Sidor som bilder

viz: as it tends to that moral evil by which the subject becomes odious in the sight of God, and liable as such to be condemned. Thus he does not assert that this propensity is in itself sinful, and deserving of punishment, but simply that it tends to, or is followed by those moral acts, by which the subject becomes ill-deserving."

Now why is this construction put upon the language of Edwards, and such a different construction put upon mine, especially when all which I have affirmed is, that mankind come into the world with a propensity to evil, without affirming as Edwards has done, that this is "a very evil, depraved and pernicious propensity ?" Surely, if Edwards has not affirmed, that this propensity is itself sinful, much less have I affirmed this. But says Dr. Taylor, “What if Pres. Edwards did in words maintain that man is born with a corrupt nature, or a propensity in his nature to sin—the question is, what did Pres. Edwards mean ?" Very well—and what if I have maintained that man is born with a propensity in his nature to sin—the question is, what is my meaning? And what right, let me ask, had Dr. Taylor to give to my language a meaning entirely different from that which he gives to the same language, in the writings of Edwards? But says Dr. Taylor, “ If Edwards in these passages, asserts Dr. Tyler's views, does he not contradict them in those which I cited ?” I answer, no. When or where have I affirmed that there is “any evil quality infused, implanted, or wrought into the nature of men by any positive cause or influence whatever, either from God or the creature; or that man is conceived and born with a fountain of evil in his heart, such as is any thing properly positive ?"

According to Edwards, " When God made man at first, he implanted in him two kinds of principles. There was an inferior kind, which may be called natural, being the principles of mere human nature; such as self-love, with those natural appetites and passions which belong to the nature of men, in which his love to his own liberty, honor and pleasure were exercised; these when alone, and left to themselves, are what the Scriptures sometimes call flesh. Besides these, there were superior principles, that were spiritual, holy and divine, summarily comprehended in divine love; wherein consisted the spiritual image of God, and man's righteousness and true holiness; which are called in Scripture, the divine nature. These principles may in some sense be called supernatural, being (however concreated or connate, yet) such as are above those principles, that are essentially implied in, or inseparably connected with mere human nature.- -When man sinned, and broke God's covenant, and fell under his curse, these superior principles left his heart.- -The inferior principles of self-love and natural appetite, which were given only to serve, being alone, and left to themselves, of course became ruling principles; having no superior principles to regulate or control them, they became absolute masters of the heart. The immediate consequence of which was, a fatal catastrophe, a turning of all things upside down, and the succession of a state of the most odious and dreadful confusion. Man did immediately set up himself, and the objects of his private affection as supreme, and so they took the place of God."— Treatise on Original Sin, pp. 317-319.

Now Edwards maintains that the posterity of Adam come into the world destitute of those superior principles with which Adam was created, and that this constitutes the propensity to sin, of which he speaks. He says:

“ As God withdrew spiritual communion and his vital gracious influence from the common Head, so he withholds the same froin all the members, as they come into existence; whereby they come into the world mere flesh, and entirely under the government of natural and inferior principles.” Id.

p. 320.

[ocr errors]

Now I ask, what have I said inconsistent with this? I have maintained that mankind come into the world with a propensity to evil. But I have not undertaken to tell in what this propensity consists. Consequently, I have not said that it does not consist in the very thing in which Edwards says it does consist.

Again, I have maintained that the nature of man is not what it would have been, if sin had not existed, but has undergone some change in consequence of the original apostacy. This also was a doctrine of Edwards, as appears from the foregoing extracts. According to him, the superior principles which were implanted in man at his creation, and in which consisted the spiritual image of God,” constituted originally a part of his nature, as much as self-love, natural appetite, &c. for they were “concreated or connate." But mankind now come into the world destitute of these superior principles; and this, according to Edwards, is the change which the nature of man has undergone in consequence of the original apostacy. Now I ask, what have I said, which is inconsistent with this view of the subject ?

The reader can now judge of the correctness of Dr. TayJor's

representation, when he says, " Pres. Edwards contradicts Dr. Tyler's statements, no less explicitly than if it had been his direct object.” So far is this from being true, in my own apprehension, that I am not conscious of having made a statement on this subject, which is not in accordance with the statements of Edwards. Have I maintained that mankind come into the world with a propensity to sin ?—so did Edwards.Have I maintained that this propensity is hereditary, transmitted in some way or other, from parent to child ?-So did Edwards. He says, " In this place (Job xv: 14–16,) we are not only told how wicked man's heart is, but also, how men come by such wickedness, even by being of the race of mankind by ordinary generation.” He says also, “Without doubt David has respect to this same way of derivation of wickedness of

• Will Dr. Taylor subscribe to this view of the original character of man?


heart, when he says, Ps. li : 5. Behold 1 was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."—Have I maintained that mankind do not come into the world with the same nature as that with which Adam was created ? This also, as we have seen, was maintained by Edwards. He maintained that Adam was created with holy principles, and with no propensity to sin; and that his posterity come into the world, destitute of holy principles, and with a propensity to sin. Every position, therefore, taken by me on this subject, which has been controverted by Dr. Taylor and the Reviewer, is in accordance with the views maintained by Edwards.

Again,I am represented as maintaining, that a constitutional propensity to sin, is necessary to render it possible for man to sin. Thus the Reviewer says, “According to Dr. Tyler, man cannot sin without a constitutional propensity to sin.” And Dr. Taylor asks, “If no being can sin, without a constitutional propensity so sin, how came Adam to sin ?" But where have I said or intimated, that no being can sin, without à constitutional propensity to sin! What I have said is, that“ unless there is in man, a native bias, or tendency to sin, I see not that there is any real connexion between the sin of Adam and that of his posterity. Nor do I see that our nature is in any sense the cause or reason of our sinning." Is this maintaining, that a natural propensity to sin, is necessary to render it possible for man to sin!

Thai Adam sinned without any natural propensity to sin, is admitted. But Adam was not a sinner by nature. Nor was his sin in consequence of the sin of a progenitor. But the Scriptures teach us that there is a real connexion between the sin of Adam and that of his posterity, and that we are all by nature sinners. The question, therefore, which it became Dr. Taylor and the Reviewer to meet, was not, whether man can sin, without a natural propensity to evil--but how it can be truly said, that our sin is in consequence of the sin of Adam, and that our nature is the cause or reason of our sinning, if we come into the world with the same nature as that with which Adam was created? If the posterity of Adam, do not possess any more natural bias, or propensity to evil, than he possessed, why may it not be as truly said, that he was a sinner by nature, as that they are sinners by nature? But instead of meeting this question, they represent me as teaching the position that man cannot sin without a constitutional propensity to sin. Whereas the position which I have taken, is, that "if all mankind come into the world with the same nature as that with which Adam was created, and which the child Jesus possessed ; then the only reason that they do not exhibit the same charac

[ocr errors]

ter, must be that they are placed in DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCLS."

In this connexion, I wish the reader to notice the following representation of Dr. Taylor :

“I had spoken of the possibility that natural propensities for good, like those which led our first parents to sin, might prove the occasion of universal sín to their posterity. Dr. Tyler passes this without any attempt at refu. tation, cxcpt that he requests his reader to compare it with passages which he cites froin the great champion of Arminianism, Dr. Taylor of Norwich.What is this but to resort to reproach when argument fails !" p. 15.

Now let it be remembered, that in connexion with my quotation from Dr. Taylor of Norwich, I quoted Edwards' reply. Of this reply, Dr. Taylor is careful to take no notice. Dr. Taylor proceeds:

“How will such an expedient set aside the matter of fact, that Adam sinned without a created or propagated propensity to sin? Why does Dr. Ty. ler, in view of this fact respecting Adam, assume the utter impossibility of the same fact respecting his posterity?

I have not attempted to set aside this matter of fact; nor have I denied, as Dr. Taylor represents, that the posterity of Adam might sin, without a natural propensity to sin. But here is a universal fact to be accounted for. If mankind are naturally no more inclined to evil than to good, how comes it to pass, that all, without exception, begin to sin as soon as they are capable of sinning? Is it said, all are moral agents, and therefore can sin? It may also be said, all are moral agents, and therefore can be holy-and why do not some at least become holy? Why is it, that all the children of Adam, without a single exception, agree to pervert their moral agency? Is there no reason for this? Or is it sufficient to say, as Dr. Taylor does, that “ Adam sinned without any previous propensity to sin, and therefore Adan's posterity may sin, without a propensity to sin.” This, as I showed, is the precise ground which was

I taken by Dr. John Taylor of Norwich, and which was refuted by Edwards. The correctness of my statement is not denied, although for making it, I am accused of resorting to reproach when argument fails. But would it not be well for Dr. Taylor to answer the reasoning of Edwards, before he sounds his note of triumph.

There are other misrepresentations, which I intended to notice—particularly the representation of my views respecting the doctrine of regeneration. Dr. Taylor represents me as maintaining "that the sinner under the renewing influence of the divine spirit, resists that influence, until it becomes a natural impossibility for him to resist it any longer,”—and that God converts the soul" by physical compulsion"-by "crushing and

[ocr errors]

destroying moral agency, in the very act of securing moral action," —and by" making the sinner willing against his will."

So far from having maintained these views, I have explicitly disclaimed them. The position which I have maintained, is, that the sinner resists, till by the influence of the Spirit, his obstinacy is overcome, and he voluntarily submit", and that the resistance of the sinner is never so great, as to render it impossible for God' to bring him thus voluntarily to submit.” Is this maintaining that the soul is converted by "physical compulsion”? If the sinner voluntarily submiis, is his moral agency crushed and destroyed, and is he made willing against his will ? But I cannot dwell on this point, owing to the length to which my remarks have been already protracted.

For the same reason, I must pass over with only a slight notice, the unfounded charges which are brought against me, of misrepresenting the views of Dr. Taylor-of misquoting his language-of imputing to him sentiments which he has publicly disclaimed-of re-echoing the charge of heresy--of coining positions for him ad libitumand of substituting for his, positions of my own. These and similar charges abound in the communications of Dr. Taylor. That the reader may have some idea of the occasion which has been given for these charges, I will refer to one case only, as a specimen.

It occurs in the discussion of the doctrine of Election.

Dr. Taylor says, “ The foregoing argument of Dr. Tyler, is a just specimen of much of his reasoning on the present topic. It rests wholly either on substituting his own incorrect statements for my positions, or on inferences derived from such


For this, Dr. Tyler substitutes his own unqualified statement, that God chooses, all things considered, that all men should become holy.--Hence he goes on to infer, that if it were in the power of God, he would bring all men to repentance; and then asks, how, according to this view of the subject, there can be any such thing as election ? But whose view of the subject is this ? Not mine; but one which Dr. Tyler, without the least warrant-even when his error had been pointed out to him, persists in substituting for mine.” pp. 73, 74.

The reader will notice what Dr. Taylor here says, is his position, viz: that GOD PREFERS ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, THAT ALL MEN SHOULD BECOME HOLY, RATHER THAN CONTINUE IN SIN UNDER THE PRESENT SYSTEM. This position, I am charged with having omitted, and with having substituted one of mine own in its place. Now let it be remembered that this position of Dr. Taylor's, in the form, at least, in which it is here stated, is entirely a new one, and has never before appeared on his pages. The position on which



« FöregåendeFortsätt »