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express in English by the word nature.
There is but one place where there can be the least pretext for supposing it to be used otherwise ; and that is I Cor. xi. 14. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? And even here there is, I think, no manner of reason for understanding nature otherwise than in the proper
The emphasis used (auen n quois,) nature itself, shews that the apostle does not mean custom, but nature in the proper
It is true, it was long custom which made having the head covered a token of subjection, and a feminine appearance; as it is custom that makes any outward action or word a sign or signification of any thing. But nature itself, nature in its proper sense, teaches, that it is a shame for a man to appear with the established sign of the female sex, and with significations of inferiority, &c. As nature itself shews it to be a shame for a father to bow down or kneel to his own child or servant, or for men to bow to an idol, because bowing down is by custom an established token or sign of subjection and submission. Such a sight therefore would be unnatural, shocking to a man's very nature.
So nature would teach, that it is a shame for a woman to use such and such lascivious words or gestures, though it be a custom that establishes the unclean signification of those gestures and sounds.
It is particularly unnatural and unreasonable to understand the phrase, (Tsxva quoes,) in this place, any otherwise than in the proper sense, on the following accounts. 1. It may be observed, that both the words rexva and quois, in their original signification, have reference to birth or generation. So the word quois, from ouw, which signifies to beget or bring forth young, or to bud forth, as a plant that brings forth young buds and branches. And so the word texvov comes from FixTW, which signifies to bring forth children.-2. As though the apostle took care by the word used here to signify what we are by birth, he changes the word he used before for children. In the preceding verse he used vior, speaking of the children of disobe. dience; but here sexva, which is a word derived, as observed, from sixtw to bring forth a child, and more properly signifies a begotten or born child.-3. It is natural to suppose that the apostle here speaks in opposition to the pride of some, especially the Jews, (for the church in Ephesus was mady up partly of Jews, as well as the church in Rome) who exalted themselves in the privileges they had by birth, because they were born the children of Abraham, and were Jews by nature, quoel Isdatos, as the phrase is, Gal. ii. 15. In opposition to this proud conceit, he teaches the Jews, that notwithstanding this they were by nature children of wrath, even as others, i. e. as well as the Gentiles, which the Jews had been taught to look upon as simers, and out of favour with God by nature, and born chil.
dren of wrath.–4. It is more plain that the apostle uses the word nature in its proper sense here, because he sets what they were by nature, in opposition to what they are by grace.
In this verse the apostle shews what they are by nature, viz. children of wrath; and in the following verses he shews how very different their state is by grace; saying, ver. 5. By grace ye are saved; repeating it again ver. 8. By grace ye are saved. But if by being children of wrath by nature, were meant no more than only their being really and truly children of wrath, as Dr. T. supposes, there would be no opposition in the signification of these phrases; for in this sense they were by nature in a state of salvation, as much as by nature children of wrath ; for they were truly, really, and properly in a state of salvation.
If we take these words with the context, the whole abun. dantly proves that by nature we are totally corrupt, without any good thing in us. For if we allow the plain scope of the place, without attempting to hide it by doing extreme violence to the apostle's words, the design here is strongly to establish this point ; That what christians have that is good in them, or in their state, is in no part of it naturally in themselves or from themselves, but is wholly from divine grace, all the gift of God and his workmanship, the efiect of his power, his free and wonderful love. None of our good works are primarily from ourselves, but with respect to them all, we are God's workmanship, created unto good works, as it were out of nothing. Not so much as faith itself, the first principle of good works in christians, is of themselves, but that is the gift of God. Therefore the apostle compares the work of God in forming christians to true virtue and holiness, not only to a new creation, but a resurrection, or raising from the dead. ver. 1. “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses andsins.” And again, ver. 5. “ Even when we were dead insins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” In speaking of Chris tians being quickened with Christ, the apostle has reference to what he had said before, in the latter part of the foregoing chap. of God manifesting the exceeding greatness of his power towards Christian converts in their conversion, agreeable to the operation of his mighty power when he raised Christ from the dead. So that it is plain by every thing in this discourse, the apostle would signify, that by nature we have no goodness ; but are as destitute of it as a dead corpse is of life. And that all goodness, all good works, and faith the principle of all, are perfectly the gift of God's grace, and the work of his great, almighty, and exceeding excellent power. I think, there can be need of nothing but reading the chapter and minding what is read, to convince all who have common understanding of this ; whatever any of the most subtle critics have done, or ever can do.
to twist, rack, perplex, and pervert the words and phrases here used.
Dr. T. here again insists, that the apostle speaks only of the gentiles in their heathen state, when he speaks of those that were dead in sin, and by nature children of wrath ; and that though he seems to include himself among those, saying, WE were by nature children of wrath, we were dead in sins; yet he only puts himself among them because he was the apostle of the Gentiles. The gross absurdity of this may appear from what was said before. But besides the things which have been already observed, there are some things which make it peculiarly unreasonable to understand it so here. It is true, the greater part of the church of Ephesus had been heathens, and therefore the apostle often has reference to their heathen state, in this epistle. But the words in this chap. ii. 3. plainly shew, that he means himself and other Jews in distinction from the Gentiles; for the distinction is fully expressed. After he had told the Ephesians, who had been generally heathen, that they had been dead in sin, and had walked according to the course of this world, &c. (ver. 1 and 2,) he makes a distinction, and says, " among whom we also had our conversation,” &c.“ and were by nature children of wrath, even as others." Here first he changes the person; whereas before he had spoken in the second person, ye were dead-ye in time past walked,” &c. now he changes style, and uses the first person in a most manifest distinction, among whom we also, that is, we Jews, as well as ye Gentiles : not only changing the person, but adding a particle of distinction also ; which would be nonsense, if he meant the same without distinction. - And besides all this, more fully to express the distinction the apostle further adds a pronoun of distinction ; “we also, even as others," or we as well as others : Most evidently having respect to the notion so generally entertained by the Jews, of their being much better than the Gentiles, in being Jews by nature, children of Abraham, and children of God; when they supposed the Gentiles to be utterly cast off, as born aliens, and by nature children of wrath : In opposition to this, the apostle says, “We Jews, after all our glorying in our distinction, were by nature children of wrath, as well as the rest of the world.' And a yet further evidence that the apostle here means to include the Jews, and even himself, is the universal term he uses, Among whom also we all had our conversation, &c. Though wickedness was supposed by the Jews to be the course of this world, as to the generality of mankind, yet they supposed themselves an exempt people, at least the Pharisees, and the devout observers of the law of Moses and traditions of the elders; whatever might be thought of publicans and harlots. But in opposition to this, the apostle asserts that they all were
no better by nature than others, but were to be reckoned among the children of disobedience, and children of wrath.
Besides, if the apostle chooses to put himself among the Gentiles, because he was the apostle of the Gentiles, I would ask, why does he not do so in the 11th verse of the same chapter, where he speaks of the gentile state expressly ? Remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh. Why does he here make a distinction between the Gentiles and himself? Why did he not say, Let us remember, that we being in time past Gentiles? And why does the same apostle, even universally, make the same distinction, speaking either in the second or third person, and never in the first, where he expressly speaks of the gentilism of those to whom he wrote, or of whom he speaks, with reference to their distinction from the Jews? So every where in this same epistle; as in chap. i. 12, 13. where the distinction is made just in the same manner as here, by the change of the person, and by the distinguishing particle also :
That we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ, (the first believers in Christ being of the Jews, before the Gentiles were called) in whom YE Also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. And in all the following part of this second chapter, as ver. 11, 17, 19, and 22. in which last verse the same distinguishing particle again is used; In whom Ye Also are builded together for an habitation of God through the spirit.*
Though I am far from thinking our author's exposition of the viith chap, of Romans to be in any wise agreeable to the true sense of the apostle, yet it is needless here to stand particularly to examine it; because the doctrine of original sin may be argued not the less strongly, though we should allow the thing wherein he mainly differs from such as he opposes in his interpretation, viz. That the apostle does not speak in his own name, or to represent the state of a true Christian, but as representing the state of the Jews under the law. For even on this supposition, the drift of the place will prove, that every one who is under the law, and with equal reason every one of mankind, is carnal, sold under sin, in his first state, and till delivered by Christ. For it is plain, that the apostle's design is to shew the insufficiency of the law to give life to any one whatsoever. This appears by what he says when he comes to draw his conclusion, in the continuation of this discourse; chap. viii. 3. t For what the law could not do in that it was weak through
* See also the following chapters, chap. ii. 6. and iv. 17. And not only in this epistle, but constantly in other epistles; as Rom. i. 12, 13, chap. xi. 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31. chap. xv. 15, 16. 1 Cor. xi. 2 Gal. iv. 8. Col. i. 27. chap. ii. 13. 1 Thess. i. 5, 6, 9. chap. ii 13, 14, 15, 16.
| Dr. T. himself reckons this a part of the same discourse or paragraph, in the division he makes of the epistle, in his paraphrase, and notes upon it,
the flesh : God sending his own son, &c. Our author supposes what is here spoken of, viz. “that the law cannot give life because it is weak through the flesh,” is true with respect to every one of mankind*. And when the apostle gives this reason, in that it is weak through the flesh, it is plain that by the flesh, which here he opposes to the spirit
, he means the same thing which in the preceding part of the same discourse, in the foregoing chapter, he had called by the name flesh, ver. 5, 14, 18. and the law of the members, ver. 23. and the body of death, ver. 24. This is what, through this chapter, he insists on as the grand hindrance why the law could not give life; just as he does in his conclusion, chap. viii. 3. Which, in his last place is given as a reason why the law cannot give life to any of mankind. And it being the same reason of the same thing, spoken of in the same discourse, in the former part of it—this last place being the conclusion, of which that former part is the premises, and inasmuch as the reason there given is being in the flesh, and being carnal, sold under sin: Therefore, taking the whole of the apostle's discourse, this is justly understood to be a reason why the law cannot give life to any of mankind; and consequently, that all mankind are in the flesh and are carnal, sold under sin, and so remain till delivered by Christ : And consequently, all mankind in their first original state are very sinful : which was the thing to be proved.
Containing Observations on Rom. v. 12. to the End.
Remarks on Dr. T.'s way of explaining this Text.
The following things are worthy of notice, concerning our author's exposition of this remarkable passage.
I. He greatly insists, that by death in this place no more is meant, than that death which we all die, when this present life is extinguished and the body returns to the dust. That no more is meant in the 12, 14, 15, and 17th verses (P. 27.) he declares as evidently, clearly, and infallibly so, because the apostle is still discoursing on the same subject; plainly implying, that infallibly the apostle means no more by death, throughout this paragraph on the subject. But as infallible as this is, if we
* See note on Rom. v, 20.