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case of every natural man : He wilfully rejects the blood of Christ, aud obstipately wallows in the filth of sin. Therefore, the wrath God (justly] abideth on him.' (John iii. 36.)
Par.-Your answers to my objections are satisfactory : Return, I pray you, to your rational proofs of our apostacy.
Min.-Fourth ARGUMENT. The present disordered ruinous state of the globe, shews, to an impartial enquirer, that its chief inhabitant is disgraced by the God of nature and providence. Murder and battle, plagnes and famine, lightning and thunder, burning heat and piercing cold, cities and mountains on fire, together with storms, ivundations, and earthquakes, coucur to make this earth a vast prison for rebels, who are already “ tied and bound with the chain of their sins," a boundless scaffold for their execution, an immense ' field-of blood,' and, if I may be allowed the expression, the charnel-house of the universe.
Fifth ARGUMENT.-Reason agrees with scripture in deciding, that man, as the noblest creature upon earth, should, os
according to the fitness of things, bear rule over all the rest.” But, how is the crown fallen from his head !' Worms lodge within his bowels even before his death; and insects too base to be named, but not too base to humble a proud apostate, prey upon his flesh, and feast ou his blood, from the cradle to the grave. And would the wise, gracious, and just Governor of the world, suffer despicable vermin, (to say nothing of savage beasts,) thus to rehel against. man, if man were not himself a rebel against God?
Sixth ARGUMENT.-Reason discovers that the effect cannot rise higher than the cause, and that light will as soon spring from darkness, as a pure, heavenly nature from an earthly, sensual one. Our first parents having infected their souls and bodies, by taking the poison of siu, and the seeds of death, could not, with
out a miracle, transmit to their offspring a better nature than they now had themselves. It would be irrational to expect wholesome streams from a corrupted fountain; and Job, after enquiring, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclear ?,' rationally auswers, • Not one.'
Par.—Your last argument, stroug as you may think it, is inconclusive : You do not consider, that the body, being only organized natter, is as incapable of sinning as a corpse, because matter is not susceptible of moral defilement : And you forget that our Lord affirms, even ' adulteries proceed vut of the heart,' or soul, which each of us had immediately from God. Therefore, it is absolutely impossible we should be born in siņ: Unless you can believe it possible for a holy God to create sinful souls, or for a good God to create pure spirits, in order to send them into impure bodies, that they may be defiled by the contact. The last of these notions is not less repugnant to philosophy, than the first is to divinity, for if a dunghill cannot defile the light of the sun, much less can matter defile a spirit.
Min.—Your subtle objection is entirely founded on the odd notion, that children derive nothing from their parents, but a body; and that their soul comes immediately from God, who continually creates and emits spirits into bodies, at the beck of every foruicator and adulterer; but that this is a mistake appears from the following considerations :
1. It is said that God rested on the seventh day from all his work’ of creation : (Gen. ii. 3 :) But upon this scheme he is hourly creating new souls.
2. All living creatures, ' after their kind,' received power to propagate their species in its whole nature ; and it does not appear, why beasts should be more privileged than man in this respect.
3. When God blessed our first parents, and bade them be fruitful and multiply,' he addressed himself to the soul, as well as to the body, which, without the soul, can neither receive nor execute a command. Therefore, by the force of the divine blessing and appointment, the whole man can multiply, and the soul may light the fame of life, under proper circunstances, as one taper can light another.
All agree, that, under God, we receive life from our parents; and if life, then certainly our spirit, which is the principle of life, and without which the body is pothing but a lump of refined clay. (Gen. xlvi. 26.)
5. The regeneration of our souls is insisted upon, by our Lord, as absolutely necessary; and if they are to be regenerated, it follows, that they were first generated. (John iii. 6; Eph. iv. 23.)
6. Lastly. The Scripture informs us, that fallen * Adam begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image :' (Gen. v. 3 :) But had he generated only a body without a soul, he would have been the father of a corpse, and not of a man ; for what is man but an embodied spirit ?
Par.-What you advance would carry great weight, if it were not written, that God is the Father of the spirits of all flesh,' and that the spirit returns to God who gave it.' From these passages I always concluded, that the soul is not propagated, but immediately created.
Min.-Give me leave to retort, that it is also written, that Job and David were fearfully and wonderfully made, and fashioned by the hands of God in their mother's womb;' (Job x. 8; Ps. cxxxix. 4, &c.;) and that'we are the offspring of him, who made of one blood all nations of men.' (Acts xvii. 26, 28.) If you think that these scriptures prove, that Job, David, and * all uations of men,' had their bodies from God, without the instrumentality of any parents, I will agree, that the passages you quote, prove also that we have our souls inmediately from God. Nevertheless, I do not deny, that the Lord is peculiarly the Father of the spirits of all flesh,' because he breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life,' and gave him the spirit, by which he became immediately, and every other man mediately, a living soul. (Gen. ii. 7.)
Par.—This hypothesis affects, I am afraid, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul ; for if the spirit is generated with the body, it will also perish with it.
Min.-1. Chaff is, in some respects, to the wheat, what the body is to the soul; it is formed, and subsists awhile with it. But would you conclude from thence, that the wheat cannot subsist, when the chaff is destroyed ? You know the contrary; though wheat and chaff are material substances, growing from the same clod. How much more can the soul subsist, in a separate state, after the corruption of the body, seeing it is of a nature so diametrically opposite to flesh and hlood ! That essential, vital breath, which came from heaven,-from God himself, cannot then be destroyed by the fall of a little dust of the earth that clogs it for a while.
2. The immortality of the soul is no more affected, uor the nature of a spirit impaired, by spiritual tra.. duction, than the Eternity of God the Father is affected by the generation of his only begotten Son;' (Heb. i. 5; John i. 18;) or his glorious Godhead impaired by the continual emanations of his Holy Spirit. (Psalm civ. 30 ; 1 John v. 18.)
3. So far is dissolution from being a necessary consequence of the propagation of our souls, that it would not so much as have followed the generation of our bodies, if Adam had not brought sin and death into the world. Yea, the beasts themselves, as I proved just now, enjoyed, in the paradisiacal state, the power of propagating their species, together with immortality.
Par.-Now that you have proved the traduction of human souls, what inference do you draw from it?
Min.-A very remarkable one : viz. That according to the previous appointment of God, and the law of our nature, (Gen. i. 28,) 'Adam begat a son,' with whatsoever was essential to his own wretched likeness und fallen image ; (Gen. v. 3 ;) that is to say, with a body tainted all over with mortality, and a soul polluted and infected with sin. Thus your objections are
answered, and the propagation of sin and death are, not only scripturally, but rationally and philosophically, accounted for.
Par.-If Adam repented aud became holy, as it is supposed he did, he could not impart a sinful nature to his posterity, for our Lord tells us, that “a good tree cannot briug forth evil fruit.'
Min.-Your objection can be answered various ways. 1. The holiness which Adam regained, was not free from mixtures of corruption.
2. Imperfect as it was, it could not be attained by any of the children of men, in any other way than that in which Adam himself, and Abel his son got it, viz. by faith in the promised seed. (Heb. xi. 4.)
3. As a tree, vaturally growing from the kernel of the best apple, can produce nothing but mere crabs, till it is engrafted ; so the children of the best parents cau hare, by nature, nothing but sinful dispositions, till grace engrafts holy ones.
4. Lastly : Good men beget their children as men, not as good men ; they cannot impart to their children what they never receive from their parents; therefore, by generation all are naturally "children of wrath ;' when any become children of light,' it is supernaturally by regeneration. And then they are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.' (John i. 13.)
Par.-It seems to me both absurd and unjust, that we should be born in sin, because Adam chose to sin : By what law are we bound to suffer for the faults of avother? We had no hand in our first parent's transgression, why should the cousequences of it fall so heavy upon us ?
Min.—You do not think parallel cases either absurd or unjust. Adan was the general head, representative, and father of mankind, and we suffer for his rebellion -as justly as the children of a bankrupt suffer for their parent's imprudeuce, or those of a traitor for their father's treason,--as naturally as subjects suffer for the public faults of their prince, as necessarily as