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that God has acted unjustly in establishing such a constitution.
But few, if any, have the hardihood even to venture the thought, that the divine Being is blameworthy, for having created man mortal-nor for having made that mortality to depend on the conduct ofthe parent of all our race. They see, in some measure, a reason for the thing, in this universal law of God's providence, that the developments of the first man; i. e. those that emanate from him, must bear an essential resemblance to himself. It is the universal law which regulates the developments of life in this world.
Throughout the interminable ranges of vegetable and annimal life, the seed and ovom developed in a new and individuated being, has first been a part of the body of its parent, and the offspring, in due season, exhibits the image of the parent. Shall we object to this constitution of God, and say,
that when He creates, he ought not to make one being dependent on another, but give to each one an origa inal, separate, independent existence. “Vain man would be wise, though man be born like the wild ass's colt.”ı Such is the sovereign constitution of God, and to it we must bow.
The derivation of our mortal bodies from Adam, constituting the whole human race but one vast series of being, individuated by regular process, and developing the first pair of our progenitors, is so unquestionably matter of fact, that there can be no denial, that in so far, at least, as our bodies are concerned, we have not only been begotten ia the likeness of Adam, but also, that as their condition, and the circumstances of their origination, depended on his own character and acts, so he has transmitted to us an animal nature, that is liable to disease and death.
1. Job xi, 12.
We can trace this law, or process of reproduction, almost in every thing. So obvious is it, that persons, entirely unacquainted with medicine, will talk about diseases, inherited from generation to generation. The physician unhesitatingly affirms, that the state of animal health in the parents, affects the condition of the child, descending from them. The same diseases are developed in parents and children, and when they disappear in one generation, re-appear in the next.
Our Saviour has noticed the principle in the vegetable world. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit." "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and the fruit corrupt : for the tree is known by his fruit." But all this is met, most unphilosophically, by saying, that the principle applies only to our material nature. This, however, cannot be proved. The whole force of analogy is against it.
Will it avail any one to allege, that as the human soul is immaterial, and as moral corruption is properly and only predicable of our rational and moral nature, we are not to imagine, that the same principle will apply to it? And why not?
If we discover any grand principle, pervading all the other parts of the divine government in this world, running alike through the animal and vegetable creation, is it not presumable to suppose, that it extends to and embraces the other parts? Is it not the business of philosophy to generalize? To trace the operation of general laws and principles, in their various applications? Is it not the boast and glory of the Newtonian philosophy, that, by means of a few acknowledged principles, a thousand varied phenomena can be explained? How does it illustrate and elevate the wisdom of that philosophy, which, having determined the cause of the falling of an apple from a tree, took it as a guide, and starting into the immensity of space, explored the universe, and saw it all moving, and preserved in liarmonious order, by virtue of the same law--systems after systems, whirling, with all their suns, and planetary, and satellitical, and cometary, and astroidal worlds, with as unerring certainty, as the apple tended to the earth, and then returning, unfolded the mysteries of the tides, the motions of the winds, the oscillations of the pendulum, and a thousand other phenomena, that present themselves around this globe?
1. Mat. vii, 18.
2. Mat. xii, 33.
When we have ascertained a principle of divine government, we should not fear to pursue it in all its legitimate applications; nor through any of those grand illustrations, which, as it were, stand forth in bold relief, in the providence of God. Such a principle, we think, is discernible in the great law of reproduction, and of assimilating development, which marks the providential agency of God. Its bearing, on the subject of human depravity, we shall endeavour to trace. But, in the mean time, would caution the reader, against supposing that we advocate the idea of any seminal principles, physically innate or latent in the soul, which are derived by natural descent. What the Confession of Faith says of our first parents, viz: that “They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this (the first) sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation," is sufficiently intelligible, without resorting to the supposition of there being, in our very constitutional properties, an operative principle, which is the efficient cause of sin, and renders it physically necessary.
1. Westminster Confession of Faith, c vi. sec. 3.
THE DERIVATION OF DEPRAVITY.
An inquiry as to the origination of the human soul-The idea of all human
souls being concreated with Adam's cxamined-Does not relieve the doctrine of Adam's representation, and the imputation of guilt — The facts in the case as far as they are ascertainable—The creation of the human nature of Adam, of Eve, and of Christ throws no light on the subjectThe law of development observable in the production of human be, ings- Various analogical illustrations of this great principle of the divine government-Its application to the circumstances and condition of human beings-1. A constitutional nature is derived from Adam, which is subjected to a forfeiture of privileges and immunities that could have been secured by his obedience-Subject to disease and death--Inquiry whether eternal life is included in that forfeiture-2. Men come into existence, under circumstances which render it morally certain, that they universally will sin, as soon as they are capable of moral agency-An inquiry whether there is in man's nature, an efficient cause, whose operation renders it certain, that men will sin—Quotations from RivetOwen—The distinction between natural and moral inability--Some remarks on the whole subject.
It may perhaps be thought extravagant, and tresspassing into the regions of conjecture, to treat of the origination of the human soul. Yet as men have speculated on this subject, and there is reason to suspect, that some of their speculations have been assumed as verities, and have ex. erted, both a practical influence on their conduct, and a controling influence on their belief in some important matters, it cannot be pronounced presumptuous, to attempt, as far as reason and scripture, and the observation of facts may aid, to ascertain the truth.
The idea that all human souls were created simullaneously with Adam's, and are introduced into human bodies according as they are prepared for them in ordinary genesation, as indeed, all the schemes with regard to pre-existence and transmigration, whether adopted by ancient philosophical heathen, or advocated by more modern authors, scarcely deserves attention. There is no proof, as to the matter of fact, to be drawn, either from human consciousness, from the history of the world, or from the declarations of scripture. Analogy would lead us to a very opposite opinion. Nor are the reasons assigned for the probability of its being the fact, at all satisfactory.
li is unsafe to reason from our ignorance. Because we do not know a thing is not so, therefore it may be; and because, we do not know but that such a thing may be, therefore it is, j; a most fallacious species of argument. And, as to the difficulties, in which, the successive production of rational creatures, consessedly depraved, seems to involve the divine agency, and the occasion which it is supposed to furnish for animadversion on the divine character, they are not at all obviated by the supposition of the preeristence and simultaneous creation of human souls.
Nor can it at all relieve the theory of representation and the consequent imputation of guilt. In the ordinary alfairs of life, we do indeed act on the principle, that the constituents and representative, are both in being; yea, and that the latter has been constituted such by the will of the former. If, in the relation between parent and offspring, there seems to be a departure from the principle recognized in other repesentative relations, a very satisfactory reason can be assigned for it, in the circumstance, that the offspring are brought into existence, through the instrumentality of the parent, and are, for a considerable portion of their existence, dependent on his care. The act of the representative or ngent in ordinary cases, affects the constit