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cannot explain them away. I will confirm their testimony by two bishops of our church, that by the mouth of two witnesses the truth may be established. Bishop Wilkins on prayer has these words,
All the pravity and baseness, which fills up every part and power about us, are but diffu“sions of our original corruptions. What a “ world of mischief is there in our several parts? “our wills, affections, our tongues, eyes; and
yet all these are but as little rivulets; the fountain, or rather the sea that feeds them, is our corrupt nature.”
Bishop Beveridge shall be my other authority; the title of the fourth article of his private thoughts is this,
“ I believe that I was conceived in sin, and “ brought forth in iniquity: and that ever since “ I have been continually conceiving mischief, “ and bringing forth vanity.".
“ This article of my faith I must of necessity believe, whether I will or no; for if I could “ not believe it to be true, I should therefore “ have the more cause to believe it to be so; be
cause, unless my heart was naturally very sinful “ and corrupt, it would be impossible for me not 6 to believe that which I have so much cause " continually to bewail ; or, if I do not bewail it, “ I have still the more cause to believe it; and “ therefore, am so much the more persuaded of “ it, by how much the less I find myself affected “ with it. For, certainly, I must be a hard “ hearted wretch indeed, steeped in sin, and fraught with corruption to the highest, if I
“ know myself so oft to have incensed the wrath “ of the most high God against me, as I do, and
yet not be sensible of my natural corruption,
nor acknowledge myself to be, by nature a “ child of wrath, as well as others. For I verily
believe, that the want of such a due sense of
myself, argues as much original corruption, as “ murder and whoredom do actual pollution.
And I shall ever suspect those to be the most “under the power of that corruption that labour most, by arguments, to divest it of its power.
And, therefore, for my own part, I am re“solved, by the grace of God, never to go about “ to confute that by wilful arguments, which I “ find so true by woful experience. If there be
not a bitter root in my heart, whence proceeds
so much bitter fruit in my life and conversa“tion ? Alas! I can neither set my head nor “ heart about any thing, but I still shew myself
to be the sinful offspring of sinful parents, by being the sinful parent of a sinful offspring ; nay, I do not only betray the inbred venom of my heart, by poisoning my common actions, but even my most religious performances also with sin. I cannot pray, but I sin; I cannot hear, or preach a sermon, but I sin ; I cannot give an alms, or receive the sacrament, but I sin ; nay, I cannot so much as confess my sins, but
my very confessions are still aggravations of " them; my repentance needs to be repented of,
my tears want washing, and the very washing “ of my tears needs still to be washed over again “ with the blood of my Redeemer. Thus, not
only the worst of my sins, but even the best of
my duties, speak me a child of Adam. Inso“ much, that whensoever I reflect upon my past “ actions, methinks I cannot but look upon my “ whole life, from the time of my conception to “ this very moment, to be but as one continued
act of sin.”
“ And whence can such a continued stream of “ corruption flow from, but from the corrupt “ cistern of my heart? And whence can that
corrupt cistern of my heart be filled, but froin “ the corrupt fountain of my nature ? Cease, “therefore, O my soul, to gainsay the power of
original sin within thee, and labour now to sub“ due it under thee. But why do I speak of my “subduing this sin myself? Surely, this would “ be both an argument of it, and an addition to “ it. It is to thee, O my God, who art both the “ searcher and cleanser of hearts, that I desire to “ make my moan: it is to thee I cry out in the “ bitterness of my soul. O wretched man that I
am, who shall deliver me from the body of this 6 death? Who shall ? Oh! who can do it but “ thyself? Arise thou therefore, O my God, and “shew thyself as infinitely merciful in the par“ doning, as thou art infinitely powerful in the purging away my sins.”
These words so clearly describe the great truth, which I have endeavoured to establish in the following lectures, that I could not avoid citing them at full length. And now, if the reader will sum up the evidence, and impartially review what our articles, and homilies, and our bishops have taught concerning the corrupt fallen state of mankind, he will certainly acquit
us of the charge of enthusiasm, who
say nothing more than they have said, and who are obliged by our subscriptions to say all that they have said.
The second doctrine of Christianity, which is now ridiculed under the name of enthusiasm, is the free and full redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ, by whom we are justified from all the sinfulness and miseries of the fall.
The thirteenth article absolutely excludes every work of ours from having any hand in justifying us, and states the case thus, “ Works “ done before the grace of Christ, and the in
spiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, “ forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus
Christ, neither do they make men meet to re“ ceive, or as the school authors say, deserve grace “ of congruity; yea rather, for that they are not “ done, as God hath willed and commanded " them to be done, we doubt not but they have “the nature of sin."
The title of the second homily is this, “ A “sermon on the salvation of mankind by ONLY “ Christ our Saviour from sin and death ever
lasting." This homily is divided into three parts, the last begins with these words, “ It hath 56 been manifestly declared unto you, that no “ man can fulfil the law of God, and therefore
by the law all men are condemned; whereupon
it followeth necessarily, that some other thing should be required for our salvation, than " the law; and that is a true and lively faith in “ Christ bringing forth good works, and a life
according to God's commandments. And also you heard the ancient fathers' minds of this saying, faith in Christ only justifieth man, so plainly declared, that you see that the very true meaning of this proposition or saying, we be
justified by faith in Christ only (according to “ the meaning of the old ancient authors) is this ;
we put our faith in Christ, that we be justified “ by him only, that we be justified by God's free
mercy, and the merits of our Saviour Christ only, and by no virtue or good works of our
own, that is in us, or that we can be able to “have, or to do, for to deserve the same. Christ “ himself only, being the cause meritorious “ thereof."
Bishop Reynolds has explained the doctrine in the same manner in the folio edition of his works printed 1658, p. 251.
“ Justification that is by faith is of mere grace " and favour, no way of work or merit: for the " act whereby faith justifies is an act of humility, " and self-dereliction, and holy despair of any
thing in ourselves, and a going to Christ, a receiving, a looking towards him, and his all
sufficiency; so that as Mary said of herself, so “ we may say of faith, the Lord hath respect “ unto the lowliness of his grace, which is so far “ from looking inward for matter of justification, " that itself as it is a work of the heart, ro credere, “ doth not justify, but only as it is an apprehen“sion or taking hold of Christ. For as the hand “ in the very receiving of a thing, must needs “ first make itself empty; (if it be full before, it “ must let all that go, ere it can take hold on any “other thing) so faith being a receiving of Christ,