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with the most solemn asseverations, without it no man can see the kingdom of God?
This doctrine then being of such importance, that genuine christianity stands or falls with it; it may be proper to state it at large : and as this cannot be done in stronger and plainer words, than those of the sacred writers, and our pious reformers; I beg leave to collect them, and present the reader with a picture of our natural estate, drawn at full length by those ancient and masterly hands.
1. Moses, who informs us, that God created man in his own image, and after his likeness, soon casts a shade upon his original dignity, by giving us a sad account of his fall. He represents him after his disobedience, as a criminal under sentence of death ; a wretch filled with guilt, shamę, dread, and horror ; and a vagabond, turnedoutof a lost paradise into a cursed wilderness, where all bears the stamp of desolation for his sake. Gen. iii. 17. In consequence of this apostacy he died, and all die in him : for, by one man sinentered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned in him, who was all mankind seminally and federally collected in one individual, I Cor. xv. 22. Rom. v. 12,
The sacred historian, having informed us how the first man was corrupted, observes, that he begat a son in his own image, sinful and mortal like himself; that his first-born was a murderer; that Abel himself offered sacrifices to avert divine wrath, and that the viglent temper of Cain soon broke out in all the human spe. cies. The earth, says he, was filled with violence..all flesh hadcorrupted its way....and God saw the wickedness of man was greatin the earth, so great, that every Ima- , gination ofthe thoughts of his heart was only evil, continually, Cry eyil, without any mixture ofgood: and continually, without any intermission of the evil. Gen, vi. 5.
When the deluge was over,, the Lord himself gave the same account of his obstinately rebellious creature. The imagination of man's heart, said he to
Noah, is evil from his youth, Gen. viii. 21....Job's friends paint us with the same colours: One of them observes, that man is born like the wild ass's colt : And another that he is abominable and filthiy, and drinks iniquity like water. Job xi. 12, and xv. 16.
David doth not alter the hideous portrait: The Lord, says he, looked down from heaven upon the children of men ; to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. And the result of the divine inspection is : They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy : There is none that doth good, no not one. Psal. xiv. 2. Solomon gives a finishing stroke to his father's draught, by informing us, that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, and not of a child only, for he adds, The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and while they live madness is in their heart. Prov. xxii. 15. Eccl. ix. 3.
Isaiah corroborates the assertions of the royal prophets, in the following mournful confession : All we, Jike sheep, have gone astray.... We are all as an unclean thing, and all our rightousnesses are as filthy rags. Isa. liii. 6. and lxiv, 6.
Jeremiah confirms the deplorable truth, where he says: the sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond ; it is graven upon the tables of their hearts....() Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved.... For the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it ? Jer. iv. 14. and xvii. 1. 9.
Thus the prophets delineate mankind in a natural, impenitent state. And do the apostles dip their pelçil in brighter colours ? Let them speak for themseivs. The chief of them informs us, that the natural, miirenewed man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, and that they are foolishness to him. I Cor. ii. 14. And he lays it down as matter of fact, that the carnal mind, the taste and disposition of every ubregenerate person, is not only averse to gcoiness
but enmity itself against God, the adorable fountain of all excellence. A blacker line can hardly be drawn, to describe a fallen, diabolical nature. Rom. viii. 7,
Various are the names, which the apostle of the gentiles gives to our original corruption ; and they are all expressive of its pernicious nature, and dreadful effects. He calls it emphatically, sin, a sin so full of activity and energy, that it is the life and spring of all others :.... Indwelling sin, a sin which is not like the leaves and fruits of a bad tree, that appear for a time, and then drop off ; but like the sap that dwells and works within, always ready to break out at every bud :... The body of sin, because it is an assemblage of all possible sins in embryo, as our body is an assemblage of all the members which constitute the human frame:.... The law of sin, and the law in our members, because it hath a constraining force, and rules in our mortal bodies, as a mighty tyrant in the kingdom which he hath usurped .....The old man, because we have it from the first man, Adam ; and because it is as old as the first stamina of our frame, with which it is most closely interwoven ;.... The flesh, as being propagated by carnal generation, and always opposing the Spirit, the gracious principle, which we have from Adam the second :.... And concupiscence, that mystic Jezebel, who brings forth the infinite variety of fleshly, worldly, and mental lusts, which war against the soul.
Nor are St. James and St. John less severe than St. Paul, upon the unconverted man. The one observes, that his wisdom, the best property naturally, belonging to him, descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish : And the other positively declares, that the whole world lieth in wickedness. Jam, iii. 15. 1 John, v. 19.
Our Lord, whose spirit inspired the prophets and apostles, confirms their lamentable testimony. To make us seriously consider sin, our mortal disease, he reminds us, that the whole have no need of a
physician, but they that are sick. Luke v. 31. He deciares, that men love darkness rather than light. That the world hates him; and that its works are evil. John iii. 19 and xv. 18. and vii. 7. He directs all to pray for the pardon of sin, as being evil, and oweing ten thousand talents to their heavenly creditor. Mat. vi. 12. vii. 11. xviii. 24. And he assures us, that the things, which defile the man, come from within ; and that out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, and in a word, all moral evil. Mark vii. 21. Mat. xv. 19.
Some indeed confine what the scriptures say of the depravity, of the human heart, to the abandoned heathens and persecuting Jews; as if the professors of morality and christianity, were not concerned in the dreadful charge. But if the apostolic writings affirm, that Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners; that he died for the ungodly; and that he suffered, the just for the unjust ; it is plain that, unless he did not suffer and die for moral men and christians, they are by nature sinners, ungodly, and unjust as the rest of mankind. Rom. v. 6. 1 Pet. iii. 18.
If this assertion seems severe, let some of the best men that ever lived, decide the point, not by the experience of immoral persons, but by t'eir own. [ abhor myself, says Job, and repent in dust and ashes. Job xlii. 6. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, says David, and in sin did my mother conceive ine. Ps. Ii. 5. Wo is me for I am undone, says Isaiah, because I am a man of unclean lips. Isa. vi. 5. I know, says St. Paul, that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. Rom. vii. 18. We ourselves, says he, to Titus, were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. Tit. iii. 3. And speaking of himself, and the christians at Ephesus, he leaves upon record, this memo.
rable sentence: We were by nature the children of wrath even as others, Eph. ii. 3. Such humbling thoughts have the best of men entertained both of their natural estate, and themselves!
But as no one is a more proper person to appeal to, in this matter, than this learned apostle, who, by continually conversing with jews, heathens, and christians in his travels, had such an opportunity of knowing mankind; let us hear him sum up the suffrages of his inspired brethren. What then, says her are we better than they? Better than the immoral pagans and hypocritical jews, described in the two preceding chapters? No, in no wise.' And he proves it by observing : (1) The universality of human corruption : all are under sin, as it is written, there is none righteous, no not one : (2) The extent of it in individuals, as it effects the whole man, especially his mind; there is none that understandeth the things of God: His affections, there is none that seeketh after God: And his actions, they are all gone out of the way of duty : There is none that doeth good, no not one; For all have their conversation in the lusts of the flesh and of the mind....(3) The out-breakings of this corruption through all the parts of the body: Their throat, their lips, their mouth, their feet, their eyes, and all their members are together become unprofitable, and instruments of unrighteousness. As for their tongue, says St. James, it is a world of iniquity, it defileth the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell. And lastly, its malignity and virulence: It is loathsome as an open sepulchre, terrible as one who runs to shed blood, and mortal as the poison of asps.
From the whole, speaking of all mankind in their unregenerate state, he justly infers that destruction anci misery are in their ways. And, lest the selfrighteous should flatter themselves, that this alarming declaration doth not regard them, he adds; that the scriptures conclude all under sin ; that there is no