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Some Observations on the Connexion, Scope, and Sense of this remarkable paragraph in Rom. v. With some Reflections on the Evidence which we here have of the Doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN.
THE connexion of this remarkable paragraph with the foregoing discourse in this epistle, is not obscure and difficult, nor to be sought for at a distance. It may be plainly seen, only by a general glance on things which went before, from the beginning of the epistle : And indeed what is said immediately before in the same chapter, leads directly to it. The apostle in the preceding part of this epistle had large ly treated of the sinfulness and misery of all mankind, Jews as well as Gentiles. He had particularly spoken of the de. pravity and ruin of mankind in their natural state, in the foregoing part of this chapter ; representing them as being sine ners, ungodly, enemies, exposed 10 divine wrath, and without strength. No wonder now, this leads him to observe, how this so great and deplorable an event came to pass ; how this universal sin and ruin came into the world. And with regard to the Jews in particular, who, though they might allow the doctrine of Original Sin in their own profession, yet were strongly prejudiced against what was implied in it, or evidently followed from it, with regard to themselves; in this respect they were prejudiced against the doctrine of universal sinfulness, and exposedness to wrath by nature, looking on themselves as by nature holy, and fasorites of God, because they were the children of Abraham ; and with ihem the apostle had labored most in the foregoing part of the epis'le, to convince them of their being by nature as sinsul, and as much
the children of wrath, as the Gentiles :.... I say, with regard to them, it was exceeding proper, and what the apostle's design most naturally led him to, to take off their eyes from their father Abraham, who was their father in distinction from other nations, and direct them to their father Adam, who was the common father of mankind, and equally of Jews and Gentiles. And when he was entered on this doctrine of the derivation of sin and ruin, or death, to all mankind from Adam, no wonder if he thought it needful to be somewhat particular in ii, seeing he wrote lo Jews and Gentiles; the former of which had been brought up under the prejudices of a proud opinion of themselves, as a holy people by nature, and the latter had been educated in total ignorance of all things of this kind.
Again, the apostle had, from the beginning of the epistle, been endeavoriu io evince the absolute dependence of all mankind on the free grace of God for salvation, and the greatness of this grace; and particularly in the former part of this chapter. The greatness of this grace he shews especially by iwo things. (1) The universal corruption and misery of mankind; as in all the foregoing chapters, and in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9ih and 10th verses of this chapier. (2.) The greatness of the benefits which believers receive, and the greatness of the glory they have hope of. So especially in verse 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and I lih of this chapter. And here, in this place we are u pon, from verse 12 10 the end, he is stiil on the same design of magnifying the grace of God, in the same thing, viz. the favor, lile, and happiness which believers in Christ receive ; speaking here of the grace of God, the gift by grace, the abounding of grace, and the reign of gruce. And he still sets forth the freestoin and riches of grace by the same two argumenis, viz. Tie universal sin uincys and rain of nanhind, all having sinned, all being naturally exposed to death, judgment and condemnation; and the exceeding gieatness of the benefit receiver', being far greater than the misery which come's by the first Adam, and abounding beyond it. And it is by no ineuns consistent with the apostle's scope, 10 suppose, that the benefit which we have by Christ, as th: 4. Tol. 11.
titype of Adam, here mainly insisted on, is without any grace at all, being only a restoration to life of such as never deserv. ed death.
Another thing observable in the apostle's scope from the beginning of the epistle, is, he endeavors to shew the grealness and absoluteness of the dependence of all - mankind on the redemption and righteousness of Christ, for justification and life, that he might magnify and exalt the Redeemer; which design bis whole heart was swallowed up in, and may be looked upon as the main design of the whole epistle. And this is what he had been upon in the preceding part of this chapter; inferring it from the same argument, the utter siofulness and ruin of all men, And he is evidently still on the same thing in this place, from the 12th verse to the end; speaking of the same justification and righteousness, which he had dwelt on before, and not another totally diverse. No wonder, when the apostle is treating so fully and largely of our restoration, righteousness, and life by Christ, that he is led by it to consider our fall, sin, death, and ruin by Adam; and to observe wherein these two opposite heads of mankind agree, and wherein they differ, in the manner of conveyance of opposite influences and communications from each. . Thus, if the place be understood, as it used to be understood by orthodox divines, the whole stands in a natural, easy, and clear connexion with the preceding part of the chapter, and all the former part of the epistle ; and in a plain agreement with the express design of all that the apostle had been saying; and also in connexion with the words last before spoken, as introduced by the two immediately preceding verses, where he is speaking of our justification, reconcilia. tion, and salvation by Christ ; which leads the apostle directly to observe, how, on the contrary, we have sin and death by Adam. Taking this discourse of the apostle in its true and plain sense, there is no need of great extent of learning, er depth of criticism, to find out the connexion : But if it be un. derstood in Dr. Taylor's sense, the plain scope and connexion are wholly lost, and there was truly need of a skill in criticism, and art of discerning, beyond or at least different from
that of former divines, and a faculty of seeing something afar off, which other men's sight could not reach, in order to find out the connexion.
What has been already observed, may suffice lo shew the apostle's general scope in this place. But yet there seem to be some other things, which he has his eye to, in several expressions ; some particular things in the then present state, temper and notions of the Jews, which he also had before spoken of, or had reference to, in certain places of the foregoing part of the epistle. As particularly, the Jews had a very superstitious and extravagant notion of their law, delivered by Moses ; as if it were the prime, grand, and indeed only rule of God's proceeding with mankind as their judge, both in men's justification and condemnation, or from whence all, both sin and righteousness, were imputed ; and had rio consideration of the law of nature, written in the hearts of the Gentiles, and of all mankind. Herein they ascribed infinitely too much to their particular law, beyond the true design of it. They made their boast of the law; as if their being distinguished from all other nations by that great privilege, the give ing of the law, sufficiently made them a holy people, and God's children. This notion of theirs the apostle evidently refers to, chap. ii. 13, 17, 18, 19, and indeed through that whole chapter. They looked on the law of Moses as intended to be the only rule and means of justification; and as such, trusted in the works of the law, especially circumcision ; which appears by the 3d chapter. But as for the Gentiles, they looked on them ás by nature sinners, and children of wrath ; because born of uncircumcised parents, and aliens from their law, and who themselves did not know, profess and submit to the law of Moses, become proselytes, and receive circumcision. What they esteemed the sum of their wickedness and condemnation, was, that they did not turn Jews, and act as Jews.* This notion of theirs the apostle has a plain respect to, and endeavors to convince them of the falseness of, in chapler ii. 12.... 16. And he has a manifest regard again to the same thing here, in the 12th, 13th, and 14th verses of chapter v. Which may lead us the more clearly to see the true sense of those verses; about the sense of which is the main controversy, and the meaning of which being determined, it will settle the meaning of every other controverted expression through the whole discourse.
* Here are worthy to be observed the things which Dr. Taylor himself says to the same purpose, Key, 302, 303, and Preface to Paraph, on Epist. 10 Rom. p. 144, 43.
Dr. Taylor misrepresents the apostle's argument in these verses. (Which as has been demonstrated, is in lijs sepse al. together vain and impertinent.) He supposes, the thing which the apostle mainly intends to prove, is, that deoth or mortality does not come on mankind by personal sin ; and that he would prove it by this medium, that death reigned when There was no law in being which threatened personal sin with death. It is acknowledged, that this is implied, even that death came into the world by Adam's sin : Yet this is not the main thing the apostle designs to prove. But his main point evidently is, that sin and guilt, and just exposedness to death and ruin, came into the world by Adam's sin ; as righteous22058, justification, and a title to eternal life come by Christ, Which point he confirms by this consideration, that from the very time when Adam sinned, these things, viz. sin, guilt, and deseri of ruin, became universal in the world, long before the low given by Moses to the Jewish nation had any being.
The apostle's remark, that sin entered into the world by one man, who was the father of the whole human race, was an observation which afforded proper instruction for the Jews, who looked on themselves as an holy people, because they liad the law of Moses, and were the children of Abrahain, an holy father, while they looked on other nations as by nature unholy and sinners, because they were not Abraham's childdren. Ile leads them up to an bigher ancestor than this patriarch, even to Adani, who being equally the father of Jews and Gentiles, both alihe come from a sinsul father; from whom guilt and pollution were derived alike 10 all mankind. And this the apostle proves by an argument, which of all that could possibly be invented, lended the most briefly und direció