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Psal. xxxvi. 1. The Transgression of the Wicked “ faith within my Heart, that there is no Fear of “ GOD before their Eyes.
4 He deviseth Mischief upon his Bed; he setteth “ himself in a Way that is not good; he abhorreth
TO these very Psalms St. Paul refers in his Epistle to the Romans, and other Epistles.
“ Rom. iii. 19. What Things soever the Law faith, o it faith to them that are under the Law, that every “ Mouth may be stopped, and all the World may be
come GUILTY before God.
“ Galat. iii. 22. The Scripture hath concluded all « under Sin; that the Promise by Faith of Jesus " Christ, might be given to them that believe.
1 John i. 8. If we say we have no Sin, we de“ceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us.
THE Do&trine of ORIGINAL SIN, is so effential an Article of the Christian Religion, that without a fixed Belief of it, it is not possible to have any right Ideas of the divine WISDOM, Justice, and MERCY, that is display'd in the Oeconomy of Man's Salvation, by the Passion and Death of our Redeemer.
ALTHO’ this Article, which is so clearly revealed in the Holy Scripture, has been absolutely denied but by very few ; yet many Attempts have been in the preceding Ages of the Church, as in the present, either to explain this essential Article away, or to fap it of that · due Force it ought to have upon the Minds of Meni; which even the wisest of the Gentile Philosophers have acknowledged and bewailed.
· BUT this is so harsh a Subject, and bears so close upon that Pride and Vanity which is the common Dilease of the human Nature, that some of the Divines of the present Age are so very indulgent to themselves and their Hearers, that they seldom touch this fefter'd Wound ; and when they do, it is with a very gentle
Hand. But in vain are all the fine Harangues upon the Excellency of Moral Virtues, while Men remain insensible of the SINFULNESS of their Nature, which keeps them from applying the only Remedy whereby it can be healed.
IT would be thought very impertinent in a Physician, to entertain his Patient, who had a Mortification in his Legs, with the Pleasures that may be found in fine Gardens, and shady Groves, without prescribing how the Disease might be cured.
The IXth ARTICLE of the Church of Eng
land : Of ORIGINAL SIN. Riginal Sin gandeth not in the following
of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk) but it is the fault and Cozzuption of the Nature of every Man, that naturally is ingendzed of the Di-(pzing of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from Driginal Righteousness, and is of his own Nature inclined to Evil, so that the Fieth lufteth always contrary to the Spirit : and therefore in every person born into this Would, it deler veth Boo's Wrath and Damnation. And this Jnfedion of Nature doth remain; yea, in them that are Regenerated, whereby the Lulf of the Flesh), called in Greek, eesonus capses, which come do erpound the Wildom, Come Sensuality, some the affection, come the Delire of the Fleli), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no Condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the apople doth confess, that Coicupiscence and Lust hath of itself the Nature of Sin.
Secondly, THE Article of IMPUTED RIGHTEOUS
IN the Sacred Book of Psalms is also clearly revealed the Article of IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS, which has an immediate dependance upon the Belief of Original Sin. For till the Mind is truly affe&ed with the Consciousness of its Guilt, it can never be induced to follow after, and confide in a Righteousness superior to its own.
THERE is a Conscience of Good and Evil lodged in the Breast of every Man; whose Accusations are so affli&ing, that Mankind have in all Ages endeavoured either to calm, or stupify this Accuser.
IN the Gentile World, by numberless Sacrifices and Superstitions : They often facrificing their First-born, to pacify the Rage of their guilty Minds; for which flagrant Crime, the Jews were often threatned with the Divine Vengeance.
THE Prophet Micab very elegantly describes the infolent Pride of this Superstition :
« Micab vi. 6. Wherewith shall I come before the “ Lord, and bow my self before the High God? Shall “ I come before him with Offerings, with Calves of a Year old ?
7. Will the Lord be pleased with 'Thousands of “ Rams, or with ten Thousands of Rivers of Oil ? “ Shall I give my First-born for my Transgression; “ the Fruit of my Body for the Sin of my Soul ?
“ 8. He hath shewed thee, O Man, what is good : “ And what doth the Lord require of thee? but to do
JUSTLY, and to love Mercy, and to walk HUMBLY “ with thy God.
THIS Consciousness of Guilt in the Church of Rome, being under the Conduct of the Clergy, soon polluted the Church with Superstitions and IDOLATRIES, as gross as ever were found among Jews or Pagans ; which led their Votaries into a Submission to most fe
vere PENANCES, whipping, and sometimes almost starying their Bodies, to pacify the Rage of their guilty MINDS.
THIS the Ecclesiasticks managed with great Skill, and by it acquired vast Poffeflions throughout all Chriltendom; putting their Votaries upon depriving their Heirs of their Estates, instead of that barbarous Custom of murdering them: Which so far prevailed in this Nation, that the Statute of Mortmain was enaced to put a itop to it.
THE Jews, altho' they were reclaim'd from their gross IDOLATRIES by their Captivity to Babylon ; yet upon their Resettlement in their own Country, fell into a most irreverent Way of Worship : for which both Priests and People are severely reproved by Malachi, the last of all the Prophets.
AND thus the Generality of these People continucd till the coming of our Saviour, who most feverely reproved this impious Hypocrisy; telling the Pharisees, that all their pretended Devotion was hypocritical and vain, being only designed for popular Applause : For it was very impious to pretend to draw near to GOD with their Mouth and Lips, when their_Heart and Affe&ions were far removed from him: For GOD being a Spirit, they that worship him, must worship him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.
AS this Hypocrisy universally prevailed in the Jewish Church, it is too evident that the CHRISTIAN Church has been infested with the same Impiety.
IN the Church of Rome, their Devotions are repeated by the Tale of Beads. This, tho' the ProTESTANTS have exposed as absurd and ridiculous yet, have they not fallen into the fame sort of Impiety? For, how absurdly, how hasty, and irreverently are the Psalms and PRAYERS read by some of the Curates ? and are so repeated by the People.
I HOPE this Digression will be excused, it being too evident that this Pra&ice has not only exposed some of the CLERGY to great Contempt, but has also infe&ted many of the LAITY with a great Coldness and Indifference in their Publick and Private Devotions.
SHOULD Princes, or their Favourites, be thus address'd to for Ecclesiastical or Secular Preferments; with what Contempt would they be rejected ? And can guilty Mortals think to obtain the Divine FAvour, Grace, and Mercy, who implore it with such Coldness and Indifference?
WHILE Men are imploying all the Rational Faculties in the Acquisition of RICHES and PREFERMENTS, or gratifying their SENSUAL APPETITES, these fo engross the Mind, that the Service, Love, and Fear of GOD, becomes a thing either totally neglected; or else the Means to obtain it are used in so fupine a manner, as if the PARDON of the ALMIGHTY and the MERCY of the REDEEMER, were to be obtained by a bare Repetition of the Prayers of the Church.
BUT when Men are awaken'd out of this fatal Slumber, and the Soul reflects upon its own ImmorTALITY, sees clearly that the Almighty has appointed a Day, in which he will JUDGE the World in RighTEOUSNESS, feels its own Guiltiness, and foresees its Misery : With what Ardour does such an awaken'd Mind implore the Divine Pardon and Mercy ? With what Shame and Contrition does it bewail its former Crimes?
THESE are the Pangs of the New Birth, whereby the Divine Life is begun in the Soul, which feels itself surrounded with many DIFFICULTIES, but above all, with its own sinful WEAKNESS and INFIRMITIES; so that it finds itself under an absolute Incapacity to perform an exact Obedience to the Dı. VINE Law, and is thereby forced to the Pursuit of a RIGHTEOUSNESS SUPERIOR to its own.