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but it is only the soul that sins that shall die, Ezek. xviii. 4. therefore all sinned in Adam.
[2.] All fell under the loss of God's image, and the corruption of nature with him. How comes it that all men must say with David, Psal. ii. 5. Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me?' Take away the imputation of Adam's sin, and there is no foundation for the corruption of nature. It must be some sin that God punishes with the deprivation of original rightsousness, which can be no other than the first sin of Adam.
[3.] All the punishments inflicted on Adam and Eve, for that sin, as specified in Gen. iii. are common to mankind, their posterity; and therefore the sin must be so too.
III. I come now to shew how the first sin of Adam comes to be imputed to us. The great reason of this is, because we are all included in Adam's covenant. The covenant was made with him, not only for himself, but for all his posterity. Consider here,
1. It was the covenant of works that was made with Adam, the condition whereof was perfect obedience. This was the first covenant. As for the covenant of grace, it was made with the second Adam.
2. It was made with him for himself. That was the way he himself was to attain perfect happiness ; his own stock was in that ship.
3. It was made not only for himself, but for all his posterity descending from him by ordinary generation. So that he was not here as a mere private person, but as a public person, the moral head and representative of all mankind. Hence the Scripture holds forth Adam and Christ, as if there had never been any but these two men in the world, 1 Cor. xv. 47. The first man is of the earth, earthy, (says he): the second man is the Lord from heaven. And this he does, because they were two public persons, each of them having under them persons represented by them, Rom. v. 14, 18. 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. 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.' This is plain from the imputation of Adam's sin, which necessarily requires this as the foundation of it. We being thus included and represented in that covenant, what he did he did as our head, and therefore it is justly imputed to us.
But some may be ready to say, we made not choice of Adam for that purpose. Ans. (1.) God made the choice, who was as meet to make it for us as we for ourselves. And who art thou that repliest against God.' (2.) Adam was our natural head, the common father of us all, Acts xvii. 26. and who was so meet to be trusted with the concerns of all mankind as he? But to clear further the reasonableness of this imputation, and to still the murmuring of proud nature against the dispensation of God, consider,
1. Adam's sin is imputed to us, because it is ours. For God doth not reckon a thing ours, which is not so, Rom. ii. 2.— The judgment of God is according to truth.' For God's justice doth not punish men for a sin which is in no way theirs. And it is our sin upon the account aforesaid. Even as Christ's righteousness is ours by virtue of our union with him. As if a person that has the plague infect others, and they die, they die, by their own plague, and not by that of another.
2. It was free for God, antecedently to the covenant made with man, either to have annihilated all mankind, or if he had preserved them, to have given them no promise of eternal life in heaven, notwithstanding by natural justice they would have been liable to his wrath in case of sin. Was it not then an act of grace in God to make such a rich covenant as this? and would not men have consented to this representation gladly in this case ?
3. Adam had a power to stand if he would, being made after the image of God, Gen. i. 26. He was set down with a stock capable to be improved to the eternal upmaking of all his posterity. So that he was as capable to stand as any afterwards could be for themselves : and this was a trial that would soon have been over, while the other would have been continually a-doing, had men been created independent on him as their representative.
4. He had natural affection the strongest to engage him. our father, and all we the children that were in his loins, to whom we had as good ground to trust as to any other creature.
5. His own stock was in the ship; his all lay at stake as well as ours. Forgetting our interest, he behoved to disregard his own, for he had no separate interest from ours.
6. If he had stood, we could never have fallen; he had gained for us eternal happiness; the image of God, and the crown of glory, would have descended from him to us by a safe conveyance.
And is it not reasonable, on the other hand, that if he fell, we should fall and bear the loss? No man quarrels, that when a master sets his land in tack to a man and his heirs upon conditions, if the first possessor break the bargain, the heirs be denuded of it.
7. Lastly, All that quarrel this dispensation must renounce their part in Christ : for we are made righteous by him, as sinners are made guilty by Adam. If we fall in with the one, why not with
He was the other? We chose Christ for our head in the second covenant, no more than we did Adam in the first covenant.
A few inferences shall conclude this subject.
1. Hence see the dreadful nature of sin; one sin could destroy a whole world. What a plague of plagues must this sin be, that has swept away not families, towns, and countries only, but the whole race of mankind! View it in this glass, if you would know it aright.
2. Let this be a lesson to parents. Adam's fall should be a watch-word to every parent, to endeavour by all means to do nothing that may bring ruin on their children. Many times children are destroyed by their parents through their bad example, and their omission of exercising proper discipline and correction on them. Ye that are parents, give your children a good and pious example, accompanied with wholesome precepts and instructions. And watch over and narrowly observe their behaviour, and pray for and with them, that they may be delivered from wrath and condemnation.
3. This doctrine affords a lesson of humility to all. The rich have no cause to boast of their wealth and abundance; for they have a sad heritage left to them; and the poor and needy have the very same.
If one man be better than another, no thanks to us; for we are all alike by nature.
4. Hence view and wonder at the redemption purchased for poor fallen sinners by the obedience and death of Christ. Behold here the necessity of it: What could they do for their help that came into the world under a sentence of condemnation ?—the reasonableness of this deliverance, when the sentence was passed on all :—the perfection of it; it takes away this first sin, and all others too. How strong must the power of the grace of Christ be, that could stop the torrent of Adam's sin, when increased with innumerable actual transgressions ? Rom. v. 16.
5. Lastly, Quit your hold of the first Adam and his covenant, and come to and unite with Christ by faith, and lay hold on his covenant, 1 Cor. xv. 22. Flee to and make use of his blood for the taking away of the first sin in particular, and mourn for it before the Lord. If this be not removed, it will ruin you. And to stir you up to a concern about this sin, consider how we are naturally writing after this copy, by our unbelief of the word, our affecting mainly what is forbidden, &c. as I shewed before. The offer of Christ as a Saviour from sin is made to you; and ye are called to embrace him as a Saviour to you in particular. Accept the offer, as ye regard the salvation of your souls; otherwise you will be ruined, not only by the breach of the first covenant, but by despising the second, which is the only means devised by infinite wisdom for the recovery of fallen sinners.
OF THE SINFULNESS OF MAN'S NATURAL STATE.
Psal. li. 5.—Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mo
ther conceive me.
Man that was holy and happy is now fallen; and his fall should never be forgotten, but lamented, though it were with tears of blood. Man's first sin was the spring of all our woes, the poisonous fountain from whence all our misery flowed. It brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery; a state wherein man can do nothing but sin, wherein every thought, every word, and every action is tainted with sin, wherein enmity, to God and his holy nature, and rebellion against and opposition to his righteous law universally reign and prevail. In this dismal state to which mankind are re.. duced by the fall, no true holiness is attainable, for it is a state of sin; and no salvation from wrath can be had, for it is a state of misery. The state we must be brought into, out of our sinful and miserable state under the breach of the covenant of works, if we would attain unto salvation, is the state of grace under the new covenant. Those that are delivered from their natural state, under the broken covenant, are persons effectually called by grace, and are “in Christ Jesus,' Rom. viii. 1. Those that are still under the bondage of the old covenant, are out of Christ, and have no hope,' Eph. ii. 12. This state is a very sinful and miserable state. For the power that the covenant of works has over them, is a commanding, cursing, and condemning power : it commands them to yield perfect obedience, under pain of the curse, but affords no strength for performing it; and it curses and condemns them for every the least failure. The source of all is the total corruption and depravity of human nature, which we derive from our first father, in whom we all sinned, and with whom we fell, in his first transgression. In the text we have,
1. A plain confession of the being of original sin. Here is sin and iniquity, which the Psalmist owns he had while yet in the womb, sin in which he was shapen, and iniquity in which ho was conceived. This was not peculiar to the Psalmist, but is common to all mankind sprung in an ordinary way from the first transgressor Adam.
2. The way of the conveyance of this original sin, viz. by natural generation. In this way every son and daughter of Adam are infected with this leprosy.
3. The malignant efficacy it hath on men's lives; Behold, says David, I was shapen in iniquity, &c. He points out original sin as the fountain of all his actual transgressions. For how can a corrupt fountain send out wholesome streams?
The doctrine observable from the text is,
Doct. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin, together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.'
In discoursing from this doctrine I will shew,
I. Our first business is to shew, that there is such a thing as original sin. Of this we have melancholy proofs.
1. Consider scripture-testimonies. In the text we have David, a man after God's own heart, yet confessing he was shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin. Adam begets Seth, from whom the whole race of mankind derive their origin, after his own image,' Gen. v. 1. opposed to the image of God,' after which he was made, Gen. i. 26. consisting in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Job says chap. xiv. 4. · Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not one.' This is God's verdict on all mankind, Gen. vi. 5. • Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.'
2. This is plain from the case of infants, which we all once were. We may plainly read in their faces, that we are covered over with sin and guilt before any other covering come on us. For, (1.) What else mean scripture-ordinances about them? If there were not in them a superfluity of naughtiness, why were they circumcised ? if they are not unclean, why are they baptised? This corruption of human nature was also shadowed forth by the law, concerning purifying.of women. (2.) Consider the sad effects of sin upon them, which meet them as soon as they come into the world, yea in the womb, such as sickness, pains, death, &c., which says, that 'by nature we are the children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3. (3.) Consider the early appearances of Adam's image in them, before ever they come to the use of reason. What a deal of pride, ambition, curiosity, vanity, wilfulness, and averseness to good, appears in them; and when they creep out of infancy, what obstinacy and incorrigibleness appears in them; so that there is a necessity of using the rod of correction to drive away the foolishness that is bound in their heart, Prov. xxii. 15.
3. The universal necessity of regeneration plainly proves the corruption of our nature, John iii. 3. · Except a man be born again,