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but two ways for us to take: one is to reject them both, and the bible with them, on account of its inconsistencies; or embrace them both, concluding that as they are both revealed in the scriptures, they are both true, and both consistent, and that it is owing to the darkness of our understandings that they do not appear so to us. Those excellent lines of Dr. Watts, in his Hymn on Election, one should think, must approve themselves to every pious heart:
"But, O my soul, if truth so bright
Had we more of that, about which we contend,
it would teach us more to suspect our own understandings, and to submit to the wisdom of God. Abraham, that pattern of faith, might have made objections to the command of offering up his son, on the ground of its inconsistency with the promise, and might have set himself to find some other meaning for the terms: but he believed God, and left it to him to reconcile his promise and his precepts. It was for him not to dispute, but to obey.
These general remarks, however, are not introduced for the purpose of avoiding a particular attention to the several objections, but rather as preparatory to it.
ON THE PRINCIPLE OF HOLINESS POSSESSED BY MAN IN INNOCENCE.
THE objection drawn from this subject has been stated in the following words :-"The holy (( principle connatural to Adam, and concreated "with him, was not suited to live unto God "through a Mediator; that kind of life was above "the extent of his powers, though perfect; and "therefore as he in a state of integrity had not a "capacity of living unto God, agreeably to the na"ture of the new covenant; it is apprehended that "his posterity, while under the first covenant, arę "not commanded to live unto God in that sort, or "in other words, to live by faith on God through (6 a Mediator." ""*
The whole weight of these important conclusions rests upon the two first sentences, and which are mere unfounded assertions. For the truth of them no proof whatever is offered. What evidence is there that "the principle of holiness concreated with Adam was not suited to live unto God through a Mediator?” That his circumstances were such as not to need a Mediator, is true; but this involves no such consequence. A subject while he preserves his loyalty, needs no Mediator in approaching the throne; if he have offended, it is otherwise: but a change of circumstances would not require a change of principles. On the contrary, the same
* Mr. Brine's Motives to Love and Unity, pp. 50. 51.
principle of loyal affection that would induce him while innocent to approach the throne with modest confidence, would induce him, after having offended, to approach it with penitence, or, which is the same thing, to be sorry at heart for what he had done; and if a Mediator were at hand, with whose interposition the sovereign had declared himself well pleased, it would at the same time lead him to implore forgiveness in his name.
Had Cain lived before, the fall, God would not have been offended at his bringing an offering without a sacrifice; but after that event, and the promise of the woman's seed together with the institution of sacrifices, such a conduct was highly offensive. It was equally disregarding the threatening and the promise: treating the first as if nothing was meant by it; and the last as a matter of no account. It was practically saying, 'God is not in: 6 earnest. There is no great evil in sin; nor any "necessity for an atonement. If I come with my "offering, I shall doubtless be accepted, and my
Creator will think himself honoured.'-Such is still the language of a self-righteous heart. But is. it thus that Adam's posterity while "under the first covenant," (or rather, while vainly hoping for the promise of the first covenant, after having broken its conditions) are required to approach an offended God? If the principle of Adam in innocence was not suited to live to God through a Mediator, and this be the standard of duty to his carnal descendants, it must of course be their duty
either not to worship God at all, or to worship him as Cain did, without any respect to an atoning sacrifice. On the contrary, is there not reason to conclude that the case of Cain and Abel was designed to teach mankind, from the very outset of the world, God's determination to have no fellowship with sinners, but through a Mediator; and that all attempts to approach him in any other way would be vain and presumptuous?
It is true that man in innocence was unable to repent of sin, or to believe in the Saviour: for he had no sin to repent of, nor was any Saviour revealed, or needed. But he was equally unable to repent with such a natural sorrow for sin as is allowed to be the duty of his posterity, or to believe the history of the gospel in the way which is also allowed to be binding on all who hear it. To this it might be added, he was unable to perform the duty of a father; for he had no children to educate: nor could he pity or relieve the miserable; for there were no miserable objects to be pitied or relieved. Yet we do not conclude from hence that his descendants are excused from these duties.
"That Adam in a state of innocence," says Dr. Gill, "had the power of believing in Christ, and "did believe in him as the second person of the "trinity, as the Son of God, cannot well be denied; 68 since, with the other two persons, he was his cre"ator and preserver. AND HIS NOT BELIEVING "IN HIM AS THE MEDIATOR, SAVIOUR, AND Re66 deemer, did NOT ARISE FROM ANY DEFECT OF
"POWER IN HIM, BUT FROM THE STATE, CON"6 DITION, AND SITUATION IN WHICH HE WAS, AND "FROM THE NATURE OF THE REVELATION MADE "UNTO HIM; for no doubt Adam had a power to "believe every word of God, or any revelation "that was or might be made unto him.”*
Dr. Owen, in his Display of Arminianism,† complains of the attempts of the Arminians to draw down our first parents, even from the instant of their forming, into the same condition wherein we are engaged by reason of corrupted nature.' He mentions several of their maxims and sentiments, and among others, two of their sayings, the one, of the Remonstrants in their apology, and the other, of the six Arminian collocutors at the Hague. The will of man, say the former, had never any spiritual endowments.' "In the spiritual death of sin, say the latter, there are no spiritual gifts properly wanting in will, because they were never there.'
sum is, adds the Doctor, ironically, speaking their language, man was created with a nature, not 'only weak and imperfect, unable by its native 'strength and endowments to attain that super"natural end for which he was made, and which he ' was commanded to seek, but depraved also with a 'love and desire of things repugnant to the will of ( God, by reason of an inbred inclination to sin'ning. It doth not properly belong to this place shew how they extenuate those gifts also 'with which they cannot deny but that he was en
* Cause of God and Truth, Part III. ch. iii. † Ch. viii.