The following is an extract from a tract with the above title:
“Perseverance in sitting still makes the sinner a self murderer. Every may under the gospel greatly aggravates his guilt by a rejection of Jesus Christ.* If we fail to use the means appointed to bring us to the Lord Jesus Christ, then we are lost, not because we are sinners, but because we fail to use the appointed means. We are therefore self-murderers. For the sinner to secure his eternal death, it is not necessary that he should be profane, or infidel, or a neglector of public worship; all that is necessary is to sit still in the way we have explained. And now let me ask, Why will any sinner who reads these pages sit still a moment longer? Will you ever have a more suitable time than now to work out your salvation?”
The scriptures nowhere teach that we are lost because we fail to use the means to save ourselves; but they do teach that we are “dead in trespasses and sins.” Eph. ii. 1. “Death passed upon all men for all have sinned.” Rom. v. 12. Not, as many contend, that all may, or may not sin, depending upon themselves, without defining at what period they begin to sin; and, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John iii. 3. Surely no man can bring himself into spiritual existence, any more than he could cause himself to be naturally born: yet to call upon a body destitute of spiritual life “To work out your salvation,” is very much like asking one naturally “dead” lying in the tomb, (as all are until spiritual life is implanted by the power of God, as manifested in the case of Lazarus,) to go to work and bring himself to life. “In Adam all die.” 1 Cor. xv. 22. Not in consequence of the transgression of each individually, but are “condemned already,” (John iii. 18,) for the disobedience in Adam. When such ideas as are found in the above tract are put forth and circulated as gospel, is it any way surprising that they should be extensively believed?
One great, if not principal cause of many believing in the effort system or ability to “get religion” at pleasure, is the fact that they have no realizing sense of their condition by nature, but view each individual of the human family as a separate and distinct creation, standing precisely as Adam stood before the fall, having the ability to keep the law as delivered to him; whereas the scriptures inform us that the creation of the human race, called man and Adam, was one single act of God and a progressive one in time, as each individual is brought into visible existence; and each standing or falling by his own individual act, but has fallen by the act of its head. “So God crated man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be faithful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it.” Gen. i. 27,28. “And the Lord took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge,” &c., Gen. ii. 15, 16. Now this is very clear evidence that the language is not applicable to Adam as an individual only, but to the whole human family as created in him, Eve as well as him, although she was not yet made manifest as a separate person. Unless viewed in this light the prohibition to eat of the tree of knowledge could not have extended to Eve, for it was after that command was given that the woman was produced in a visible form and brought unto the man. See Gen. ii. 22. That was no creation, no new formation of matter. Consequently, to view her as not already created would be to render her unamenable in the penalties of that law of which she could have had no knowledge, as it was not repeated to her in person. But viewed as a constituent part of the human family, of which Adam was the head and representative, the sentence pronounced for the disobedience is perfectly just and reasonable.
* Why send the gospel to the heathen nations, if, by knowledge of it their condition is made worse?
June 5, 1843
Signs of the Times
Volume 11, No. 11
June 1, 1843