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cause of death," but that we died in Adam as our common root and federal representative, in whom we sinned, and so became liable to death; and that Christ, in like manner, is not only the cause of the glorious resurrection of believers, but that this resurrection is the consequence of their relation to him as their spiritual Head and Representative, who fulfilled all righteousness in their room, and rose again from the dead on their behalf? This view of the meaning divests the passage of every appearance of tautology. It tallies best, too, with what the Apostle states in the progress of the chapter, verses 45-49, respecting the first man, and the second man, whom he contrasts together in the public capacity sustained by each. It is powerfully confirmed, in fine, by the doctrine of the same Apos➡ tle in Romans v. 12-21, a passage which incontrovertibly establishes at once the imputation of Adam's first disobedience to his posterity, and the imputation of Christ's meritorious righteousness to all believers-two important points which must stand or fall together.
The difficulties with which this subject is attended, ought not to prevent us from acquiescing in the declarations of infinite wisdom. "What we can know," says that eminent Author, whose views on this subject we have taken the liberty to combat, in the same discourse to which we have referred," it is our duty and our interest to know. Where knowledge is unattainable, it is both our duty and interest to trust humbly and submissively to the instructions of Him who is THE ONLY WISE."-Amongst the numerous writings on this topic, the serious inquirer might read with profit the remarks of Witsius in another work, an Essay on Original Sin," by the Rev. Thomas Walker of Dundonald, † and President Dickinson's Discourse on Rom. v. 12. ‡
NOTE VIII. Page 40.
The Author's meaning in the last sentence of the 7th Section is so obvious, that the scholastic terms which he here employs, require little explanation. He represents the dignity of our Lord's Divine person, as the principium quod, that is, the great principle which regulates the value of his labours and sufferings, and gives them their boundless worth; while his human nature is the principium quo, that is, the instrumental principle, by means of which they were accomplished.
Economy of the Covenants, book i. ch. 2. sect. 14-18. ch. 8. sect. 30-35.
xxxi. 22, to which our Author refers. Unless the birth of Jesus had corresponded in this respect to ancient prophecy, the evidence of his Messiahship would have been materially defective. Those chapters of the Gospels by Matthew and Luke, therefore, which narrate the circumstances of our Lord's conception and birth, are highly interesting and important; and nothing can be more awkward and absurd than the attempts which have been made to unsettle the faith of Christians regarding the authenticity of these portions of Scripture. The modern Socinians, in what they are pleased to style An improved Version of the New Testament, have thought proper to print the 1st chapter of Matthew from the 17th verse to the end, and the whole of the 2d chapter, and the whole of the 1st and 2d chapters of the Gospel by Luke, in Italic characters, in order to denote that the authenticity of all these passages is doubtful. In support of this strange Improvement, they can plead no higher authority than that of Ebion and Marcion, two early heretics, and avowed mutilators of the Scriptures. These Chapters are found in all the ancient Manuscripts and Versions now extant. They are referred to as a part of the inspired record by the early writers of the Church; and even several of the cavils of Celsus against the Christian faith are founded on the contents of these chapters. Their authenticity is also strongly supported by internal evidence. See Dr Campbell's Notes on Mat. ii. 23. and Luke iii. 23. and the appropriate remarks of Dr Magee on this subject.*
The miraculous conception of Christ, though questioned by some, and horribly derided by others, exhibits to the pure and enlightened mind, a display of Divine wisdom and power, in perfect accordance with all the other parts of the scheme of redemption. It was highly expedient that this extraordinary personage should come into the world in an extraordinary manner; and if it was necessary that the Saviour of sinners should himself assume their nature, and at the same time continue completely free from moral defilement, why should it seem incredible that a miracle was wrought for the purpose of securing his exemption from that original guilt and corrup tion, which is inherited by all the other descendants of Adam? If "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" at the beginning of the world, to produce, by his mighty influence, life, order and beauty, where all was darkness, confusion and inanity, what impropriety can be shown in the same Spirit's "creating a new
Discourses and Dissertations on the Scriptural Doctrine of Atonement and Sacrifice, Vol. ii. pp. 441–443.
thing upon the earth" in the fulness of time? In this miraculous operation, the Deity did nothing more unworthy of his character than when he formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and Eve of a rib taken out of Adam's side. See Bishop Horsley's Sermon on the Miraculous Conception; and also some judicious remarks on this topic. by Dr David Hunter of St Andrews, whose useful and well-written book on the History of Christ ought not to be consigned to oblivion.*
NOTE VI. Page 19.
The Protevangelium of James is one of those spurious writings which, under the name of Gospels, Epistles, Acts and Revelations, have made pretensions to a place in the sacred canon of the New Testament. It coincides, in general, with a work entitled The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, and is thought to have been written in the third or perhaps the second Century by some Hellenistic Jew. In common with the other apocryphal books, it was never acknowledged as authentic by the primitive Christians; and notwithstanding the bold assertions of a late writer, it was not frequently alluded to by the ancient Fathers, nor did it gain a general reception in the Christian world. The idle and impertinent stories indeed with which this and the other spurious Gospels abound, and which render them extremely unlike the sacred details of the inspired evangelists, afford sufficient internal evidence that they have no just ⚫ claims to divine inspiration.
The attempts which the enemies of Christianity have made to sap the credit of the New Testament, by confronting it with these "silly and drivelling forgeries," could not fail to prove utterly abortive.-Dr Leland, in the 1st Volume of his View of English Deistical Writers, takes notice, in his account of Toland, of a book published by that Author 1698, entitled Amyntor, in which he strives with great zeal to invalidate by this means the authority of the New Testament; and he refers to the satisfactory answers which Toland received from Dr Samuel Clarke, Mr Stephen Nye, and particularly recommends Mr Richardson's "Canon of the New Testament Vindicated”—“ A new and full method of settling the canonical authority of the New Testament," in three Volumes, by Mr Jonesand the voluminous and excellent work of Dr Lardner, entitled, "the Credibility of the Gospel History." On this point the reader
Observations on the History of Jesus Christ, serving to illustrate the propriety of his conduct and the beauty of his character, Vol. i. ch. 1. sect. 1. "Of the mysteriousness of his Birth."
might also consult Horne's "Introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures,"* and a late article in the Quarderly Review. t
NOTE VII. Page 28.
What our Author here says respecting the consequences of Christ's being born of a Virgin may be compared with his remarks on the same topic in his Treatise on the Covenants. He justly affirms, that since our Lord was not born according to the law of nature, he was not represented in the covenant made with Adam, and consequently was not liable to the imputation of Adam's sin. It is shown also, agreeably to what was hinted in a preceding Dissertation,§ that the original purity of his human nature" forms a part of that perfect righteousness of Christ, by which, in the capacity of Surety, he satisfied all the demands of the law in our place." On this point, Witsius vindicates himself from the charge of singularity, by referring not only to the works of Gomar and Cloppenburgh, but also to the Palatine or Heidelberg Catechism, which was composed by Zachary Ursin, a celebrated Professor of Theology at Heidelberg, has been long made use of in most of the Reformed Churches, and was adopted by the Church of Scotland till it was superseded by the excellent Catechisms prepared by the venerable Assembly which met at Westminster. The same views, it may be added, are maintained by the Rev. Thomas Boston in his Treatise on the Covenant of Grace.||
Whilst our venerated Author teaches that Christ was not liable to the imputation of Adam's sin, the expression obviously implies, that, in common with the greater part of evangelical Divines, he considered the guilt of Adam's first sin as imputed to "all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation." It is to be regretted that this doctrine has been impugned by a late Author, no less distinguished by cordial attachment to many of the peculiar doctrines
• Vol. iv. pp. 687-704, 3d edit.
+ Vol. xxv. pp. 347-365. The Article referred to is a Review of "the Apocryphal New Testament," printed in London 1820;-which is represented in that Review, and not without probable grounds, as originating in hostility to the New Testament, and an insidious design to destroy its credit. At the close of the Review, too, the writer gives a sufficient specimen of these pretended Gospels, in some ridiculous fictions they contain relative to what happened during our Saviour's youth.
Book ii. ch. 4. sect. 10, 11.
§ Dis. ix. sect. 28. Comp. also the Treatise on the Covenants, Book iii. ch. 8.
Head iii. Art. 1. Holiness of Nature.
of the Gospel, than by the vigour and originality which pervade his writings. Although he sincerely contends for the doctrine of original depravity, and considers that depravity as the consequence of Adam's apostasy, he seems to deny that Adam represented his posterity in the covenant of works, and that they were involved in the guilt of the first transgression. As the work referred to has obtained an extensive circulation, it were desirable that some Master in Israel would particularly advert to the mistaken statements of Dr Dwight, refute his arguments at length, and place the subject in a scriptural light. The Church indeed is already possessed of a valuable antidote in the Treatise by President Edwards on Original Sin; and in some instances the masterly pen of the venerable Grandfather supplies a sufficient refutation of the reasonings of the respectable Grandson. For example, Dwight's objections founded on Ezek. xviii. 20. and also on the word impute, are obviated in that celebrated Treatise.t
The only argument against the concern of Adam's descendants in the guilt of his first sin, which shall be noticed here, is that which is founded on a new translation of 1 Cor. xv. 22, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." "The words in the original,” says Dwight, “ are ἐν τῷ ̓Αδαμ, and ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ. The Greek preposition i signifies very often, as any person acquainted with the language must have observed, exactly the same thing with the English phrase by means of. The passage would therefore have been explicitly and correctly translated; As by means of Adam all die, even so by means of Christ shall all be made alive. Adam is therefore only asserted here to be an instrumental cause of the death specified, &c." Now, that the preposition does not unfrequently signifiy by means of, or simply by, as Dr Macknight has thought proper to render it in this same verse, is readily admitted. But the native and ordinary sense of this preposition is confessedly in; and it should be inquired whether the connexion of the words, and the scope of the passage, do not render it more probable that the preposition ought to be rendered so in this verse, than that it should be translated either by, or by means of. That is when connected with T XgIoT, and with other names and characters of the Saviour, should in no case be rendered by means of, we shall not affirm. But
any person acquainted with the language" of the New Testament "must have observed," that in a vast majority of instances where
* See Dr Timothy Dwight's Theology Explained and Defended, Ser. 32. Part iv. ch. 3. pp. 397-399, and ch. 4. pp. 414-416, 4th edit.