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nurfing fathers, and queens nurfing mothers to the Christian church, this cannot, in reason, be supposed to intend any more than that kings and queens should take Christ's people into their protection; and desend and secure them, even as a nurse doth her child, from every evil that they are exposed to, upon the account of their prosession; but it will noc follow from hence, that they were to make men christians by spree and violence, or to destroy the common rights of mankind.
Concerning S I N, in which is con* sidered Original Sin.
THIS enquiry is threefold ; firsts what sin is. Second'y., who are guilty of it, so as to be properly called sinners. Thirdly, whether one person may be guilty of the sin which is actually committed in and by the person of another.
First, To use St. John's definition, as in i John iii. 4. Sin is the transgression of the law; or to express it more fully, sin is an irregular, disorderly, wicked act, either of the mind singly, or of the mind and practice in conjunction; by which a person chuses to do what in reason and justice he ought not, or chuses to avoid what in reason and justice he ought to do.
Secondly, Such, and such only, are guilty of sin, so as to be properly called sinners, who transgress the law ; or who chuse to do, or to avoid doing, as aforefaid.
Thirdly, When any person, by advising, approving of, consenting to, or not using his endeavour to prevent the fin committed by another; or any other way makes himself an accessory to another's crime, either before or after the fact, such a person may, in some sense, be faid to be guilty of the sin which is committed in and by the person of another, because he becomes a partner
* with with the criminal in his folly, Not, but properly speaking, every one in this case is guilty onJy of the part fye bore in, or contributed to the sin committed; and is not guilty of the part which others bore in, or contributed towards it. Thus, if one man advises another to murder his neighbour, and another approves pf, and justifies the fact, after it is committed, the latter, in this case, will not be guilty- of advising to, nor of actually committing the murder, but' only pf justifying and approving' it, when done x ^hich \yas the part he bpie in this wickedness.
: If it -be asked, may not pne. person be guilty of another's sin, except be is some way or other accessory to it? I answer, he cannot; for as guilt arises from the irregularity a,nd wickedness pf the act to which it cleaves, so it cannot, in the nature pf thp thing, extend itself any farther than to the personal actor, and to all those that are some way or other, iri some kind or degree, accessory to it ^ for as it is altogether unreasonable, ana unjust, to. charge that upon a person which he did not act, nor was any way accessory to, so there can be nai such thing in. nature as a'person to be guilty pf a crime which was wholly RWt of his power to pre-: vent, which he never consented to, or approved pf, nor was any way accessory to, either before c^r after the fact.
Objection, Tho' in the nature of the thing the guilt of any act can extend no farther than the actor, and those who are some way pr other accessory to it, yet as God js an absolute and unconT txoulable Being, who can dispose of his creatures. as he lists, so he can impute the guilt of one person's acts to. another, tho' the perfpn he imputes. it to be no way accessory to that act. Thus 'Gpd imputes the guilt oi'Æam's fin to all his posterity, tho' they were no \^ accessory to his crime.
Answer, Tho' God is absolute and uncontroulable with relation to his creatures, and in that respect can dq with them as he lists, yet he is not so with relation to himself; because he is influenced and governed by those divine persections of wisdom and goodness, truth and righteousness, which dwell everlastingly in hum. And tho' God is under no restraint, with respect to any thing without himself, yet he is so far restrained (in all his dealings with his creatures) by the moral rectitude of his" nature, as that he never will act contrary to the principles of wisdom, goodness, truth, and justice and consequently, to fay that he imputes; the fin of one person to another which was in no respect accessory thereto, is to impute unrighteousness and iniquity to the most holy God; than which there can be' no greater slander or defamation. That to impute sin, as aforesaid, is contrary to the principles of jifftice and equity is manisest, not only from the nature and reason of the thing, but also from the testimony os God, who hath declared it to be so, in his holy word, as in Ezek. xviii. where, when God, by his prophet, had assured the people of Israel tjiat as- all'souls were his, so the soul that sinned should die; and that if a good man had an evil son, the son only, and not the father, should b6 chargeable with the guilt of his actions, and the like of a wicked father and a good son -, and that the father should not bear the iniquity os the son, nor the son the iniquity os the father; hit that the righteousness cf the righteous fiall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked upon him: he then appeals to the judgment of those very Israelites who complained of the iniquity of his dealings with them, whether he did not govern himself in this respect by the principles of justice and equity, as at verse 25, 29. Hear-new, Q heuse os Ilrae^ are not my ways equals From
hence hence I inser, that as the charging every man's fins upon himself^ and not upon another, was just and equal in God's account, so the contrary to this, viz. the charging or imputing one man's sin to another, that was no way accessory thereto, is unequal and unjust in his account also. And as God declared, by the mouth of his prophet, that he would deal equally with his creatures in this respect, by charging the guilt Of every man's siri upon himself, and not upon another; so whoever asserts otherwise of God, is guilty of slander and false accufation against the most High; consequently God will not impute Adam's sin to his posterity.
If it should be here replied, that tho' this is true with respect to actual, yet it is not so with respect to original fin. Every common father shall be chargeable only with the guilt of his own sin i but Adam was more than a common father, he being the head and representative of all mankind, and therefore the guilt of this his fin is chargeable upon all his posterity. Answer, if by original sin is here meant the fin <?/Adam in eating the forbidden fruit, this was as much an actual sin as any that hath been committed by any other man j and God is as much obliged, by the rectitude of his nature, to deal equally in charging the guilt of this sin upon no other than him that actually committed it, and those that were some way or other accessory to that crime, as he is obliged to deal so with all other sins and sinners. And if we consider Adam as a head and representative to his posterity, it makes no alteration in the case, because it was not his posterity, but almighty God which constituted that relation, and therefore' his posterity ought not, injustices to be sufferers by it. If the body of mankind had chosen Adam to be their kead$ and had given him power and authority