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any section or division of it. He proves the universality of the perversion, and its unconnectedness with their law, by the fact of the universality of death, the consequence of the perversion, and by its having reigned before the existence of their law, from Adam till Moses, * even over those who had not sinned against any promulgated law of God awarding death as the penalty of its transgression, as Adam had done, who is the type or figure of Him who was to come.
There evidently is much meaning in this last expression-and we assuredly are cripling and misunderstanding the parallelism asserted in it, between the First and Second Adam, if we do not discover in it at least this assurance, that all which the one had lost, the other would restore.
And now if any of my readers are disposed to stop here and ask me, Do
in your conscience think that this dealing of God
* The period described as reaching from Adam till Moses, may be either considered literally as a period in the history of the race, or figuratively as the corresponding period in the history of each individual, namely, the period from his birth until his conscience is awakenedthat is, the period of the sleep of conscience-characterized in these words of chap. vii., “I was alive without the law once."
towards man, in allowing an innumerable race to suffer by the act of a single individual, is consistent with goodness and righteousness ?' I feel quite free to meet the question,—and I answer unhesitatingly, that I cannot think it good or righteous that any one should suffer, on the whole, or taking the whole of his existence into the account, by the fault of another—and that my confidence in the goodness and righteousness of God in this dealing of His towards man, is founded on the conviction that out of it a greater amount and a higher kind of blessedness will arise than could have been produced without it—and that eventually no one individual will fail to participate in that greater good, except by his own determined rejection of it.
I might have just cause to complain, if my condition were such, that I was exposed to trials, without an adequate provision of strength to meet them; or that I was exposed to sufferings, without a prospect of deriving good from them. And I do not feel that the justice of my complaint would be at all affected by the circumstance of this condition coming to me by inheritance, in consequence of the sin of another, whether that other
was my progenitor or not. I cannot admit the justice of a demand being made upon me which He who makes it knows I cannot meet, and of sufferings being laid upon me which he knows cannot produce any good to me. And I feel that my complaint is equally well founded, whether this condition comes to me by original creation or by inheritance. Indeed, I do not feel that the way of its coming to me makes any difference on the justice of the dealing, so long as it does not come in consequence of a culpable act of my own.
But again, I do not feel that I have any right to complain of being called to any exertions or sufferings, however great and however irksome they may be, if the appointer of my lot supplies me with strength to meet them, and if I have a prospect of deriving good from them, in proportion to their difficulty. And as I do not feel that I should have any right to complain of being originally created in such a condition of things, so I do not feel that the circumstance of its coming to me by inheritance from a progenitor on whom it was denounced as a mark of God's disapprobation of his disobedience, changes the case, so as to give me a right to
complain as if such a condition of things were unrighteous.
If according to the nature of things, a created mind can only rise to spiritual excellence and blessedness, by passing through a spiritual and moral conflict, which embraces sufferings and self-denial—and if there be a proportion between the amount of excellence aud blessedness obtained on the one hand, and the difficulties met and overcome on the other, then it will follow, that God is indeed only calling us to a higher holiness and blessedness, by placing us under such a condition of things as we now find ourselves under, in consequence of the fall; and although that condition of things may have come to us as marking God's displeasure against the sin of our progenitor, it will not on that account alter its own character in relation to us, or cease to be a reason for gratitude to God for His goodness to us in giving us this higher call.
As to the idea of one man being considered actually culpable on account of what another man has done amiss, it appears to me just as opposite to the whole tenor of the Bible, as it is to our own consciences. But at the same time, I feel that I have an in
struction conveyed to me in the fact, that the perversion of my nature, and consequent liability to pain and death, come to me by inheritance from a man who had brought them upon himself and his descendants by his personal transgression, that I could not have had, if I had been created originally in that condition, without any such apparent cause leading to it. So that if it were said to me, “ It is the plan of God, to put you into this state of trial and suffering; but you may choose whether you will have it so settled by original appointment, or whether you will have it come as the consequence of the sin of a progenitor," I feel a reason for choosing the latter way.
With regard to me, they are equally dealings of sovereignty, irrespective of deservings; but according to the first way, I have only the wise appointment of the circumstances of my probation, whilst in the other, I have an additional speaking testimony from God, warning me of the poisonous nature of sin, by the example of my progenitor.
I may add, that in like manner, the fact that I am invited to receive, through another One, the favour of God, and the gift of the Spirit, as a reward for His having resisted