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It also signifies the corrupt principle in man, or his nature as depraved: "In my flesh dwelleth no good thing." "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." “ The flesh lusteth against the spirit.” They who are in the fiesh, cannot please God.”* It is used in both senses, in the passage which we are considering: and this is not the only instance of the occurrence of the same word, with two different meanings attached to it, in the same sentence: “Let the dead bury their dead;" † that is, let the spiritually dead bury those who are literally dead, as is evident from the occasion on which the words were spoken. In the first place, the flesh signifies man. Our Lord is speaking of two births, of which he ascribes the first to the flesh, and the second to the Spirit. The Spirit is the Author of the second, as he affirms in the preceding verse, and man is the instrument of the first. Natural and supernatural generation are referred to their respective causes. There can therefore be no doubt, that, in the first place, the flesh signifies man: There can be as little doubt, that, in the second place, it signifies moral corruption; for it is opposed to spirit, or that which the operation of the Spirit produces, and this is holiness. To imagine the meaning to be that man begets man, would represent our Lord as uttering with solemnity a saying unworthy of him, since it conveys no information, and destroys the contrast between the two parts of the verse. The Spirit generates something totally different from that which the flesh generates. But the subjects of regeneration are sanctified; the subjects of natural birth must therefore have pollution conveyed to them from their parents. I do not see that any other sense can be reasonably put upon the words; and if this interpretation is just, we have the testimony of Him who knew what was in man, in opposition to those who maintain that we are pure at our birth, or that our nature is so slightly tainted, that it retains much of its original goodness. For, let it be observed, that flesh, when metaphorically applied, denotes moral evil alone, moral evil without mixture. “Those who are in the flesh,” in whom it is the reigning principle, “cannot please God.” There is nothing about them of which he approves. When it is represented as remaining in the saints, it still sustains the character of unmingled evil. Hence Paul says, that " in his flesh,” the corrupt part of him, " there dwelt no good thing," I and declares that “ the flesh lusts against the spirit," contends against the renewed part of our nature; "and these are contrary, the one to the other." At his natural birth, man, according to our Saviour, is flesh, wholly a polluted thing; it is only at his supernatural birth that he becomes spirit, or is inspired with the principles of holiness.

I might argue from the words of Job, “ Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not one." He is speaking of the frailty and misery of man, who is born of a woman, and is of few days, and full of trouble; and he assigns the cause. He is afflicted and mortal, not merely because he is guilty of many personal sins, but because he is come out of an unclean thing.

He is the descendant of a polluted race; he inherited corruption from his parents, who were the channel in which it was conveyed to him, from the original source of impurity.

A general argument may be founded on the doctrine of Scripture respecting the necessity of regeneration. We must be born again ; we must “put off the old man, and put on the new;''I we are “ saved by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour."** All this is unintelligible, if the nature of man is not wholly depraved. Hence those who deny original sin, or entertain superficial views of it, are much in the same condition with Nicodemus, when the subject was first proposed to him, and ask, How can this be? Regeneration,

• Rom. vii. 18. Ib. viii. 13. Gal. v. 17. Rom. viii. 8. + Matt. viii. 22. + Rom. vii, 18. & Gal. v. 17.

Job xiv, 4.
I Col. iii. 9, 10.

Tit. . 5, 6.

the name of which they are compelled to admit, dwindles into baptism, or a profession of christianity, or a reformation of life. They cannot understand it to mean a radical change of disposition, because, upon their principles, such a change is not necessary. If man is pure when he comes into the world, religion cannot make him better ; and if he has some unruly appetites, but pos.sesses nobler principles to control them, he needs no assistance, or only such assistance as is afforded by the external teaching of the word, and the dispensations of Providence. But no person, who takes the Bible as his instructor, can believe that nothing more is wanted. A change is there described, which human power cannot effect, and which is the work of the Spirit of God; a change so great and so complete, that it is fitly compared to a second birth, a creation out of nothing, a resurrection from the dead. Regeneration does not consist in repairing our injured moral system, but in making it anew. It is pre-supposed that we have lost original righteousness, are thoroughly depraved, and wholly disqualified for serving and glorifying God. The Scriptural doctrine of regeneration is inseparably connected with the doctrine of original sin. Both stand or fall together.

A proof of original sin may be deduced from the early appearances of depravity in children. The young of the lion and the tiger may be comparatively harmless, and submit to be handled, because they have not yet acquired their natural strength, and their dispositions are not fully unfolded; but even then, they will give indications of the ferocity by which their species is distinguished. It is not long till infants begin to shew, by their fruit, that they are shoots from a bitter rooi. “I sinned,” says Augustine, “ in my infancy; and although I do not remember what I then did, I learn it from the conduct of others at the same age. I discovered dispositions which would be blamed in me now, and which, when we grow up, we are at pains to eradicate. I sought with tears, what it would have been improper to give me; I was indignant at my superiors, and my parents, because they would not comply with my wishes, and attempted to avenge myself by striking them. I have seen a child that could not speak, full of envy, and turn pale with anger at another that was suckled along with it.”* We may add to these instances, the deceit and falsehood which are found in children, and illustrate the saying of the Psalmist : “ The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”+ We are apt to look upon these things with a smile of indulgence, and to ascribe them to ignorance, or the absence of reason, rather than to depravity. But, if they are in themselves at variance with the Divine law, to which man's nature was at first exactly conformed, a change must have taken place in his moral frame, or there would have been no disorder in it at any period of his life, no movement which was not in unison with the standard. Can we conceive any thing similar in the infant Redeemer; any signs of impatience, jealousy, and anger, even a passing emotion to disturb the calm of his mind? . Let us think of Him, and learn what human nature would have been from the first moment of life, if it had retained its primitive innocence.

The last proof which I shall produce of original sin is, the universal depravity of mankind, for which it is impossible to account in a satisfactory manner, unless we admit the depravity of their nature. If it is allowed, on all hands, that a tree is known by its fruit, and a man's disposition by his words and actions, this rule ought, in fairness, to be applied to the whole race; and, finding them all corrupt in practice, we are bound to conclude that they are corrupt in heart. Besides the evidence afforded by our personal experience, and by history which supplies its defects, the testimony of Scripture, from which there is no appeal, is decisive. • August. Confess. Lib. I. cap. vii,

† Psalm lviii. 3.

In the first part of the Epistle to the Romans, Paul discusses the subject, and proves, by an induction of particulars, that Jews and Gentiles were both under sin. The Gentiles had all fallen into idolatry; and not liking to retain God in their knowledge, were given up to a reprobate mind, and vile affections, in consequence of which they sunk into the lowest state of moral degradation. No kind of sin can be conceived which was not practised among them; and their wisest men did not escape the contagion. There was not one of them whose character would bear investigation. Common readers are imposed upon by the extravagant praises bestowed upon certain individuals, but Paul has pronounced a sentence of reprobation upon their most renowned philosophers; and from what we know of them, it is not too much to say, that their virtue, which is admired when dead, if it were alive and displayed before our eyes, would excite our abhorrence.

The depravity of the Gentiles may not excite surprise, because their religion, instead of restraining it, furnished a stimulus to the most abominable vices, in the example of their profligate gods. Were the Jews better than they? They had a law published by God himself, and enforced by promises and threatenings; and prophets were sent to enjoin obedience, and to reprove their transgressions. Yet the history of the Jews is a continued narrative of rebellion against the authority of heaven. In the wilderness they provoked the Holy One of Israel; they revolted from his worship in their own land: blessed or chastised, they were still the same, a refractory and ungrateful people. Every person knows how low was the state of religion and morality among them at the time of our Saviour's appearance.

A review of the history of the world in various nations and ages would confirm the doctrine of Scripture concerning the entrance of sin, and the depravity of our species; and Christendom, with all its advantages, would furnish as ample proof as the other regions of the earth. Sin, although there subjected to some restraints, appears with great power, and in many an odious form, and men every where exhibit the same general character. There is no way of accounting for this state of things, but upon the hypothesis, that man is in a fall. en state, and has lost the image of his Maker. Accidental differences among men, such as the colour of the skin, and the formation of the features, may be explained by local and occasional causes; but the shape of the body, the organs of sense with which it is furnished, the contrivances for receiving and digesting food, and the other operations by which life is sustained, and which are found to prevail throughout the varieties of the species, we consider as effects of a general and permanent law. If we reason in the same manner concerning universal depravity, we must come to the conclusion, that there is something radically wrong in human nature, some inherent principle which gives rise to this uniformity, for which external and adventitious circumstances are not sufficient to account. As, in physical science, we discover the properties of matter in general, and the distinguishing properties of particular substances by experiment, so the moral quality of human nature is ascertained by our own observations, and that of others transmitted to us in authentic channels. Whence is it that depravity exists in all the individuals of a particular age, and has existed in all past generations ?

Some endeavour to explain this fact by the influence of bad example, by which they must mean, that men, although capable of virtue, and born with good dispositions, are led astray by seeing others walking in the paths of vice. Now, in order to be consistent, as they cannot deny that depravity is very general, they must admit that bad example is general. The cause must be commensurate with the effect. If it were only here and there that bad example is exhibited, it would be only here and there that corruption would be diffused. It follows, therefore, that there has been bad example in all ages and nations, in all provinces, cities, villages, and families. Hence it appears, that this is a preposterous attempt to account for a thing by itself. We ask, How it comes to pass that men are so generally corrupt? and our opponents answer, It is because their conduct is generally wicked. But this is the very fact about which we are inquiring. We say to them, Explain it to us, and they refer us to the fact itself. If human nature is not depraved, what is the cause that men, every where and at all times, exhibit bad example? If they are not wicked in heart, why are they wicked in practice ? But further, if human nature is not depraved, why is bad example so readily imitated ? What gives it such extensive influence ? Common sense would dictate, that there must be a tendency to evil, since it is so generally followed. What always takes place, must be owing to a permanent cause. Surely if men came into the world without sin, they would be more likely to imitate good than bad example ; and if they had only a slight inclination to it, the goodness of the example would, in many cases, prove a check to that inclination, and the result would be an extensive prevalence of virtuous practice. This attempt to account for the corruption of mankind, independently of the corruption of their nature, is extremely foolish. The general imitation of bad example demonstrates an innate propensity to evil; and this is the point for which we are contending.

Others would account for the depravity of mankind by the abuse of freewill, by which they mean the power which man possesses of choosing and refusing, by his own sovereign determination, independently of motives. been justly observed, that such free-will is of all causes the most uncertain. It cannot be known beforehand how it will decide; and it is utterly inconceivable that a cause so unsteady and capricious should produce a uniform effect. There is a manifest absurdity, therefore, in this attempt to account for the depravity of men in all ages and nations. You might as well account for the regular return of day and night by the motion of a weathercock. ask, Whence have men, in all ages, abused their free-will? Why, if they are masters of their own volitions, have they always chosen in one way? How is it, if their wills are equally free to good and evil, that they have not determined in favour of good? If we found that, in every trial, one of the scales of a balance descended, we should conclude that it was heavier than the other; and can we draw any other conclusion respecting the will, on observing how regularly it decides in favour of evil? It has chosen evil among Jews, Gentiles, Mahometans, and Christians: it chooses it in Europe, Africa, Asia, and America. This is not the work of chance; it is the result of a previous bias. The will is inclined to evil, and therefore human nature is depraved.

Nothing is more unmeaning than the declamations of some men concerning human nature, because they are contrary to experience. If, when they tell us of its virtuous dispositions, they mean any thing more than the authority which conscience retains to a certain extent, the instincts and affections which we possess in common with the lower animals, a sense of honour which is pride disguised under a decent name, the civilities of life, and the performance of certain duties which are enjoined by the laws of society and are enforced by a regard to interest; if the virtuous dispositions which they ascribe to human nature signify any thing purer and more excellent, they affirm what is false, and what they must know to be false, if they are not mere dreamers wrapt up in the contemplation of the theories of the closet, and ignorant of the realities

What a disgusting spectacle does the history of mankind present ! It is the history of war, oppression and blood; of profaneness and intemperance, avarice and selfishness, falsehood and fraud. There is scarcely a page of the annals of the world which does not furnish proof of the doctrine which we have endeavoured to establish. The institutions of civil society bear a testimony to it; for what renders necessary so many definitions of personal rights,

We may

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and so many securities of person and property, but the vicious dispositions of mankind, which prompt them incessantly to encroach upon others, and to promote their own interests by artifice and violence? What embitters the relations of life, but wayward tempers and ungovernable passions? And what makes individuals unhappy, but insatiable desires, fretfulness, impatience, discontent, remorse for the past, and fearful forebodings of the future ? Every appearance bespeaks a fallen race; and upon a review of the crimes and misé. ries which abound in the world, we are led to the conclusion, that all flesh have corrupted their ways.” “Lo! this only have I found, that God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions."*

The doctrine of original sin places human nature in a very degraded light; but this is no argument against ils truth. The question is, not what we should wish it to be, but what it actually is. It could serve no purpose to represent it as pure, if it is corrupted; possessed of power to do the will of God, if it is dead in trespasses and sins. Let us remember, that this description of human nature is applicable to ourselves. Each of us was born a sinner, and a son of perdition. What reason have we to be thankful that God has remem. bered us in our lost estate, and sent his Son to redeem us from it! Through him man rises from the ruins of the fall, and in a better world shall enjoy happiness which will fear no forfeiture, and know no end.

LECTURE XLVIII.

ON THE COVENANT OF GRACE.

Origin of Redemption in the Covenant of Grace-Meaning of the term, Covenant-Transacted

between the Father and the Son—The Father viewed as a Party to the Covenant—The Son as a Party-His character of Representative, Surety, and Mediator-Remarks on a distinction between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace.

Having illustrated the fall of man and its fatal consequences, in some preceding Lectures, I proceed to speak of his Redemption. It is universally acknowledged, that God might have left our guilty race to perish in their sins. He was certainly not bound in justice to interfere on their behalf; but as the righteous Governor of the world, he might have proceeded to uphold the authority of his law, by executing its penalty upon the disobedient, and to give an awful example of vengeance to the intelligent inhabitants of the various provinces of his empire. His goodness did not require that he should rescue his rebellious subjects from the misery which they had brought upon themselves, because he had already given an ample display of it in their creation, and it was still exhibited in the happiness diffused through all the regions of inno

His glory does not depend upon the manifestation of any particular attribute, but upon the manifestation of them all on proper occasions, and in full harmony. He is glorified when he bestows blessings upon the righteous, and is equally glorified when he inflicts punishment upon the wieked. The event shews that his glory is greater in the salvation, than it would have been in the destruction, of men; but it ought to be considered, that his glory means nothing but the manifestation of his character to his creatures, and that, as there was no necessity for such a manifestation, and it could not contribute in

. Eccl. vii, 29,

cence.

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