George Payne.

The doctrine of original sin : or, The native state and character of man unfolded (Volume 11) online

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Online LibraryGeorge PayneThe doctrine of original sin : or, The native state and character of man unfolded (Volume 11) → online text (page 1 of 33)
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The readers of this volume will gather from more than
one of its statements, especially from the commencement
of the Fifth Lecture, that its Author does not altogether
approve of the phrase by which the doctrine, explained
and defended in the subsequent pages, is generally desig-
nated. He is free, indeed, to confess that its banishment
from our theological nomenclature would not give him
great concern. The reasons which have induced this feel-
ing are stated in various parts of the book : recapitulation
here would be both unnecessary and improper.

Now it may be said, and probably will bo said, by some
persons, " Why then is the phrase Original Sin retained
in the title-page of the volume ? " The Author is bound to
state the reasons which have prevented his discarding it.
In the first place, he could not but feel that the proper de-
signation of the doctrine unfolded in these Lectures, is
merely a question of terminology, and, therefore, of com-
paratively slight importance. He does not venture to say,
of no importance at all. On the contrary, he has a deep


sense of the value of a correct nomenclature in theology.
If, in other sciences, this is found to be eminently expe-
dient, how can it prove otherwise in the Divine science of
Theology? "Men imagine," says Bacon, "that their
minds have the command of language, but it often happens
that language bears rule over their mind." Incorrect
phraseology may, perhaps, in the first instance, be gener-
ally the result of incorrect thought ; but no one can doubt
that it becomes the means both of perpetuating and pro-
ducing incorrect thought. Interest is the product of
capital ; but it is also the creator of capital. The Author
of this volume would, therefore, have preferred to designate
it, *' Lectures on the Native State and Character of Man ; "
but he felt, in the second place, that the phrase, " Original
Sin," is too highly accredited by long-continued usage to
justify him, at least, in discontinuing it. He admits at
once, that it must be left for writers of more established
authority and influence than himself — if they should deem
that measure expedient — to cast it overboard.

Aware of the indefinite and, in some cases — as the
Author conceives — false conceptions which prevail, even
among Evangelical Christians, of the nature or essence of
original depravity, he is prepared to expect that certain
positions maintained in this volume may not at present
secure universal acceptance. He does not wish any one to
admit them without personal conviction of their truth.
The faith of the reader should stand, not on human autho-
rity, but Divine. All he ventures to ask is, that those into


whose hands this book may fall, will give to its statements
a careful and candid examination. If he might presume
so far, he would venture to suggest that those statements
should be considered and judged of as a whole. Unlefes
the writer deceives himself, it will be found that the various
portions of the volume unfold and defend different parts of
a system of truth, each of which should of course be viewed
in its relation to every other part, and to the whole, and to
the truth and importance of the whole ; and that the ad-
mission of one of its great principles will necessarily lead
to the admission of the entire system. Let it be conceded,
for instance, that the gifts deposited with Adam were
*' chartered benefits," and chartered benefits exclusively,
and the Author will dismiss all apprehension in reference
to the ultimate reception of the entire system he has felt
himself compelled to advocate.

May he be permitted to add a word in explanation of
the exclusively exegetical character of the volume. It has
been objected, that the Congregational Lectures have been
less practical, and experimental, and popular, than might
have been expected. It has ever appeared to the Author
that the objection founds itself upon a mistake concerning
the end and object of such lectures, — namely, to supply
materials which, in the pulpit, and elsewhere, may be
employed, by the Lecturers themselves, and others, to pro-
mote the interests and triumphs of experimental and
practical religion. The Author has a profound conviction
of the disastrous results to both of the rejection of the


docti'ine of native depravity, but he felt that he was merely
required to expound and defend the doctrine ; and that if
he had attempted more he would have been stepping out
of his province as a Congregational Lecturer. Besides,
sufficient space could not have been secured for anything
approaching to an adequate statement of the experimental
and practical bearing of this portion of the great Evange-
lical system, without considerably augmenting the size and
consequent price of the volume ; and it was his strong de-
sire — while no statements essential to a full exhibition of
the doctrine should be omitted or injuriously abridged — to
avoid the introduction of all unessential and irrelevant
matter, that the convenience of the public might, on these
points, be consulted as far as practicable.

The Author feels some satisfaction in reflecting that the
Lectures, though not written for that express purpose,
may tend to support the faith of its readers in the radically
essential doctrine of Divine influence. With the most
poignant feelings of regret he finds that, in some quarters,
the influence of the Holy Spirit in conversion, is identified
with that of the truth to enlighten and persuade men;
thus leaving the all-important question' — the only ques-
tion, indeed, involving the least difficulty, namely, how a
depraved mhid comes to understand and believe the Gos-
pel ? — utterly unexplained, and even untouched. To those
who thus identify two such radically diverse influences —
as that of the Spirit and that of the truth — he believes it
must ever appear inexplicable. There is, no doubt, an


essential tendency in the truth of the Bible to kindle holy
affections and volitions ; hut how can it do either, before
objective truth becomes subjective truth — the truth of the
Bible the truth of the mind? Food has a tendency to
nourish the animal system, but it must be eaten ere it can
minister nourishment. Objective food must become sub-
jective food, before it can produce chyle, and blood, and
bone, and muscle. It is thus also with spiritual food.
The truth of the Bible must enter the mind, and govern-
or, perhaps, we may say, become — the views of the mind ;
the meaning and truth of what the Bible reveals, the mind
must be made to perceive and admit, previous to the puri-
fication of the affections. Now the whole of the difficulty
involved in the conversion of a sinner to God, lies in the
transition of the light of the Bible into the mind. The
great puzzle is, not how the truth operates when it is un-
derstood and believed, but how the carnal mind comes to
understand and believe it. " The natural man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God." He resists the
entrance of the truth ; he hates the truth; and, the more
clearly its holy nature is discerned, the more powerfully is
his hatred elicited. If no special influence of the Spirit
be put forth, leading sucli a man, in a manner which we
cannot fully comprehend, into just views of the truth, how
are we to account for his first spiritual apprehensions of
the Gospel ? And, if the doctrine of the special agency of
the Spirit in the regeneration and sanctification of men
should be generally rejected, we may begin to tremble for


the stability of our faith in the personality of the Spirit.
The great work of the Spirit is not to record successive
Divine revelations in the sacred Scriptures, but to '* take
of the things of Christ" — the things which are recorded
there — and reveal them to the minds of men. If the in-
fluence of the truth, and of the Spirit, be identified, — that
is, if the Spirit be in the truth, then the Spirit is not of
course in the mind, and so cannot affect the mind, until
the truth is in the mind, or is understood and believed.
And then, how is the transition of the truth from the Bible
to the mind to be explained ?

Western College,
April, 1845.






Introductory Kemarks — The connexion between the branches of
evangelical truth — The Scriptures the source of our knowledge of
man's primeval state — The Mosaic account of it — Adam was formed,
both in mind and body, in a perfect state — His original character,
or the image in which he was formed ; not found in his station
merely; not in his body; nor solely in his mind, though of an exalted
nature; but in his moral state — The nature of the holiness connate to
Adam — Statements of Turrettine, Knapp, &c. — Adam's holiness
consisted not in the right exercise of his powers, but in predisposition
to their right exercise — Spiritual life in him was, in the order of
nature, previous to right thoughts and feelings — Remarks on the
nature of life in general — Adam became subject to law by virtue of
constituted relations — On his creation he sustained the parental re-
lation only to the race — How his conduct in that relation solely
would have affected them — The federal relation, how and where
constituted; the change effected by it in reference to the race; it
exposed them to the consequences of his disobedience, i.e. the los3
of chartered benefits — Statements of Pictet, &c. ; overlook the dis-
tinction between the paternal and federal relation — Difference ia
the consequences which may result from transgression in each rela-
tion — Genesis ii. 15 — 17 considered — The existence of the federal
relation established — Examination of the objection, that the conse-
quences of one man's sin cannot justly reach to others — Various
answers considered ; that of Augustine, Edwards, &c. — Partial solu-
tion of the difficulty; more full solution 1


Proof of the blessings suspended upon the federal obedience of Adam
were chartered blessings — Examples of such blessings — Being gifts
of sovereignty, they admit of such suspension — Illustrations of this —
The blessings deposited in Adam for the race were of this kind —
Proof of this furnished by Gen. ii. 1 7, 25 ; the words appear to contain


a threatening only; yet with this form they include a promise —
Proof of this — The extent of the promise — Secured to him, as long
as lie obeyed, the continuance o'l the life he then enjoyed — 1st, The
life of the bodj', death was to him the result of federal failure ; is so
to his posterity — All thus die in Adam — Immortal bodily life would
have been secured to the race by federal perfection — 2nd, The per-
manent presence and influence of the Hcly Spirit — This the ulti-
mate source of holy volitions and actions in the case of Adam — Was
yet the gift not of Equity but Sovereigrty — Its continued possession
might, therefore, be suspended on a condition — The condition on
■which the continued enjoyment of these two blessings was suspended,
viz. abstinence from the forbidden fruit — This the sole condition —
What might have been the result of persoTio? failure, had it been pos-
sible — The results of personal and federal failure are not necessarily
the same — Privileges are often held by charter on other conditions
than those which entitle to the rights of citizenship — Adam held
blessings by chai-tei' — On another condition than, if not a beneficiary,
he must have lield them — Mistakes of Picket, Hopkins, and others —
The Adamic di^^pensation not a covenant of works, but of grace —
It was so to Adam — Placed the continuance of life on a single act
of obedience — Is so to iis, suspending life to us on a condition more
likely to be performed by him than by us — Adam violated the con-
dition of the charter; the results reach to us, but they are the loss
of chartered benefits — How far we may be said to have been guilty
of Adam's sin — The strict meaning of the term " guilt'' — Its theolo-
gical sense — How the whole subject is embarrassed — The right view
of it — The estimate which this view leads us to form of the Augus-
tinian statements — Mistakes which they involve, and iheir source —
Their nature explained — Statements of Jonathan Edwards and
Augustine concerning the identity of the race and Adam — State-
ments of Stapfer — Examined and opposed at length — Are now
generally abandoned — Resulted from a mistake of the nature of the
Adamic dispensation — The loss of chartered benefits may render our
condition as deplorable as if the strict punishment of Adam's sin
had been laid upon us — Illustrations — Consideration of the objection
that our own interests should have been trusted to ourselves — Source
of the feeling — Its gi'oundlessness and folly — The rea!=ons which
may have led to the suspension of these blessings on the federal
obedience of Adam — The moral lesson taught by his failure . . 40


The historical character of Genesis iii. 1 — 34, defended — The results
of Adam's failure to us more specially considered — Our legal lia-
bilities and depraved moral condition — The phrase Original Sin
used generically to denote both — Standards of the Church of Scot-
land, Assembly's Catechism, President Edwards, Doddridge, &c. —
The effects of the fall of Adam upon our relative state or condition —
exposed us legally to the loss of all the suspended blessings — to


the death of the hody and soul — It lerjaVy exposed us to this loss,
for God's charter has the force of law — It thus differs from human
charters — The suspended blessing Adam wPiS bound to guard for
himself, and to preserve for us — The difference between the Adamic
and the Gospel charter — The threatening appended to the former
gave it the form and force of law — Disobedience brought guilt,
strictly speaking, upon him — The loss of chartered blessings was
punishment to him, but mere loss to us — Mistakes of the Ultra-Cal-
vinists that Adam's sin was literally ours — and brought guilt,
strictly so called, upon us — Remarks upon Haldaiie's views — The
doctrine of personal uniori — The doctrine of the imputation of
Adam's sin to us, as a legitimate ground of punishment, examined —
Statement of the doctrine — What it assumes — To impute sin or
righteousness to an individual is to treat him as a sinful or righteous
man — Proofs of this statement — To impute Adam's sin to us is to
treat us ns if we had committed it — The assumed legal counting,
&c., Avould not justify punishment — Requires itself to be justified —
Difference between the imputation of righteousness and of sin — Sin
cannot be imputed to a substitute without his consent — The con-
sent of a person to receive good may be assumed, but not evil —
The real explanation of the facts of the case — The imputation of
Adam's sin to us is, as Turrettine says, direct and immediate —
Causes of the other view — Judgment of the synod of the American
Presbyterian Church 80


The effects of the fall %ipon the native character of man — The implied
threatening was, that if he ate, he should die spiritually — The evil
threatened was the departure of the Spirit from his mind, and not
spiritual death in the sense of depravity — Spiritual death in this
sense was not inflicted on Adam — Statements of Russel, Plopkins,
Edwards — Progressive steps of the change from life to death in
Adam — none the result of Divine influencL- — There was only the
cessation of influence — The ideas we are to form of the state of
total depravity into which Adam sank — Was it the infusion of
positively unholy principles, or the deprivation of holy ones ? —
Reasons for the latter opinion — Supported by President Edwards —
How positive ungodliness may spring from a privative cause — The
previous remarks applied to the state of the infant mind — Some-
thing there must be in it tending to corruption, but is it privative
or positive ? — Original Sin is a deprivation not a depravation — The
opinion confirmed by the authority of Edwards, Hodge, Bret-
schneider, Turrettine, Bellamy, Du Moulin, Howe, Williams, Harris,
Gilbert, Russel — Examination of the statements of Hodge and
Russel — Tije nature of the inferior and 'animal propensities — are
not evil p:r se, being principles of action merely, not of evil action
— The necessity lor their existence — Being positive principles, they
uiiist have come from God, and so cannot be essentially evil — The


inferior principles acting alone, without the control of higher ones,
■will lead to ungodliness ; but native depravity consists not in the
presence of the former, but in the absence of the latter — If their
absence will account for the universal prevalence of sin, there is no
need for supposing that native depravity is positive in its nature —
Recommendations of this theory — It shows that God is not the
author of sin — It diminishes the difficulty concerning the propaga-
tion of sin — It presents a clear and obvious vindication of the Divine
conduct . . . . . . . . • . .112


Examination of Augustinisra and Pelagianism — of the hypothepis of
Dr. Woods, Andover . . . . . . . .151


Examination of the hypothesis of Dr. Knapp — of Professor Moses
Stuart — of Mr. Ballantyne . . . . . . .175


Native depravity ; proof of the doctrine of Original Sin — The proof
need not be adjusted to any particular theory of the nature of
Original Sin — The precise point to be proved ; viz. a tendency to
sin, carrying on to sin unless controlled by grace — The two sources
of proof — 1st, that supplied hy the character and conduct of men — If
all men sin, and sin early, we may infer tendency, &c. — The con-
clusion verified, supported by the opinions of Drs. Beecher, Woods,
Chalmers. President Edwards, &c. — The conclusion re?ts not on
the amount, but invariableness, of sin — Defect in the President's
reasoning — How the amount or degree of the tendency is to be
measured — Confirmation of the facts upon which the conclusion
rests — -first, that all men sin, or come short of perfect obedience, and
so expose themselves to death — One act of transgression constitutes
a man a sinner, though one act of obedience does not constitute
him a righteous man — Proof that all men are thus sinners derived
from consciousness, observation, history. Scripture — The proof
strengthened by the amount of wickedness and the measures taken
to restrain it — Proof that men si7i as soon as capable of moral agency,
more decidedly proving native propensity, &c. derived from obser-
vation, consent of ancient philosophers, and Scripture — Second
source of proof ; viz. that supplied by revelation — Subdivision of
proof — First, passages Avhich directly affirm it — Gen. v. 3 ; Dr.
Taylor's gloss, &;c. — John iii. 6 : the explanation of Taylor, and
of opponents generally, examined, and replied to — Job xiv. 4 com-
pared with XV. 14 — 16 — Dr. Taylor's explanation of the word
•' clean " examined, shown to mean moral purity — Psalm li. 5 com-


pared with Iviii. 3 — Examination of Taylor's criticism — Gen. viii.
21 — Import of "youth" — Efforts of opponents to neutralize the
testimony of this passage examined — Prov. xxii. 15 — 2ndly, General
statements which imply the doctrine — Passages which represent
wickedness as a property of the species — Those which deny the
possibihty of justification by deeds of law — Which assert the
universal necessity of redemption by Jesus Christ — And the
imiversal necessity of the new birth 217


Objections against the doctrine considered — The proper question here,
viz. not, Are there objections against receiving the doctrine ? but,
Are there not more against rejecting it ? — Subdivision of objec-
tions — First, those which represent it as unnecessai'y — Men may sin
without a sinful nature — The exact question here, viz., whether
universal sin does not prove tendency — Examination of the state-
ments of Dr. Taylor and Professor Stuart — Objection of the former
obviated ; no good action before regeneration — Universal sin may be
accounted for hy the contagious Influence of had example — The objec-
tion assigns the thing for the cause of the tiling — Does not account
for the existence of bad example, or how it comes to be universally
followed — Example governs actions merely, does not produce pro-
pensities — To ascribe universal wickedness to bad example does
not relieve from the pressure of any supposed difficulty — Universal
vnclcedness may he attributed to the ascendancy which the inferior pro-
pensities obtain over the superior in early life — Examination of the
statements of Drs. Knapp and TurnbuU — What is conceded, viz.
that all actual sin is the triumph of the inferior principles, &c., but
the question is, " Why are we so constituted as to lead to this ?" —
The statements of Turnbull, Taylor, &c. relieve from no difficulty —
Involve a doctrine of original sin — Second class of objections, that
the doctrine is inadmissible — Is incompatible with the nature of sin
— Dr. Taylor and Mr. Stuart's statements — Both derive any force
they appear to possess from a misconception of the doctrine — We
do not maintain that native depravity is sin properly so callei^, but
a tendency to sin — If such tendency exist it must be jjhysical in its
nature — This objection common in America — This might be allowed,
and the objection be invalid — Physical tendencies are inducements
to action, but do not constrain it ; if tendency to sin were a physical
tendency, it would not render sin necessary — Dr. Taylor's charges
refuted — Augustine's statements unauthorized — In what case only
would native tendency to sin be physical — Cannot be so on our
theory, that it is merely a privation of original righteousness —
Examination of the nature of the animal propensities — A native
tendency to si)i is contrary to the justice and goodness cf God — The
objection does not attach to our views — God was not bound to con-
tinue his Spirit to Adam, or to bestow it upon the race — Man is
responsible because endowed with the faculties of human nature,


not as enjoying the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit — Does
not impugn the goodness of God — If it were conceded that more
goodness would have been displayed had the Spirit been a per-
manent guest, still great goodness has been displayed — The objec-
tion thus resolvres itself, — that, to be good at all to any being, God
must be good to him in the highest degree, or make a worm a man,
and man an angel — Little children are represented as patterns of
humility, &c. — Statements of Taylor and Stuart — Reply . .274


Note A. — The consequences of transgression do not always rest -with

the transgressors themselves . . . . . .319

B. — Examination of the Rev. Howard Hinton's account of the

threatening, " In the day thou eatest," &c. . . . 320

C. — The great moral lesson taught by the issue of the trial of

Adam in paradise 326

D. — Original sin not identical with actual sin ... 32S

Online LibraryGeorge PayneThe doctrine of original sin : or, The native state and character of man unfolded (Volume 11) → online text (page 1 of 33)