Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

subjects of it, is not only a redemption from no sin, but from no calamity, and so from no evil of any kind. For as to death, which infants are redeemed from, they never were subjected to it as a calamity, but purely as a benefit. It came by no threatening or curse denounced upon or through Adam ; the covenant with him being utterly abolished, as to all its force and power on mankind (according to our author) before the pronouncing of the sentence of mortality. Therefore trouble and death could be appointed to innocent mankind no other way than on the foot of another covenant, the covenant of grace ; and in this channel they come only as favors, not as evils. Therefore they could need no medicine or remedy, for they had no disease. Even death itself, which it is supposed Christ saves them from, is only a medicine ; it is preventing physic, and one of the greatest of benefits. It is ridiculous to talk of persons needing a medicine, or a physician to save them from an excellent medicine; or of a remedy from a happy remedy! If it be said, though death be a ben. efit, yet it is so because Christ changes it, and turns it into a benefit, by procuring a resurrection : I would bere ask, What can be meant by turning or changing it into a benefit, when it never was otherwise, nor could ever justly be otherwise ? Infants could not be brought under death as a calamity ; for they never deserved it. And it would be only an abuse (be it far from us, to ascribe such a thing to God) in any being, to make the offer to any poor sufferers, of a redeemer from some calamity, which he had brought upon them without the least desert of it on their part.

But it is plain, that death or mortality was not at first brought on mankind as a blessing, on the foot of the covenantof giace through Christ ; and that Christ and grace do not bring mankind under death, but find them under it. 2 Cor. v. 14. “ We thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” Luke xix. 10. “ The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." The grace which appears in providing a deliverer from any state, supposes the subject to be in that state prior to that grace and deliverance; and not ihat such a state is first introduced by that grace. In our

author's scheme, there never could be any sentence of death or condemnation that requires a Saviour from it ; because the very sentence itself, according to the true meaning of it, implies and makes sure all that good which is requisite to abolish and make void the seeming evil to the innocent subject. So that the sentence itself is in effect the deliverer, and there is no need of another deliverer to deliver from that sentence. Dr. Taylor insists upon it, that “ Nothing comes up-. on us in consequence of Adam's sin, in any sense, kind or degree, inconsistent with the original blessing pronounced on Adam at his creation ; and nothing but what is perfectly consistent with God's blessing, love and goodness, declared to Adam as soon as he came out of his Maker's hands."* If the case be so, it is certain there is no evil or calamity at all for Christ to redeem us from ; unless things agreeable to the divine goodness, love and blessing, are things which we need redemption from

IV. It will follow, on our author's principles, not only with respect to infants, but even adult persons, that redemption is needless, and Christ is dead in vain. Not only is there no need of Christ's redemption in order to deliverance from any consequences of Adam's sin, but also in order to perfect freedom from personal sin, and all its evil consequences. For God has made other sufficient provision for that, viz. a sufficient power and ability, in all mankind, to do all their duty, and wholly to avoid sin. Yea, this author insists upon it,, that " when men have not sufficient power to do their duty, they have no duty to do. We may safely and assuredly conclude, (says he) that mankind in all parts of the world, have sufficient power to do the duty which God requires of them; and that he requires of them no more than they have sufficient powers to do."! And in another place, # “God has given powers equal to the duty which he expects." And he expresses a great dislike at R. R's supposing “ that our propensities to evil, and temptations, are too strong to be effectu. ally and constantly resisted, or that we are unavoidably sinful in

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

a degree ; that our appetites and passions will be breaking out, notwithstanding our everlasting watchfulness."* 'These things fully imply that men have in their own natural ability suffscient means to avoid sin, and to be perfectly free from it ; and so, from all the bad consequences of it. And if the means are sufficient, then there is no need of more ; and Therefore there is no need of Christ's dying, in order to it. What Dr. Taylor says, in p. 72, S. fully implies that it would be unjust in God to give mankind being in such circumstances, as that they would be more likely to sin, so as to be ex. posed to final misery, than otherwise. Hence then, without Christ and his redemption, and without any grace at all, mere justice makes sufficient provision for our being free from sin and misery, by our own power.

If all mankind, in all parts of the world, have such sufficient power to do their whole duty, without being sinful in any degree, then they have sufficient power to obtain righteousness by the law; and then, according to the Apostle Paul, Chris! is dead in vain. Gal. ii. 21. “If righteousness come by the law, Christ is dead in vain ;"....da roue, without the article, by law, or the rule of right action, as our author explains the phrase.f And according to the sense in which he explains this very place, “ It would have frustrated or rendered useless the grace of God, if Christ died to accomplish what was or might have been effected by law itself, without his death." I So that it most clearly follows from his own doctrine, that Christ is dead in vain, and the grace of God is useless. The same apostle says, “ If there had been a law which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law," Gal. iii. 21 ; i. e. (still according to Dr. Taylor's own sease) if there was a law that man, in his present state, had sufficient power perfectly to fulfil. For Dr. Taylor supposes the reason why the law could not give life, to be," not because it was weak in itself, but through the weakness of our flesh, and the infirmity of the human nature in the present state."

* P. 68, S. V. 20, p. 297.

+ Pref, to Par. on Rom. p. 143, 38.
Ibid.

Note on Rom.

But he says, “We are under a mild dispensation of grace, making allowance for our infirmities.”* By our infirmities, we may upon good grounds suppose he means that infirmity of human nature which he gives as the reason why the law cannot give life. But what grace is there in making that allowance for our infirmities, which justice itself (according to his doctrine) most absolutely requires, as he supposes divine justice exactly proportions our duty to our ability ?

Again, If it be said, that although Christ's redemption was not necessary to preserve men from beginning to sin, and getting into a course of sin, because they have sufficient power in themselves to avoid it; yet it may be necessary to deliver men, after they have by their own folly brought themselves under the dominion of evil appetites and passions. I answer, if it be so, that men need deliverance from those habits and passions, which are become too strong for them, yet that deliverance, on our author's principles, would be no salvation from sin. For, the exercise of passions which are too strong for us, and which we cannot overcome, is necessary, and he strongly urges that a necessary evil can be no moral evil. It is true, it is the effect of evil, as it is the effect of a bad practice, while the man remained at liberty, and had power to have avoided it. But then, according to Dr. Taylor, that evil causc alone is sin ; and not so, the necessary effect; For he says expressly, “ The cause of every effect is alone chargeable with the effect it producetii, or which proceedeth from it." And as to that sin which was the cause, the man nceded no Saviour from that, having had sufficient power in himself to have avoided it. So that it follows, by our author's scheme, that none of mankind, neither infants nor adult persons, neither the more nor less vicious, neither Jews nor Gen. tiles, neither Heathens nor Christians, ever did or cver could stand in any need of a Saviour ; and that, with respect to all, the truth is, Christ is dead in vain.

* Page 92, s. + Sce p. 228, and also what he says of the helpless state of the Heathen, in Pariend Notes on Rom, vii. and beginning of Chap. viii. I P. 128.

If any should say, Although all mankind in all ages have sufficient ability to do their whole duty, and so may by their own power enjoy perfect freedom from sin, yet God foresaw that they would sin, and that after they had sinned, they would need Christ's death ; I answer, it is plain by what the apos:le says in those places which were just now men. tioned, Gal. ij. 21, and iij. 21, that God would have esteemed it needless to give his Son to die for men, unless there had been a prior impossibility of their having righteousness by law ; and that, if there had been a law which could have giv. en life, this other way by the death of Christ would not have been provided. And this appears to be agreeable to our author's own sense of things, by his words which have been cited, wherein he says, “ It would have frustrated or rendered useless the grace of God, is Christ died to accomplish what was or might have been effected by law itself, without his death."

V. It will follow on Dr. Taylor's scheme, not only that Christ's redemption is needless for the saving from sin, or its consequences, but also that it does no good that way, has no tendency to any diminution of sin in the world. For as to any infusion of virtue or holiness into the heart, by divine power through Christ or his redemption, it is altogether inconsistent with this author's notions. With him, inwrought virtue, if there were any such thing, would be no virtue ; not being the effect of our own will, choice and design, but only of a sovereign act of God's power. * And therefore, all that Christ does to increase virtue, is only increasing our talents, our light, advantages, means and motives, as he often explains the matter.t But sin is not at all diminished. For he says, Our duty must be measured by our talents ; as, a child that has less talents, bas less duty, and therefore must be no more ex posed to commit sin, than he that has greater talents, because he that has greater talents, has more duty required, in exact proportion. If so, he that has but one talent, has as much

* See pages 180, 245, 250. + Id p. 44, 50, and innumerable other places. See p. 234, 61, 64....70, S.

« AnteriorContinuar »