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and its positive state; have talked of a covenant inlaid in man's nature; of a covenant concreated with Adam. But of such a covenant the Scriptures say not one word, from the beginning to the end. That candour, however, that fairness of feeling and conduct, which ought ever to distinguish the investigators of divine truth, require, that we should attempt to ascertain their exact idea; and though we should be obliged to condemn their language, as inapplicable to the subject, and calculated to mislead; we may perhaps find, that they were contemplating dimly through the haze of verbage, a substantial truth.
If, by the natural state of the covenant of works—if, by a covenant inlaid in the nature of man-if, by a covenant concreated with Adam, be meant no more, than that there was a natural adaptation in Adam to be placed under such a covenant; and that it would have been unworthy of the Divine Wisdom to have formed such a being, and destined him to be the father of millions, according to the present law of human descent; and not to have given him such a law and covenant-if this be all that is meant, it is, unquestionably, sound and true. And this I honestly believe to be the meaning of those who hold this language. But still, the language is improper; an adaptation to receive a covenant, is not a covenant. When the Creator causes a valley to form an inclined plain, in its innumerable windings and meanderings among the interlacing mountains and intervening cascades, from the top of the Alps, or Andes, or Allegany, down to their respective oceans; he has given that valley a natural adaptation to become the bed of a river: but this adaptation to become the bed of a river, is not a river. To produce the river, the rains must descend, and the springs gush from the
mountain's side. To exemplify our assertion on moral subjects; every woman who is adapted to the marriage state, is not therefore a wife; nor is every man adapted to the marriage state, therefore a husband. Now, although Adam was naturally adapted to become a cove. nant head, the covenant itself is something distinct from that adaptation; it required a positive, open transaction between the Creator and his creature. Such was the covenant recorded in the second chapter of Genesis, and there never was any other covenant of works made with man.
This theory, that establishes a covenant of works anterior to, and distinct from, the verbal covenant made with Adam in paradise, seems to be built upon the same airy foundation, which supports so many ten thousand similar structures of the human imagination-I mean the opinion, that Adam, without any instruction from God, without any revealed law, without any prescribed rule, might, by the unassisted operations of his natural faculties, have become a very intelligent, moral, and religious creature ; and might have trained up a progeny as intelligent, moral, and pious as himself, and entailed upon them all his blessings. Notwithstanding the boundless extent of this principle, it has been very generally assumed, and assumed without any species of evidence, that I can conceive, either of philosophy or of faith. For, if you ask the abettors of this opinion, what philosophical evidence they have for its truth-what single phenomenon they can produce as the basis of an induction so extensive-if you ask them what man, without instruction, ever acquired the use of language; what man, without the use of language, ever cultivated his understanding; what man, without speech and mental cultivation, ever rose to mo
tality and piety, or ever transmitted them to others; they are silent. They produce not one single instance; not one single phenomenon, to substantiate so wide and extensive a theory. On the contrary, you can press them with ten thousand opposing phenomena; that the deaf are also dumb,-that, without instruction and cultivation, the human animal is distinguishable from brutes, only by superior stupidity, indocility-vicious, intractable, and unmanageable.
If you go to the Scriptures, with the exceptions of a few texts, as I apprehend, very much misapplied, they can furnish as little proof of their assumption. Certainly the Mosaic history teaches us as plainly as it is possible, though very briefly, that when God created Adam, he taught him the use of language, and the rudiments of natural history, agriculture, astronomy, and religion. This is the scriptural accouut of man's origin. Never did the boundless mind of Burke pronounce a profounder adage, than when he said "Art is man's nature."
It was the purpose of the all wise Creator to form the first man in his own image, and to take his newborn child under his paternal tutelage; to impart to him all useful instruction respecting his conduct in life; to place him under a regimen of parental authority, exercised by a revealed, specific law; and to bind all his posterity in the same general system.
But let me put this question with another much discussed, because both depend on one principle. 1. Some have asked, what would have been the consequence, if, after creating him in the integrity of all his powers, God had left Adam without instruction or po sitive law ?-and they decide in favour of a religion. 2. What would have been the consequence, if, after
the transgression of our first parents, the Son of God had not interposed as mediator? Here two parties are formed; the one affirming, that as all Adam's pos terity were included in the covenant, the divine faithfulness required, that they should be brought into existence to suffer its penalty. Others insist, that the pe nalty must have been inflicted the moment guilt was incurred; and that, therefore, Adam and Eve would have been put to death, unless Jesus Christ had inter, posed "in the nick of time." This last seems to be Mr. M'C.'s opinion. There are obvious glances at it in his first publication; and he quotes the passage above transcribed in his defence before the synod, with apparent approbation, and even reasons from it. Let us then bring these propositions to the test, and ascertain whether they mean any thing, or nothing; let us try whether the questions admit of solution, or whether they lie "ultra flammantia mania mundi," where no ray of light visible to mortal eye ever fell.
You ask me what would have been the consequences to Adam and his posterity-IF-If what? If God had given him no supernatural instruction, no revealed law of religion?
I answer, I do not know. I have laid before me, God's plan of his world in the bible, you draw your diameter through the periphery of that divine plan, and ask me how God should make a world out of the other half, I answer, I do not know. But this I know, it is no longer a circle, but a semicircle. It is no longer the plan of God's world. You allow God to make half a world according to his own plan and throwing away the remainder of his plan; you command me to complete the draft.
You ask me what would have been the consequence
to Adam and his posterity after the fall-If the Son of God had not interposed?
Here again I reply, that the Scriptures, teach us, that the redemption by Jesus is an essential part of the divine plan, that the two covenants, the two covenant heads, and their respective subjects, and all the resulting consequences, form but one grand whole, one mighty conception of the infinite mind; and again you draw your diameter through the periphery of the system; you present me one half; and ask me how God could make a whole world out of it; without employing the other half. Are these questions which admit solution? Can they be known? Is not all this world making? Let us take warning from the fate of our physical cosmogonists, who, after employing centuries by fire and by water making a world, some out of something, and others out of nothing; some out of indivisible particles of matter, and some out of indivisible mathematical points, have succeeded, at last, in leaving chaos doubly confounded. afraid the moral cosmogonists will fare no better. And truly a pity it is, and a tearful jest, to see human speculation so lavished on insolvable questions, while those which are not only solvable, but of incalculable practical importance, are so generally neglected, perhaps sometimes despised. But it must be so. We will, it seems, expend on perpetual motions, time that had better be employed on carts and wheel-barrows; and weary ourselves in squaring the circle; while by neglecting a few ragged accounts of a few paltry dollars and cents, we step out of the world, bequeathing jea lousies and wrath, lawsuits and strife, and the long interminable feuds of kindred blood, to our heirs, executors, and assigns for ever.