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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

The destruction of "infants and sucklings" is especially commanded in divers parts of scripture.

Not because they were responsible transgressors; but, on the same principle that men not only destroy all adult serpents that come in their way, but the thread-like progeny also; for in these is the germ of venomous and malignant reptiles.

Had God spared the infants and sucklings of the Canaanitish nations, when they had attained to manhood, even though they had been trained by Israel, they would have reverted to the iniquities of their fathers.

Even Israel itself proved a stiff-necked and perverse race, notwithstanding all the pains bestowed upon their education by the Lord God; how much more perverse would such a seed of evil serpents as the Canaanitish offspring have turned out to be?

It is a law of the flesh that "like produces like".

Wild and truthless men reproduce themselves in their sons and daughters.

The experiment has been tried on Indian infants.

They have been taken from their parents, and carefully educated in the learning and civilization of the white man; but when they have returned to their tribe as men, they have thrown off the habits of their patrons, and adopted the practices of savage life.

The same tendency is seen in other animals.

Hatch the eggs of the wild turkey under a tame one; and as soon as they are able to shift for themselves they will leave the poultry yard, and associate with the wild species of the woods.

So strong is habit, that it becomes a law to the flesh, when continued through generations for a series of years.

But men are not only made, or constituted sinners by the disobedience of Adam, but they become sinners even as he, by actual transgression.

Having attained the maturity of their nature, they become accountable and responsible creatures.

At this crisis, they may be placed by the divine arranging in a relation to His word.

It becomes to them a Tree of Life, inviting them to "take, and eat, and live for ever".

If, however, they prefer to eat of the world's forbidden fruit, they come under the sentence of death in their own behalf.

They are thus doubly condemned.

They are "condemned already" to the dust as natural born sinners; and, secondarily, condemned to a resurrection to judgment for rejecting the gospel of the kingdom of God: by which they become obnoxious to " SECOND Death Thus men are sinners in a twofold sense; first, by natural birth; and next, by transgression.

In the former sense, it is manifest they could not help themselves.

They will not be condemned to the Second Death because they were born sinners; nor to any other pains and penalties than those which are the common lot of humanity in the present life.

They are simply under that provision of the constitution of sin which says, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return".

Now, if the Lord God had made no other arrangement than that expressed in the sentence upon the woman and the man, they and all their posterity in all their generations would have incessantly gone to dust and there have remained for ever.

"The wages of sin is death".