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cate is a good one, it will not be difficult to maintain it. If it is otherwise, you not only cannot defend it, but you justly will incur that censure, which you with no sparing hand deal out to others; for if Christ in dying, became a ransom or propitiation for all mankind; your pertinacious denial of it, is, according to your own meaning of the term heresy, of no small magnitude.
Original sin, will be noticed in my next.
LETTER IV. - SIR,
IN your note, page 80th, you thus remark on the difference of sentiment between the Calvinists and Hopkinsians, with respect to the “ nature of the “ fall, and its consequences,” “The former say, Sin“ ners, you are infected with original sin, as well as “ guilty of actual transgression. You are weak as “ well as wicked; having neither the power, nor the “ disposition to please God. Still you are bound to “ obey God, because he commands obedience; and it " is your crime, as well as your misery, that you are “ ruined, in body, soul and spirit. If God do not " make you.alive, in all your powers, from the dead, “you must be damned.” (Calvinism.)
“The latter say, Sinners you need not lament orig"inal siz: repent of your own sins; for you are per« fectly able to repent and keep the whole law. You
“see, then, how rebellious you are! So much you “have sinned, as you have deviated from perfect obe“ dience. Now if God do not make you willing to “ do what you are able, you perish.” (Hopkinsianism.) . .. :
To vindicate truth, thus tortured betwixt two dominant errours, shall be the effort of the present letter.
Original sin and its off-set depravity, whether total or general, are, in respect to the holy scriptures, terms of exotic kind: but indigenous to creeds, confessions and catechisms, where they flourish luxuriantly as in native clime and soil.
Whatever propriety may attach to these terms considered simply in themselves, yet, such is the manner in which they have been hackneyed in subserviency to mistaken and interested views of contending parties, that they are become calculated to mislead the understanding, and impose upon the judgment of inquirers after truth. For by appealing to long imbibed prejudices, rousing up dormant passions, and calling into action an accustomed train of associated ideas, the mind becomes but too often utterly disqualified for a candid, sedate, impartial and patient investigation of a darling idol, or detested heresy. Divesting ourselves, then, as far as possible from all prediliction for what Calvin, Arminius, or Hopkins may have taught on these subjects, let us only honestly endeavour to seek truth and detect errour, under whatever shape or name either may appear. .ii
Original sin correctly defined and understood, as refering to mankind, implies only the transgression of
our first Parents when in the garden of Eden ; and any other explanation of it is but absurdity and contradiction. It is, however, often so defined as to confound it with its supposed consequence, depravity. W hat the true signification of depravity is, and from what real source derived, will become distinct subjects of future consideration : but in this place we are to scrutinize the first sin of our first parents, and to endeavour to trace its real consequences. The account given us by inspiration of the condition of Adam and Eve before transgression, is plain and concise. They were formed in the likeness, and bore the image of their Creator. The resemblance was intellectual and moral. Man possesed of perception, reason, understanding and memory, together with the other appendages of mentality ; bore resemblance to the Eternal and Uncreated mind which willed the universe into existence. And as the ever blessed Jehovah was infi. nitely holy, just, good, true and merciful ; so Adam was both finitely and mutably, holy, just, good, true and merciful. He was innocent and righteous, but all his perfection excluded not peccability. Liable to temptation, he also was liable to fall thereby; and for aught we know, fell by the very first that assailed him.
Exalted ideas of Adam's primeval perfection, surpassing all credibility, have been imagined and assertod by multitudes. The love of the marvellous, has endued his body with immortality ; his mind with a vigour inconceivably transcending that of any of his posterity ; and his moral affections with a rectitude surpassing all his descendants in their highest attain
ments of grace and holiness. Even an Emmons hath for firmness of integrity, placed Adam on a par with Christ, and so exalted his fidelity of holy love, that nothing short of almighty power itself, was able, in aid of Satan and Eve, to bow his reluctant will into rebellion ; for “The first Adam was as totally dis“posed to resist the devil in paradise, as the second “ Adam was to resist him in the wilderness. They “ were both perfectly holy; and being perfectly holy, “ they both stood superiour to all external temptations “ It is in vain to attempt to account for the sin of the “ first man, by the instrumentality of second causes. “And until we are willing to admit the interposition 6 of the supreme first cause, we must be content to « consider the fall of Adam, as an unfathomable mys. “tery.” (Emmons.)
Immortality constituted no inherent quality of the bodies of our first parents, and was attainable to them only through access to the tree of life.* The circumstance of Adam's having given names to the different creatures, expressive of some characteristick quality in each, indicates either intuitive or inspired discernment; but whether intuitive or inspired, no man can certainly decide; neither can it be proved that the general qualities of creatures were ever so well
* Whatever corporeal energies or excellencies might origininally have appertained to man; yet he was excelled in some respects, by many of the inferior creatures; by some in strength, by others in speed, and by myriads in loftiness of flight on rapid wings,
understood by him as by a Buffon, or of plants, as by a Linneus. Newton probably far excelled him in astronomical knowledge and calculation ; whilst an Herschel discovered in the confused and faint glimmerings of the milky way, suns and systems unthought of by his first great ancestor. As to moral goodness, Adam's recorded works discover but small evidence of proficiency in righteousness. If affirmed of him that he was created in the image of God, a new creation in the same image is affirmed of all his believing descendants. If very good or perfect, perfection is as divinely affirmed of Job and Noah. Enoch, the seventh descendant from Adam, far excelled him in righteousness, stemming through centuries, with approved fidelity, the torrent of surrounding iniquity. Abraham, Joseph, Daniel and his tried companions, as well as multitudes in succeeding ages, when tested with the sharpest trials and sorest temptations, have often more nobly endured them than did their frail first parents. In the view of Adam and Eve was. placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But its fruit was prohibited by divine injunction. Satan, in the serpent, ensnares Eve. She having eaten, solicits him to partake the forbidden repast. Yielding to insinuating persuasion, he adventures, and both are ruined.
Here, and here only was original sin. Its operation on Eve is obvious; exciting in her credulity towards the tempter ; distrust of, and disobedience towards God, and a disposition to seek the seduction of Adam to share with her in imaginary bliss of forbidden wis