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doctrine?' I make no doubt this with other like principles, bave filled our land with Infidels.” However, the gentlemen who disclaim these absurd principles, of original sin, redemption, and regeneration, may very easily convert those Infidels : since there is scarcely any room for contention left between them.
* Is not this doctrine hurtful to the power of godliness,
66 as it diverts men from the heavenly and substantial truths of religion ?” (p. 261.). Just the reverse. There is no possibility of the power of godliness without it. The power of godliness consists in the love of God and man: This is heavenly and substantial religion. But no man can possibly. love his neighbour as himself,' till he loves God, And no man can possibly love God, till he truly believes in Christ. And no man truly believes in Christ, till he is deeply convinced of his own sinfulness, guiltiness, and helplessness. But this no man ever was, neither can be, who does not know he has a corrupt nature.
This doctrine therefore is the most proper”. of all others, “ to be instilled into a child :" that it is by nature a. child of wrath, under the guilt and under the power of sin : that it can be saved from wrath, only by the merits, and, sufferings, and love of the Son of God: that it can be deli, vered from the power of sin, only by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit: but that by his grace it may be renewed in the image of God, perfected in love, and made meet for glory. ;
But 6 must it not lessen the due love of parents to children, to believe they are the vilest creatures in the world ?” (p. 262, 263.) Far from it; if they know how God loves both them and their's, vile and sinful as they are. And it is a certain fact, that no parents love their children more tenderly, than those who firmly believe this doctrine : and that none are more careful to bring them up
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.'
But “ how can young people remember their Creator without horror, if he has given them life under such deplorable circumstances ?" They can remember him with plea
sure, with earnest thankfulness, when they reflect out of what a pit he hath brought them up: and that if sin abounded, both by nature and habit, grace did much more abound.
You conclude, “Why should we subject our consciences to tales and fables, invented by priests and monks ?" (p. 264.) This fable, as you term it, of original sin, could not be invented by Romish priests or monks': because it is by many ages older than either; yea, than Christianity itself.
I have now weighed, as my leisure would permit, all the arguments advanced in your three parts. And this I have done with continual prayer, that I might know the truth as it is in Jesus' But still I see no ground to alter my sentiments, touching the general corruption of human nature. Nor can I find any better or any other way, of accounting for that general wickedness, which has prevailed in all nations, and through all ages, nearly from the begin. ning of the world to this day.
LEWISHAM, Jan. 25, 1757.
An ANSWER to Dr. TAYLOR'S SUPPLEMENT.
YOU subjoin to your book a very large SUPPLEMENT, in answer to Dr. Jennings and Dr. Watts. All that they have advanced, I am not engaged to defend; but such parts only as affect the merits of the cause.
You divide this part of your work into eight sections. The first treats
OF Impored Guilt. And here you roundly affirm, “No action is said in Scripture to be imputed to any person for righteousness or condemnation, but the proper act and deed of that person.'
• Supplement, p. 7
$ 3. Were then the iniquities and sins which were put upon the scape-goat, his own proper act and deed? You answer, “ Here was no imputation of sin to the goat. It was only a figurative way of signifying the removal of guilt, from the penitent Israelites, by the goat's going into the wilderness.” But how could it be a figure of any such thing, if ,
, no guilt was imputed to him ?
“ Aaron is commanded, to put the iniquities of Israel' upon the scape-goat, (Lev. xvi. 21.) And this goat is said to bear the iniquities of the people;' (ver. 22.) This was plainly an imputation. Yet it could not possibly be an imputation of any thing done by the animal itself. The effects also which took place upon the execution of the ordinance indicate a translation of guilt. For the congregation was cleansed, but the goat was polluted. The congregation so cleansed, that their iniquities were borné away, and to be found no more: the goat so polluted, that it communicated defilement to the person who conducted it into a land not inhabited.”
In truth the scape-goat was a figure of him, on whom the Lord laid the iniquities of us all,' (Isa. liii. 6.) He bore our iniquity,' (ver. 11.) He bare the sin of many,' (ver. 12.) The prophet uses three different words in the original : of which the first does properly signify the meeting together; the last, the lifting up a weight or burden. This burden it was which made him sweat as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.' :“ But iniquity and sin sometimes signify suffering,” (p. 8, 9.) Yes; suffering for sin, the effect being put for the cause. Accordingly what we mean by, our sins were imputed to him,' is, he was punished for them; "he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities." He who knew no sin,' but what was thus imputed, 'was made sin, ' a sin offering for us: “It pleased the Lord” (your own words) “ to bruise him, in order to the expiation of our sins,” (p. 10, 11.)
< But with regard to parents and their posterity, God assures us, children shall not die for the iniquity of their
fathers.'” No, not eternally. I believe none ever did or ever will die eternally, merely for the sin of our first father.
« But the Scripture never speaks of imputing any sin to any person, but what is the act of that person,” (p. 13, 14.) It was but now you yourself observed, that by “our sins were imputed to Christ,” we mean, “He suffered for them." Our sins then were imputed to Christ. And yet these sins were not the act of the person that suffered. He did not commit the sin which was thus imputed to him.
But “no just constitution can punish the innocent," (p. 16.) This is undoubtedly true. Therefore God does not look upon infants 'as innocent, but as involved in the guilt of Adam's sin. Otherwise death, the punishment denounced against that sin, could not be inflicted upon them.
“ It is allowed the posterity of Ham and Gehazi, and the children of Dathan and Abiram, suffered for the sins of their parents.” It is enough. You need allow no more. All the world will see, if they suffered for them, then they were punished for them. Yet we do not “ confound punishment with suffering, as if to suffer and to be punished, were the same thing.” Punishment is not barely suffering, but suffering for sin: To suffer and to be punished, are not the same thing. But to suffer for sin, and to be punished are precisely the same.
If therefore the children of Dathan and Abiram suffered for the sins of their parents, which no man can deny, then they were punished for them. Consequently it is not true, that “ in the instances alleged, the parents only were punished by the sufferings of the children.” If the children suffered for those sins, then they were punished for them. Indeed sometimes the parents too were punished, by the sufferings of their children; which is all that your heap of quotations proves: and sometimes they were not. But however this were; if the children suffered for their sins, they were punished for them. It is not therefore " evident, that in all these cases,
dren are considered not as criminals, involved in guilt, but as the enjoyments of their parents who alone are punished by their sufferings,” (p. 18.) On the contrary, it is very evident that the children of Canaan were punished for the sin of Ham; and that the children of Dathan and Abiram were punished with death, as “involved in the guilt of their parents.
“On the other hand, the virtues of an ancestor may convey great advantages to his posterity. But no: man's posterity can be rewarded for their ancestor's virtue," (p. 21.) The point here in dispute between Dr. Watts and you, is Whether the thing, concerning which you agreed, should be expressed by one term or another? You both agree, (and no man in his serses can deny) that in all ages, God has, on account of pious ancestors, given many blessings to their offspring. But he thinks, these blessings should be termed rewards, (and so do all the world ;) you say, they should not. The fact is plain either way; God does continually, and did in all ages, give numberless blessings to the children, on account of the piety of their fathers. And it is certain, blessings given on account of virtue, have been hitherto termed rewards both by God and man.
You conclude this section, “Thus it appears, the distinction between personal sin and imputed guilt, is without any ground in Scripture,” (p. 22.) Just the contrary appears, namely, that guilt was imputed to the scape-goat, to the children of wicked - parents, and to our blessed Lord himself, without any personal șin. The distinction therefore is sound and scriptural.
Of the Nature and Design of our Afflictions and Mortality
THAT Gop designs to bring good out of these is certain. But does this prove, they have not the nature of punishments ?