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might also consult Horne's “ Introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures,"* and a late article in the Quarterly Review. +
NOTE VII. Page 28. What our Author here says respecting the consequences of Clirist'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has been long made use of in most of the Reformed Churches, and was adopted by the Church of Scotland till it was superseded by the excellent Catechisms prepared by the venerable Assembly which met at Westminster.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 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 Treatiset
• Vol. iv. pp. 687—704, 3d edit.
+ Vol. xxv. pp. 347—365. The Article referred to is a Review of “ the A pocryphal 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 Gos. pels, in some ridiculous fictions they contain relative what happened during our Saviour's youth.
# Book ii. ch. 4. sect. 10, 11.
5 Dis. ix. sect. 28. Comp. also the Treatise on the Covenants, Book üži. ch. 8. sect. 29.
|| Head iii. Art. 1. Holiness of Nature.
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 ori. ginal,” says Dwight, "are is to 'Aday, and iv to Xplota. The Greek preposition ly 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 in 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 év when connected with TW Xprotw, and with other names and characters of the Saviour, should in no case be rendered by means of, we shall not affirm. But is thus joined with Christ, it would be highly improper to render it in any other way than by the English preposition in. A few ex. pressions from the Epistles to the Corinthians may suffice for examples: “ But of him are ye in Christ Jesus"_" Babes in Christ"“ My ways which be in Christ”-“ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature"_“I knew a man in Christ."* The expression ý Xgcrta occurs even in the 18th, and again in the 19th verse of the same Chapter with the verse under consideration; and in both places it is justly rendered by our translators “ in Christ.”—“ Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” “ If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” It is unquestionably better to say “fallen asleep in Christ,” and thus extend the expression to all who have died in a state of union with Christ, than to render it, as Macknight has done, “ fallen asleep for Christ,” and thus unnecessarily and gratuitously confine it to those “ who have suffered death for believing the resurrection of Christ.” “ Hope in Christ,” too, is fully as proper as “ hope by Christ.” The preposition év sometimes signifies concerning, with respect to, as in Rom. xi. 2. Gal. i. 24. and accordingly the 19th verse might be correctly translated thus; “ If with respect to this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." Why then ought we not to retain the 22d verse as it stands in the common version ; “ For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive?" The Apostle had said in the verse immediately preceding; “ For since di drew, by man came death, di år@qata, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” He had thus already taught that by, through, or by means of man death came, and also the resurrection of the dead. He had already shown that Adam is “ an instrumental cause of the death specified," and that “the man Christ Jesus,” the Son of God in human nature, is the author of that blessed resurrection which awaits the just. When he proceeds to his next sentence, he changes the preposition in both its parts. In place of dia, by, by means of, he says fv, in. That he alters the preposition merely for the sake of variety of expression, ought not readily to be conceded. Is it not much more probable that the design of the Apostle, and of the Spirit by whom he was inspired, was to throw additional light upon the subject, and to suggest something relative to the manner in which death comes by the one man, and the resurrection by the other? Is it not clearly intimated, that Adam was not merely “ an instrumental
any person acquainted with'the language" of the New Testament "must have observed,” that in a vast majority of instances where év
• Sce 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.
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 Apostle 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, 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. + Essays and Sermons on Doctrinal and Practical Subjects, pp. 1-87.
Sermons and Tracts, pp. 164—212. VOL. II.
Witsius justly teaches that Christ suffered both in soul and boly that his soul did not suffer merely from sympathy with his wounded and crucified flesh--that it smarted under the pressure of Divine vengeance, and that the sufferings of his soul were exceedingly severe, and such as none but the Mighty God could have endured. These too are the views of this interesting subject which are generally expressed in the writings of sound Theologians. Some of the readers of Dr Dwight's Theology, however, have been sorry to find that that Author estimates the degree of our Lord's sufferings at a very low rate. He holds, indeed, that “the peculiar agonies which preceded and attended the death of Christ, and in which the atonement made by him for sin peculiarly consisted, were chiefly distresses of mind, and not of body.” He even reasons strongly in favour of this doctrine, and confirms it by various cogent proofs. In illustrating the argument which he deduces from our Lord's exclamation on the cross, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me !" he has the following excellent passage. “ The complacency of God, whose mind is infinite, and whose disposition is perfect, is undoubtedly the first of all possible enjoyments. The loss of it, therefore, and the consequent suffering of his hatred and contempt, are undoubtedly the greatest evils which a created mind can suffer; evils which will, in all probability, constitute the primary anguish expe rienced in the world of woe. Omniscience, and omnipotence, are certainly able to communicate, during even a short time, to a finite mind, such views of the hatred and contempt of God towards sin and sinners, and, of course, towards a Substitute for sinners, as would not only fill its capacity of suffering, but probably put an end to its existence. In this manner, I apprehend, the chief distresses of Christ were produced.”
Yet in the same Sermon the Doctor makes the following assertion. “ The degree of suffering which Christ underwent in making this atonement, was far inferior to that which will be experienced by an individual sufferer beyond the grave." “ It will not be supposed," he adds, “as plainly it cannot, that Christ suffered in his Divine nature. Nor will it be believed, that any created nature could, in that short space of time, suffer what would be equivalent to even a slight distress, extended through eternity." +
To imagine that Christ suffered in his Divine nature, would indeed be absurd. But why should it be deemed absurd or incredible
Sermon lvi. Head vi. obs. 5th. + Head v. obs. 2d.