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nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers to the Cbristian church, this cannot, in reason, be fupposed to intend any more than that kings and queens should take Christ's people into their protection, and defend and secure them, even as a nurse doth her child, from every evil that they are exposed to, upon the account of their profession ; but it will not follow from hence, that they were to make men christians by force and violence, or to deftroy the common rights of mankind.

TRACT

AN ENQUIRY Concerning SIN, in which is con

fidered Original Sin.

HIS enquiry is threefold; forft, what sin is. Secondly, who are guilty of it, so as to be properly called finners.

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 1 John iii. 4. Sin is the transgresion 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 chufes 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 chufe to do, or to avoid doing, as aforesaid.

Thirdly, When any person, by advising, approving of, consenting to, or not using his endea. vour to prevent the sin 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 fenfe, be said to be guilty of the sin which is committed in and by the person of another, because he becomes a partner with the criminal in his folly, Not, but properly speaking, every one in this case is guilty only of the part be bore in, or contributed to the sin com, mitted; 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 of, 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 of justifying and approving it, when done; which was the part he bore in this wickedness.' · If it be asked, may not one person be guilty of another's sin, except he is some way or other acceffory to it? I answer, he cannot; for as guilt arises from the irregularity and wickedness of the act to which it cleaves, so it cannot, in the nature of the thing, extend itself any farther than to the personal actor, and to all those that are some way or other, in some kind or degree, accessory to it for as it is altogether unreasonable, and unjust, to charge that upon a person which he did not act, nor was any way accessory to, so there can be no such thing in nature as a person to be guilty of a çrime which was wholly out of his power to prevent, which he never consented to, or approved of, nor was any way accessory to, either before or 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 or other ac; çessory to it, yet as God is an absolute and uncona troulable Being, who can dispose of his creatures as he lifts, so he can impute the guilt of one person's acts to another, tho' the person he imputes it to be no way accessory to that act. Thuş "God imputes the guilt of Adcm's fin to all his posterity, tho’ they were no way accessory to his crime,

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concerning Sin. Answer, ThoʻGod is absolute and uncontrouls áble with relation to his creatures, and in that respect can do with them as he lists, yet he is not

fo with relation to himself; because he is influenced · and governed by those divine perfections of wif

dom and goodness, truth and righteousness, which dwell everlastingly in him. And tho' God is under no restraint, with refpect to any thing without himself, yet he is so far restrained (in all his dealings with his creatụres) by the moral reciitude of his nature, as that he never will act contrary to the principles of wisdom, goodness, truth, and justice, and consequently, to say 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 boly God; than which there can be no greater fander or defamation. That to impute sin, as aforesaid, is contrary to the principles of justice and equity is manifest, not only from the nature and reason of the thing, but alsó from the testimony of God, who hath declared it to be fo, in his holy word, as in Ezek. xviii. where, when God, by his prophet, had assured the people of Israel that as all fouls were his, so the Tous that sinned should die ; and that if a good man had an evil son, the son only, and not The father, should be chargeable with the guilt of his actions, and the like of a wicked father and a good fon; and that the father should not bear the iniquity of the fun, nor the son the iniquity of the father ; but that the righteousness of the righteous fall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked upon bin : he then appeals to the judgment of those very Ifraelites who complained of the iniquity of his dealings with thein, whether he did not govern himself in this refpect by the principles of justice and equity, as at verse 25, 29. Hear 1000, o kçue of Israel, ere nui niz wrys equal From

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hence I infer, 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 fin 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 fin upon himself, and not upon another, so whoever asserts otherwise of God, is guilty of Nander and false accusation against the most High; consequently God will not impute Adam's fin 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 fin ; but Adam was more than a common father, he being the bead 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 fan of Adam in eating the forbidden fruit, this was as much an actual sin as any that hath been committed by any other man; 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 hiin 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 pofterity, but almighty God which constituted that relation, and therefore his posterity ought not, in justice, to be sufferers by it. If the body of mankind liad chosen Adam to be their keadand had given him power and au

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