support to the doctrine it is supposed to overthrow. When the conscience holds intelligent inquisition upon single acts, it soon discovers that these are mere accessories to crime, while the principal is hidden away beyond the reach of consciousness. In following up its inquisition, it in due time extorts the exclamation of David: <195105>Psalm 51:5 ? ?Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.? Conscience traces guilt to its seat in the inherited nature.?
B. All men are declared to be by nature children of wrath ( <490203>Ephesians 2:3). Here ?nature? signifies something inborn and original, as distinguished from that which is subsequently acquired. The text implies that:
(a) Sin is a nature, in the sense of a congenital depravity of the will.
(b) This nature is guilty and condemnable, since God?s wrath rests only upon that which deserves it.
(c) All men participate in this nature and in this consequent guilt and condemnation.
<490203> Ephesians 2:3 ? ?were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest? Shedd: ?Nature here is not substance created by God, but corruption of that substance, which corruption is created by man.? ?Nature? (from nascor ) may denote anything inborn and the term may just as properly designate inborn evil tendencies and state, as inborn faculties or substance. ?By nature? therefore = ?by birth?; compare <480215>Galatians 2:15 ? ?Jews by nature.? E. G. Robinson: ?Nature = not oujsi>a or essence, but only qualification of essence, as something born in us. There is just as much difference in babes, from the beginning of their existence, as there is in adults. If sin is defined as ?voluntary transgression of known law,? the definition of course disposes of original sin,? But if sin is a selfish state of the will, such a state is demonstrably inborn. Aristotle speaks of some men as born to be savages fu>sei ba>rbaroi , and of others as destined by nature to be slaves fu>sei dou~loi . Here evidently is a congenital aptitude and disposition. Similarly we can interpret Pain?s words as declaring nothing less than that men are possessed at birth of an aptitude and disposition which is the object of God?s just displeasure.
The opposite view can be found in Stevens, Pauline Theology, 152-157. Principal Fairbairn also says that inherited sinfulness ?is not transgression, and is without guilt.? Ritschl, Just, and Recon., 344 ? ?The predicate ?children of wrath? refers to the former actual transgression of those who now as Christians have the right to apply to
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