogether evil, without any good thing dwelling in it, or belonging ko it ; yea, perfectly contrary to God and his law, and tending only to death and ruin, and directly opposite to the spirit, is what Christ speaks of to Nicodemus as born in the first birth, as giving a reason why there is a necessity of a new birth, in order to a better production.
· One thing is particularly observable in that discourse of the apostle, in the 7th and 8th of Romans, in which he so often uses the term flesh, as opposite to spirit, which, as well as many other things in his discourse, makes it plain, that by flesh he means something in itself corrupt and sinful, and that is, that he expressly calls it sinful flesh, Rom. viii. 3. It is manifest, that by sinful flesh he means the same thing with that flesh spoken of in the immediately foregoing and following words, and in all the context : And that when it is said, Christ was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, the expression is equipollent with those that speak of Christ as made sin, and made a curse for us.