Sidor som bilder

tainly deny, that the posterity of Adam are born in that image. If he means, what may be called the constitutional image of God, the Scriptures very explicitly assert that men, (not Adam merely) are made, (not propagated,) in that image ; Dr. Tyler's doctrine of a constitutional propensity to sin in men, notwithstanding. Vide 1 Cor. xi. 7; James iii. 9. Gen. ix. 6.

Again, Dr. Tyler asks, on the supposition that the nature of Adam and that of his posterity were alike in kind, "why did not he sin, as soon as he commenced his moral existence?"--I answer, that the reason may have been, that his nature differed, not in kind but in degree, from that of his posterity.-He also asks, respecting the child Jesus ; "If he possessed in his human nature, the same propensities that other children possess, why did not he exhibit the same moral character ?"*-I might answer as before, that his human nature may have differed from that of other children, not in kind, but in degree. Indeed, in both these cases, I might assign other sufficient rea

I sons for the difference in moral character. In the case of Christ, we know, that the Spirit was not given by measure ;' and in the case of Adam it may be true, as some have maintained, that holiness was the result of a special divine agency. In these ways, then, Dr. Tyler's questions are fully answered ; and the cases shown not necessarily to imply any such disference in constitutional properties, as he supposes.

But let us now look at the peculiar character of Dr. Tyler's reasoning on this subject. His design is to prove, that the intrinsic nature of Adam's posterity differs in kind from that with which Adam was created; and his proof rests entirely on this

pature as a man, as did his intellect or his will. But if Dr. 'Tyler intends to reason on such an assumption, he is bound to prove the truth of it. If he regards il as essential to orthodoxy, he is bound to prove this also, before he denies the orthodoxy of those who differ from him o'i this point. Pres. Edwards, though he considered a holy disposition as concreted with Adam, beginning as soon as humanity began, still considered this holy disposition, in which the spiritual image of God consisted, as a very different thing from a constitutionul property of the soul. He says, it consisted “IN DIVINE LOVE;" which is of course a mental exercise, and not a constitutional property of the soul.

* I had said, “ How the Saviour was templed in all points like as we are, if he had nol, and we have. a constitutional PROPENSITY 10 sin, it may be difficult for Dr. Tyler to show.". Dr. Tyler however can see no difficulty in the case.' Nor is it strange mat, with his notions of being tempted in ull points, he can see none. He sapposes that the similarily respects merely the external objects of temptation. He says, “ Does the fact, that different in lividuals are made the objects of similar templations, (he should have said, tempted alike in all points) prove that they possess the same nature ?"-I answer, mus undeniably. For how can a being be tempted in all points as o hers are, wbo has not the same constitutional propensities, which they have? Is not a constitutional propensity to sin, one point and a very peculiar point, in which we are tempted, according to Dr. Tyler? How then, can a being who has no such propensity be tempia ed in all points as we are? Surely Dr. Tyler must deny the truth of the declaration, that Christ was templed in all poin's like as we are ; or he must maintain that Christ had a constitutional propensity to sin, such as Dr. Tyler ascribes to us; or he must give up his doctrine, that we have suci a propensity.


as: u' ption, that if their natures were the same in kind, their moral characters must be the same. Indeed, all Dr. Tyler's reasoning on this part of the subject, is based on this very as sumption. For, if Adam and his posterity may possess the same natures in kind, and their moral characters still be different, then surely difference in their intrinsic natures, cannot be inferred from difference in moral character. Now I ask Dr. Tyler, how he knows, or how he can prove, that two moral beings, with exactly the same intrinsic natures in kind, may not, under some diversity of condition and circumstances, ordered and settled by divine wisdom, uniformly exhibit substantial diversity of moral character ? Indeed, if this be not so in some cases, how will Dr. Tyler account for the fact, that either Adam or angels sinned at all; and especially, that a whole race, who are made after the constitutional image of God himself, should sin ? Must there have been in each of these cases, a prior create or propagated propensity to sin ?

Besides, Dr. Tyler's principle is, that if the intrinsic natures of two beings are the same in kind, their moral characters must infallibly be the same ; which amounts to this new and unheard of principle,-unheard of alike in the school of philosophy and of common sense, - viz. that the same cause will produce the sume, and not different effects, under all possible diversity of circumstances. Dr. 'i'yler surely will admit, that the appropriate condition or circumstances, in which God first gave existence to Adam, were widely different from those, which divine wisdom appointed and fixed, as the appropriate condition and circumstances of Adam's posterity. How then can Dr. Tyler prove, though the former did not sin in the appropriate circumstances in which God at first gave him existence, that it is impossible that the latter, with the same nature in kind, should uniformly sin in their appropriate circumstances ? How can Dr. Tyler prove, THAT THE SAME CAUSE WILL NOT PRODUCE DIFFERENT EFFECTS, IN DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES? Is this sound pbilosophy? Is it the decision of common sense? Will it be pretended that the sacred writers have given their sanction to this principle? But if this principle cannot be sustained, then is the whole of Dr. Tyler's reasoning on the present topic, subverted.

But says Dr. Tyler, “When we say it is the nature of the lion to eat flesh, and the nature of the ox to eat grass, we mean that their natures are not alike.” True. But this is a case, in which we have different effects in the same circumstances; which of course proves a difference in the nature of the causes. Place the lion and the ox in the same circuinstances, the one

[ocr errors]

will eat flesh and not grass, and the other grass and not flesh. But what has this to do with proving a difference of nature between Adain and his posterity, on the ground that they acted differently in different circumstances ? Had Adam himself a new and different nature, as the cause of his first sin ?

On the supposition, that two beings have the same nature in kind, Dr. Tyler maintains, that to ascribe difference in character to nature in any sense,

“ would be to ascribe two directly opposite effects to the same cause.” But I have shown, that if their natural condition and circumstances are so changed, that different effects uniformly follow, then nature, in the comprehensive sense, has been changed ; and these effects are, in the proper sense, said to be by nature.

Nor is this all. It is proper to ascribe different eflects to the same cause, when placed in different circumstances.

But says Dr. Tyler, “ If all mankind come into the world with the same nature (in kind) as that with which Adam was creat ed,—then the only reason that they do not exhibit the same character, must be that they are placed in different circumstances. It cannot be owing at all to the nature which they possess. Consequently, it is not true, that they are by nature sinners.”—I answer, first, and I request Dr. Tyler's particular attention to this answer,--that the difference in moral character in the two cases, may be owing, not to a difference of nature in kind; but to a difference in the degree of constitutional propensities to natural good. If this may be true, Dr. Tyler's present position is wholly unauthorized.-1 answer, secondly, that Dr. Tyler entirely mistakes the question at issue. The question is, not how shall we account for the fact that Adam did not sin, when all his posterity do sin ; but what is the true account of the latter fact? And here it is undeniable, whatever be the reason why Adam did not sin, or why the child Jesus did not sin, or why angels diil not sin,---still, if all mankind since the fall, uniformly sin, in all those circumistances which their Creator has appointed as the natural condition of their existence, then they are truly and properly said to be sinners by nature. To deny this, is to maintain that the common, universal use of language is not a proper use.—Bui says Dr. Tyler, “ It cannot be owing at all to the nature which they possess.But I ask, why not? Could they sin without a nature to be tempted? Does Dr. Tyler know that they would sin, if their nature were in some other respect than in kind, different from what it is? Does he know that the propensities or principles of their nature remaining the same in kind, might not have been so balanced, that they would not have sinned? Why

[ocr errors]

then cannot their sin be owing at all to the nature which they possess?

I go further. According to the view already taken of the subject, it would be proper according to usage, and so far as the mere form of expression is concerned, to ascribe the sin of mankind to their nature. In the language of common lise, we often ascribe a result not only to nature, but to the nature of the antecedent itself, when we mean nothing more than that such is its nature, that in its appropriate circumstances of existence, such a result will follow. Thus, should some kind of tree uniformly bear bad fruit, we should in common speech ascribe the fact to the nature of the tree itself. But who would mean by such language to decide that the same tree in kind, would not bear good fruit in another planet, or that it did not in fact bear good fruit in paradise? No one surely, who believes that the same causes may produce very different effects in different circumstances. Even if the Apostle then, in Eph. ii. 3, had ascribed the sinfulness of mankind to their nature, common usage would not only not authorize, but forbid the import which Dr. Tyler gives to such language. Still more objectionable is it to give this meaning to the general phrase by nature.

I have thus shown, that Dr. Tyler's reasoning proceeds entirely on this assumption, that if we suppose sameness of nature in kind, we cannot account for diversity of moral character in two moral beings, be the difference in the degree of their propensities to natural good, and the difference in their circumstances, what they may. Of the conclusiveness of such reasoning, which rests wholly on the assumption, that the same causes in kind cannot produce different effects in different circumstances, I leave the reader to judge.

The next topic is the connexion between Adam's sin and the sinfulness of his posterity. If Adam had not sinned, Dr. Tyler supposes that his posterity would have come into the world with the same nature with which Adam was created ; and on the supposition, that they have now the same nature, he asks,—“What influence has the fall exerted on the posterity of Adam ?”—I answer, that it may have been to change their nature, not in kind, but in degree. God, by creation, or


, if Dr. Tyler prefers it, by the law of propagating souls, could give an increased strength to the constitutional propensities to natural good in Adam's posterity, as easily as impart a propagated propensity to sin, to their very nature. The former may be a fixed and permanent occasion of sin in men, as well as the the latter. Such then may be the way or mode, to say noth



ing of other possible modes, in which our sin is in consequence of Adam's sin. In this way, our sin may consist wholly in our own free voluntary act-an act in which we are conscious of preferring the gratification of propensities to the inferior good, when we can and ought to govern them by preferring the supreme good; an act for which we alone are responsible, instead of a constitutional property of the mind, for which our Maker alone would be responsible.—Dr. Tyler asks yet again, “why I have not explained this connexion between Adam's sin and that of his posterity, so that my readers can understand it?"-I have only to say, that I can trust all my readers in this respect, except those who assume that there is no other mode of consequence but by a propagated propensity.

Having answered Dr. Tyler's questions, I must be allowed to put a question or two to Dr. Tyler, which probably he will not attempt to answer.—1f Adam and the child Jesus possessed the same nature, how came it to pass, according to Dr. Tyler's principles, that the former sinned, and that the latter did not ?. Here it seems, we have two moral beings, with the same nature, and with such a nature too that sin on the part of either is utterly unaccountable according to Dr. Tyler, and yet one sins, and the other does not. Will Dr. Tyler account for this difference in character, without supposing a difference in their nature; or will he still hold a theory, which is contradicted by acknowledged facts?

Another question for Dr. Tyler to answer is this,- Why did Adam sin at all, seeing he had neither a created nor propagated propensity to sin ? If no being can sin, without a constitutional propensity to sin, how came Adam to sin ? If one being, as Adam, can sin and did in fact sin, without such a propensity to sin, why may not others ?

I ask again - What is a propensity to sin ? Is it an act of preference or choice? If so, how can it be a constitutional property of the mind, and be propagated from parent to child? If it is not a voluntary state or act of the mind, is it an involuntary desire or inclination toward some good, pleasure, or enjoyment, like our propensities to food and drink? If so, what good, pleasure, or enjoyment is there in the object of this propensity, viz. sin, or a sinful volition? Or, are there propensities which have no good, pleasure, or enjoyment for their object ?- Now I put these questions to Dr. Tyler, as presenting insuperable difficulties in forming even a conception of a constitutional propensity to sin, as possible in the nature of things. Once more,

,-Has not Dr. Tyler proved his own doctrine to be false ? Dr. Tyler often represents the entire depravity of

« FöregåendeFortsätt »