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Did Adam bimself suffer any affliction 2. Ang toil or pain? Doubtless he did, long before he returned to dust. And can we doubt, but he received spiritual good from that pain? Yet it was a punishment still: as really such, as if it had consigned him over to everlasting punishment. This argument therefore is of no weight: “God draws good out of punishments: therefore they are no punishments at all.” However, then, the sufferings wherein Adam's sin has involved his whole posterity, may “try and purify. us, in order to future and everlasting happiness,” (p. 23,) this circumstance does not alter their nature: they are punishments still.
Let“ afflictions, calamities, and death itself, be means of improving in virtue,” (p. 24,) of healing or preventing sin, this is no manner of proof, that they are not punishments. Was not God able to heal or prevent sin, without either pain or death? Could not the Almighty have done this, as easily, as speedily, and as effectually, without these as with them? Why then did he not? Why did Adam's sin bring these on his whole posterity? Why should one man suffer for another man's fault? If you say, to cure his own; I ask, 1. What' necessity was there of any suffering at all for this? If God intended only to cure his sin, he could have done that without any suffering. I ask, 2. Why do infants suffer ? What sin have they to be cured thereby ? If you say, “ It is to heal the sin of their parents, who sympathise and suffer with them :" in a thousand instances this has no place : the parents are not the better, nor any way likely to be the better, for all the sufferings of their children. Their sufferings therefore, yea, and those of all mankind, which are entailed upon them by the sin of Adam, are not the result of mere mercy but of justice also. In other words they have in them the nature of punishments, even on us and on our children. Therefore children them. selves are not innocent before God. They suffer, therefore they deserve to suffer.
And here another question arises; What benefit accrues to the brute-creation, from the sufferings wherein their VOL. XIV.
whole race is involved through the sin of the first man? The fact cannot be denied, daily experience attests what we read in the oracles of God, that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain to this day,' a considerable part of it groans to God, under the wantonness or cruelty of man. Their sufferings are caused, or at least greatly increased, by our luxury or inhumanity: nay, and by our diversions! We draw entertainment from the pain, the death of other creatures : not to mention several entire species, which at present have such natural qualities, that we are obliged to inflict pain, nay, perhaps death upon them, purely in our own defence. And even those species which are out of the reach of men, are not out of the reach of suffering. "The lions do lack and suffer hunger,' tho' they are as it were sovereigns of the plain. Do they not acknowledge this, when roaring for their prey,' they seek their meat from God? And what shall we say of their helpless prey ? Is not their lot more miserable still ? Now what benefits, I say, have these from their sufferings ? Are they also “ tried and purified thereby ?” 'Do sufferings “ correct their inordinate passions, and dispose their minds to sober reftections?” Do they“ give them opportunity of exercising kindness and compassion, in relieving each other's distresses?" That I know not: but I know by this and a thousand proofs, that when man, the lord of the visible creation, rebelled against God, every part of the creation began to suffer on account of his sin. And to suffering on account of sin, I can give no properer name than that of punishment.
“ It was to reclaim offenders, that an extraordinary power was exercised, either immediately by our Lord himself, or by his apostles, of inflicting bodily distempers, and in some cases, death itself,” (p. 25.). I do not remember any more than one single case wherein one of the apostles “inflicted death." I remember no instance recorded in Scripture, of their “inflicting bodily distempers.” (The blindness inflicted on Elimas cannot be so termed, without great impropriety,) and certain I am, that our Lord himself, inflicted neither one nor the other.
The citations in the next page prove no more than that we may reap benefit from the punishment of others, (p. 26.) But though either we or they reap benefit from them, yet they are punishments still.
“ We do not here consider death and suffering as they stand in the threatening of the law,” (p. 27.) You are sensible, if we did, all mankind must acknowledge them to be punishments. And this is the very light wherein we do and must consider them in the present question. We consider death and suffering, as they stand in that threatening, • Thou shalt surely die.' That this was denounced to all mankind we know, because it is executed on all. Therefore considering suffering and death as so threatened and executed, we cannot deny, that they are punishments : punishments not on Adam only, but on all that in fact do either die or suffer.
To sum up this point: although the wisdom and mercy of God, do “bring good out of evil.” Although God designs to extract blessings from punishments, and does it in numberless instances : yet this does not alter the nature of things, but punishments are punishments still: still this name properly belongs to all sufferings, which are inflicted on account of sin: and consequently, it is an evident truth, that the whole animate creation is punished for Adam's sin.
The Argument taken from the Calamities and Sinfulness of
Mankind, considered. “The subject of our present inquiry is three-fold. 1. Whether mankind be under God's displeasure, antecedently to their actual sins ? 2. Whether our nature be corrupt, from the beginning of life? And, 3. Whether these propositions can be proved from the calamities and sinfulness of mankind?” (p. 30, 31.)
Whether they can or not, they have been fully proved from Scripture. Let us now inquire, if they may not be proved from the state of the world.
But you think Dr. Watts," has here laid too great stress on supposition and imagination.” In proof of which you
' cite from him the following words: “Can we suppose that “the blessed God 'would place his innocent creatures in 6 such a dangerous habitation? Can we suppose, that
among the roots, and the herbs, and the trees which are good for food, the great God would have suffered deadly poison to spring up here and there? Would there have
any such creatures in our world as bears und tygers ? « Can we ever imagine the great and good God would “have appointed men to be propagated in such a way, as« would necessarily give such exquisite pain and anguish " to the mothers that produce them, if they had been all “ accounted in his eyes, a race of holy and sinless beings?" (p. 31.)
I answer, It is not true, “ that too great stress," or any stress at all, is “here laid on mere supposition and imagination.” Your catching at those two words, suppose and imagine, will by no means prove it. For the meaning of
. them is plain. “Can we suppose, the blessed God would do this ?" is manifestly the same, with, “How can we re. concile it with his essential attributes ?" In like' manner, “ Can we ever imagine .2” is equivalent with, “ Can we possibly conceive?” So that the occasional use of these words does not infer his laying any stress on supposition and imagination. When therefore you add, “our suppositions and imaginations are not a just standard by which to measure the divine dispensations,” (p. 32,) what you say
is absolutely true, but absolutely foreign to the point.
Some of the questions which you yourself ask, to expose his, it is not so easy to answer. “Would innocent creatures. have been thrust into the world in so contemptible circumstances ? And have been doomed to grow up so slowly to maturity and the use of reason? Would they when grown
have been constrained to spend so much time in low
and servile labour? Would millions have been obliged to spend all their days, from early morn till evening, in hewing stone, sawing wood, heaving, rubbing or beating the limb of an oak, or a bar of iron :”(p. 33.) I really think, they would not. I believe all this toil as well as the pain and anguish of women in chila-birth, is an evidence of the fall of man, of the sin of our first parents, and part of the punishment denounced and executed first on them, and then on all their posterity.
You add, “He doth not consider this world as a state of trial, but as if it ought to have been a seat of happia ness,” (p. 34, 35.) There is no contrariety between these: it might be a state of trial, and of happiness too. And such it certainly was to Adam in Paradise : whether 'he was holy or not, he was undoubtedly happy. A state of trial therefore does not necessarily imply any kind or degree of natural evil. And accordingly the Creator himself assures us, there was none originally in his creation. For so I read at the conclusion of it, And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good,' (Gen. i. 31.)
.“ But natural evil may be mixed with a state of trial. Consequently this world could not be built for a seat of happiness,” (p. 36.) Admirable drawing of consequences ! “ It may be: therefore it could not be otherwise. Whatever may be, God himself here tells us, what was. And from his own declaration it is infallibly certain, there was no natural evil in the world, till it entered as the punishment of sin.
“ Neither doth he take a future state into his representation,” (p. 36.) No, nor is there any need he should, when he is representing the present state of the world, as a punishment of Adam's sin. “ Nor doth he take into his argument the goodness of God,” (p. 37.) Not into this argument: that is of after consideration. So the texts you have heaped together on this head also, are very good. But what do they prove?