« السابقةمتابعة »
calling for some new device to repair the fracture and restore the waste ; but rather a step, the whole character and issues of which were contemplated from the beginning of creation, and which becomes the condition of the full unfolding of the Name—the glory of God.
Did God, then, make man to sin ? Is it all His work, the sin and the salvation ? No, we again repeat, a thousand times, no! A sin that God made would be no sin. Connect it with God, and the word is meaningless. A sin is the birth into the universe of something which is not after the will of God. Sin in man is the rising up within him of that which, be it what it may or whence it may, he knows is not God; for which he cannot make God responsible, and the burden of which and here is the anguish and horror of it—he cannot shift off from himself. This horror and anguish are man's witnesses in all ages that sin is a stern reality which no philosophy can explain away. The priest does not make the burden, it is the burden which, among the ignorant and wretched, makes the priest. Sin is, and “by one man sin entered into the world:” it is not God's work. “ And sin reigneth unto death.” Death is its inevitable consummation and doom.
Here, then, we have a being who has stepped out into a development which was forecast before
his creation, who was made upon a scale which that development, with all its bitter fruits, alone explains, and who was placed in a world manifestly set to the same key-note and fitted to be the theatre of that development, and yet the liberty which he has won is simply the liberty to die. He has risen to a dread height of capacity and experience; he has sunk to a fearful depth in actual condition and destiny. What shall we say, then? Is it that God made a being whose first step—which, though God did not tell him to take it, nay, warned him against taking it, God knew that he would take—was his ruin; a race, a world, broken from their very birth? Or is it that the Fall, if viewed by itself, and apart from Redemption, would be an unmeaning, and incomprehensible abortion of a Divine idea; and that the God who made man, in the very act of making him, took upon Himself the burden and responsibility of a Redeemer—and thus made him, not that he might sin, but that sinning he might be saved.
Here the vision of Redemption opens. The first judgment on man was the first lifting of the curtain on the drama :—“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Read at once, it was all contained in those primeval words, the Messianic chapter in Isaiah :“He is despised and rejeEted of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afilisted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflięted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living : for the transgression of my people was He stricken.”—(Isa. liii. 3—8.) Isaiah was written in the Divine counsel before Adam was fashioned; and when the Lord made such a race and such a world, and foresaw sin and all its fruits, this was the burden which He took upon His own heart.
For sin, then, the act of transgression, God is not to any extent, in any way responsible, save for the creation of a being who was capable of it. But when we pass on to consider the history of the race, a newand more difficult problem affronts us; we find the
Creator assuming a new responsibility with regard to sin, the nature of which we must now explore.
Is each new birth of a living child into our world a new and independent experiment of freedom, under the same conditions as that of Adam, and happening invariably to issue in the same results ? This Pelagian view is very widely entertained, especially by those who bear the reputation of advanced thinkers; but I confess that it appears to me to account very feebly for the moral phenomena of the world. The child of a vicious sire does not come into the world as Adam came forth from the hand of God. And the child of a long line of vicious sires ? Is there a moral crippling, which has its visible analogue in the shaky scrofulous limbs which such an ancestry hands down? It is a dark, deep subject, but it is one which cannot always be put aside among the closeted skeletons of the church. The infant of a thief's, drunkard's, or gambler's home finds anything butan Eden around him in his undeveloped days. Adam's sin has changed the conditions under which his children are born and grow. Human nature, whereof we all are partakers, has a distinct unity of its own. When we speak of humanity, we do not describe simply an aggregation of isolated, independent individuals, who happen to repeat, each for himself, the same experiment, and to arrive at the same result. There is a certain tincture which
runs through the whole of it, and Adam made that tincture what it is. “ By one man sin entered into the world,” and “ by that one man's disobedience many were made sinners.” God has so related us to Adam that our nature, wherein we were born, is what his sin has made it ; and out of that nature, with the first dawnings of consciousness, transgressions come. This condition of human nature, out of which, as consciousness developes, transgressions grow, and which we owe to the sin of our head, theologians may call original sin. It is, in many respects, an unfortunate term; but we need some term to express the truth, that each man is not an independent and isolated Adam, but a child of the fallen Adam, inheriting something from Adam the sinner, which Adam in Paradise had never transmitted to his sons. But when theologians pass on to treat the term “original sin” as equivalent to "original guilt,” as though with the nature guilt had descended; when they maintain, as is maintained substantially in all confessions which follow the Augustinian view, that “therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation,” they announce a dogma which in its naked simplicity is simply horrible; they confound all intelligent notions of what sin and guilt must mean in any but theological language; and they attribute to God, whose will it is that under this law of