Imágenes de páginas

cagn to his purpose, so it was not true, when thus applied.

As to Psalm 1L 5. Behold, I was Jhapen in iniquity, and in fin did my mother conceive me; to this I answer, it is one thing to be conceived in fin,' and another to be conceived a sinner; the first of these resers to the fin of the parent, which is the plain and express words of the text; the latter resers to the sin of the child, which is only a false interpretation put upon it; and therefore, I fay, that this text is urged in this case without any appearance of strength.

. If it should be objected, that David was now humbling himself before God, for his great offences of murder and adultery, and therefore the sin of his parents was not a proper ground of humiliation to him upon this occasion; and consequently it was his own fin which he reserred to. I answer, If it was his own sin, yet that was no more a proper ground for his humiliation, in this case, then the sin of his parents; because it was what he was no ways accessory to, nor could prevent, he being en^ tirely passive therein ; therefore the one was as proper a ground for his humiliation as the other'. J5ut farther, I fay, the true state of the case I take to be this, David in his devotion brings in every thing that might raise or express the height of his affections, whether it were of joy or sorrow; and so we sind him calling upon the sun and moon to praise God, as in Psalm cxlviii. 3. Here David did not address or petition the fun and moon to be engaged in this work, but he only used these expressions to raise and express his delight and joy in God. . So in like manner, when he was humbling himself for his folly, he represents himself, not only as a great sinner, but heighten and aggravate. his .sorrow) that he proceeded- from sinful parents. A cafe like this. we have in Jseiah vi.

N 3 'Whers Where the Prophet complains against himself^

that he was a man of unclean lips, and to aggravate bis debasement, he adds, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips.

As to Isaiah xlviii. 8. I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and was called a transgressor from the womb. To this I answer, supposing this to respect individuals, yet it does not prove them to be transgressors from the womb; because the scriptures often use such loftiness of speech as expresses much more than the speaker intends j thus in Psalm lviii. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as foen as they be born, speaking lies. Here the wicked are represented as speaking lies as soon as they are born, even before they can speak at all. The meaning is, they are sinners from their youth upwards; so that to be transgressors from the womb, is no more than to be transgressors from their youth. But farther, I fay, these words were spoken not to individual considered as such, but to the nation of Israel, as appears from verse 1. Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, &c. Now this was true ot them, considered as a nation, whose birth, as such, was their coming out of Egypt; for before that time they were at most but a multitude of bondmen. And that they were transgressors from the womb, Moses has given an abundant proof.

As to Eph. ii. .3. And were by nature the cMdreH. of wrath. To this I answer, if St. Paul may be allowed to use the term nature in an improper sense, as lie does in 1 Cor. xi. 14. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? In this case nature, properly so called, is unconcerned; for supposing that it was then, and always had been a custom, tor both men and woman to wear their hair down to-their girdr les. Would natural reason have taught us that this was unseemly in the men, and yet decent in the women? no surely, nature hath nothing to fay in this matter. It is custom and usage that make things seemly, or unseemly, in the present case. it had been a custom for "men to have their hair cut, and not to wear it long as the women did, and this was used as a distinction of the sexes; and for men to do otherwise the Apostle faith was a shame; which is as much as if he had faid, even the common ufage and custom of mankind in this case teacheth you, that if a man have long hair, like a woman, it is a shame unto him, for that is to confound the distinction of sexes. I fay, if the Apostle may be allowed to use the word nature in the fame sense as before, then the sence of the Apostle will appear to be this, viz. before you believing Ephejians were converted to christianity, your customary and habitual wickedness justly exposed you to the wrath of God, even as those other Gentiles which are in the like case. But if the Apostle used the word nature in a proper sense, then I think his meaning is this, viz. among whom also * we all had our converfation in ^imes past, in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and as such we were naturally exposed to the just displeasure and wrath of God, even as the other Gentiles that are in the like wicked and unconverted state. 'Thus I have shewn that the texts reserred to, do not answer the purpose for which they were produced, and so have fully answered this objection.

* The Apostle, as he was speaking to the Gf/itila, puts himself in the place of iGentile, and uses the term we.


- AN

;;E N Q^U I R Y

Concerning Justification.

* - -

THIS enquiry consists of two parts? first, of justisication in general; and secondly, of the justification of a christian in particular. Firsts Of justification in general. I observe that as justification is a law term, so it imports (in the first and most proper sense) that discharge or act of acquitment which he that sits in judgment pronounces upon the person under trial; and therefore justification presupposes several things, viz. a gor verncur and governed, a law or rule that the governed is to act by, and a tribunal or act of enquiry, whether the person governed has walked exactly according to that rule. And as justification is an acquitting of the person under trial, so that acquitment is either an act of debt, or of grace* If when due enquiry hath been made, the person under trial is found innocent, that is, hath acted exactly agreeably to the rule which was given him and by which he is tried, then justification is a debt which the judge is, in strict justice, obliged to make good, and the innocent person may lawfully demand as his right. But if when enquiry hath been made, the person under trial is found guilty that is., hath acted difagreeably to the rule given him to walk by, then if he is acquitted, that acquitment must be an act of grace, and not of debt, because the judge is so tar from being -gtliged, in justice, tq. acquit him, that on the


Contrary he might justly condemn him. His transgression of the rule justly exposes him to that sentence of cehdemnation, which is a proportional punishment to his transgression; and consequents ly, if he is acquited, it must be wholly of grace,, and not of debt.

Secondly,- Of the Justification of a christian. I. observe, first, that as justification is a two-fold, stream which flows from two disserent fountains,, the one of debt, flowing from the innocency of the person justified, the other of grace, flowing from the merciful goodness of the lawgiver; so the justification of a christian is wholly of the later fort, 'viz. of grace. The christian hath no right founded in innocency to claim an acquitment at God's bar, because he is a transgressor of God's law; and therefore his acquitment is founded in the merciful goodness of God the lawgiver. For the proof of this observation, fee Rom. iii. 9. 23. We have before proved, both Jews and Gentiles, that

they are all under sin. ——All have sinned, and

come floort of the glory of God, James iii. 2. In many thing we offend all. 1 John i. 8, 10. If we fay that- we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the

truth is not in us, . If we fay that we have not

Jinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. Here we see that all christians are chargeable with sin; and consequently, if they are acquitted at God's bar, their justification must be of grace, and not of debt. Moreover, this is directly asserted by St. Paul. Rom. iii. 24. Being justified freely by his grace, thro' the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. Eph. ii. 24. &c. But God,, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead in fins, hath quickened us

together with Christ, {by grace ye are saved.)

for by - Grace ye are saved, tho" faith; and that pot of your selves; it is the gift of God,: net ofworh "' '''' (or

« AnteriorContinuar »