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that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungod. ly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” And what the apostle cites in the 6th, 7th and 8th verses from the book of Psalms evidently shews, that_he is speaking of the justification of particular persons.
“ Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." David says these things in the 32d Psalm, with a special respect to his own particular case; there expressing the great distress he was in while under a sense of personal sin and guilt, and the great joy he had when God forgave him.
And what can be plainer, than in the paragraph we have been upon, (Rom. iii. 20.) it is the justification of particular persons of which the apostle speaks." Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.”. He refers to Psal. cxliii. 2. “ Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” Here the Psalmist is not speaking of the justification of a nation, as a collective body, or of one of the two parts of the world, but of a particular man. And it is further manifest, that the apostle is here speaking of personal justification, inasmuch as this place is evidently parallel with Gal. ii. 10, 11. “For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse : For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the works of the law, is evident; for the just shall live by faith.” It is plain, that this place is parallel with that in the 3d of Romans, not only as the thing asserted is the same, and the argument by which it is proved—that all are guilty, and exposed to condemnation by the law.—But the same saying of the Old Testament is cited. (Gal. ii. 16.) Many other things demonstrate, that the apostle is speaking of the same justification in both places, which I omit for brevity's sake.
And besides all these things, our author's interpretation makes the apostle's argument wholly void another way. The apostle is speaking of a certain subject which cannot be justified by the works of the law; and his argument is, that the same subject is guilty, and is condemned by the law. If he means that one subject, suppose a collective body or bodies, cannot be justified by the law, because another subject, another collective body, is condemned by the law, it is plain, the argument would be quite vain and impertinent. Yet thus the argument must stand according to Dr. T.'s interpretation. The collective bodies which he supposes are spoken of as wicked, and condemned by the law, considered as in their collective capacity, are those two, the Jewish nation, and the
heathen world. But the collective body which he supposes the apostle speaks of as justified without the deeds of the law, is neither of these, but the christian church, or body of believers; which is a new collective body, a new creature, and a new man, (according to our author's understanding of such phrases) which never had any existence before it was justified, and therefore, never was wicked or condemned, unless it was with regard to the individuals of which it was constituted; and it does not appear, according to our author's scheme, that these individuals had before been generally wicked cording to him, there was a number both among the Jews and Gentiles, that were righteous before. And how does it ap. pear, but that the comparatively few Jews and Gentiles, of which this new-created collective body was constituted, were chiefly of the best of each?
So that in every view, this author's way of explaining the passage appears vain and absurd. And so clearly and fully has the apostle expressed himself, that it is doubtless impossible to invent any other sense to put upon his words, than that which will imply that all mankind, even every individual of the whole race, but their Redeemer himself, are in their first original state corrupt and wicked.
Before I leave this passage, (Rom. iii. 9—24.) it may be proper to observe, that it not only is a most clear and full testimony to the native depravity of mankind, but also plainly declares that natural depravity to be total and exceeding great.
It is the apostle's manifest design in these citations from the Old Testament, to shew these three things. 1. That all mankind are by nature corrupt.
2. That every one is altogether corrupt, and as it were depraved in every part. 3. That they are in every part corrupt in an exceeding degree. With respect to the second of these, it is plain the apostle puts together those particular passages of the Old Testament, wherein most of those members of the body are mentioned, that are the soul's chief instruments or organs of external action. The hands (implicitly) in those expressions, They are together become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good. The throat, tongue, lips, and mouth, the organs of speech, in those words ; “ Their throat is an open sepulchre: With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." The feet in those words, ver. 15. “ Their feet are swift to shed blood." These things together signify, that man is as it were all over corrupt in every part. And not only is the total corruption thus intimated by enumerating the several parts, but also by denying all good; any true understanding or spiritual knowledge, any virtuous action, or so much as a truly virtuous desire, or seeking after God. “There is none that understand
eth; There is none that seeketh after God : There is none that doeth good : The way of peace have they not known.” And in general by denying all true piety or religion in men in their first state, ver. 18. " There is no fear of God before their eyes.”—The expressions also are evidently chosen to denote a most extreme and desperate wickedness of heart. An exceeding depravity is ascribed to every part: To the throat, the scent of an open sepulchre; to the tongue and lips, deceit, and the poison of asps; to the mouth, cursing and bitterness ; of their feet it is said, they are swift to shed blood: And with regard to the whole man it is said, destruction and misery are in their ways. The representation is very strong of each of these things, viz. That all mankind are corrupt; that every one is wholly and altogether corrupt; and also extremely and desperately corrupt. And it is plain, it is not accidental that we have here such a collection of such strong expressions, so emphatically signifying these things; but that they are chosen of the apostle on design, as being directly and fully to his purpose; which purpose appears in all his discourse in the whole of this chapter, and indeed from the beginning of the epistle.
Observations on Rom, v. 6—10. and Eph. ii. 3. with the Con
text, and Rom. vii.
Another passage of this apostle, which shews that all who are made partakers of the benefits of Christ's redemption are in their first state wicked, desperately wicked, is Rom. v. 6-10. " For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man, some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by bis blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son ; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”—Here all for whom Christ died, and who are saved by him, are spoken of as being in their first state sinners, ungodly, enemies to God, exposed to divine wrath, and without strength, without ability to help themselves, or deliver their souls from this miserable state.
Dr. T. says, the apostle here speaks of the Gentiles only in their heathen state, in contradistinction to the Jews ; and that not of particular persons among the heathen Gentiles, or
as to the state they were in personally; but only of the Gentiles collectively taken, or of the miserable state of that great collective body, the heathen world: And that these appellations, sinners, ungodly, enemies, &c. were names by which the apostles in their writings were wont to signify and distinguish the heathen world in opposition to the Jews; and that in this sense these appellations are to be taken in their epistles, and in this place in particular.* And it is observable, that this way of interpreting these phrases in the apostolic writings is become fashionable with many late writers; whereby they not only evade several clear testimonies of the doctrine of original sin, but make void great part of the New Testament; on which account it deserves the more particular consideration.
It is allowed to have been long common and customary among the Jews, especially the sect of the Pharisees, in their pride and confidence in their privileges as the peculiar people of God, to exalt themselves exceedingly above other nations, and greatly to despise the Gentiles, calling them by such names as sinners, enemies, dogs, &c. Themselves they accounted, in general (excepting the publicans, and the notoriously profligate) as the friends, the special favourites and child ren of God; because they were the children of Abraham, were circumcised, and had the law of Moses as their peculiar privilege, and as a wall of partition between them and the Gentiles,
But it is very remarkable, that a christian divine, who has studied the New Testament, and the epistle to the Romans in particular, so diligently as Dr. T. has done, should so strongly imagine that the apostles of Jesus Christ countenance and cherish these self-exalting, uncharitable dispositions and no, tions of the Jews which gave rise to such a custom, so far as to fall in with that custom, and adopt that language of their pride and contempt; and especially that the apostle Paul should do it. It is a most unreasonable imagination on many accounts,
1. The whole gospel dispensation is calculated entirely to overthrow and abolish every thing to which this self-distinguishing, self-exalting language of the Jews was owing.-It was calculated wholly to exclude such boasting, and to destroy the pride and self-righteousness which were the causes of it. It was calculated to abolish the enmity, and break down the partition wall between Jews and Gentiles, and of twain to make one new man, so making peace: to destroy all dispositions in nations and particular persons to despise one another, or to say one to another, “stand by thyself, come not near to me ; for I am holier than thou ;" and to establish the
1 * Page 114-120. See also Dr. T.'s Paraph. and yotes on the place.
contrary principles of humility, mutual esteem, honour and love, and universal union, in the most firm and perfect man
2. Christ, when on earth, set himself, through the whole course of his ministry, to militate against this pharasaical spirit, practice, and language of the Jews, by which they showed so much contempt of the Gentiles, Publicans, and such as were openly lewd and vicious, and thus exalted themselves above them; calling them sinners and enemies, and themselves holy, and God's children : not allowing the Gentile to be their neighbour, &c. He condemned the Pharisees for not esteeming themselves sinners as well as the Publicans; trusting in them. selves that they were righteous, and despising others. He militated against these things in his own treatment of some Gentiles, Publicans, and others, whom they called sinners, and in what he said on those occasions.*
He opposed these notions and manners of the Jews in his parables, and in his instructions to his disciples how to treat the unbelieving Jewst; and in what he says to Nicodemus about the necessity of a new birth, even for the Jews, as well as the unclean Gentiles with regard to their proselyteism, which some of the Jews looked upon as a new birth. And in opposi. tion to their notions of their being the children of God, because the children of Abraham, but the Gentiles by nature sinners and children of wrath, he tells them that even they were children of the devil ş.
3. Though we should suppose the apostles not to have been thoroughly brought off from such notions, manners, and language of the Jews, till after Christ's ascension; yet after the pouring out of the spirit on the day of Pentecost, or at least after the calling of the Gentiles, begun in the conversion of Cornelius, they were fully instructed in this matter, and effectually taught no longer to call the Gentiles unclean, as a note of distinction from the Jews, Acts x. 28, which was before any of the apostolic epistles were written,
* Matth. viä. 5—13. Chap. ix. 9-13. Chap xi. 19-24. Chap. av. 2128. Luke vii. 37, to the end. Chap. xvii. 12—19. Chap. xix. 1—10. John iv. 9. &c. ver. 39, &c. Compare Luke x. 29, &c.
† Matth. xxi. 28-32. Chap. xxi. 1-10. Luke xiv. 16–24. Compare Luke xiii. 28, 29, 30. Matt. x 14, 15.
§ John viii. 33,-44. It may also be observed, that John the Baptist greatly contradicted the Jews opinion of themselves, as being a holy people and accepted of God, because they were the children of Abraham--and on that account better than the Heathen whom they called sinners, enemies, unclean, &c.—in baptizing the Jews as a polluted people, and sinners, as the Jews used to baptize proselytes from among the Heathen; calling them to repentance as sinners, saying, “Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham ;" and teaching the Pharisees, that instead of their being a holy generation, and children of God, as they compled themselves, they were a generation of vipers.