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EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
THOMAS CHALMERS, D.D.& LL.D.
PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH,
AND CORRESPONDIXG MEMBER OF THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF FRANCE
WILLIAM COLLINS, S. FREDERICK ST.
LONDON: HAMILTON, ADAMS, & CO.
LECTURES ON THE ROMANS.
ROMANS, v, 12-14.
“ Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sin. ned : (for until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”
AFTER these lengthened preliminary remarks on the doctrine of original sin, we now proceed to the exposition of the verses of this remarkable passage in detail.
Ver. 12. The death which entered into the world by sin, includes in it a great deal more than that temporal death, to which in common language the term is restricted. It is very true that death, in the ordinary sense of the word, formed part of the punishment laid upon our first parents and their posterity. But there was a sentence of death executed on the very day of the transgression—"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”—And yet Adam survived his expulsion from Paradise several hundred years ; and the way in which the truth of the threatening
was accomplished, was by the infliction of spiritual death. By the fall he lost that, which Christ by his salvation restores to our species. If a title to eternal life hereafter, and spiritual life here, came by Christ—it is because they went away from us by Adam.
He on that day lost the light of the divine countenance. A sense of God's favour died away from his heart; and it was this which cheered and sustained him in all the joys of existence. Hope, that sunshine of the soul, took its departure; and left the blackness of desolation behind it. The death in trespasses and sins, began with the commission of the first sin. It was then that trust gave place to terror. It was then that jealousy of God put out from the bosom its wonted joy in God. It was then that the righteousness of the soul expired, because it was left without a principle and without an object-alike unable to recover the acceptance that had been lost; and unwilling for the labours of a service, when all love for the master had been extinguished, among the fears and the suspicions and the chilling alienation of guilt. This was a death which took place long before the dissolution of the body; and when the body falls into dust, this is a death which the soul carries with it into the place of its separate habitation. The literal death is only a steppingstone to the full accomplishment of that sentence -the operation of which began on Adam, with the very first hour of his history as a sinner. It was then that he became dead unto God; and that his soul was driven into exile, from all the joys and communications of the divine life just as surely as in person, he was exiled from the scenes of loveliness and delight that were in the garden of paradise. It is this character of the soul which forms its own punishment in the place of condemnation; and here in every unregenerate bosom, is the germ of that, which ministers to the second death on the other side of the grave all its agony and all its bitterness,
It is a matter of experience, as we have already amply endeavoured to demonstrate, that this death of the soul has passed upon all men, just as surely and as universally as the dissolution of the body. There is one species of life or of vivacity, that remains to us—vivacity to the things of sense, so that they form the world in which we move, and to the objects of which alone it is that we are feelingly alive. There is another species of life or of vivacity that is extinguished — vivacity to the things of faith, so as that God and eternity and the unseen realities of another world have no more power to excite or to interest us, than if we were inanimate beings. It is the reawakening of this vivacity in the soul which is stated in the Bible, as an event equally miraculous with a resurrection from literal death. It takes effect upon us on our truly receiving Christ.
He who believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. He who believeth hath passed from death unto life-a death, on the one hand, in which we may be most profoundly immersed, at the very time that we are bustling with eager and intense desire among this world's affairs; and a life, on the other hand, to which we may be raised long before our bodies