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other hand, to represent the creature as entirely independant of the Creator in all his volitions and actions.

I will now, without farther preface, iminediately attend to your questions. You must not, however, for reasons which are needless to mention, expect a regular and correct chain of argument; but that my observations and reinarks will be loose, and somewhat vague and desultory.

To begin. Many and various have beer, the conjectures and opinions of men concerning the introduction of sin, and much disputation about the first sin of Adain and its effects on himself and his posterity.

ist. Many assert, and endeavour to maintain, that God fixed the human constitution such, that if the first man sinned, it would subject or involve the whole human race in the condemnation of the same; that is, our first parents, by transgressing the coinmand of God, in eating the forbidden fruit, did not only bring, personal guilt upon thiemselves, but thereby, subjected themselves and all their posterity to death here, and endless damnation hereafter. They go further, and positively assert that all mankind were, by Adam's first sin, not only subject or liable to endless torinents in hell, but that all of them will certainly undergo it, except a comparatively few, called the ele&t, who were chosen in Christ before the world began, and who in time are efleétually called, by what they term the unfrustrable and irresistible power of the Holy Spirit upon their minds.

It is really astonishing how such horrid sentiments ever entered into the inind of any rational being—sentiments so abhorrent in themselves, so foreign, so contrary and repugnant to the glorious perfections of the Deity manifested by the light of nature, but more abundantly by divine revelation; and we can find nothing of this kind in the threatening before, por in the sentence pronounced after, the fall of our first parents. See Gen. iii.

2 There are others who do not chuse to say that mankind are liable to endless punishment merely for the sin of Adam, yet they maintain that all his posterity bring into the world with them such depravity and contamination of mind, as naturally tends to, and will unavoidably produce, those actions of sin and transgression against God which will terminate in the everlasting damnation of hell. If so, then, how does this mend the matter? What difference could it make to Cain whether he was damned merely for the sin of his father, or for his own, made unavoidable by that of his father?

3. There is also a third sort: they tell us that none of the children of Adam suffer anything in consequence of his eating of the forbidden fruit, either inmediately or remotely, only mortality and death. There are some of this third sort, whoin I sincerely regard, who say it is their fixed opinion that mankind are brought into the world as entirely free from the least degree of moral fracture as they would have been if Adam had never transgressed. If so, why suffer at all-as hath ever since been, and still is, the case with thousands and millions of the human race, who could not discern between the right hand and the left? If those children never had the least degree in any sense whatever) of sin, moral taint, or moral fracture, how then is the divine proceeding her in vindicated any more or better than in his condemning any of the children of Adam to hell før ever on account of his sin?' If it be not right to put an innocent man to death, then neither can it be right to cause him to suffer stripes.

Some of my friends of this third sort insist upon it that children come into the world as free from any moral fracture, any evil disposition or principle, as a piece of white paper; and that it is as easy to instil into them the principles of virtue, and to influence them to the practice thereof as it is to do the contrary. If by saying so they do not mean that it is practicable to bring up children so virtuously as to keep the whole of the moral law as completely and perfectly as Adam could before he partook of the forbidden fruit, it is, I think, little better than saying nothing: but if they think it is possible so to do, then I must beg leave to differ from them until proof shall be given thereof.

It is allowed that the blessiný of procreation was given before the fall; but as the effect thereof did not take place until the defection of our first parents, their children must, I should think, be begotten and born in that very image they had contracted, in consequence of their violating the command of their Creator, (be that image whatever it might) personal guilt only excepted—What that image wàs may be considered hereafter.

Now forasmuch as there never were any of the sons or daughters of Adam brought up so virtuous and pure, as is by some contended they might be, it is, in my opinion, a very strong argument that the thing is in the highest degree morally impossible, if not physically so.

There is another argument of considerable weight, and which I think ought to be attended to hy all such as profess to be concerned for the honour of God, and wish to speak of his character in such a manner as to justify his ways to men: it is this; if mankind are born into the world so free from sin or moral fracture in any sense or point of view whatever, how then is the righteousness and goodness of God to be vindicated in causing such perfectly pure and innocent creatures to be brought into this world, where they are surrounded and beset with such (I had almost said infinite) numbers of devils and devilish snares and temptations, which render it in the highest degree impossible for them uniformly and constantly to refrain doing those things which will subject them or cause them to be liable to wrath, tribulation, and anguish, both here and hereafter?

There is one way which it is thought will elude the force of the argument in the above paragraph : but whether or not it be suffịcient for the purpose

the reader inust judge. It is maintained by some that the Most High did not only foreknow, with infallible certainty, but also, from all absolute eternity all the free volitions of the creatures with the actions which might arise therefrom; and that the ideas of them, with all the sin, guilt, impurity, and defilement, were, from all absolute eternity, present with him, being coeval with his very nature and existence: they do not only affirm all this, but also that, in the eternal counsel of his own will, he arranged, fixed, connected, and combined all causes, effects, and circumstances, so as they shall ultimately terminate in the endless happiness of all his

creatures.

The above, so far as it provides for the final recovery and happiness of all the rational creation, I much approve of; yet I have one or two objections to some part thereof.

In the first place, I cannot recollect any part of scripture which informs me that God did, from all absolute eternity, certainly and necessarily foresee all the free deterininations of intellectual agents, but as contingent and possible.

I suppose it will be allowed that God was at perfect'liberty whether he would or would not create; also that he was free even to think of it: to deny this, is, in my judgment, to limit the Most High. I am fully persuaded that when the Almighty formed the creature, he could, if he chose it, not only foresee and foretel all the actions of the creature, but also all volitions in the mind, and motives which influence the will, to stir up

the members to do the actions : likewise that, if it pleased him, he could foresee and perfectly foreknow all the meanders, windings, and turnings the creature could make in its departure from the rule of eternal order.

To maintain that the absolutely Infinite is not possessed of power to. prevent certain ideas from entering into his inind, and to banish things out of his inind, so as never more to remember them, is not only to limit the power of God, but is also little better than giving the lie to his own positive declaration in the Scripture *.

Secondly. Such an arranging, fixing, connecting, and combining all circumstances, causes, and events, appears to me to destroy the very nature of vice and virtue. To this it hath been said, No; for as every effect arises froin some cause, so every action is done from some motive, and becomes praise or blame worthy froin the motive which influences the person to act." Now, admitting this, yet if all things are arranged, connected, fixed, and combined to bring about an effect, then he who fixed the effect, fixed also the cause; he who fixed the action, fixed the motive from which the action sprang. This, therefore, doth not remove my objection : it however puts me in mind of a Calvinistic argument in defence of God's decreeing sin, viz. that God's end and design in decreeing it was one thing, the creature's end in committing it was quite another. To which one answered, that the creature had the end in view which the decree made necessary.

Much hath been said about philosophical iecessity; I never oppose it, except when I think it stated in such a manner as sets aside the nature of virtue and vice; which I have sometimes thought to be the case Whatever may be said about it, I cannot be otherwise minded than to be

* See this subject more fully explained in Ramsay's Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion, Vol. I. p. 152, &c.

VOL. IV.

3D.

of opinion that man was created with what may be called a self determining power, and, though fallen into a state of sin, this power is still retained; without which I cannot see how he can be accountable for his conduct. I do not pretend to say or think I am endowed with a capacity to enter minutely into the subjeci, yet I am fully satisfied that like causes will ever produce like effects; for instance, suppose a man to suffer ever so much for saying or doing any thing; let him be put again into the same state, he will act the same part, if all the previous circumstances are the same ;---yea, Adam himself would, under the like circumstances, have done the same thing again.

One thing more before I dismiss your first question---Wherein is the difference between saying, with the strict Calvinist, that God, for his own glory, decreed whatever should come to pass, and his arranging, connecting, fixing, and combining all things, with all the circumstances, causes, and effects--I say, in what doth the difference consist between these two? Only that the former, provides for and secures the endless happiness of part of the creatures, while it leaves the other part to sink into endless perdition, for doing those things which himself made necessary and unavoidable by his own absolute decree; the latter brings all finally to that degree of glory and happiness he at first intended them to partake of.

I expect, by this time, after reading so much of what I have written concerning other persons' opinions and views of things, you will be wishing to learn my own of the first sin of Adam and its effects; to which I have no objection.

I conceive, then, that our first parents were, as God pronounced thein, very good; consequently enjoyed complete happiness, so far as their nature and present state would admit, being favoured with the smiles of their gracious Creator and bountiful Benefactor, being also quite free. from those turbulent passions which frequently harrass and torment their depraved offspring. No envy, wrath, hatred, or malice, pervaded their hearts: and as they perfectly knew the will of their Creator, agreeable to the state in which they were placed, their happiness must therefore greatly consist in obeying it. Yet notwithstanding all this, they were not impeccable, but were liable to receive impressions to their hurt; and the event fully shews us that was the case : for they had no sooner violated the command of their Maker, but guilt, fear, shame, &c. took place ia their minds.

The sacred history informs us, that they sought to hide themselves from the presence of God; which suggests very strongly, if it does not necessarily imply, that they had contracted, conceived, or received, a principle or spirit of 'enmity against God; the language of which was, “ Depart from us," &c. and indeed the account given in Gen. iii. appears to represent them as having no desire of any more communion with their Maker, which I think could arise from no other cause than from a spirit of enmity, &c.

Now please to observe; it strikes me, that, as the blessing of procreation had not taken effect before the defection of the first pair, therefore their children, being all begotten after their defection, must necessarily be brought into the world in the very same image theinselves had contracted, personal guilt only excepted.

It is probable you are ready to ask how my views of the fall of Adam and its effects are more consistent with the righteousness and equity of the Most High than those I oppose ?

I answer; as to our first parents, we cannot think they came out of the hands -of their Maker any otherwise than perfectly pure, free from the least degree of moral defect, as mentioned before. But as that state of purity and happiness could not be constantly and perpetually preserved, without the concurrence of their own free will, it may therefore be reasonably concluded, that they should be created liable to be tempted, and to receive impressions much to their hurt, not from the mere arbitrary will of God, but it appears necessary, as without it they could not be in a state of trial or probation. They however abused their liberty and freedom of wiil, whereby they fell into a state of sin, guilt, and depravity, and lost all they could, both for themselves and their posterity; and every impression they received appears to me to fall equally on their offspring as on themselves, (at least they are liable thereto) their own personal guilt excepted. Yet, in the fulness of the times, it will fully appear, that none of their children will have the least cause of complaint against them; for whatever Adam might receive or suffer, as the natural effect of his first sin, or whatever his descendauts may receive in consequence thereof, it will all be put away by the Lord Jesus Christ, (who is the second Adam) as though it had never existed : and through the seed of the woman, hoth our first parents, and all their posterity, are brought under such a 'dispensation of grace, as puts it in their power to arise to a state of happiness, far exceeding any thing which the Scripture gives us concerning Adam in the Garden of Eden.

It was not the first sin of Adam, nor any thing which he might do, as the natural consequence of any depravity received thereby, that could tender him liable to the second death; and as it could not subject him thereto, so neither could it any of his offspring; for that punishment will arise from a very different cause.

You know, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is called the gospel of the grace of God, the gospel of salvation; that Christ gave the commission to the apostles to go into all the world, to preach it 10 every creature, saying, 66 He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." Christ said unto the Jews, “ Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." He also said unto them, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Without multiplying passages of this kind, I will only add the words of the apostle, who, speaking of such as obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ," says, “ they shall be punished with everlasting (aionion) destruction from the presence of the Lord." Hence I conclude, and think very justly, that it is not the first sin of Adam, nor for any depravitý received from him, or any thing naturally arising from such depravity, that will immediately or remotely, directly or indirectly, subject or render liable any of the human race to suffer the second death; no, that

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