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tion, who would have ventured to impeach the justice of his federal representation, or have refused to share in the everlasting benefits which it would have procured? By parity of reasoning, now that the event has been adverse, ought we to complain of injustice; because we suffer, in common with himself, the bitter effects of his failure?
Instead, then, of giving way to impious censures against God, or rashly blaming the conduct of the first man, let us humbly deplore the condition to which we are reduced; but at the same time feel grateful to God for having raised us up a mighty Saviour, even Jesus his beloved Son, who is able to deliver us from the consequences of the Fall, and restore our lost felicitya.
"The Second Adam shall restore
The ruins of the first:
Hosanna to that Sovereign Power
That new creates our dust!
Luke i. 67-80.
ON HUMAN DEPRAVITY.
Psalm li. 5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
THE corruption of our nature is a fact which no one, who is at all conversant with what is daily passing in his own breast, or with the general conduct of his fellow-creatures, can reasonably dispute: for it is a melancholy spectacle that forcibly addresses itself to our eyes, and with which we cannot be unacquainted; unless we are wilfully ignorant, or strangely incre
dulous. "By one man, sin entered into the world." Adam, after his departure from God, begat sons in his own image, and endued with the same unholy affections as those which polluted his own soul. He could not communicate to Cain and Abel that holiness and integrity which he had lost; for "who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one ""." If the fountain be defiled, can the stream which flows from it be pure? Thus every one, being himself "born in sin and shapen in iniquity," imparts the same corruption to his offspring; who, in turn, communicate it to their children; and, in this way, a sinful contagion is regularly transmitted from one generation to another. Hence every one becomes, from his birth, radically corrupt, in heart, affection, and practice; is devoted to sinful lusts and pleasures; and prefers evil to good, and darkness to light.
"Original sin is the fault or corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore, in every person born into the world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation"."
The root of the evil is to be traced to the heart, which is the source from whence the poison springs. It begins there, and then spreads its baleful influence throughout the whole man. As the blood flows immediately from the heart, and from thence circulates through the arteries and veins into every part of the animal system which is nourished thereby; so all the faculties and powers of the inward and outward man draw an evil contagion from their connexion with the Gen. v. 3. Job xiv.4. "IXth Art. of the Church of England.
heart, whence all our actions originate: "for from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man
This depravity is not a sudden or occasional act; but is seen in the leading habits and dispositions of the soul.
1. The will is so affected by it, that it is become perverse, refractory, and disobedient. In defiance of the Divine threatenings, it inclines to evil as naturally as the sparks fly upward. Though God calls men, in the most affectionate manner, to the knowledge of himself, they refuse to hearken "to the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely." As if bent upon their own destruction, they resolutely pursue the sinful objects which they idolize.
2. What the will thus proposes, the affections invariably prefer. Instead of choosing God as the best portion, and the pleasure which results from his service as the highest satisfaction, they approve and desire the very things which he forbids: lusting after sensual objects that perish in the using, they will not brook any restraint; but must be gratified, though it be at the expense of offending God, who is the fountain of all blessedness.
3. The understanding is greatly obscured by the depravity of the heart: it is grossly ignorant of the nature and value of spiritual things, which unenlightened men esteem of no moment, in comparison with temporal good. Hence we are told, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he C Mark vii. 21-24.
know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Men are sagacious enough to discover what will conduce to their worldly interest; but are blind to the things which make for their everlasting peace dd
4. The conscience is that faculty of the mind which has, perhaps, suffered less by the Fall than the rest; yet experience proves that it has been sensibly injured. It is but too easily bribed by the corrupt heart, to the repeated commission of sin; till it becomes callous, and "seared as with an hot iron." Though aided, as it sometimes is, by the operations of the Holy Spirit, yet, for the most part, how backward is it to the faithful discharge of its duty! How seldom does it check the sinner in his mad career of impiety! Though it is the appointed guardian of the soul, it too often deserts its post, when lured by the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. 5. The body is contaminated by its union with the Once the former concurred with the latter in acts of devotion to God; but now it is a guilty auxiliary to the carnal mind, in its unwearied pursuit of forbidden gratifications. All the members of the body are become instruments of unrighteousness, and readily subserve the unholy desires and purposes of the depraved heart; insomuch, that they promptly obey its determinations. Let but the heart hanker after any sinful pleasure, and the hands and feet are soon put in motion to procure it. And who, that knows himself, will not confess, that he is frequently deceived by trusting to the report of his animal senses, and led, through their solicitations, to do things which his better judgment condemns? The eye can paint the most vicious objects in so attracting a light, as to stir up the appetite to desire them, dd Eph. iv. 17-20.
1 Cor. ii. 14-16.
The ear readily listens to sounds which inflame the worst passions of the soul. Thus the different senses of the body, perverted by sin from their proper use, are become the caterers of vice, and the inlets of temptation. This brief view of the depravation of our nature may well fill us with emotions of the deepest regret: but when we further trace its sad effects upon the conduct, and consider what man once was, who can help exclaiming, " Name him, The glory is departed from Israel *.
We will now specify some of those bitter effects which this natural corruption produces. It visibly influences both the principles and practices of mankind.
6. One striking feature of our original depravity is apparent in the ingratitude with which our Maker is treated by us. He is continually showering his blessings in rich abundance upon our heads; yet we refuse to see and own the kind hand which supplies our wants. If Providence smiles upon our undertakings, we are more apt to ascribe the success attending them to our own skill and management, than to God, who " prospers the works of our hands."
7. Coupled with this, is a total forgetfulness of the Lord who made us, notwithstanding he so constantly reminds us of his existence. The sun darts forth from his chamber every morning; the moon and stars reflect their light, and proclaim the glory of God; yet man is not awakened to admire and serve him. Though he whispers kindness in the refreshing breeze, and thunders in the storm; yet man refuses to listen to the sound. Each of his wonderful productions invites our praise, and courts our affections for its Divine author; yea, the whole creation joins in 1.Sam. iv. 21, 22.