« PreviousContinue »
eign to his purpose, so it was not true, when thus applied.
As to Psalm li. 5. Bebold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in fin did nry mother conceive ine; to this I ánswer, it is one thing to be conceived in fin,' and another to be conceived a finner; the first of these refers to the sin of the parent, which is the plain. and express words of the text; the latter refers to the sin of the child, which is only a false interpretation put upon it; and therefore, I say, that this text is urged in this case without any appearance of strength.
If it should be objected, that David was now humbling himself before God, for his
great offences of murder and adultery, and therefore the sin of his parents was not a proper ground of humiliation to him upon this occasion; and consequently it was his own fin which he referred to. I answer, If it was his own fin, yet that was no more a proper ground for his humiliation, in this case, then the sin of his parents; because it was what he was no ways accessory to, nor could prevent, he being entirely passive therein ; therefore the one was as proper a ground for his humiliation as the other. But farther, I say, the true state of the case I take to be this, David in his devotion brings in every thing that might raise or express the height of his affections, whether it were of joy or forrow; and so we find him calling upon the sun and moon to praise God, as in Pfalm cxlviii. 3. Here David did not address or petition the sun and moon to be engaged in this work, but he only used these expressions to raise and express his delight and joy in God. , So in like manner, when he was humbling himself for his foily, he represents himnielf, not only as a great sinner, but also to beighten and aggravate, his sorrow) that he proceeded from finju! parents. A cale like this, we have in leich vi. 5,
Where the Prophet complains against himself, that he was a man of unclean lips, and to aggravate his debasement, he adds, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips.
As to Isaiab xlviii. 8. I knew that thou wouldeft deal very treacherously, and was called a transgreffor. from the womb. To this I answer, supposing this to respect individuals, yet it does not prove them to be transgressors from the womb; because the fcriptures often use such loftiness of speech as expresses much more than the speaker intends ; thus in Psalm lviii. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, Speaking lies. Here the wicked are represented as speaking lies as soon as they are born, even before they can speak at all. The meaning is, they are finhers from their youth upwards ; so that to be tranfgreffors from the womb, is no more than to be transgressors from their youth. But farther, I say, thele words were spoken not to individual considered as such, but to the nation of Israel, as appears from verse 1. Hear ge this, O house of Jacob, wbich are called by the name of Israel, &c. Now this was true of them, considered as a nation, whose birth, as such, was their coming out of Egypt; for before that time they were at most but a multitude of bondmen. And that they were tranfgreffors from the womb, Mofes has given an abundant proof.
As to Eph. ii. .3. And were by nature the children of wrath. To this I answer, if St. Paul may be allowed to use the term nature in an improper sense, as he does in i Cor. xi. 14. Doth not even nature itself touch you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? In this case nature, properly so called, is unconcerned; for supposing that it was then, and always had been a custom, for both men and woman to wear their hair down to their gird;
les. Would natural reason have taught us that this was unseemly in the men, and yet decent in the women? no furely, nature hath nothing to say in this matter. It is custom and usage that make things feemly, or unseemly, in the present case. It had been a custom for men to have their hair cut, and not to wear it long as the women did, and this was used as a distinction of the sexes; and for men to do otherwise the Apostle faith was a shame; which is as much as if he had said, even the common usage and custom of mankind in this case teacheth
you, that if a man have long hair, like a woman, it is a shame unto him, for that is to confound the distinction of fexes. I say, if the Apostle may be allowed to use the word nature in the same sense as before, then the sence of the Apostle will appear to be this, viz. before you believing Ephesians were converted to christianity, your customary and habitual wickedness justly exposed you to the wrath of God, even as those other Gentiles which are in the like case. But if the Apostle used the word nature in a proper sense, then I think his meaning is this, viz. among whom also we all had our conversation in ţimes past, in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the Aesh and of the mind, and as such we were naturally exposed to the just displeasure and wrath of God, even as the other Gentiles that are in the like wicked and unconverted state.
Thus I have shewn that the texts referred to, do not answer the purpose for which they were produced, and so have fully answered this objection.
* The Apostle, as he was speaking to the Gentiles, puts himself in the place of a Gentile, and uses the term we.
HIS enquiry consists of two parts;
tian in particular. First, of justification in general. I observe that as justification is a law term, so it imports in the first and most proper sense) that discharge or act of acquitment which he that fits in judgment pronounces upon the person under trial; and therefore juftification presupposes several things, viz. a governour and governed, a law or rule that the governed is to act by, and a tribunal or act of enquiry, whether the person governed has walked exactly according to that rule, And as justification is an acquitting of the person under trial, so that acquitment is either an act of debt, or of grace If when due enquiry hath been made, the person under trial is found innocent, that is, hath acted exactly agreeably to the rule which was given him and by which he is tried, then justification is a debt which the judge is, in strict" justice, obliged to make good, and the innocent perfon niay lawfully den and as his right. But if when enquiry hath been made, the person under trial is found guilty that is, hath acted disagreeably to the rule given him to walk by, then if he is acquitted, that acquitment must be an act of grace, and not of debt, because the judge is fo far froin being Obliged, in justice, to aequit him, that on the
contrary he might justly condemn him. His transgression of the rule justly exposes him to that fentence of cendemnation, which is a proportional punishment to his transgression, and confequent, ly, if he is acquited, it must be wholly of grace, and not of debt...
Secondly, Of the Justification of a christian. I observe, first, that as justification is a two-fold. stream which flows from two different fountains, the one of debt, flowing from the innocency of the person justified, the other of grace, flowing from the merciful goodness of the lawgiver; so the justification of a christian is wholly of the later fort, viz. of grace. The christian hath no right found. ed in innocency to claim an acquitment at God's bar, because he is a transgressor of God's law; and therefore his acquitment is founded in the merciful goodness of God the lawgiver. For the proof of this observation, see Rom. iii. 9. 23. We have before proved, both Fews and Gentiles, that they are all under fin.All bave finned, and come short of the glory of God, James iii. 2. In many thing we offend all. 1 John i. 8, 10. If we say that we have no fin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, If we say that we have not finned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. Here we see that all christians are chargeable with fin; and consequently, if they are acquitted at God's bar, their justification must be of grace, and not of debt. Moreover, this is directly afferted by St. Paul. Rom. iii. 24. Being justified freely by his grace, throʻ the redemption that is in Jesus Chrift. Eph. ii. 24. &c. But God, who is rich in meriy, for his great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead in fins, hath quickened us Bogether with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.) For by Grace ye cre saved, iko' faith; and that pet of your felves; it is the gift of God: not of works