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enter into contest with the corruption that so burdens and distresses you; but there and there alone grace will reign without a rival, and the principle of corruption that now is only kept in check will there be utterly and conclusively extirpated.
What is true of the original corruption, is also true of the original guilt. Do you complain of that debt, under the weight and oppression of which you came into the world? What ground we ask is there for complaining, when the offer is fairly put within your reach, of a most free and ample discharge-and that not merely for the guilt of original, but also for the whole guilt of your proper and personal sinfulness? It is indeed a very heavy burden that has been entailed upon you by the first Adam; but here we stand with the offer of a deliverance both from it, and from all the additions you have made to it by actual transgression-wrought out and made good for you by the suretiship and the ability of the second Adam. Your rescue from corruption is not instantaneous, but your rescue from guilt is. The offer of a free and full forgiveness is even now unto you all; and why do you murmur at the grievousness of the reckoning which is out against you, when there is out along with it the loudly sounding proclamation of remission to all who will, and acceptance without money or without price to all who will? The relief granted in the gospel, is at least an adequate counterpart to all the wretch. edness which nature has entailed upon you; and
even now are you invited by union with Christ, to be freed from the whole weight of all the responsibility that may have been incurred by your descent from Adam. What you have lost because of Adam's sin, is more than made up to you by Christ's righteousness; and we repeat it, that if there be any hardship in your suffering because of a fault which you did not commit the hardship is greatly atoned for, by your enjoying favour and reward, because of an obedience that you did not render. It is thus again that the gospel vindicates God from all the aspersions which have been cast upon His government; and there is not a man who honestly complains that favour has been lost because of another's demerits, that we cannot silence and even satisfy, by telling him that all this favour may be regained because of another's deservings. We interpose the gospel of Jesus Christ, as the decisive reply to all the murmurs of those who revolt at the apparent severity of the divine administration; and affirm, upon the strength of its blessed overtures, that it depends upon man's own choice whether the discharge is not at least equal to the debt, and the recovery of our nature is not at least equal to the ruin of it.
We now hold ourselves prepared for vindicating the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin, even in the farthest extent of it, when it goes beyond the apprehension and acknowledgment of our moral sense altogether. We see how the blame lies upon us, of such personal sins as we commit-even
though we have been led to the performance of these by a corrupt tendency of nature inherited from Adam. But we do not see how the blame lies upon us, of that proper and personal sin which rendered Adam an outcast from paradise. It may be so though we see it not; and that it is so, is in beautiful and consenting harmony with what we are explicitly assured to be the effect of our union with the Saviour. From Him we derive, not merely a new nature which inclines us to righteousness and holiness, even as we derived from Adam our old nature which inclines us to all that is wicked and ungodly. But from Him we also derive an imputed righteousness, so as that we are reckoned with by God as if we were positively deserving creatures. The merit of Christ's obedience is transferred to us, as well as His holy and upright nature transferred to us; and from the very cir cumstance of His being called in Scripture the second Adam, from the very way in which He is there designed as a counterpart to the first Adam, would we be inclined to think that the guilt of Adam's disobedience was transferred to us, even as his corrupt and vitiated nature has also been transferred to us-In other words, that Adam is not merely the corrupt parent of a corrupt offspring, who sin because of the depravity wherewith he has tainted all the families of the earth; but who have sinned in him, to use the language of our old divines, in their federal head-as the representative of a covenant which God made with him, and through him with all his posterity.
Certain it is, that, to screen a believer from the vengeance of an immutable law, something more is necessary than the atonement of his past offences, and the derivation of a holy nature from the Saviour. Even after the principle of grace has been implanted, there are the outbreakings of sin which serve to humble and to remind him, that never till death has pulverized his body into atoms, and the resurrection has again assembled them into a pure and holy structure-will he be wholly freed from that sore corruption, which so adheres, and so strives to obtain the victory over him. Still, and at any time after his conversion while he lives in the world, were he treated according to his own. deservings would he be an outcast from the favour of that God whose justice is inflexible; and to meet this justice on the ground of acceptance, he must stand before it in another merit than his own, and be clothed upon with another righteousness than his own. Or, to be in favour with God, he stands in need of an imputed as well as of an infused righteousness; and the merit of Christ must be laid to his account, as well as the nature of Christ be laid upon his person. You have no title to cast out with the sin of Adam being imputed to you, if you do not cast out with the righteousness of Christ being imputed to you. The latter screens you from the former, and it screens you also from the guilt of your own positive offences. Without it, even the holiest man upon earth, would stand before a God of perfect holiness, on a basis of utter
insecurity; and with it the greatest sinner upon earth stands on a firmer and a higher 'vantageground, than even had all the innocence and virtue of Adam been both transmitted and ascribed to him. And I willingly consent to have the guilt of Adam charged upon me, if, along with it, the overpassing righteousness of Christ shall be reckoned to me; and let the severities be what they may which lie upon me under the economy of nature and of the law-I see in the corresponding privileges which are freely offered to me under the economy of the gospel, I see in them the fullest and the noblest compensation.
The question of original sin is allied with that of the origin of evil; and a very deep and unyielding obscurity hangs over it-how in a universe framed and upheld by a Being, of whom we are taught to believe that He has an arm of infinite power and a heart of infinite goodness-how under His administration, such a monster as evil, whether moral or physical, should even be permitted to exist, is indeed a mystery, seated too far back among the depths of primeval creation and of the eternity behind it, for us the puny insects of a day to explore or to decide upon. One would think of God, that He would, if He could, banish all sin and wretchedness from that system of things, over which we have always been in the habit of thinking that He has the entire and undivided ascendancy; nor can we at all imagine, how with both the will and the ability of Omnipotence leagued