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And so the propension of nature to that which is bad, seems to be by way of concomitancy with the want of original righteousness. No action can be holy which doth not flow from the image of God in the soul, as its root and principle. And therefore man being despoiled of this image of God, there is no action of any man in a state of nature but what is sinful and corrupt. But, as I said before, it much more concerns us how to get original corruption removed, than to inquire how it came in.
This corruption may well be called original sin, because we have it from our original, it being as old as ourselves i and because it is transmitted from Adam, the origin of mankind; and, which is the
Last thing, because all actual transgressions proceed from it, Matt. xv. 19.; as I haye already shewn.
I shall shut up this point with a few inferences,
1. No wonder then that we are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward; that we are attacked and made pri. soners as soon as we come into the world. This says that the straight way in the course of justice would be, that we go from the womb to the grave, and that the cradle be turned into a coffin." For, in a spiritual sense, we are all dead born ; and no wonder that natural death should seize those that are spiritually dead; and that all sorts of miseries should pursue those that are destitute of every thing that is good.
2. There is no ground for parents to be lifted up on the account of children, however numerous and fair. For though they may have fair faces, they have foul and deformed souls by nature; and natural beauty is far outbalanced by spiritual ugliness. Parents had much need to carry them by faith and prayer to the fountain of Christ's blood, to get them washed and purified from their spiritual uncleanness.
3. This doctrine lets us see the absolute necessity of Christ as a Saviour, who alone is able to save us from the guilt of sin by his blood, and from the filth and pollution of it by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and from the dominion of it by the power of divine grace. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' John iii. 3.
4. Lastly, See the absolute necessity of mortification, of crucifying the flesh; for from it all actual sins proceed. A
forin of godliness will not do: No; we must strike at the root, otherwise the branches will never die. The consideration of the total corruption and depravation of our nature should make us all lie low in the dust before a holy God, watchful against every motion and temptation to sin, restless till we be delivered from it, and indefatigable in the course of the Christian warfare. And it calls every one to mourning and lamenting over the ruins of our nature, and to supplicating the God of all grace, that he may cleanse our polluted souls, and wash us from our sins in the blood of Jesus.
OF THE NISERY OF MAN'S NATURAL STATÉ.
Rom. v. 12.—By one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. "HESE words teach us a lesson that all the books of phi
losophers could never do. They were sensible of the depravity and misery of human nature; but how it was depraved, and what was the spring of all the troubles the life of man is exposed to, they were utterly ignorant. We all see a flood of misery let into the world; but what way the sluice was opened, we can only learn from divine revelation. And in this passage we have it, viz. By one man sin entered into the world, and misery followed it close at the heels. This one man was Adam, the natural root, and the federal head of all mankind, ver. 14. In the words we have,
1. A flood of misery passing over the world, Death passed upon all men. For understanding this, ye must compare it with Gen. ii. 17. ' In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.' This awful threatening is marked to be accomplished here. Death there inplies loss of communion with God, which was evident in the fulfilling of the threatening, Gen, iii. 24. when God drave out the man, viz. from
. paradise, and placed a heavenly guard to prevent man's access to the tree of life. It also implies a being under God's wrath and curse, as the threatening imports. This is spiritual death. It further implies temporal death, a liableness to the miseries of this life, and to death itself, Gen. iii. 16.19.; and also eternal death ; which appears from man's bem ing excluded paradise and the tree of life, ver. 22. This threatened death, says the apostle, passed upon all men. is appointed unto all men once to die. viz. a natural death. There is no discharge in this war. All men are spiritually dead, dead to God and happiness. And they are all subject to eternal death, in the separation of both soul and body from God and the felicity of the other world.
2. How the sluice by which this misery has overflowed the world was opened. (1.) The personal cause was one man viz. Adam. (2.) The real cause was his sin, the sin of eating the forbidden fruit. This sin was the sin of all: for all (viz. on whom death passed) have sinned, not in their own persons, for infants on whom death has pased, have not so sinned; but have therefore sinned in Adam. And this sin of the first man is the cause of all the misery that has overtaken the human race.
The text affords the following doctrine.
Doct. 'All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.'
In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, 1. That all mankind are made miserable. II. That this misery came by their fall in Adam.
III. What that misery is that hath by the fall overtaken all mankind.
IV. Deduce some inferences for application.
1. That mankind, and all mankind, are made miserable, needs no laborious proof. Sad experience in all ages confirms the truth of this assertion. Troops of misery receive us as soon as we come into the world, whereof some one or other always accompany us till we be laid in the grave. Let men be clothed in rags, or wear a crown, the garment common to all is misery. Every sigh, tear, or sorrowful look, is a proof of this.
II. That this misery came upon men by the fall, is also clear from the text. Man came not out of God's hands with the tear in his eye, or sorrow in his heart, or a burden on his back. He never put on his dole-weed or mourning garment, till he had by sin made himself naked. Death never could enter the gates of the world, till sin set them wide open, Gen. iii. And then one sin let in the flood; and many
sins followed and increased it. The first pilot dashed the ship on a rock, and then all that were in it were cast into a sea of misery. Our first parents fell, and we being in them felt with them the sad and mournful effects of their fall.
III. I proceed to shew what that inisery is which hath by the fall overtaken all mankind. It may be taken up in these three things
1. Man's loss by the fall.
First, Let us view man's loss by the fall. He has lost communion with God. He enjoyed it before that fatal period; but now it is gone. It implies two things. 1. A saving interest in God as his God. Man could then call God his own God; his Maker, his Husband, his Friend; his Por.. tion, being in covenant with him. 2. Sweet and comfortable society and fellowship with God: and all this without a mediator, God and man not having been enemies or at variance. This sweet and agreeable communion he lost, as appears from Gen. iii. 8. where it is said, “They (our first parents) heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.' When God spoke to him before, it was refreshing and comfortable to him; but now it was a terror to him; evidently shewing that all correspondence was broke up.
Thus man lost God, Eph. ii. 12. the greatest and the fountain of all other losses. He is no more the God of fallen men, till by a new covenant they get a new interest in him. This is the greatest of all losses and miseries. Had the sun been for ever darkened in the heavens, it had been no such loss as this. God is the cause and fountain of all good; and the loss of him must be the loss of every thing that is good and excellent. Man is a mere nothing without God; a nothing in nature without his common presence, anda nothing in happiness without his gracious presence, Psal. xxx. 5.
In his-tavour is life.' Psal. Ixiii. 3. • Thy loving-kindness is better than life.' That day man fell, the foundation of the earth was drawn away, and all fell down together; the soul and the life departed from all men, and left them all dead, having lost God, the fountain of life and joy. Hence we may infer, VOL. I.
1. Man is a slave to the devil, 2 Tim. ii. 26. When the soul is gone, men may do with the body what they will ; and when God is gone, the devil may do with the soul what he will. Man without God is like Samson without his hair, quite weak and unable to resist his spiritual enemies, as Samson to oppose the Philistines. Satan has over men in nature the power of a master, Rom. vi. 16. so that when he bids them go, they go; and when to come, they come ;-that of a conqueror, and so he makes them his slaves and vassals; and that of a jailor, keeping them fast bound in chains, so that they cannot escape from his clutches, Isa. lxi. 1.
2. Man has lost his covenant-right to the creatures which he had when in favour with his Maker; and therefore Adam was driven out of paradise. Men have no right to the crea. turës, or their service now, but that of common providence, until it be otherwise restored by their coming into the bond of the new covenant.
3. Hence man is in a fruitless search after happiness in the creatures, set, as a poor infant that hath lost the breasts, to suck at the dry breasts of the creatures, where nothing is to be met with but continued disappointments.
4. Man cannot help himself, John xv. 5. His help is alone in God in Christ, without whom one can do nothing. He is like a poor infant exposed, that cannot help itself, Ezek. xvi. He is like one grievously wounded, who can neither make a plaster for his wounds nor apply it. Ah! how miserable is the case of man under the fall!
Secondly, Let us consider what man is brought under by the fall.
1. He is brought under God's wrath. Hence sinners are said to be the children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3. Wrath in God is mixed with no perturbation, but is pure from all discomposure. It imports,
(1.) That sinners are under the displeasure of God. He can take no delight in them, but his soul loaths them. There is a holy fire of anger burning in his breast against them. Should the sun be continually under a cloud, and the heavens ever covered with blackness, what a miserable place would the world be? But that is nothing to the divine anger: Who knows the power of thine anger?' says the
. Psalmist, Psal. xc, 11.
(2.) God deals with them as with enemies, Nah. i. 2.