Hopkins - HP BR75 .H65 1710

Second Commandment. I I I And yet again we read as expreily, Ez..ek. 18. 20. The foul that finnetb, it jludl die: the fon j111dl tzot bear the iniquf~V of the f,:tthtr, neith~r ]hall the fa~he~ bear the infquity of the fo~'; rhc righteou{ne{s .of the nghteoUJ ]hall be upon h~m, and the m:qwty of the trucked ]hall be upon l1im· And agam, ']er. 31. ~9, 30. In thofe days they Jlla/1 fay no more, The f~thers haw eatm fowre grapes , and the cheldrens teeth are Jet on edge: But every one Jludl du for his own iniquity. .. And indeed this feems mofr agreeable to the Rules of Ju!bce, that the Innocent Jhimld not be punilhed for the fins of the Nocent and Guilty. ' Now to folve this Difficulty, and reconcile this fecming ContradiCtion, I /hall premife fame Diftin(Hons, and then draw from them fomc Conclnfions fatisfaet:ory to the Qj1cftion propounded. · Punifhments are either Temporal, fhch as befa.l in this prefent life; or clfc Eter~ nal, fuch as are referved to be infiilt:cd upon all impenitent and difobedicnt Sinners in the World to come. Again, Children may be confidered either as imitating the Crimes and Tranfgreffions of their Parents, or repenting of them, and reforming from them, and fo not walking in their Fathers fteps, but in the ways of Goc:Ps Commandments. Now, Firft, Certain it is, that God never vifits the iniquity of the Fathers upon repenting and reformed Children with eternal punifhments. And in this fenfe it is everlaftinely true., That the {on flut!l not bear the iniquity of hi& fdthcr ; but the foul that jinntth, it Jlutll dit ; and every man Jl~all bear bi& own burthm. But fome may fay, Are we not made lyab\e even to eternal Death, only hy the fin ofanother? Hath not the fin ofour firft Father brought condemnation upon all his Pofterity? And therefore how is it true, that the Son {hall not in this refpelt: bear the iniquity Of his Father? To this I anfwcr, It is not his fin confidered perfonally as his, ,that lvtth made us . obnoxious unto eternal Death; but it was our fin as well as his: for in him we all finned and fell. Adam was our federa-l Head and common Reprefentativc, and his fin was legally ours, even as his Obedience would lmvc been, had he perfevered in it. But now the Cafe of Adam is fingular, and much different from that of intermediate Parents; they indeed are our natural Heads, but not our federal Heads, as Adam was; their Attions arc only their own, and not ours, and have no influence at all upon the determining of our eternal ftate and condition; and therefore we fhall not be accountable to God at the !aft Day for what they have done, but only for what we our felves have done in the Body, whether it be good or evil. Yet, · Secondly, If the Children imitate the wickednefs and crimes of their Fathers, tt is but juft and righteous with God to pnnifh them with eternal Death and Damnation for them: It is but fit that they fhould inherit their Fathers Damnation, who inherit their Fathers Tranfgfeffions. But in this cafe it mull: be obfeived, that God punifheth them not, becaufc they arc their Fathers fins, but becaufe they are their own. I. 2. fhird!y, God nuy, and often doth vilit the Iniquity of the Fathers upon the 3~ Chtldren with Temporal Punifuments, whether the Children imitate the Offences of the Fathers, or clfc t-cform from them. And thefe Temporal Punillmtents are many times very fore and heavy; languifhing Difeafes,racking and tormenting Pains, lofs of Eftatc, fometimes ravifh'd from them by violence, fometimes, melting away .infenubly: The Father poffibly by his unjuft Oppreffion and Extortion, in tails a Curfe upon his Efbte, which like a Canker, eats it out and .confumes it in his Son's days; fo that nothing is left in his hands but Shame and Poverty, although perhaps he might never know the Sins for which God blafts him : Yea, we find that God doth inflict Temporal Death on the Child for the Olfencc of the Parent; thus, 2 Sam. 12. i4. in Narhan's Meffage to David, Becaufe by thM deed ~hou haft given. _{rcat occajion to the enemies of the Lord to blafpheme, the child alfo that ss born 1mto thee jlutfl {urt•ly die . Thus