H. The organic unity of the race in the transgression is a thing so remote from common experience that the preaching of it neutralizes all appeals to the conscience.
But whatever of truth there is in this objection is due to the self-isolating nature of sin. Men feel the unity of the family, the profession and the nation to which they belong. In proportion to the breadth of their sympathies and their experience of divine grace, do they enter into Christ?s feeling of unity with the race ( cf . <230605>Isaiah 6:5; Lam. 3:39-45; <150906>Ezra 9:6; <160106>Nehemiah 1:6). The fact that the self-contained and self-seeking recognize themselves as responsible only for their personal acts should not prevent our pressing upon men?s attention the more searching standards of the Scriptures. Only thus can the Christian find a solution for the dark problem of a corruption which is inborn yet condemnable; only thus can the unregenerate man be led to a full knowledge of the depth of his ruin and of his absolute dependence upon God for salvation.
Identification of the individual with the nation or the race: <230605>Isaiah 6:5 ? ?Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips?; Lam 3:49 ?We have transgressed and have rebelled?; <150906>Ezra 9:6 ? ?I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head?; <160106>Nehemiah 1:6 ? ?I confess the sins of the children of Israel...Yea, I and my father?s house have sinned.? So God punishes all Israel for David?s sin of pride; so the sins of Reuben, Canaan, Achan, Gehazi are visited on their children or descendants.
H. B. Smith, System, 296, 297 ? ?Under the moral government of God one man may justly suffer on account of the sins of another. An organic relation of men is regarded in the great judgment of God in history. There is evil, which comes upon individuals, not as punishment for their personal sins, but still as suffering which comes under a moral government. <243218>Jeremiah 32:18 reasserts the declaration of the second commandment that God visits the iniquity of the fathers upon their children. It may be said that all these are merely ?consequences? of family or tribal or national or nice relations. ?Evil becomes cosmical by reason of fastening on relations which were originally adapted to making good cosmical.? God?s plan must be in the consequences; a plan administered by a moral being over moral beings, according to moral considerations and for moral ends. If that be fully taken into view, the dispute as to ?consequences? or ?punishment? becomes a merely verbal one.?
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