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tendency" opposite to that which the moral law requires and prone to that which the moral law forbids." And this he says is a corrupt tendency in a moral sense. Language could scarcely be more explicit, in excluding the idea, that the propensity to sin of which the writer speaks, is in itself sinful and deserving of punishment, and in confining his meaning to the single idea that this propensity is evil or sinful as it tends to moral evil or sin. Have we then a right to say that Edwards does mean by the terms in question, what he so plainly says he does not mean? Have we a right to give them a meaning beyond that to which he so absolutely confines them? If not, then the point is decided, that when he speaks of the tendency, propensity, &c. of our nature as evil, sinful, pernicious, &c. hé adopts the very common principle of language, viz. of naming the cause from the effect; and means simply, that it is evil or sinful as it tends to moral evil or sin.
Indeed it must be obvious to every candid reader of his treatise that these definitions and careful and accurate distinctions, were made for the very purpose of guarding against the imputation of what is now termed physical depravity.
3. Edwards maintains that man in the state in which he comes into the world is sinful and justly exposed to divine wrath. Speaking of the deplorable undone state of man by nature, as a state which tends to certain sin and ruin, he says, " and this proves that men do not come into the world perfectly innocent in the sight of God, and without any just exposedness to his displeasure." p. 155. He goes even further than this, and speaks of "the guilt arising from the first existing of a depraved disposition." p. 438. In this and similar language of his work, lies I apprehend the principal ground of the misapprehensions of this writer. Some of his readers, less careful than they should be, by overlooking his
peculiar views respecting the impu tation of Adam's sin, have been unable to put any other meaning upon some of his phraseology than that which exhibits man as personally guilty at his first existence. Now to the real meaning of this phraseolo gy of Edwards, if 1 mistake not, the key can be found only in his views of imputation. While then it is undeniable that he maintains that guilt and desert of punishment pertain to man and even to his depraved disposition on his first existence, still the question is, in what does this guilt consist according to this writer? Concerning the true answer to this enquiry, he has left us at no loss. For he most unequivocally and abundantly affirms that the guilt and the only guilt which belongs to man on his first existence, is the imputed guilt of Adam's sin. The following extracts will show the views of Edwards on this point.
“I think, it would go far towards directing us to the more clear and distinct conceiving and right stating of this affair, were we steadily to bear this in mind: That God, in each step of his proceeding with Adam, in relation to the covenant or constitution established with him, looked on his posterity as being one with him. (The propriety of his looking upon them so, I shall speak to afterwards.) And though he dealt more immediately with Adam, yet it was as the head of the whole body, and the root of the whole tree; and in his proceedings with him, he dealt with all the branches, as if they had been then existing in their root.
From which it will follow, that both guilt, or exposedness to punishment, and also depravity of heart, came upon Adam's posterity just as they came upon him, as much as if he and they had all co-exlowing only for the difference necessarily isted, like a tree with many branches ; alresulting from the place Adam stood in, as head or root of the whole, and being most immediately acting and suffering. first and most immediately dealt with, and Otherwise, it is as if, in every step of proceeding, every alteration in the root had been been attended, at the same instant, with the same steps and alterations throughout the whole tree, in each individual branch. supposition of there being a constituted I think this will naturally follow on the oneness or identity of Adam and his posterity in this affair.
Therefore I am humbly of opinion, that if any have supposed the children of Adam to come into the world with a double guilt, one the guilt of Adam's sin, another the guilt arising from their having a corrupt heart, they have not so weli conceived of the matter. The guilt a man has upon his soul at his first existence, is one and simple, viz. the guilt of the original apos tacy, the guilt of the sin by which the spe sies first rebelled against God. This, and the guilt arising from the first corruption or depraved disposition of the heart, are not to be looked upon as two things, distinctly mputed and charged upon men in the sight of God. Indeed the guilt that arises from the corruption of the heart, as it remains a confirmed principle, and appears in its consequent operations, is a distinct and additional guilt: But the guilt arising from the first existing of a depraved disposition in Adam's posterity, I apprehend, is not distinct from their guilt of Adam's first sin." p. 437, 438.
"Surely it is no wonder that they (infants) be not guilty of positive wicked ac tion, before they are capable of any moral action at all." p. 475.
Here then our author, maintaining the personal identity, according to divine constitution, of Adamı and his posterity, declares that men do not come into the world with a double guilt, one the guilt of Adam's sin, and the other the guilt of having a corrupt heart; that the guilt which a his soul at his first existence, is one and simple, viz. the "And in like manner, depravity of guilt of the original apostacy; that
heart is to be considered two ways in Adam's posterity. The first existing of a corrupt disposition in their hearts, is not to be looked upon as sin belonging to them, distinct from their participation of Adam's first sin: It is as it were the extended pollution of that sin, through the whole tree, by virtue of the constituted union of the branches with the root; or the inherence of the sin of that head of the species in the members, in the consent and concurrence of the hearts of the members with the head in that first act." p. 438.
"Not excepting even infants, who could be sinners no other way than by virtue of Adam's transgression, having never in their own persons actually sinned as Adam did. p. 396.
"The imputation of Adam's one transgression, is indeed most directly and frequently asserted. We are here assured that by one man's sin, death passed on all; all being adjudged to this punishment, as having sinned (so it is implied) in that one man's sin. And it is repeated over and over, that all are condemned, many are dead, many made sinners, &c. by one man's offence, by the disobedience of one, and by one offence. And the doctrine of original depravity is also here taught, when the apostle says, By one man sin entered into the world; having a plain respect (as hath been shewn) to that universal corruption and wickedness, as well as guilt, which be had before largely treated of." p. 400.
"Though the word, impute, is not used with respect to Adam's sin, yet it is said, All have sinned; which, respecting in. fants, can be true only of their sinning by
the inspired declaration, all have sinned, in respect to infants can be true only of their sinning by Adam's sin; that infants can be sinners in no other way but by Adam's transgression; and that they are not capable of any moral action at all. But how could Edwards without falling into an inconsistency too gross to be imputed to him, maintain that the only guilt which belongs to man when he comes into the world is the imputed guilt of Adam's sin, and yet maintain that he is the subject of a natural propensity which is in itself sinful and deserving of punishment?
4. Edwards unequivocally denies that any such property or attribute as the doctrine of physical depravity asserts, belongs to the nature of man. This he does, when he asserts that the only guilt which belongs to man on his first existence, is the imputed guilt of Adam's sin. But what makes it still more strange that any reader of his treatise should ascribe such a doctrine to Edwards is, that he has formally and explicitly stated it as an objection to his doctrine, and denied that it either belongs to his doctrine, or can be inferred from it. Nor is this all. He is very explicit in unfolding his views of what the propensity or tendency to sin in man is.
"One argument against men's being supposed to be born with sinful depravity
which Dr. Taylor greatly insists upon, is That this does in effect charge him, who is the author of our nature, who formed us in the womb, with being the author of a sinful corruption of nature; and that it is highly injurious to the God of our nature,
whose hands have formed and fashioned us, to believe our nature to be originally corrupted, and that in the worst sense of corruption."
With respect to this, I would observe in the first place, that this writer, in his handling this grand objection, supposes something to belong to the doctrine objected against, as maintained by the divines whom he is opposing, which does not belong to it,nor does follow from it: As particularly, he supposes the doctrine of Original Sin to imply that nature must be corrupted by some positive influence; "something, by some means or other,infused into the human nature; some quality or other, not from the choice of our minds, but like a taint, tincture, or infection, a tering the natural constitution, faculties, and dispositions of our souls. That sin and evil dispositions are implanted in the factus in the womb." Whereas truly our doctrine neither implies nor infers any such thing. In order to account for a sinful corruption of nature, yea, a total native depravity of the heart of man, there is not the least need of supposing any evil quality, infused, implanted, or wrought into the nature of man, by any positive cause, or influence whatsoever, either from God, or the creature ; or of supposing, that man is conceived and born with a fountain of evil in his heart, such as is any thing properly positive. I think, a little attention to the nature of things will be sufficient to satisfy any impartial, considerate inquirer, that the absence of positive good principles, and so the withholding of a special divine influence to impart and maintain those good principles, leaving the common natural principles of selflove, natural appetite, &c. (which were in man in innocence) leaving these, I say, to themselves, without the government of superior divine principles, will certainly be followed with the corruption, yea, the total corruption of the heart, without occasion for any positive influence at all: And, that it was thus indeed that corruption of nature came on Adam, immediately on his fall, and comes on all his posterity, as sinning in him, and falling with him." pp. 427, 428.
It is undeniable that the doctrine of physical depravity is no new invention. It was the grand objection against the doctrine of original sin, to say the least as early as the times of Taylor and Edwards. It was formally and explicitly alleged by the one as constituting the very doctrine of the orthodox, and as formally and explicitly denied by the other as belonging to this doctrine or following
from it. He further affirms that our nature is not corrupted by any positive influence; that no such quality as is here supposed, which is not from the choice of our minds, pertains to the soul; that the natural constitution, faculties and dispositions of the soul are not altered by any such infections; that no evil quality is infused, implanted or wrought into the nature of man by any positive cause or influence whatsoever from God or the creature ; and that man is not born with a sountain of evil in his heart such as is any thing properly positive. Now if this is not a denial, that man is created with a substantial property or attribute of his nature which is in itself sinful, as direct and explicit as language can furnish, I know not how such denial can be made.
Let us now advert to the manner in which Edwards supposes the heart of man comes to be corrupt. Is it by man's being created with a substantial property of his nature which is in itself sinful? Let Edwards answer. Leaving the common natural principles of self-love and natural appetite, &c. (which were in man in innocence) leaving these I say, to themselves, without the gov ernment of superior divine principles, will certainly be followed with the total corruption of the heart." -Now I ask, where is the sinful created attribute of our nature? Does it consist in self-love, natural appe tite, &c. But these, says Edwards were in man in innocence. Is the corruption of the heart itself, a created attribute of our nature? But
this corruption of heart is consequent upon, or follows our created nature with its attributes; for our nature with its attributes is presupposed as the origin or source of this corruption. How then can the corruption of heart itself, according to this writer be a substantial attribute of human nature?
I might adduce more copious extracts from Edwards on the point now under consideration. Requesting the reader to examine the second chapter of the fourth part of Edwards's treatise, I will simply submit the following as an epitomized view of Edwards's theory respecting the origin of sin :
Man being left, as he justly might be on the ground of the apostacy of our race in Adam, without the preventing influence of God, his nature is such in the circumstances in which he is placed, that although he is bound to subordinate the gratification of those natural appetites and passions which are in themselves neither sinful nor holy, to the will and glory of God, he does prefer such gratification, and fix his heart upon it as his chief good; and that he does this with such a strength of disposition and purpose, that he is sure, though against the will of God, to abide by this preference of worldly good; and that thus his heart being completely under the dominion of these objects of private gratification, i. e. supremely selfish is in fact a heart of opposition to God and to his glory. Vid. pp. 427.-432.
According to this view of Edwards's theory, the direct source of the cor
ruption of the heart lies in that selflove and those natural appetites and passions which were in man in innocence. I will not say that this is a scriptural, common-sense account of the matter, nor that it is one which tells in the universal consciousness of men, nor that men know as well why they sin as why they eat and drink; but I cannot hesitate to affirm that here is not the remotest semblance of the doctrine of physical depravity.
To conclude, if any are not satisfied that the account which has now been given of Edwards's views of Original Sin, is correct, I earnestly request them to show wherein it is incorrect. The way to do this, is not to quote insulated passages from his work, and to interpret them with a meaning which they will possibly bear. But it must be shewn that they will not bear, according to usage, the meaning which I have given them, and especially that the definitions and explanations of Edwards, do not require that his language be interpreted with this meaning.I wish to add, that it is no part of my design in this paper to enquire what is or what is not, orthodoxy properly so called in respect to the origin of sin in man, or in respect to the moral state of infants. They who dissent from Edwards on either or on both of these points, must sustain their claim to orthodoxy as they can. The simple question is, what does Edwards teach on these points, be its bearing on modern orthodoxy, what it may. T. R.
To the Editor of the Christian Spectator. WHILE others are content with the mere hearing of events and pay no regard to their effects upon public happiness or virtue, it becomes the Christian moralist to move in a high
er sphere of thought, to trace occurrences to their causes and effects of to conuect them with each other. For if in this way he can discover the wisdom of God the governor of nations, or can originate some plan to increase the good or prevent the
evil of society, he will not think that he has reflected in vain.
Will you indulge me with a place in your periodical while I start a few thoughts of this kind, occasioned as you may have already conjectured, by the arrival of our illustrious friend La Fayette. He came to gratify his own feelings and to comply with our requests. But while influenced by these considerations so laudable, he has produced good effects which he little thought of. One spirit is excited through the country which while it centres in gratitude towards him, reverts to the scenes of the revolution as the cause of this gratitude. Then, after seven years of suffering-after taxes had impoverished the country, and battle had cut down its best defenders, peace and independence, and rational liberty dawned upon us. Now we are
a nation extending over an immense territory differing in interests and feelings, and unable by our situation to have that strong bond of national feeling which surrounding rivals create in the kingdoms of Europe. But by this event we are impressed with reflections which will create among the portions of our country, if not so strong, at least a more genuine attachment than that created by the pressure of rivals upon us. What patriot of '76 did not love his native land better for the thought that it was struggling to be free. He felt himself a part of the country, for he was acting with it and for it. He had united his interests with hers, so that they were to fall or stand together. If she had been enslaved he would have wept over her, but yet loved her the more tenderly for her unsuccessful struggles to be free. In her success he loved her and his memory esteemed those hours of generous hazard when he could dare something worthy of man-those hours of adversity when he felt ready to devote them to death for his country, the most pleasant of his life. For the pleasure of possessing the higher feelings of the soul is a reward
for whatever exertions they prompt us to make. And so high a devotion to their country was excited by the events of the revolution in the patriot of those days, that what would be sacrilege and treason to him, appears to his descendants mere indifference to his welfare. The same feelings are kindled in our bosoms by the vivid impressions which this visit will make. We love each other the better for paying unanimous respect to La Fayette. We feel like the children of one family, for our fathers were engaged in one struggle for liberty. It is as if Washington had arisen from his grave, and was going through the land with those impressive lessons on his lips which he has embodied in his farewell address.
But is there not danger that too high admiration of military glory will be excited by these late events? Will not the young men of our country,seeing a conqueror before them, long after the same distinction? But they should consider that it is not his valour which the nation admires : it is his benefits and kindness towards us. They should learn-(and surely it is too obvious to escape their notice) how much nobler it is to excite gratitude than cold admiration, and that men of talents can never gain the affections of their fellow-men unless they do some good to society. They must disdain the spirit of petty state-politics; they must not condescend to be the subordinates of any politician however he can reward them. They must not listen to the cry of local interest when the interests of the whole country would be prejudiced by it; they must despise that avarice which keeps back the public money from every thing great and good, and that popularity which is gained by echoing back opinions which no man of sense or integrity can entertain; in short they must be disinterested and large-minded, and they too will receive the admiration and gratitude of the best part of their countrymen.
This brings to my mind the affec