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more sparingly and obscurely of several of the most important doctrines of revealed religion, relating to the necessity, grounds, nature, and way of his redemption, and the method of the justification of sinners, while he lived here in the flesh, and left these doctrines to be more plainly and fully opened and inculcated by the Holy Spirit, after his ascension.
he sinned, the whole world sinned, whose sin we bear and suffer. But the matter is not thus with respect to the sins of his posterity." Thus far Stapferus.
Besides these, as Ainsworth on Gen. viii. 21, observes, " In Bereshith Rabba, (a Hebrew commentary on this place) a Rabbin is said to be asked, When is the evil imagination put into man? And he answered, From the hout that he is formed.” And in Pool's Synopsis it is added from Grotius, “So Rabbi Salomon interprets Gen. viii. 81. The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, of its being evil from the time tha he is taken out of his mother's bowels."
Aben Ezra chus interprets Psalm li. 5. I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin dit my mother conceive me ; that evil concupiscence is implanted in the heart from childhood, as if he were formed in it; and by my mother, he understands Eve, who did not bear children till she had sinned. And so Kafvenaki says, How shall I avoid sinning? My original is corrupt, and from thence are those sins. So Manasseh Ben Israel, from this place (Psalm li. 5) concludes that not only David, but all mankind, ever since sin was introduced into the world, do sin from their original. To this purpose is the answer of Rabb. Hakkadasch, which there is an account of in the i almud. From what time does concupiscence Tule over man? From the very moment of his first formation, or from his nativity! Anfw. From his formation." Pool's Synops. in Loc.
On these things I observe, there is the greatest reason to suppose that these old Rabbies of the Jewish nation, who gave such heed to the Tradition of the Elders, would never have received this doctrine of Original Sin, had it not been delivered down to them from their forefathers. For it is a doctrine very disagreeable to those practical principles and notions wherein the religion of the unbelieving Jews most fundamentally differs from the religion maintained among Christians; particularly their notion of justification by their own rightcousness and privileges as the children of Abraham, &c. without standing in need of any satisfaction by the sufferings of the Messiah. On which account the modern Jews do now universally reject the doctrine of Original Sin, and corruption of nature, as Stapferus observes. And it is not at all likely that the ancient Jews, if no such doctrine had been received by tradition from the fathers, would have taken it up from the Christians, whom they bad in such great contempt and enmity ; especially as it is a doctrine so peculiarly agreeable to the Christian notion of the spiritual salvation of Jesus and so contrary to their carnal notions of the Messiah, and of his salvation and kingdom, and
But if after all, Christ did not speak of this doctrine often enough to suit Dr. Taylor, he might be asked, Why he supposes Christ did no oftener, and no more plainly teach some of his (Dr. Taylor's) doctrines, which he so much insists on? As, That temporal death comes on all mankind by Adam; and, That it comes on them by him, not as a punishment or
so contrary to their opinion of themselves, and a doctrine, which men in general are so apt to be prejudiced against. And besides, these Rabbics do expressly refer to the opinion of their forefathers; as R. Manas eh says, “ Ac. cording to the opinion of the ancients, none are subject to death, but those which have sinned: For where there is no sin, there is no dealh."....Stapfer, Tom, iii. p 37. 38.
But we have more direct evidence, that the doctrine of Original Sin was truly a received doctrine among the ancient Jews, even before the coming of Christ. This appears by ancient Jewish writings, which were written before Christ; as, in he apocrypha, 2 Esdras, ji 21. " For the first Adam, bearing a wicked heart, transgressed, and was overcome; and so be all they that are born of him. Thus infirmuy was made permanent; and the law also in the heart of the people, with the malignity of the root; so that the good departed away, and the evil abode still."...2 Esdras iv 30. “ For the grain of evil seed hath been sown in the heart of A am, from the beginning; and how much ungodliness hath it brought up unto this time? And how much shall it yet bring forth, till the time. f threshing shall come ?" And chap. vii. 46. “ It had been better, not to have given the earth unto Adam ; or else, when it was given him to have restrained him from sinning; for whai profit is it, for men now in this present time, to live in heaviness, and after death, to look for pun shmeit? O thou Adam, what hast thou done! For though it was thou that sinneo, thou art not fallen alone, but we all that come of thee." And we Tead, Eccl. xxv. 24. “Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die."
As this doctrine of original corruption was constantly maintained in the church of God from the beginning ; so from thepce, in all probability, as well as from the evidence of it in universal experience, it was, that the wiser Heathen maintained the like doctrine Particularly Plato, that great philoso. pher, so distinguished for his veneration of ancient traditions, and diligenc inquiries after them. Gale, in his Court of the Gentiles, observes as follows: “ Plato says (Gorg. fol. 493.) I have heard from the wise men, that we are now dead, and that the body is but our sepulchre. And in his Timæas Locrus (fol. 163) he says, The cause of vitiosity is from our parents, and first principles, rather than from our selves. So that we never relinquish those actions, which lead us to follow these primitive blemishes of our FIRST PARENTS. Plato mentions the corruption of the will, and seems to disowo any free will to true good; albeit he al
calamity, but as a great favor, being made a rich benefit, and a fruit of God's abundant grace, by Christ's redemption, who came into the world as a second Adam for this end. Surely, if this were so, it was of vast importance, that it should be known to the church of God in all ages, who saw death reigning over infants, as well as others. If infants were indeed perfectly innocent, was it not needful, that the design of that which was such a melancholy and awful dispensation towards so many millions of innocent creatures, should be known, in order to prevent the worst thoughts of God from arising in the minds of the constant spectators of so mysterious and gloomy a dispensation ? But why then such a total silence about it, for four thousand years together, and not one word of it in all the Old Testament ; nor one word of it in all the four gospels ; and indeed not one word of it in the whole Bible, but only as forced and wrung out by Dr. Taylor's arts of criticism and deduction, against the plainest and strongest evidence !
As to the arguments, made use of by many late writers, from the universal moral sense, and the reasons they offer from experience, and observation of the nature of mankind, to shew that we are born into the world with principles of vir.
lows some sūQuiæ, or natural dispositions, to civil good, in some great hetoes. Socrates asserted the corruption of human nature, or xaxor i uron. Grotius affirms, that the philosophers acknowledged, it was connatural to men, to sin."
Seneca (Benef. v. 14) says, “ Wickedness has not its first beginning in wicked practice; though by that it is first exercised and made manifest." And Plutarch (de Sera vindicta) says, “ Man does not first become wicked, when be Grst manifests himself so: But he hath wickedness from the beginning; and he shews it as soon as he finds opportunity and ability. As men rightly judge, rhat the sting is not first engendered in scorpions when they strike, or the poison in vipers when they bite".... Pool's Synops. on Gen, viii, 21.
To which may be subjoined what Juvenal says, ....All mores natura recurrit
Damnatos, fixa et maturi nescia." Englished thus, in prose;
Nalure, a thing fixed and not knowing how to change, returns to its wicked manners,
Watts's Ruin and Recetery.
tue ; with a natural prevailing relish, approbation, and love of righteousness, truth, and goodness, and of whatever tends to the public welfare ; with a prevailing natural disposition to dislike, to resent and condemn what is selfish, unjust and immoral; and a native bent in mankind to mutual benevolence, tender compassion, &c. those who have had such objections against the doctrine of Original Sin, thrown in their way, and desire to see them particularly considered, I ask leave to refer them to a Treatise on the Nature of true Virtue, lying by me prepared for the press, which may ere long be exhibited to public view.
On the whole, I observe, There are some other things, besides arguments, in Dr. Taylor's book, which are calculated to influence the minds, and bias the judgments of some sorts of readers. Here, not to insist on the taking profession he makes, in many places, of sincerity, humility, meekness, modesty, charity, &c. in his searching after truth ; and freely proposing his thoughts, with the reasons of them, to others ;* nor on his magisterial assurance, appearing on many occasions, and the high contempt he sometimes expresses of the opinions and arguments of very excellent divines and fathers in the church of God, who have thought differently from him :t Both of which things, it is not unlikely, may have a degree of infuence on some of his readers. (However, that they may have only their just influence, these things might properly be compared together, and set in contrast, one with the other.).... I say, not to dwell on these matters, I would take some notice of another thing, observable in the writings of Dr. Taylor, and many of the late opposers of the more peculiar doctrines of Christianity, tending (especially with juvenile and unwary readers (not a little to abate the force, and
* See bis Preface, and p. 6, 237, 265, 267, 175, S. 150, 151, 159, 161, 183, 188, 77, S.
t Page 110, 125, prevent the due effects of the clearest scripture evidences, in favor of those important doctrines; and particularly to make void the arguments taken from the writings of the Apostle Paul, in which those doctrines are more plainly and fully revealed, than in any other part of the Bible. What I mean, is this : These gentlemen express a high opinion of this apostle, and that very justly, for his eminent genius, his admirable sagacity, strong powers of reasoning, acquired learning, &c. They speak of him as a writer....of masterly address, of extensive reach, and deep design, every where in his epistles, almost in every word he says. This looks exceeding specious : It carries a plausible appearance of Christian zeal, and attachment to the Holy Scriptures, in such a testimony of high veneration for that great apostle, who was not only the principal instrument of propagating Christianity, but with his own hand wrote so considerable a part of the New Testament. And I am far from determining, with respect at least to some of these writers, that they are not sincere in their declara. tions, or that all is mere artifice, only to make way for the reception of their own peculiar sentiments. However, it tends greatly to subserve such a purpose ; as much as if it were designedly contrived, with the utmost subtleiy, for that end. Hereby their incautious readers are prepared the more easily to be drawn into a belief, that they, and others in their way of thinking, have not rightly understood many of those things in this apostle's writings, which before seemed very plain to them; and they are also prepared, by a prepossession in favor of these new writers, to entertain a favorable thought of the interpretations put by them upon the words and phrases of this apostle; and to admit in many passages a meaning which before lay entirely out of sight; quite foreign to all that in the view of a common reader seems to be their obvious sense ; and most remote from the expositions agreed in, by those which used to be esteemed the greatest divines, and best cominentators. For they must know, that this apostle, being a man of no vulgar understanding, it is nothing strange is his meaning lies very deep; and no wonder then, if the superficial discerning and observation of vulgar Christians, or indeed