ROMANS, v, 12 - 21

"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: (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. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Mereover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

IN our last discourse we attempted to show in how far the doctrine of the Bible, respecting the existence of a corrupt tendency in our race, met and was at one with human observation. This is clearly a question that may be brought to such a tribunal. Whether a sinful disposition exists and is universal among men, is matter of experience as well as of divine revelation. That this corruption exists in the world, is matter of experience. But how it entered into the world is altogether a matter of testimony. It is an historical fact, which must be exhibited to us in a credible record, ere we can come to the knowledge or the belief of it. We cannot confront it with any thing that now passes before our eyes - it being a solitary event of great antiquity, and which has no proper evidence to rest upon save the information of history.

'By one man,' says our text, ' sin entered into the world.' He came out pure and righteous from the hand of God; but Adam, after he had yielded to the temptation of the garden, was a changed man, from Adam in his days of innocence in Paradise. He gathered a different hue in consequence; and that hue was permanent; and while we are told that God made man at first after His own image, we are further told that the very first person who was born into the world, came to it in the image of his parent - not in the original, but in the transformed image, that is, with the whole of that tendency to sin, which, on the first act of sin, was formed in the character of Adam, and was transmitted through him to all his posterity.

This is the simple statement; and we arc not able to give the explanation. The first tree of a particular species, may be conceived to have come from the Creator's hand, with the property of bearing fruit, of the sweetest taste, and most exquisite flavour. A pestilential gust may have passed over it, and so changed its nature, that all the fruit it was afterwards to bear should be sour and unsavoury. After this change, it may be conceived to have dropt its seeds or its acorns; and such may the virulence of the transformation have been, that all the future trees which are to be propagated from the parent stock, rise not in the original but transformed likeness of the tree from which they sprung. If this were credibly attested as a fact, we are certainly not prepared to resist it. We have no such acquaintance with the physiology of the vegetable world, as to affirm, in the face of good historical testimony, that this is impossible; and as little are we entitled, from any acquaintance with the law of transmission from father to son, in the department of animal and intelligent nature, to set ourselves in opposition to that Bible narrative, by which we are given to understand, that a moral blight came over the character of our great progenitor; and that, when so reduced and deteriorated in his better qualities, a race of descendants proceeded from him, with that very taint of degeneracy that he had taken on; that the evil thus superinduced on the nature of the first man, was transmitted to all the men whom he originated - who, of course, instead of being fruitful in righteousness, yielded in their lives the bitter produce of many actual transgressions, of much visible and abounding iniquity.

There is another fact announced to us in this passage, and that is, the connection between the corruption of our nature, and its mortality. Sin brought death into the world; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. This brings out to view in another way, the distinction that we have endeavoured to impress between actual and original sin. All have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression; and yet death reigneth too over them. All have not sinned by a positive deed of disobedience. Infants have not thus sinned; and yet infants die. The death that they undergo is not the fruit of any actual iniquity of theirs; but the fruit of that moral virus, which has descended from the common fountain of our species, and which taints and vilifies, and transmits the elements of decay and destructibleness, among all the members of it. They have never done what is sinful; and yet they have that of sin in them which carries death in its train. And what is this but the corrupt tendency that we have all along insisted on; the original and constitutional aptitude that there is to sinning, in virtue of which we may compute, with all the firmness of certainty, that, when the time of bringing forth cometh, transgression is the fruit that they will bear - a disposition that only yet exists in embryo, but which will come out into deed and development, so soon as powers and opportunities are expanded.

The infant tiger has not yet performed one act of ferocity; but we are sure that all the rudiments of ferocity exist in its native constitution; and that the original principle of this quality, long before it has been unfolded into actual development, lurks in it from its birth, and only waits its growth and its maturity till it come out into exhibition. The tender sapling of the crab-tree, has not yet yielded one sour apple; but we most certainly know, that there is even from the minutcst germ of its existence, an organic necessity for its producing this kind of fruit, when time has conducted it onward to this period of its history. And, in like manner, the infant of a week old has not broken one of the commandments; but well may we infer, from the universality of sin in our species, that, should it rise to boyhood, there is that in its disposition now, which will advance and ripen into disobedience then. And should the hand of death arrest it in its career, and by its preventing stroke snatch it away from the possibility of ever committing one action of iniquity; and it be asked, how it is that the connection between sin and the suffering of death is exemplified in the fate of this poor innocent - we would reply, that though the mischief had not exploded in its history, yet the whole elements of the mischief lay slumbering in its heart; and, though it could not be said to die because of actual transgression, yet it shared in the common calamity with the rest of the species, because, with the rest of the species, it had its full share of the original tendency to evil.

One knows not how soon it is, that this tendency breaks forth into open exhibition. One never saw and hardly can conceive, how a babe of unspotted descent, would have proved from the first day which ushered it into being, that it had no fellowship in that corrupt principle, which taints from very infancy all the families of our earthly generation. In a very few years, the difference would be palpable - even as the Saviour, both in boyhood and in manhood, stood distinguished from all the partakers of that nature, whose sufferings He bore but whose sins He had no share in. We have a full record of His bright example, when He reached the maturity of His human powers ; but it must be matter of curiosity, and not of edification, that we have no record of His tone and habit and character in infancy. One would like if he could, to lift the veil which hangs over the experience of Mary; and to learn of her, who had the maternal care and guidance of the holy child Jesus; and to know what was the precise complexion of that moral dawn, which preceded the pure and perfect effulgence that shone forth on the history of His riper years; and to be told how richly all her tenderness was repaid, by smiles more lovely than ever before had played on the infant countenance - and, in hours of anguish, by such a calm and unruffled serene, as not one cry of impatience, and not one movement of fretfulness or wrath ever broke in upon. But it is vain to pry into the secret of that alone sinless infancy which the world ever saw; and we have only to assure ourselves of all other children, that, helpless as they are in person, and dear to a parent's fondest regards from that very helplessness - the germ of depravity is already in their hearts.

And whether or not we should put to the account of this, the boisterous outcry of an infant, and the ever- recurring turmoil wherewith it clamours abroad its desires and all its disappointments, and the constant exactions it makes of every thing it sees to its own wayward appetite for indulgence, and its spurning impatience of all resistance and control; so as in fact to subordinate the whole household to its caprices, and be the little tyrant to whose brief but most effective authority the entire circle of relationship must bend - whether these be symptomatic or not of that disease wherewith humanity is infected in all its members, still we must admit, that the disease is radically there; and however it may brood for a season, in a sort of ambiguous concealment, among the inscrutable and unrevealed mysteries of an infant's spirit - yet soon do the selfishness and the sensuality and the ungodliness come out at length into such open declaration, as indeed to prove to every calm and philosophic observer of our nature, that one and all of us are born in sin, and all of us are shapen in iniquity.

You will be at no loss then to conceive the distinction between original and actual sin. The one is the tendency to sin in the constitution - the other is the outbreaking of that tendency in the conduct; and if sinful conduct be universal, we infer a sinful Constitution to be universal also. And you will be as little at a loss to perceive, how the original sin of every human creature is coeval with the first moment of his existence, and enters as much among the elements of his formation - as the tendency to bear a particular kind of fruit, lies incorporated with the very acorn from which the tree has germinated. We know not whether, upon the introduction of sin, the sentence of mortality was made to pass on the vegetable, as well as on the animal creation; or whether, had we lived in an unfallen world, its plants as well as its people would have been immortal. But such is in fact the organic structure of both, that both are liable to dissolution; and whether they die ere the one has come forth with its fruit of palpable iniquity, and the other with its apple of discernible flavour - whether nipped in infancy, or withered into final extinction after having passed through all the stages of growth and of decay - we never think of ascribing this sweeping and universal destruction to any other cause, than to a universal something in the original frame of all the individuals that are subject to this sore fatality: And whether it be the grandfather bowed down under the weight of years, or the babe of a week old that breathes its last, it is the same deadly virus that carries off them both - the poison of an accursed nature, that only needs the scope of opportunity for the development of all the plagues and all the perversities which belong to it. We trust, then, that we may have made it clear to your apprehension, how there exists in the human constitution from the very first, a tendency to sin; and that this tendency has a forth-coming in sinful actions, with every individual of our race, who lives a few years in the world - just as the tendency in the crab-tree to produce sour apples, has its forth-coming in the appearance of this very fruit, after the time of bearing has arrived. The tendency in both has come down, through a long series of intermediate parents; and may be traced in each, to the tendency of one great progenitor, whether of the human or of the vegetable species.

Thus far then have we got in our argument - even that original sin, as it respects the inborn depravity of our race, is at one with the actual experience of mankind. And we should further proceed to show, in how far original sin, as it respects not its actual existence in our frames, but as it respects the imputat.ion of guilt to all who are under it, is at one with the moral sense of mankind. And then would we propose to finish all our preliminaries to the exposition of the passage before us, by replying to the invectives which have been founded upon this doctrine against the character of God. But we have already consumed too much of your time for entering at present on topics so unwieldy; and we shall therefore confine the remainder of the address to such practical enforcements, as may be educed from the explanation that we have already attempted in your hearing.

The first consideration we shall address to you is, what a testimony to God's irreconcilable antipathy against sin, that he has made death to follow invariably in its train - that because there is in these bodies of ours a tendency to moral evil, these bodies must therefore be dissolved - that such is the blasting influence of this sore contagion, as to wither and sicken every individual whom it touches, and be unto him the unfailing poison, under the virulence of which he sooner or later must expire - that though it was by the narrow inlet of one temptation, that sin found entrance into our world at the first, and was thence diffused as if by pestilence throughout the whole extent of our putrescent nature, yet, widely as it has ranged abroad over the entire domain of humanity, and unsparingly as it has attacked every single member of it, yet it goes nowhere, without carrying the curse of mortality along with it; and on account of this does each successive generation, hut moulder back again into the dust out of which it had arisen. It would look, that, as if to detach this leprosy from our constitution, the old materials of the old framework must be beaten into powder, and be made to pass through some purifying ordeal in the sepulchre. And it is indeed an impressive exhibition of the malignity of sin, to think that because of it and of it alone, all nature is suffering violence - when we see death thus making its relentless sweep among all ages; and even before it be possible to evince sin in the conduct, as with the infant of a day old, yet it is enough that there be sin in the constitution, to bring this almost unconscious babe within the operation of a sentence, which grants no reprieve, which knows no exception.

But secondly, this deep view of our disease, however much it may look an inapplicable speculation in the eyes of many, yet, if rightly improved, would lead in fact to a deep view of the remedy that was suited to it. The man who looks upon sin as a mere affair of accident or education, may think, that, by the putting forth a more strenuous determination against it - by bringing the energies of the inward will to bear upon the outward walk - he may suppress the moral evil at least of his own character, and achieve for himself an exemption and a victory. But the man who looks upon this sin as a constitutional taint, fixed upon him from very infancy, and pervading all the recesses of his frame - who recognizes the will itself to be corrupt, and that when it comes to be a question between God and His gifts, it is only to the latter, and not at all to the former that he has any inclination - when he finds that the dark hue of an original and inborn sinfulness adheres to him, just as the spots do to the leopard, and the tawny skin which no superficial operation can do away, does to the Ethiopian - Then, if he have any depth of reflection, he will conclude, that, in such circumstances, he is really not warranted to turn away from that remedy which the gospel proposes, as the grand specific for all our moral and all our spiritual disorders. The whole range of human power and human experience supplies him with nothing, that can purge away the foul inveteracy wherewith his nature is stained; and he just follows in the legitimate track of a rightly exercised and rightly discerning judgment, when he is shut up unto the faith. More particularly, will such a man hold it to be indeed worthy of all acceptation, when he reads of a new birth being indispensable; nor will he recoil, as many do, with sensitive dislike from the doctrine of regeneration; nor will he look upon it in any other light, than as the prescription of a wise physician, who has probed the patient's disease to its bottom, and finds it to be indeed engrained among the first elements of the constitution of our nature. He will rather do homage to the penetration of this physician when he afiirms, that the fruit is corrupt, just because the tree is corrupt; and that an operation must be gone through, far more radical than any which lies within the compass of unaided humanity; that a new creation must issue forth from Him, who holds the creative faculty altogether in His own hands; that ere the fruit can be made good, the tree must be made good.

And thus it is, that the man who looks to the fall in all its consequences; and to the transmitted depravity of nature, running throughout all the men of all the generations of our world; and to the utter impossibility of this sore corruption being dislodged by the determining energy of man's will, because the corruption has in fact got hold of the will itself, and determines it only to evil and that continually - such a man no longer marvels with the incredulity of Nicodemus, when he is told that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and that unless he is born again and born of the Spirit, he never can see that kingdom.
Lastly, it may be replied, What is to be done? To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, is the thing that is to be done. This is the specific, and that not for guilt merely, but also for corruption. You may think it too simple an affair for landing you in so mighty a consummation. Make it a more strenuous affair, by putting your own puny efforts to the stretch of their uttermost activity, and you never will succeed. The Syrian thought it too simple an affair, when asked to bathe in the waters of Jordan for his leprosy. Nevertheless, he did it and his leprosy left him. You will see God in a new light, if you look to Him as reflected from the glass of the offered mediatorship. If we can turn you from the hatred of God to the love of Him, this would be to regenerate you; and we ask you to look unto God as God in Christ reconciling the world, and the change from hatred to love is accomplished. Those dark clouds which have hitherto lowred upon you from the pavilion of His lofty residence, will forthwith be dissipated. You will then see that all majestic as He is, and awfully as that majesty has been illustrated by the account that has been made for sin - yet there is a mercy too, which shines forth in the midst of His other attributes, and rejoices over them. You will love the God who first loved you; and that unfailing promise, that He who gave His own Son, will also freely give us all things, shall so invite the prayers and the dependence of every believing soul, that the Spirit given to those who ask it, will be given unto him; and he, gradually formed after the lost image of the Godhead, will become a new creature - meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; meet for the enjoyment of that Paradise, where sin and sorrow and suffering are unknown.

We have all along, upon this subject, proceeded on the constitutional tendency that there is to sin in our nature being one thing, and the guilt chargeable upon us for having such a tendency being another. The question, how far a native and original depravity exists among mankind, is one thing. The question, how far mankind are justly liable to be reckoned with, or to be dealt with as responsible and worthy of punishment for having such a tendency, is another. We have already spoken abundantly to the fact of the actual depravity - announced to us most explicitly in the Bible, and confirmed to us most entirely and universally by personal observation. In as far as the doctrine of original sin affirms a native disposition to sin, and a disposition so strong in all as that all are sinners - then is the doctrine at one with experience. But in as far as the doctrine affirms, that there is a blame or a demerit rightly attachable to man for having such a disposition, or that he is to be held a guilty and condemned creature on account of it - this is a question referable not to the experience of man, but to the moral sense of man. The experience of man takes cognizance of the question whether such a thing is; and so is applicable to the question whether a depraved tendency to moral evil is or is not in the human constitution. The moral sense of man takes cognizance of the question, whether such a thing ought to be; and is therefore applicable to the question, whether man ought to be held and dealt with as a criminal on account of a tendency which came unbidden by him into the world - which entered among the first elements of his constitution, without ever consulting him or asking any leave from him upon the subject - which he derived, not by choice but by inheritance, and over which he had no more control than he had over the properties of the air which he breathed, or the milk which nourished him.

We feel that we are touching on the borders of a very profound, and what to most is a very unfathomable speculation - But yet we would not have ventured so far - had we not both conceived it due to scriptural truth, which we think ought to be firmly and fearlessly expounded, up to the full amount of all that is revealed to us; and had we not furthermore conceived the whole exposure of our disease and misery, to have a deciding in thence on him who still hesitates about the remedy of the gospel - not very sure perhaps, whether he is altogether welcome to the use of it; not very sure perhaps whether he altogether stands in urgent and indispensable need of it. To determine the question then, in how far the attaching of demerit to a sinful nature that man has brought with him into the world is agreeable to the moral sense of mankind - we should enquire how much or how little man requires to have within his view, ere his moral sense shall pronounce on the character either of any act or of any disposition that is submitted to his notice. One may see a dagger projected from behind a curtain, and in the firm grasp of a human hand, and directed with sure and deadly aim against the bosom of an unconscious sleeper; and, seeing no more, he would infer of the individual who held this mortal weapon, that he was an assassin, and that he deserved the death of an assassin. Had he seen all, he might have seen that this seeming agent of the murder which had just been perpetrated, was in fact a struggling and overpowered victim, in the hands of others - that he, the friend of the deceased was pitched upon, in the spirit of diabolic cruelty, as the unwilling instrument of the deed which he abhorred - that for this purpose, the fatal knife was clasped or fastened to his hand; and his voice was stifled by violence; and he was borne in deepest silence to the spot by the strength of others; and there was he, in most revolting agony of heart, compelled to thrust forward his passive or rather his resisting arm, and immediately to strike the exterminating blow into the bosom of a much-loved companion.

Who does not sce that the moral sense, when these new circumstances come into view, would instantly amend or rather reverse, and that totally, the former decision which it had passed upon the subject - that he, whom it deemed the murderer and chargeable with all the guilt of so foul an atrocity, it would most readily absolve from all the blame and all the condemnation - that it would transfer the charge to those who were behind him, and pronounce them to be the murderers - that he who held the dagger and performed the deed -was innocent of all its turpitude, because the victim of a necessity which he could not help, and against which he had wrought and wrestled in vain and thus, ere it passes such a sentence as it feels to be righteous, must it look not merely to the act but to the intention, not merely to the work of the hand but to the will of the heart which prompted it.

Now if we have any right consciousness of our own moral feelings, or any right observation of the moral feelings of others, the mind of man, in order to be made up as to the moral character of any act that is submitted to its notice, needs to know what the intention was that originated the act, but needs no more. It makes no enquiry as to what that was which originated the intention. Give it simply to understand, that such is the intention of a man who is not under derangement, and therefore knows what he is purposing and what he is doing; and then, without looking farther, the moral sense comes at once to its summary estimate of the moral character of that which is under contemplation. Let us see a man who has done a murderous act, in the circumstances which we have just now specified; and we do not look upon him as a criminal, because we find that the act originated in the will of others and against his own will. Let us see a man who has done a murderous act, and was instigated thereto by a murderous disposition, and we cannot help looking upon him as a criminal - finding as we do that the act originated in his own will. An act against the will indicates no demerit on the part of him who performed it. But an act with the will gives us the full impression of demerit.

The philosopher may amuse himself with the ulterior query, What was it that originated the will? But the peasant has no metaphysics and no speculation for entertaining such a topic - And yet he has just as fresh and just as enlightened a sense of the demerit of a bad action coming from a bad intention, as the most appetite is ever carrying him upward curious and contemplative enquirer has - whose the remote and hidden principles of the phenomena that are around him To get a right estimate of any given act, we must carry up from the act of the hand to the disposition of the heart; but we need to carry it up no farther. The moment that the disposition is seen, the moral sense is correspondingly affected; and rests its whole estimation, whether of merit or of demerit, not on the anterior cause which gave origin to the disposition, but on the character which it now bears, or the aspect under which it is now seen and contemplated before you.
How the disposition got there is not the question, which the moral sense of man, when he is unvitiated by a taste for speculation, takes any concern in. It is enough for the moral sense, that the disposition is there. One may conceive, with the Manicheans of old, two eternal Beings- - one of whom was essentially wicked and malignant and impure, and the other of whom was essentially good and upright and compassionate and holy from everlasting. We could not tell how these opposite dispositions got there, for there they hehoved to be from the unfathomable depths of the eternity that is behind us - yet that would not hinder us from regarding the one as an object of moral hatefulness and dislike, and the other as an object of moral esteem and moral approbation. It is enough that the dispositions exist; and it matters not how they originated, or if ever they had an origin at all.

And, in like manner, give us two human individuals - one of whom is revengeful and dishonest and profligate and sensual, and the other of whom is kind and generous and honourable and godly - Our moral sense on the simple exhibition of these two characters, leads us to regard the one as bhameable and the other as praiseworthy - the one as rightly the object of condemnation and punishment, and the other as rightly the object of approval and reward. And in so doing, it does not look so far back, as to the primary or originating cause of the distinction that obtains between these two characters. It looks as far back, as to reach its contemplation from the act of the outer man to the disposition of the inner man; but there it stops. Give to its view a wrong act originating in a wrong intention; and it asks no more to make up its estimate of the criminality of what has been offered to its notice. It troubles not itself with the metaphysics of prior and originating causes; and, however the deed in question may have originated, let it simply have emanated from a concurring disposition on the part of him who has performed it, and be a deed of wickedness - then does it conclude that the man has done wickedly and that he should be dealt with accordingly.

We know very well what it is, that stumbles so readily the speculative enquirer into this mystery. He thinks that a man born with a sinful disposition, is born with the necessity of sinning; and that to be under such a necessity, exempts him from all blame, and all imputation of guiltiness in having sinned. But so long as he is under this feeling, he is in fact, though not very conscious of the delusion, he is in fact confounding two things which are distinct the one from the other. He is confounding the necessity that is against the will, with the necessity that is with the will. The man who struggled against the external force, that compelled him to thrust a dagger into the bosom of his friend, was operated upon by a necessity that was against his will; and you exempt him from all charge of criminality in the matter. But he does the very same thing at the spontaneous bidding of his own heart - whose will him to the act, and who gave his consent his choice to this deed of enormity - this is whom, you irresistibly condemn, and you irresistibly recoil from. With such a disposition as he had, it was perhaps unavoidable; but the very having of such a disposition, makes him in your eye a monster of moral deformity. If there was a kind of necessity here, it was a necessity of an essentially different sort from the one we have just now specified, and ought therefore not to be confounded with it. It is necessity with the will, and not against it ; and by the law both of God and man, the act he has committed is a crime and he is treated as a criminal.

The only necessity which excuses a man for doing what is evil, is a necessity that forces him by an external violence to do it, against the bent of his will struggling most honestly and determinedly to resist it. But if it be with the bent of the will, if the necessity he lies under of doing the evil thing consists in this, that his will is strongly and determinedly bent upon the doing of it - then such a necessity as this, so far from extenuating the man's guiltiness, just aggravates it the more, and stamps upon it, in all plain moral estimation, a character of fouller atrocity. For set before us two murderers, and the one of them differing from the other in the keenness and intensity of his thirst for blood. We have already evinced to you, how there is one species of necessity which extinguishes the criminality of the act altogether - even that necessity which operates with violence upon the muscles of the body, and overbears the moral desires and tendency of the mind.
But there is another species of necessity, which heightens the criminality of murder - even that necessity, which lies in the taste and tendency of the mind towards this deed of unnatural violence. And if of these two assassins of the cave or of the highway, the one was pointed out to us who felt the most uncontrollable impulse towards so fell a perpetration ; and to whom the fears and the cries and. the agonies of the trembling victim, ministered the most savage complacency - he of the two, even in spite of the greater inward necessity that lay upon him, he, in the breast of every plain and unsophisticated man,would raise the sensations of keenest indignancy; and be regarded by all as the one, whom the voice of justice most loudly demanded, as a sacrifice to the peace and the protection of society.

It is enough then that a disposition to moral evil exists ; and however it originated, the dispositim in itself, with all the evil acts which emanate therefrom, calls forth, by the law of our moral nature, a sentiment of blame or reprobation. It may have been acquired by education; or it may have been infused into us by the force of surrounding example ; or it may be the fruit, instead of the principle, of many wilful iniquities of conduct ; or, finally, it may, agreeably to the doctrine of original sin, have been as much transmitted in the shape of a constitutional bias from father to son, as is the ferocity of a tiger, or the industry of an ant, or the acidity of an apple, or the odour and loveliness of a rose. When we look to the beauty of a flower, we feel touched and attracted by the mere exhibition of the object - nor is it necessary that we should know whence this property sprung into existence. \Vhen we taste the sourness of a particular fruit, it matters not to the sensation, whether this unpleasant quality is due to time training of the tree, or to some accident of exposure it has met with, or finally to some inherent universal tendency diffused over the whole species, and derived through seeds and acorns from the trees of former generations. When assailed by the fury of some wild vindictive animal, we meet it with the same resentment, and inflict upon it the same chastisement or revenge - whether the malignant rage by which it is actuated, be the sin of its nature derived to it from inheritance, or the sin of its education derived to it from the perverse influence of the circumstances by which it has been surrounded.

And lastly, when moral corruption is offered to our notice in the character of man - when we see a depraved will venting itself forth in deeds of depravity - when, in every individual we meet with, we behold an ungodliness or a selfishness or a deceit or an impurity, which altogether make the moral scenery of earth, so widely different from the moral scenery of heaven - It positively makes no difference to your feeling of loathsomeness and culpability, wherewith we regard it - whether the vitiating taint rises anew on every single specimen of humanity; or whether it has run in one descending current from the progenitor of our race, and thence spread the leprosy of moral evil over all succeeding generations. The doctrine of original sin leaves the distinction between virtue and vice just where it found it; nor does it affect the sense of moral approbation wherewith we regard the former, or the moral dislike and feeling of demerit in which the latter ought to be regarded.

If it be asked how this can be, we reply that we do not know - that so it is we know, but how it is we do not know. It is not the only instance in which we are compelled to stop short at ultimate facts of which we can offer no other explanation than that simply such is the case; or, rather, it is like in this respect to every other department which nature and experience offer to human contemplation. We can no more account for our physical, than we can account for our moral sensations. When we eat the fruit of the bitter orange- tree we feel the bitterness; but we do not know how this sensation upon our palate, stands connected with a constitutional property in the tree, which has descended to it through a long line of ancestry, or from the creation of the world. And when we look to the bitter fruit of transgression on the life and character of any individual of the human species, and feel upon our moral sense a nauseating revolt from the odious spectacle - we do not know how this impression upon the taste of the inner man, stands connected with a natural tendency which is exemplified by all, and has been derived through a series of many centuries from the parent stock of the great human family. But certain it is that the origin of our depravity, has nothing to do with the sense and feeling of its loathsomeness, wherewith we regard it. And let that depravity have been transmitted to us from Adam, or be a kind of spontaneous and independent production on each of his children - still we cannot look to it without moral censure and moral condemnation.

There is not a more effectual way of bringing this to the test, than by making one man the object of injustice and of provocation from another man. Let a neighbour inflict upon any of you some moral wrong or moral injury - will not the quick and ready feeling of resentment rise immediately in your hearts? Will you stop to enquire whence your enemy has derived the malice, or the selfishness, under which you suffer? Is it not simply enough that he tramples upon your rights and interests, and does so wilfully - is not this of itself enough to call out the sudden reaction of an angry judgment, and a keen retaliation upon your part? If it be under some necessity which operates against his disposition, this may soften your resentment. But if it be under that kind of necessity, which arises from the strength of his disposition to do you harm - this, so far from softening, would just whet and stimulate your resentment against him. So far from taking it as an apology, that lie is forcibly constrained by the obstinate tendency of his will to injure and oppress you - this would just add to the exasperation of your feelings; and the more hearty a good-will you saw he had to hurt or to traduce or to defraud you, the more in fact would you hold him to be the culpable subject of your most just and righteous indignation. And thinkest thou, 0 man, who judgest another for his returns of unworthiness to you - that thou wilt escape the judgment of God, if thou makest the very same returns of unworthiness to Him? Out of your own mouth you will be condemned; and if, out of the sin of his original nature, your neighbour has ever done that which you felt to be injurious and at which you were offended - then be assured that the plea of your original nature will never shield you from the curse and the condemnation due to the sins, which have emanated from that nature against God.

These remarks may prepare the way for all that man by his moral sense can understand or go along with, in the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin to all his posterity. We confess that we are not able to perceive, how one man is at all responsible for the personal doings of another whom he never saw, and who departed this life many centuries before him. But if the personal doings of a distant ancestor, have in point of fact corrupted his moral nature; and if this corruption has been transmitted to his descendants - then we can see how these become responsible, not for what their forefather did, but for what they themselves under the corrupt disposition that they have received from their forefather. And if there be a guilt attachable to evil desires, as well as to evil doings; and if the evil desire which prompted Adam to his first transgression, enter into the nature of all his posterity - then we can see how his posterity should be the objects of moral blame and moral aversion, if not on account of the transgression which Adam committed, at least on account of such a wrong principle in their hearts, as would lead every one of them to the very same transgression in the very same circumstances. It is thus that Adam has transmitted a guilt the same with his own, as well as a depravity the same with his own, among all the individuals and families of our species - if not that each of them is liable to a separate reckoning on account of the offence committed in the garden of Eden, at least that each of them is liable to a separate reckoning on account of his own separate and personal depravity - -a depravity which had its rise in the offence that was then and there committed; and a depravity which would lead in every one instance to the same offence in the same circumstances of temptation.

According to this explanation, every man still reapeth not what another soweth, but what he soweth himself. Every man eateth the fruit of his own doings. Man beareth the burden of his own tainted and accursed nature. Every man suffereth for his own guilt and not for Adam's guilt; and if he is said to suffer for Adam's guilt, the meaning is- that, from Adam he inherits a corruption which lands him in a guilt equal to that of Adam. It were correct enough to say, that the sin of Cataline, that great conspirator against the state, is imputable to an equally great conspirator of the present day - not that he is at all responsible for what Cataline did, but responsible for his own sin that was the same with that of Cataline. And it would strengthen the resemblance, if it was the recorded example of Cataline which filled him with a kindred disposition, and hurried him on to a kindred enterprise. Then as Adam was thc eflicient cause of our corruption, so Cataline was of his; but each suffers for the guilt of his own sin nevertheless - a guilt the same with us as that of Adam's, and the same with him as that of Cataline's.

Our Saviour cursed a fig-tree because of its barrenness. Conceive a fig-tree to be cursed because of the bitterness of its fruit. It is for its own bitter fruit, and not for the bitter fruit of its first ancestor, that it is laid under the doom which has been pronounced upon it. But still its first ancestor may have been a tree of sweetly-flavoured fruit at its first formation; and a pestilential gust may have passed over and tainted it; and it may, by the laws of physiological succession, have sent down its deteriorated nature among all its posterity; and it may be true of each individual descendant, that, while it is for its own qualities it is so loathed and so condemned, still was it from its great originating parent that it inherited the taint by which it has been vitiated, and the sentence by which it has been accursed. Many, we are aware, carry the doctrine of imputation farther than this; and make each of us liable to answer at the bar of God's judicature for Adam's individual transgression. We shall only say of this view at present, that, whether it be scriptural or not, we are very sure that we cannot follow it by any sense of morality or rightfulness that is in our own heart. Still, even on this highest imagination of the doctrine, we hold the way of God to man, in all the bearings of this much agitated subject, to be capable of a most full and tnumphant vindication; and with our attempt to evince this, we trust we shall be able in one address more, to finish all that is general and preliminary to the passage that is now before us.

When we next resume this topic, we shall endeavour to silence the rising murmurs, which we doubt not have been already felt in many a heart, on the hearing of the representation that we have now given - to prove that there is not an individual amongst us, who has a right to complain of the hardness or severity of God's dealing with us - to come forth with that gospel, in the utterance of which God may be said to wipe His hands of the blood of all who come within reach of the hearing of it - and to neutralize all your complaints about the curse and the corruption that have been entailed upon us, by lifting the welcome invitation to every man, of a righteousness overpassing all that we have lost, and of a grace that will restore us to a higher state of innocence and glory than that from which we are now the sentenced and the exiled wanderers.
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