« AnteriorContinuar »
It is worthy to be observed, what liberty is taken, and boldness used with this apostle ; such words as Quagtone, anagram, xporece, xa Taxpopes, dixaow, dixawors, and words of the same root and signification, are words abundantly used by him else. where in this and other epistles, and also when speaking, as he is here, of Christ's redemption and atonement, and of the general sinfulness of mankind, and of the condemnation of sinners, and of justification by Christ, and of death as the consequence of sin, and of life and restoration to life by Christ, as here ; yet no where are any of these words used, but in a sense very remote from what is supposed here. However in this place, these terms must have a distinguished, singular sense found out for them, and annexed to them! A new language must be coined for the apostle, which he is evidently quite unused to, and put into his mouth on this occasion, for the sake of evading this clear, precise, and abundant testimony of his, to the doctrine of Original Sin.
3. The putting such a sense on the word sin, in this place, is not only to make the apostle greatly to disagree with him. self in the language he uses every where else, but also to disagree with himself no less in the language he uses in this very passage. He often here uses the word sin, and other words plainly of the same design and import, such as transgression, disobedience, offence. Nothing can be more evident, than that these are here used as several names of the same thing; for they are used interchangeably, and put one for another, as will be manifest only on the cast of an eye on the place. And these words are used no less than seventeen times in this one paragraph. Perhaps we shall find no place in the whole Bible, in which the word sin, and other words synonymous, are used so often in so little compass ; and in all the instances, in the proper sense, as signifying moral evil, and even so understood by Dr. Taylor him. self (as appears by his own exposition) but only in these two places ; where in the midst of all, to evade a clear evidence of the doctrine of Original Sin, another meaning must be found out, and it must be supposed that the apostle uses the
word in a sense entirely different, signifying something that neither implies nor supposes any moral evil at all in the subject.
Here it is very remarkable, the gentleman who so greatly insisted upon it, that the word death must necds be understood in the same sense throughout this paragraph ; yea, that it is evidently, clearly, and infallibly so, inasmuch as the apostle is still discoursing on the same subject; yet can, without the least difficulty, suppose the word sin, to be used so differently in the very same passage, wherein the apostle is discoursing on the same thing. Let us take that one instance in verse 12. " 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 sinned." Here by sin, implied in the word sinned, in the end of the sentence, our author under. stands something perfectly and altogether diverse from what is meant by the word sin, not only in the same discourse on the same subject, but twice in the former part of the very same sentence, of which this latter part is not only the conclusion, but the explication ; and also entirely different from the use of the word twice in the next sentence, wherein the apostle is still most plainly discoursing on the same subject, as is not denied: And in the next sentence to that (verse 14) the apostle uses the very same verb- sinned, and as signifying the committing of moral evil, as our author himself understands it. Afterwards (verse 19) the apostle uses the word sinners, which our author supposes to be in somewhat of a different sense still. So that here is the utmost violence of the kind that can be conceived of, to make out a scheme against the plainest evidence, in changing the meaning of a word backward and forward, in one paragraph, all about one thing, and in different parts of the same sentences, coming over and over in quick repetitions, with a variety of other synonymous words to fix its signification ; besides the continued use of the word in the former part of this chapter, and in all the prereding part of this epistle, and the continued use of it in the next chapter, and in the next to that,and the 8th chapter following that, and to the end of the epistle ;
in none of which places it is pretended, but that the word is used in the proper sense, by our author in his paraphrase and notes on the whole epistle. *
But indeed we need go no further than that one, verse 12. What the apostle means by sin, in the latter part of the verse, is evident with the utmost plainness, by comparing it with the former part ; one part answering to another, and the last clause exegetical of the former. “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that (or, unto which) all have sinned." Here sin and death are spoken of in the former part, and sin and death are spoken of in the latter part ; the two parts of the sentence so answering one another, that the same things are apparently meant by sin and death in both parts,
And besides, to interpret sinning, here, of falling under the suffering of death, is yet the more violent and unreasonable, because the apostle in this very place does once and again distinguish between sin and death ; plainly speaking of one as the effect, and the other the cause. So in the 21st verse, “ That as sin hath reigned unto death ;' and in the 12th verse, 6 Sin entered into the world, and death by sin." And this - plain distinction holds through all the discourse, as between death and the offence, ver. 15, and ver. 17, and between the offence and condemnation, ver. 18.
4. Though we should omit the consideration of the manner in which the apostle uses the words, sin, sinned, &c. in
+ Agreeably to this manner, our author, in explaining the 7th chapter of Romans, understands the pronjun I, or me, used by the apostle in that one continued discourse, in no less than six different senses. He takes it in the 1st verse to signify the Apostle Paul himself. In the 8th. 9:h, 10th and 11th verses, for the people of the Jews, through all ages, both before and after Moses, especially the carnal, ungodly part of them. In the 13th verse for an objecting Jew, entering into a dialogue with the apostle. In the 15 b, 16th, 17th, 2oth, and latter part of the 2gih verse, it is understood in two different senses, for two ?s in the same person ; one, a man's reason; and the other, his passions and carnal appetites. And in the 7th and former part of the last verse, for us Christians in general; or, for all that enjoy the word of God, the law and the gospel : And hese differe'it senses, the most of them strange ly intermixed and interchanged backwards and forwards,
other places, and in other parts of this discourse, yet Dr. Tay: lor's interpretation of them would be very absurd.
The case stands thus: According to his exposition, we are said to have sinned by an active verb, as though we had actively sinned ; yet this is not spoken truly and properly, but it is put figuratively for our becoming sinners passively, our being made or constituted sinners. Yet again, not that we do truly become sinners passively, or are really made sinners, by any thing that God does ; this also is only a figurative or tropical representation ; and the meaning is only, we are con., demned, and treated as if we were sinners. Not indeed that we are properly condemned, for God never truly condemns the innocent : But this also is only a figurative representation of the thing. It is but as it were condemning; because it is appointing to death, a terrible evil, as if it were a punishment. But then, in reality, here is no appointment to a terrible evil, or any evil at all ; but truly to a benefit, a great benefit : And so, in representing death as a punishment or calamity condemned to, another figure or trope is made use of, and an ex. ceeding bold one ; for, as we are appointed to it, it is so far from being an evil or punishment, that it is really a favor, and that of the highest nature, appointed by mere grace and love, though it seems to be a calamity. Thus we have tropes and figures multiplied, one upon the back of another; and all in that one word, sinned ; according to the manner, as it is supposed, the apostle uses it. We have a figurative representation, not of a reality, but of a figurative representation. Nei. ther is this a representation of a reality, but of another thing that still is but a figurative representation of something else : Yea, even this something else is still but a figure, and one that is very harsh and far fetched. So that here we have a figure to represent a figure, even a figure of a figure, representing some very remote figure, which most obscurely represents the thing intended ; if the most terrible evil can indeed be said at all to represent lhe contrary good of the highest kind. And now, what cannot be made of any place of scripture, in such a way of managing it, as this? And is there any hope of ever deciding any controversy by the scripture, in the way of
using such a licence with the scripture, in order to force it to a compliance with our own schemes? If the apostle indeed uses language after so strange a manner in this place, it is perhaps such an instance, as not only there is not the like of it in all the Bible besides, but perhaps in no writing whatsoever. And this, not in any parabolical, visionary, or prophet. ic description, in which difficult and obscure representations are wont to be made use of; nor in a dramatic or poetical representation, in which a great licence is often taken, and bold figures are commonly to be expected : But it is in a familiar letter, wherein the apostle is delivering gospel instruction, as a minister of the New Testament; and wherein, as he professes, he delivers divine truth without the vail of ancient figures and similitudes, and uses great plainness of speech : And in a discourse that is wholly didactic, narrative, and argumentative ; evidently setting himself to explain the doctrine he is upon, in the reason and nature of it, with a great variety of expressions, turning it as it were on every side, to make his meaning plain, and to fix in his readers the exact notion of what he intendsDr. Taylor himself observes, * « This apostle takes great care to guard and explain every part of his subject : And I may venture to say, he has left no part of it unexplained or unguarded. Never was an author more exact and cautious in this than he. Sometimes he writes notes on a sentence liable to exception, and wanting explanation.” Now I think, this care and exactness of the apostle no where appears more than in the place we are upon. Nay, I scarcely know another instance equal to this, of the apostle's care to be well understood, by being very particular, explicit, and precise, setting the matter forth in every light, going over and over again with his doctrine, clearly to exhibit, and fully to settle and determine the thing which be aims at.
• Preface to Paraph, on Rom. p. 146, 48,