Sivut kuvina

represented Jesus Christ, whom he did not represent. Neither did he represent human persons as descending from him by ordinary generation; for then he could not have represented Eve, whom yet he did represent. But he represented human nature as existing in human personality; whether that person were formed out of the ground, as himself was formed, or taken out of his side by one process of creative agency; or created according to the ordinary law of nature, by another species of creative agency.

The general conclusion is, that they were human persons, under the formal consideration of their human personality, that Adam represented. So far, I trust, we are on safe ground. The question is not, how did they obtain their human personality, but, do they possess it?

Having brought the discussion thus far, that it appears fixed and determined that they were human persons, deriving their humanity from Adam, in whatever way God should think proper to determine, whether by ordinary generation or otherwise; that they were human persons under the formal consideration of their personality; it is time to inquire, whether all the individuals of Adam's posterity were distinctly contemplated in the covenant. Upon this question, let us endeavour to ascertain as much of the truth as comes within the horizon of our vision.

1. There is no question that the covenant, from its own nature, left the number of its subjects to be determined by the sovereign wisdom of God. The law was the law of human nature, existing in human personality. Had Adam fulfilled the righteousness of that law, it would, according to the nature of the covenant, have been transmissible or imputable to every human

person, be the number more or less, on the final catastrophe of the human drama. And now that he has sinned, his sin is imputed to every human person, and would, from the nature of the covenant, be imputed to each one, were the number a million times more than they are, or ever will be. Sin is the transgression of the law, and its wages is death; and what the law saith, it saith to every one that is under the law. Adam transgressed the law in one point; and James informs us, that he who transgresses in one point is guilty of the whole though obedience must be universal, cursed is he who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. In a word, the righteousness of the law is a unit, and the transgression of the law a unit, and both are imputed without defalcation, in their integrity and wholeness, to every individual to whom they are imputed at all. Should twenty men tell the same lie, though there is but one lie, there are twenty liars in the world: and should twenty assassins plunge their daggers at the same instant into an honest man's bosom, though there is but one murder, there are twenty murderers, who ought to be hanged.

This doctrine is so obvious, that I do not recollect of ever hearing it contradicted or questioned; and was a good deal astonished that Mr. M'C. should have thought it necessary to prove so much in detail, and in so warm and impassioned a manner, that Adam's guilt is not cut up into shreds, and dealt out in parcels among his posterity; and that Christ's righteousness is not parcelled out among the faithful in the same manner. How could they? That which is less than a whole sin is nothing at all; and that which is less than righteousness, is no righteousness at all.

2. It is not supposable that Adam knew all his pos

terity by name, or could contemplate them individually by name in the covenant transaction. I have already said, that it does not appear, that, at the making of the covenant, he had any idea of any human being but himself. But, when Eve was created, and the blessing of fruitfulness pronounced upon them, he certainly did expect posterity; and certainly was informed, that his standing or falling, should be the standing or falling of himself, his wife, and all his posterity, leaving the number of that posterity to be determined by the sovereign counsels of Jehovah. And knowing, (I presume he knew) that God had his own counsels on the subject, and that those counsels included the whole of the human family, their times, and places, and modes of existence, from the first of them to the last, he considered himself bound for the whole, and for each individual of them. After this is granted, (and can it be denied?) it seems to me a needless refinement, to say, that Adam did not represent every individual of the human race, as an individual; and I cannot see the utility of the refinement. Adam certainly did intend (or else he acted dishonestly in the transaction) to represent all those, whom God determined he should represent. Let us, therefore, attend to the view which God must have had in this transaction.

3. The question now is, Did God, in the making of the covenant, design the precise number, and the particular individuals, who should be represented in that covenant, and affected by it? This is no very abstruse point. But, as God's law is a light to the feet, and a lamp to the path; and as this light, shining with direct rays on the understanding, without the reflections or refractions of human science or human arguments, produces the purest illumination, while it cheers the

[ocr errors]

feelings and awes the conscience, I shall gratify the reader with a few texts of scripture. The diamond will glitter, even in a coarse setting. "Known unto God," says an apostle," are all his works from the beginning of the world." "He hath made of one blood," says another, "all nations of men for to dwell upon the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." Indeed it is the universal tenor of the sacred Scriptures, and capable of being demonstrated by the soundest philosophical reasoning, that God knew and determined all his works from all eternity. That he determined the number of the human family, the time and place when each individual should be born, their faculties and their features, their characters and their condition, and the whole scenes and train of their fortunes; all in them, and about them was known to him, and he called them all by name. In the covenant of works, therefore, God fixed the number of mankind, and designated them in his counsels, who should descend from Adam. He subjected them all to the bond of that covenant; not one more, not one less, not one else, than those precise, specified individuals comprised in the eternal purpose, and present to the divine mind at the making of the covenant with Adam, was brought under that covenant, or ever shall be affected by it. And each person, as soon as he becomes a person, as soon as human personality can be predicated of him, has his individual personal interest in that covenant, according to the condition in which he finds it.

This is substantially the doctrine of the church of God in all ages; of the reformed churches it is the doctrine. It has been usually considered, that as God

knew and determined all the individuals of the human family, and destined them to be under the bond of the covenant; and as Adam was bound to assent to the constitution prepared and established; therefore, all those individuals were represented in the covenant, in their individual personality of character. But this view does not satisfy Mr. M'C. He insists, that Adam represented (what he calls) his own body, but not the individuals in their distinct personality. This is, I believe, a fair statement of the question; but this is not the proper ground on which to decide it. There is here a cross light, which mingles and confounds the features of heavenly truth, and prevents us from discriminating the exactness of the painting. We shall meet this subject again, in another position, under the direct ray of the light, which, coming into the world, enlighteneth every man.

Before dropping the subject of the covenant of works, I beg leave to make myself distinctly understood, that I allude entirely to the transaction recorded in the 17th ver. of the 2nd chap. of Gen.—to a covenant, expressed by Jehovah in so many words, and of consequence assented to by Adam. Other covenant of works I know none. The Holy Scriptures are entirely ignorant of any divine system of religion, save the law of works and the law of grace; at the head of the former stood Adam-at the head of the latter stands Jesus Christ. And both these covenants were distinctly expressed in words among the contracting parties.

I am perfectly aware, that men of highly, and not more highly than justly, respected merit in the Christian church, and from whose merit the spirit of meanness alone could wish to detract; have distinguished between the natural state of the covenant of works,

[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »