« PreviousContinue »
of the two Adams, as is done by those who reject the interrogative interpretation, seems to me to deprive it altogether of its meaning.
The gift given to the many, in favour to the one man, Jesus Christ, which is mentioned generally in this verse as a characteristic feature of the restoration, is manifestly identical with that which is more particularly described in verse 17th, as the gift of righteousness, given through Christ to counterwork the peagtide, the sin or perversion, the
αμαρτια, evil principle which had been infused into the nature through Adam. It is not difficult to see why it should be called the gift of righteousness in the latter verse, and only the gift in favour to Jesus Christ, in the former. In the former it is spoken of without reference to its being either accepted or rejected, but simply as a capacity conferred on the race; in the latter, it is spoken of as accepted, which brings out its character of righteousness as manifested in the person so accepting it.
Let it be observed, that the universality here attributed to the advantages of the restoration, and their alleged parallelism to the disadvantages of the fall, do not imply the removal of the latter, nor do they imply the necessary salvation of a single individualthey merely import that all incapacity for righteousness induced by the fall, is met by the gift of a counter-capacity, placed within the reach of the whole race. This 15th verse does not touch on the use made by man of his advantages, but merely asserts that these advantages have been given to him.
If any one thinks that the necessary death inherited from Adam could only be truly paralleled by a necessary eternal life through Christ, it is clear that he forgets that before the fall man was responsible, having life and death within his choice,—and therefore, the gift of a necessary eternal life through Christ, would not have restored him, nor paralleled the evil of the fall, because it would not have restored, but on the contrary, farther destroyed, his lost state of responsibility. If such a one would consider the true purpose of man's being, he would see that the restoration of a sufficient capacity to choose between good and evil, life and death, is the only true restoration of man from the fall.
The 16th and 17th verses, relate chiefly to the nature of the principle which is the instrument of the restoration, namely, the
gift of righteousness, and to the way in which that principle works, as parallel to the nature of the opposite principle and its working.
Before proceeding to the matter contained in these verses, I may make one remark on the form of the language in the beginning of verse 16th, in corroboration of what I have already said in favour of an interrogative iuterpretation. It appears to me, that if a negation had been really intended by the writer, in the former verse, and that it was his purpose to carry on the same negation through this verse, he would naturally have said ora' ás di ivos epeagtýcartos, "neither as through one that had sinned," instead of Kai OYK, ás xt?, “and not as.”
And now with regard to the matter of these verses, it appears to me, as I have already often said, that the apostle assumes that the cause of the general tendency to sin in man, is an internal corruption inherited from Adam ; and that he infers from this, and in opposition to it, an infusion of a corresponding good principle through Christthe sumúros hózos, “the engrafted word, able to save the soul.” Then he supposes the manner of working of that evil principle to be two-fold—first, as it directly leads men to selfishness ; secondly, as it indirectly alien
ates them more and more from God, by a fear of Him connected with the consciousness of transgression. This two-fold working he represents as met by a parallel working of the good principle—first, as directly leading to what is good ; secondly, as delivering man from slavish fear of God's wrath, in consequence of its being accompanied by a proclamation of the forgiveness of all past sins, through the new Head; and also as lifting man, when he joins himself to it, out from the sense of condemnation, by identifying him with a righteous thing, the spirit of Christ, which is the substance of vital union with the righteous Head from whence it flows.
And now I proceed with my translation, or rather paraphrase, as it cannot but be, owing to the remarkable conciseness of the language_indeed, in such passages, all that a translator can aim at, is to express the true sense.
Ver. 16th. “And farther, as the fall came through one who had sinned, (that is, through the infusion of his nature,) does not the gift correspond to it in this respect ? For as the judgment after one offence, became a general sentence of death on the race, (proving the general diffusion of the corrupt nature to which that sentence belonged ;) so the free gift puts every man again, even after the commission of many offences, into the capaeity of obtaining the approving sentence of God, which will carry him through the sentence of death into the eternal life beyond it; (proving in like manner the general diffusion of the righteous principle to which that hope belongs.) Ver. 17th. And thus if by the offence of the one, death hath reigned through that one, that is, by the participation of his nature, much more shall those who accept of the grace and gift of righteousness, which abounds unto all, reign in life, through the other man, Jesus Christ, that is, by the
participation of his nature.”
In considering the passage, and in judging of the paraphrase which I have given of it, the reader must not forget the principle which we found so explicitly laid down in verse 12th
-namely, that sin and death did not come into the world a-breast, so to speak, but that death came into the world through sin,—fol. lowing the trace and track of sin, attaching itself to it, as its concomitant--and that sin came through Adam, that is, through the propagation of his nature, which had been corrupted by his offence, and which had