« 上一頁繼續 »
sense of the word. We are now come upon disputed ground, which requires us to proceed with great caution and perspicuity. And, therefore, it may be proper to observe,
1. That God might hace made Adam upright in heart.
This is denied by many men of great learning and ingenuity. They suppose it was beyond the power of the Deity, to make man morally upright, or create him in righteousness and true holiness. This is the opinion of two very ingenious and respectable authors, who have expressed their minds freely upon the subject. Doctor Taylor confidently asserts, “That it is utterly inconsistent with the nature of virtue, that it should be concreated with any person; because, if so, it must be an act of God's absolute power, without our knowledge or concurrence; and that moral virtue, in its very nature, implieth the choice and consent of the moral agent, without which it cannot be virtue and holiness: that necessary boliness is no holiness. To say that God not only endowed Adam with a capacity of being righteous, but moreover that righteousness and true holiness were created with him, or wrought into his nature, at the same time he was made, is to affirm a contradiction, or what is inconsistent with the nature of righteousness." Doctor Chauneey agrees very nearly with Doctor Taylor; for speaking upon this subject, he says, with his usual elegance and accuracy, “That man was made male and female, the most excellent creature in this lower world, possessing the highest and noblest rank: That he was made by an immediate" exertion of almighty power, and not by God's agency, in concurrence with second causes, operating accorling to an established course or order; that he was made in the image of God;” mean
ing hereby, not an actual, présent, perfect likeness to him, either in knowledge, wisdom, holiness, or happiness, but with IMPLANTED. POWERS perfectly adjusted for his gradually attaining to his likeness, in the highest measure proper to a being of his rank in the creation.” Though Doctor Chauncey does not expressly deny, as Doctor Taylor does, the possibility of God's making man upright, yet his mode of treating the subject plainly implies it. They both suppose, that virtue or true holiness must be the sole work of man, and of course suppose, that it is impossible, in the nature of things, that it should be the work of God. This is the objection against God's creating Adam in righteousness and true holiness, sėt in the fairest and strongest light. Let us now consider what there is to invalidate this objection, and to make it appear, that God might have made man upright.
And here I may observe, in the first place, that it is agreeable to the nature of virtue, or true holiness to be created. . The volitions or moral exercises of the mind are virtuous or vicious, in their own nature, without the least regard to the cause by which they were produced. This is apparent, upon the principles of thosė, who deny the possibility of created holiness. Doctor Taylor pleads, that holiness consists in the free, voluntary choice of the agent. This is undoubtedly true, and agreeable to the dictates of common sense. But if this be true, the excellency of virtue or boliness consists in its nature, and not in its cause. For, if there cannot be a volition before the first volition; then the first volition of every created agent, must have a cause altogether involuntary. This must certainly have been the case with respect to Adam. His first volition could not proceed from a previous volition; and therefore his first yolition proceeded from some involuntary cause. And if it proceeded from an involuntary cause, it matters not whether that cause was within or without himself. For, if it were altogether involuntarys there could be no moral goodness in it; since it is granted by all, that virtue or true holiness consists in the free choice, or voluntary exercise of the agent. So that if Adam ever began to be holy, his first holiness consisted in his first benevolent volition, and not in the cause of that first virtuous and voluntary exercise. But if his first holiness consisted in his first benevolent volition; then it might have been created or produced by the Deity, without destroying its benevolent and vir tuous nature.
I may further observe, that holiness is something which has a real and positive existence, and which not only may, but must be created. The free, voluntary exercises of the mind can no more come into existence without a cause, than any other objects in nature. And it is equally certain that Adam could not be the efficient.cause of his own volition. He was a depen. dent creature. He lived and moved, and had his being in God, and without him he could do nothing. Such a dependent creature could no more produce his own volitions, than his own existence. A self-determining power is an independent power, which never was, and never could be given to Adam. And if he never had a power of originating his own volitions, or making himself holy; then he must have forever remained without holiness, unless God had seen fit to make him holy, or morally upright.
And this, I proceed to observe, he might have done. He has the power of production. He can create, or bring out of nothing into existence whatever he pleases. His power is absolutely unlimited and irresistible. As he can create a body, and create a soul, which are
lower kinds of existence; so he can create virtue or true holiness, which is the highest and noblest kind of existence. But we have no occasion to employ fine spun reasoning to prove, that holiness comes within the sphere of divine agency, since the Scriptures clearly decide this point. They ascribe the production of holiness to God, as his own proper and peculiar work. They assure us, that he can give men a heart to know him; that he can make them willing to submit to him; that he can take away their slony hearts, and give them hearts of flesh; that he can create them anew in Christ Jesus unto good works; that he can work in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure; or in a word, that he can harden, or soften, or turn their hearts, just as he pleases. There is not a plainer truth in the Bible than this; that God can make men up. right. And if he can make obstinate and hardened sinners upright; who can doubt whether he was able to make the first man, in the first stage of his existence, upright?
We may now advance another step, and observe,
2. That God not only might, but must have created Adam either holy, or unholy.
Adam was created in a state of manhood. His body was completely organized, and every way fitted for the reception of the soul. At the instant, therefore, in which his soul was united with his body, he became a perfect man, or moral agent. There was nothing further necessary in order to the exercise of his moral powers, but the exhibition of external objeets. And these were exhibited before him, as soon as he opened his eyes upon the visible world. It is possible, though not probable, that his first views were somewhat obscure and confused, like those of a man who awakes out of a sound sleep. But as soon, and perhaps much
sooner, than a waking man collects his thoughts, Adam collected his, and saw and felt the influence of surrounding objects, with all the clearness and sensibility that he ever did in his life. The power of perception sets all the other powers of his mind into motion. So that there could be no discernible distance of time between his seeing objects, and feeling moral affections towards them. As his completely organized body could not prevent the exercise of his moral powers; soʻ there was nothing within, nor without him, that could prevent his immediately commencing a moral agent, and exercising either holy or unholy affections.
To suppose that God implanted in his mind the principles of moral agency, without making him a moral agent, is extremely absurd. For, if God gave him the powers of perception, reason and conscience, he must have been immediately under moral obligation, which he must have immediately either fulfilled, or violated, and so have immediately become either holy, or sinful. To avoid this conclusion, Doctor Chauncey says, “these implanted powers did not afford Adam any present, actual knowledge, wisdom, holiness, or happiness.” I ask then, what they did afford him? or in what sense they were the powers of moral agency, when they neither enabled him to perceive any object, to know any truth, to enjoy any good, nor to do any action? Upon this supposition, Adam was as inactive and torpid, after his soul was united to his body, as before; and might have remained in that inactive, torpid state forever, notwithstanding his implanted powers, For, if after his soul and body were united, he might have remained destitute of sensation and perception, one moment; he might have remained so, one hour, one day, one year, or to all eternity. If any person can tell how Adam began