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stood in a general and figurative sense, as are many which occur in common parlance--none can affirm, who deny that Alum's sin, was personally our sin, or that the ill desert or moral turpitude of his sin was transferred to us. If, in a large sense, we say that all the suffering, and misery, and death in this world, is the punishment which God, as the righteous moral governor of the world, inflicts, for the violation of His divine constitution by our first parents, the idea is a very different one, and does by no means sanction that mode of speech, which virtually implies, that the death of an infant, is the specific punishment due to it personally in consequence of having really and criminally participated in Adam's sin.
own sake. It woull involve such other changes and result in such further explanations as would terminate many of those theological discussions, and ecclesiastical conflicts, which so often agitate the Presbyterian church. In these cheering anticipations we may indeed be disappointed. But we are greatly mistaken, if on this subject the consecrated phraseology of the older writers, can be long retained, and used with this modern commentary. Other causes of its disuse are in powerful operation. The attachment to forms of words, as the essential means of defending the truth is giving way to independent investigation. The ministry are becoming afraid to take doctrinal opinions upon trust and are yielding to the solemn responsibility of thinking for themzelves. Not that in our view, this implies any want of reverence for antiquity; but rather indicates, that due respect to the great and good, which consents to learn from their instructions, but not to submit implicitly to their authority. The present age is somewhat distinguished for careful and accurate discrimination, both in respect to thought, and the vehicle of thought; and more than all, for a high degree of solicitude to exhibit religious truth in forms adapted to the minds of the people, and fitted to secure its right apprehension, and practical results. Evil may ensue in the progress of these changes, but good, that shall far outweigh the evil, is also to be expected. This tendency of things, in the theological community is a stream whose course cannot be resisted; and while it will conduct safely to the haven of truth, those who shall wisely follow it, will no less surely overwhelm those who in the shattered bark of human authority, shall attempt to stem the current.” Chris, jan Spectator, vol. ii, p. 511,512.
Without adventuring further, at present, on ground, where it is almost impossible to use unambiguous terms, we shall present to the reader a general sketch of what appears to be the important facts in the case, as revealed in the sacred Scriptures. None will deny that ideath, as introduced and perpetuated in this world, is a consequence of our first parents' violation of that positive constitution, which God ordained, when He interdicted them from the use of the fruit of a particular tree. “ By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." And this is not obscurely intimated in the language used in the chronicled record of the original threat. "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." —dying thou shalt die, as though the process was to be indefinite.
The whole account too, which is given of the proceedings of God, in relation to the fall of our first parents, shews plainly, that the act of which they were guilty in eating the forbidden fruit, changed the entire aspect of His moral, and even, in some measure deranged His natural government in this world. That one sin of our first parents, was the violation of the very fundamental feature of the whole moral constitution ordained for this world. It introduced, in every direction, confusion, and disorder. We see that the brute creation dies, having as it were sympathy with man: and that the present uneasiness and misery of the creatues result, by virtue of some connection which they have with man, secms to be, not obscurely taught by the Apostle when he says, that “the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly but by reason of him that subjected the same." It is very cer
1. See a singular example of this noticed in Christian Spectator, v. iii, p. 509. % Bom. v. 12.
3. Gen. ii, 17. 4. Rom. viii, 20.
tain, that the earth was cursed for Adam's sake, and rendered sterile, or prolific of toisilts and thorns. The serpent was also cursed, as having been the instrument of Satan's subtlety; and the poliitrinery of Sectrl10:1, and pains of parturition, doleuns acainst Eve,? Paie been perpetuated among ler ( ighters. Butrinys say,
3 that the beasts pariluk of tie iii despre of . !am's sin?--- That the serpent sile! along withe evil, because it was unconsciously employed to revur first parents? --That the earth sinned alo, ani that the female sex shared more largely in the sin ui oui dirsi pareris, than the other? We presume nnt. Yet unquestionably have all these things, in the history of this world followed, in consequence of the sin of our first parents.
The sin of Adam, deranged the whole constitution of God's government in this world. A connection had been established with him as lord of this lower creation, and all things in it.“ By virtue therefore of the state of dependence on man, which God had ordained for them, when he became rebellious, confusion and derangement were secured among them. This we can very readily apprehend, without resorting to the philosophical theory of " the union of representation,” to account for the present condition of the beasts and soil. Cod undoubtedly was at
. liberty, when man rebelled, to show how greatly He was offended with his sin, and to allow the beasts to rise up and to dispute man's dominion, and to exhibit among them, the same scenes of misrule and ferocious passion, which should prevail among his immediate progeny, as the natural consequence of his rebellion; and further, to cause the earth reluctantly--not without much toil and suffering on the part of man, to yield her fruit for his support, Here we may read, on these monuments which God has erected in this revolted world, the memorials of His displeasure with the sin of the first rebel.
... Gen. Ü. 17, 18.
2. Gcn. ii. 14.
3. Gen, i, 16.
4. Gen. 1. 28,
With these facts we might be satisfied, and learn from them, to read the same humbling and appalling lesson, in the history of our suffering, dying race. What conceivable obligation could there have been, that God, now bound after their rebellion, by all the glories of His moral character, to inflict death on our first parents according to the threatening denounced, should exempt their children and progeny from the same? Especially, since He had ordained that all the life to be imparted 10 the latter should be conveyed through, and possess the character of that of the former? Must He derange His entire govern nent? Shall the law of development be suspended in reference to man? Or rather shall it prevail every where else, but be instantly suppressed in reference to man, because he had sinned. Had the infinitely wise and Omniscient Supreme, adopted a principle to mark His natural government, which would so quickly be demonstrated improper and n ischievous? Was God chargeable with an art of thougntlessness and over-sight, in incorporating in His government a principle, which put in jeopardy both the character and well-being of the whole race? Who will dare to assert these things? No. He was not taken by surprise.' The laws of His providence, remain unchanged, though man has changed his relations; and, instead of being the conduit of life, conveys death to his progeny; instead of being the occasion and centre of bliss, beauty, and glory among the creatures, becomes the instrument of curse to a ruined world. The death of infants therefore, like any other derangement, in the natural government of this world, is the appropriate and legitimate result of Adam's sin, as conmitted under the operation of laws, both physical and moral; whieh God had unchangeably ordained, and which lle had most indupitably a right so to do.
There is no manner of necessity, in order to account for the death of infants to suppose that the sin of Adam becomes their personal sin, either in respect of its actor its ill desert. Their death eventuates, according to that law of dependence, which marks the whole government of God in this world, by virtue of which the consequences of the act of one man terminate oft-times on the person of another, where there is not the union of representation. All this is simple matter of fact, confirmed alike by human observation, and the Scriptures. It is THEORY which enters here, and talks about being identified with Adam, and of the whole human race being summed up in him, and being accounted but one moral, person, partaking in all its numerical parts of the act and ill desert of his sin. How few form any definite idea of the fact from such theories! Little if
any thing but confusion and perplexity is gained by them. They fail even in that for which they are designed. For, suppose it be admitted, that death is, in every instance, specifically the punishment of the sin of the individual in whom it eventuates, and that, since dying infants have no personal sin, so there is no sin but that of Adam on account of which they can be punished--what then? Is there any thing gained by this theory, which makes them partakers of his act and its ill desert, as far as it regards the justice of God? We apprehend not. For, is it not just as intelligible, and consistent with the justice of God, to say that the consequences of Adam's sin, appear in the death of infants, by virtue of the great laws of development and mutual dependences which mark the divine government in this world, as to say that death being the penalty of the law, the sin of Adam must become really and truly, that of infants, that, before they can be guilty of personal sin themselves, they may be justly punished with death.