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converting the soul.” It was through the medium of the law, that the gospel was preached to Paul. Hence he said, " I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Again he said, " I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” As Paul was brought to the knowl. edge and love of the gospel through the law, so he endeavored to lead others to the knowledge and love of the gospel, through the same medium. It was through the law, that he so clearly explained the gospel to the Romans. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sinsthat he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. . By what law ? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law." Though the gospel be distinct from the law, yet it presupposes the law, and is inseparably connected with it. Those who preach the law without the gospel, or the gospel as mere law, may be properly called legal preachers; but those who preach the law as the foundation of the gospel, and the gospel as built upon the law, are properly gospel preachers. To preach the law without the gospel, tends to make men despair of the mercy of God; and to preach the gospel without the law, tends to make men hope in the mercy of God, while they hate his justice; which is a fatal delusion. Let us then, my brethren, study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, and declaring the whole counsel of God without fear, without favor, and without reserve. Amen.
SERMON X X X V.
By one man's disobedience many were made sinners.
ROMANS, v. 19.
The apostle undertakes, in this epistle, to lay open the gospel scheme of salvation. In the prosecution of this purpose, he proves that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, and justly exposed to suffer the curse of the divine law. He next brings into view the atonement of Christ, as the only foundation of pardon and acceptance with God. This leads him to state the doctrine of justification through faith in the divine Mediator. But lest some should stumble at the idea of the sinner's being saved on account of his substitute, he proceeds in this chapter to illustrate the matter by a similar and wellknown instance. He says, “ By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” He takes it for granted that the christians to whom he is writing, believed that Adam stood as the public head of his posterity, and so by his first offence exposed them to both sin and death. And this being taken for granted, he goes on to illustrate the saving influence of Christ's mediatorial conduct, by the destructive influence of Adam's probationary conduct. “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” The text, taken either in this connection or as an independent sentence, naturally leads us to consider the fatal influence of Adam's first offence upon all his natural posterity. This is an important subject; and in order to place it in as clear a light as I am able, I shall show,
I I , İ. That all men are sinners.
II. That Adam made them sinners.
IV. Why God ordered it so that Adam should make them sinners.
I. I am to show that all men are sinners.
This melancholy truth has been universally acknowledged. All nations have perceived and lamented the moral corruption of human nature. The ancient poets, who have painted the moral characters of men, and the ancient historians, who have recorded their moral conduct
, unite in exhibiting plain and incontestable evidence of human depravity. We cannot find, in all antiquity, one sinless nation or one sinless person. Human nature has been the same, wherever planted and however cultivated, in every age and in every part of the world. Though mankind have spread far and wide over the face of the earth, and lived under the influence of different climates, of different laws, and of different religions, yet they have universally discovered the same corruption of heart.
The truth of this account is fully confirmed by the express declarations of scripture. We read, “ God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." We read, “ There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Job demands, “What is man, that he should be clean ? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ?” David confesses before God, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did iny mother conceive me." And under this impression he prays, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." Solomon puts the question to every child of Adam,“ Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin ?" And after a critical and extensive view of mankind, he observes, “ Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought many inventions." The apostle Paul is still more plain and particular upon this point. “ What then,” says he, " are we better than they? No, in no wise ; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understand. eth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they
not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes.” These divine declarations, in concurrence with universal observation and experience, clearly demonstrate that all men without a single exception are sinners. The next thing is,
II. To show that we became sinners by Adam. The moral corruption of human nature is of great antiquity. The oldest heathen writers could not, by the light of nature or tradition, trace it back to its original source. They generally supposed, however, that man had actually degenerated from his primitive purity. They were loath to believe that he came out of the forming hand of his Maker, with a corrupt heart. But we have no occasion for conjectures on this subject. The scripture acquaints us with the original rectitude and first apostacy of the human race. The apostle ascribes the universal sinfulness and mortality of mankind to the first offence of the first man, Adam. 6 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. Therefore, by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; for by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners." The one offence of Adam which the apostle here so often mentions, and which he represents as so fatal to mankind, was the offence of his eating the forbidden fruit; of which we have a particular account in the third chapter of Genesis. And he expressly declares that that single act of our first parent introduced sin and death among all his natural descendants from generation to generation. I proceed,
III. To show how we became sinners by Adam. The text says, that “by one's man's disobedience many were made sinners." This plainly implies that Adam's first offence was, in some way or other, the occasion of the universal sinfulness of his future offspring. And the question now before us is, how his sin was the occasion of ours. This is the most difficult branch of our subject; and in order to proceed upon plain and sure ground, I would observe,
1. That Adam did not make us sinners, by causing us to commit his first offence. His first offence, we know, was eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And since he committed that transgression before we were born, it is a plain dictate of common sense that we had no concern in it. We could no more eat of the forbidden fruit before we were born, than Adam could have eaten of it before he was created. And though we have been guilty of many and great offences, yet we are all conscious that we never sinned with our first parent in his first transgression. Neither our reason nor experience, therefore, will allow us to believe that Adam made men sinners by causing them to eat of the forbidden fruit, which they never saw, in a place where they never were, and at a time before they existed.
Nor can we more easily believe,
2. That he made his posterity sinners by transferring to them the guilt of his first transgression. Guilt is a personal thing, which belongs to him alone who does a sinful action.
The guilt of any action can no more be transferred from the agent to another person, than the action itself. It has just been observed, that Adam could not transfer his first act of disobedience to his posterity; and if he could not transfer the act itself, it is equally evident that he could not transfer the guilt of it. As he could not have made himself guilty of eating the forbidden fruit without his choosing to eat of it, so he could not make his posterity guilty of eating of the forbidden fruit without their choosing to do the same action. But we know that he never made them choose to commit his first sin; and therefore he could not bring them under the guilt of his first transgression. It was as much out of the power of Adam to transfer his own personal guilt to his posterity, as it is now out of the power of any other parent to transfer his own personal guilt to his children. So far we all have clear and distinct ideas upon this subject.
But here some may say, though Adam himself could not transfer the guilt of his first offence to his posterity, yet God, who is a sovereign, might transfer the guilt of that sin to all his descendants. It is true, indeed, that God is a sovereign, and hath a right to act as a sovereign, in governing all his creatures and all their actions. But may we suppose that his sovereignty allows him to do injustice, or treat any moral agents contrary to the eternal rule of right? It was unjust
, in the nature of things, that the Supreme Being should transfer the guilt of Adam's sin to his posterity. And no constitution which he could make, could render such a mode of conduct consistent with his moral rectitude. Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Shall he, therefore, transfer the guilt of the father to the son ? or shall he punish the son for the father's sin ? No; the soul that sinneth, it shall die for its own iniquity. God has a sovereign right to transfer a favor from one person to another; but it is beyond the province of his sovereignty to transfer the guilt of an action from the proper agent to an innocent person. His sovereignty is limited by his justice, in his treatment of moral and accountable creatures. Hence we may safely con