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meant, that, in consequence of the fall of Adam, all his posterity are as inevitably corrupt in their original, as that, in consequence of the poison of the serpent, all his posterity are in their original, poisonous. By a divine constitution, Adam begat a son in his own sinful likeness. Such have been all the sons and daughters of the human
All have, from their birth, in a moral sense, borne the image of the earthy. They have been sinful and mortal, even from the commencement of their existence; and this, on no other ground, but that of the apostacy of Adam and Eve. By one man sin entered iuto the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Death is declared to be the wages of sin. So far as death reigns, among moral beings, therefore, we may be assured that sin also reigns. “ But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression.” For Adam's sake, they were born in sin ; and of course, were made subject to death. The Psalmist, more than once, expressed the idea of his own orig: inal depravity. “Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and' in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Strongly to express the infallible connection between the transgression of the first parents, and the native corruption of all their posterity, it is represented in the book of Job, as a natural and neccessary connection.
66 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? Not one. How can he be clean, who is born of a woman po
The doctrine of the original, innate depravity of the heart, which commences with the very existence of the soul, and grows with its growth; is, to our scanty view, a mysterious doctrine.
But being clearly taught in the scriptures, it is to be embraced, as an important article of our faith ; and a peculiar trial of our confidence in God.
2. The doctrine of original sin, being very interesting and trying to the feelings of many, and especially to the feelings of the parents of an infant offspring; it is proper to pursue still further the evidence of this solemn truth. The next argument may be this, That, salvation being by
Christ alone, implies, that all, who are saved, have been, previously, in a state of sin and condemnation. That infants may be the happy subjects of grace and salvation, all will grant. But Christ came to seek and to save only those who were lost. The inference is plain, that infants as well as others, are in a lost and perishing condition, through the original and innate depravity of their hearts. If this be not the case with them, then to them, Christ is dead in vain. Nor need we ask or look for the salvation of our dying infants, through the atoning blood of Christ.
3. The ordinance of circumcision anciently, and the ordinance of baptism at the present time, being applied to infants, clearly show that infants have sinful corruptions and lusts to be cut off, according to the import of circumcision; and moral pollutions to be cleansed, according to the import of baptism. With regard to all divine ordinances, which are significant of salvation by grace, infants and adults stand on the same general ground. All hope arises from the merits of a crucified Saviour. All are therefore sinful and condemned, as soon as they are born.
4. The universal sinfulness of infants which is manifested in their first moral actions, proves incontestibly, that there is in them a native, and original propensity of mind to evil. A peevish, selfish, froward, perverse spirit, appears to be as natural to fallen mankind as their breath. “ Foolishness,” which in the scripture sense, is wickedness, “ is bound up in the heart of a child," says Solomon; and the sad necessity of an abundant use of the rod of correction, is a conclusive evidence of original corruption of nature. That so much correction and punishment are necessary in childhood manifests a corrupt original.
5. When it is said, “ Man is born to trouble," it clearly implies, that he is born in sin. And from his birth, his trouble commences. The pains and anguish of infants are often exquisitely severe and poignant Death arrests the tender babe, more frequently than people of any other age. What a multitude of infants were overwhelmed in the flood, and perished in Sodom, and in
Canaan, and in Jerusalem, when they were destroyed ! Now therefore, unless God was in the practice of destroying the righteous with the wicked, who can account for these awful events of his providence ? Who can satisfy his mind, in view of the universal reign of death, on any other ground but this, that “Sin hath reigned unto death p” and that death extends, among rational beings and moral agents, no farther than sin extends.
6. The distinction between the natural birth, and the spiritual birth, clearly teaches original depravity. The natural man, is man in his original state. And, " The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” But he that is spiritual judgeth all things.” A man becomes spiritually minded, by regeneration. Till this new birth, there is not the least particle of spiritual life; but strong symptoms of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. This is enough to convince every
candid mind, of the doctrine of original depravity. “ He that is born of God sinneth not." But, till this blessed change takes
. place, sin is reigning triumphantly.
1. Notwithstanding the universal and original apostacy of man was by the offence of one, who is the father of us all ; yet the sin of every individual is as really his own sin, as if it were self-originated. “ By one man's disobedience, many were made sinnners." They were not made, or constituted, sufferers for the sin of another. This would have been an act of flagrant injustice and cruelty. But, in consequence of the sin of Adam, when he was constituted the head and representative of all his posterity, mankind became sinners : and if sinners, in their own personal exercises and actions; then certainly, they became the proper subjects of punishment. For 6 the
wages of sin is death,” whether sin comes by
Adam's fall, or by any other means. Wherever sin exists, there blame and punishment exist.
2. Still men hold fast the objection ; “ If we inherit a sinful nature from our first parents ; if Adam is responsible for the universal apostacy of mankind ; how can we be the proper subjects of blame and punishment ?” By way of reply let us turn the tables. Those who are the spiritual seed of Christ, the second Adam, do not make themselves righteous. He has, and he will have, an innumerable seed to serve him. But it is only through the atoning blood of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, that he has one soul to serve him. All that are righteous, in the gospel sense, are, by the power of divine grace, made righteous. They are made willing, in the
, day of Christ's power. How then can they be the proper subjects of praise, and divine approbation, and reward ? The Apostle coinmends and praises the faithful followers of Christ, though he considers them as being made righteous, for Christ's sake alone ; and by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we look back to the day of man's creation, we find, that God made him upright. If so, how could he be commendable for his uprightness ? If no blame can be attached to sinners, merely because they became such, through the apostacy of their federal head"; then of course, and by just conséquence, po praise can be attached to the saints, because they are made such, through the infinite merit of Christ, who is their federal head. The case is perfectly clear; and, together with
. what has been said, in other parts of the system, on this great point, it is thought to be sufficiently elucidated. As a summary, it may now be stated, that virtue or vice, praise or blame belong to all who are found in the exercise of moral liberty and agency. Whatever may have been the
cause, or means of virtue, affects neither its nature, nor its desert of praise. And whatever may
have been the cause, or means of vice, as little affects its nature or deserts. Wherever virtue is discovered, it is immedi. ately approved ; and wherever vice is discovered, it is immediately condemned. This is agreeable to scripture and common sense : and in this view, every conscience, and every heart ought to be reconciled to the solemn doctrine of original sin.
Having dilated as far as is thought expedient, on the solemn and awful subjects of the apostacy, depravity, and original corruption of all mankind; we now proceed to a more pleasant theme-a gospel doctrine. The subject of this essay may be the doctrine of redemption, by the blood of Christ. This is a subject which claims the most lively, ardent and grateful attention. The gospel and the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, are the things 6 which the angels desire to look into.” And if all that appertains to the great work of redemption by Jesus Christ, be exhibited; it will amount to an exhibition of the whole gospel of divine grace. .
Introductory to a discussion of this doctrine, we may notice, that from the scriptures, there appears to have been an eternal covenant' between the persons of the sacred Trinity, called the covenant of redemption. This covenant is clearly manifested by its effects. The several parts performed by each of the three persons of the Godhead, suggests the idea of an eternal compact, or agreement, as respected the marvellous work of redemption. The great objects to be accomplished, and which have employed the counsels of the Three in One, from eternity, were, to provide an adequate atonement for sin, and an actual deliverance of the elect from the curse of the divine law. For this purpose, the Father is represented, as sitting on the throne of justice, claiming satisfaction for the violation of his law, and finding a ransom ;