R0MANS, 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 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."

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 frorn 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 fails 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 condem nation; 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 a 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 behieveth 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 have dissolved - a life which begins with conversion; which matures and makes progress along the course of our sanctification; which, so far from being arrested by the death of the body, is thereby released into a scene of enlargement, and will at length, by the reunion which takes place on the day of judgment, be brought to that state of final accommodation, in which all its powers and all its sensibilities will be for ever consecrated to the full enjoyment of God.

Think then, ye hearers, whether in this sense of the terms, you are indeed dead or alive. You may surely be sensible, if God be practically seen and recognised by you; or if, stopping short at the visions of carnality, you only move in a pictured world of atheism. Then know that Christ is knocking at the door of every sleeper's heart, for the purpose of awakening him. He employs the hope and the offer of His gospel as the instruments of reviving you; and, should you close with the proposition of being reconciled through Him unto God, He will cause the breath of another life to animate your powers - and, instead of living as you have done heretofore, without God, you will know what it is, under the light of His countenance and the influences of His Spirit, to live with Him in the world.
This death then, both temporal and spiritual, is the judicial sentence inflicted on all who have incurred it. On whatever subject we see it taking effect, we may infer of him, that he is reckoned a sinner and dealt with accordingly. And if we see that, in point of fact, this death hath passed upon all men, it proves that in the estimation of the Judge all men have sinned.

Ver. 13.
This sentence, it may be remarked, was in full operation anterior to the promulgation of the Mosaic law. The death of the soul in trespasses and sins, was as much the doom and the characteristic of nature in the antediluvian and patriarchal ages, as it is now; and that more visible mortality, which sweeps successive generations from the face of the world, was as relentless and universal in its ravages. The men of that period were treated as men under guilt, and all shared in the very sentence that was passed and fulfilled on our one common progenitor. Death was dealt out to them all, and just because sin was reckoned to them all. And yet sin is not imputed where there is no law. Under what law then was it, that, between the creation and the delivery of the commandments from mount Sinai, men were counted as transgressors? Not the Jewish law which then did not exist; but some prior law which extended over the whole world, and involved all the men of it in one common condemnation.

The truth is, that Paul never lost sight of the main purpose of his argument, which was to reduce Jews and Gentiles to the same footing; and bring the former to a thankful acquiescence in that same salvation, of which he welcomed the latter to an equal participation. The Jews were constantly building a superiority to themselves upon their law. They fancied that they stood out, in point of immunity and favour with God, from all the rest of the species - in virtue of the relationship they held with Abraham as their father. The apostle reasons with them on their prior relationship to Adam as their father - a relationship through which sin, and death the sentence of sin, found a like way among all the famihes of the earth; and from which Abraham himself, the immediate founder of their own nation, was not exempted. He thus confounds the distinction, on which the children of Israe1 were disposed to hold out against the gospel of Jesus Christ ; and, demonstrating all to be under the virulence of that disease which issued in sin and death from the common fountain head of our species, he demonstrates all to be in need of the same remedy, and befitting patients for the same healing application.

Ver. 14.
If death reigned from Adam to Moses, it could not be in the shape of a penalty for the violations of the Mosaic law; and yet it was in the shape of a penalty rendered to men for the violation of some law or other. What could that law be? What but either the law of the heart, or the representative law made with Adam, by which he stood to God in the relation of federal head of all his posterity - by which, had he kept it, he would have transmitted the right which he had earned for himself as a privilege won and wrought for by him on behalf of his descendants; but by which, as he broke it, he brought down a forfeiture on his own head, and in which, all who spring from him do share. In Adam all died, because in Adam all are held to have sinned. Such is the economy under which we sit, an economy which we shall not stop any further to explain or vindicate at present, having already endeavoured to acquit God of all alleged severity against you on the score of your guilt and helplessness by nature - and that, by directing your eye to the amplitude of the compensations which are so fully provided and so freely offered to you in the gospel.

Death reigned universally from Adam to Moses; and the term 'even' directs our attention to a class more unlikely than the others to be made partakers of this fatality, and therefore serving still more effectually to mark how far the effect of Adam's sin was carried among the great human family. The death of those who arrived at maturity may have been ascribed to their own wilful transgressions against the law of conscience. Each personally sinned against the light of a known duty. Each transgressed the prohibition of an inward voice, just as effectually as Adam transgressed the prohibition of that voice which was uttered from without. And each therefore may have been conceived to die in the way of retribution for his own personal and particular offences. But to preclude this inference altogether, and to make manifest the law of Adam incurring the guilt of a sin unto death for himself and for all his posterity, we see that this penalty of death is laid even upon those, who could not sin after the similitude of Adams transgression - who could not, by any voluntary and deliberate choice, put forth their hand to any actual violation - or, in other words, as is generally understood - Death reigned even over infants, who were incapable of sinning as Adam did, when appetite prevailed in its contest with the sense of known duty, and with the fear of known and threatened consequences. There is no internal war of the soul in the heart of an unconscious babe; and yet it too may share in that sad penalty of death which was pronounced upon Adam, and falls without exception on his posterity of all classes and all ages.

In our former illustrations we have attempted to show, how the elements of the corrupt nature may all enter into the composition of infancy - how as surely, as the ferocity of the tiger exists as an embryo disposition at the very first breath of the animal, so surely may the unfailing germ of a sinful tendency he incorporated in the heart of a babe among the other ingredients of its moral nature; and which only needs time for growth, that it may break out into the development of actual and committed sin - that thus, in fact, every child is born in spiritual death; and brings into the world with him that character of the soul, which, if not regenerated and made anew, will be his character through time and his curse in eternity - So that though this native sinfulness may not be apparent, till it come forth at a more advanced period in sinful performance - yet it has just as firm and solid an existence in the frame of an infant, as the tendency to bring forth sour fruit in a particular tree, was a tendency which adhered to the sapling many years before the period of bear ing, and was even infused into the very seed or acorn from which it has germinated. But should the spiritual death of infants not be palpable, the literal death which forms part of the sentence is exemplified on many of them; and, just as the order to burn thorns and briers would be carried into effect on the youngest as well as on the oldest specimens of a produce so obnoxious, so death goes forth the executioner of an unsparing sentence upon all ages - and the babe of a week old, sinless though he may be in respect of his outward history, yet, with a soul tainted by corruption and a body on which the curse of mortality may at any time be realised, does he share alike with the hoary offender in that sentence, of which, as it respects the infant, no other account can be given than that, as in Adam he sinned so in Adam he dies.

'Who is the figure of him that was to come.' Adam is here stated to be the figure of Jesus Christ; and this statement completes our inforniation respecting the whole amount of the mischief entailed upon his posterity. Experience tells us that from him we inherit a depraved tendency to evil. The moral sense tells us, that we justly incur guilt for the sins of our corrupt nature. But neither the one nor the other, do we think, tells us that we are responsible for the sin done by Adam in paradise. The information however, which we cannot get from either of these two sources, we get from Scripture - when it announces to us that Adam is the figure of Christ; and that what of righteousness we derive from the one, we derive of guilt and condemnation from the other. Now we know, that it is not enough to derive from Christ the cancelment of all the debt that we have already incurred - neither is it enough to derive from Him a new and a holy nature, under the workings of which, we aspire after a heavenly character, and at length reach it. In the midst of all our aspirings, there is a mingling of sin so long as we are compassed about with these vile bodies; and as God will not look upon us with regard, unless we offer ourselves to Him in a righteousness that is worthy of that regard, we need to have the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to us, just as much as we need his sanctifying grace to be infused into us.

And accordingly we are told in express terms, that the merit of Christ's good actions is ascribed to us; and, if Adam be the figure of Christ, this benefit that we obtain from the latter has a counterpart bane that has descended upon us from the former - or, in other words, the demerit of Adam's bad action is ascribed to us. And as, under the second economy, we are held to be rewardable for the obedience of the one - so, to complete the figurative resemblance, we, under the first economy, are held to be responsible for the disobedience of the other.

This part of the doctrine of original sin we hold to be matter of pure revelation - a portion of God's jurisprudence, the whole rationale of which we cannot comprehend; but not, as we have endeavoured to show, in any way at war with tenderness and love to the children of men. For, leaving the two cases of heathenism and infancy to Himself, what have we who are neither heathen nor infants to complain of? Is it that our estate by nature has been left so heavily entailed by our first progenitor - then there is a surety provided, to the benefit of which we are all most abundantly welcome; and by the acceptance of which, the estate is disburdened, and fully restored to all the value it ever had. I am glad to have been a sharer in all the miseries of Adam's rebellion, as that is the very circumstance which has marked me out as a welcome sharer in all the privileges of Christ's mediation. I am glad to have incurred all the forfeitures which were laid upon Adam and his degenerate offspring, as this is the very thing which has brought me within the scope of a most glorious amnesty and a most ample restoration. I will not quarrel with the doctrine of original sin, but hold it a kindness to have it laid before me - as to me it is the very finger-post which points my way of access and of triumph, to that righteousness which is unto all and upon all who beheve. It is a singular dealing of God, that he should rate me for another's sin, and evinces His ways to be not as men's ways; but I will not complain of it, as I have a most secure and honourable refuge in another dealing of God s, equally singular, but in which it is my chiefest interest and will at length be my most exalted felicity to acquiesce - even that He should reward me for another's obedience; and that, instead of looking to me as I am in myself or looking to me as I am in Adam, he should look unto me as I am in Christ, and lavish upon me all that benignity which he feels towards His only beloved Son in whom he is well pleased.

In the three verses that follow, we have such a parallel drawn between the evil entailed upon us by the first Adam, and the good purchased and procured for us by the second Adam, as to evince that. there is something more than compensation - but such an overbalance of blessedness provided to us by the gospel, as may well serve to reconcile us to the whole of this wondrous administration. -
Ver. 15 - 17. " 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 offenees 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."

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