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children of wrath,' -- but now, as being by God, who is rich in mercy, quickened, - saved by grace,' i. e. by his free favor, or good pleasure, -'raised, — created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Here we perceive, that the Apostle has applied the most glowing figurative language to a change, not of their natural constitution, but of the state into which they had been born, and in which they had corrupted themselves. He even styles the change of their situation, a resurrection,' a 'new creation.' He seems to have thought that he could use no language sufficiently strong to express the inestimable advantages they now enjoyed, or the shocking bondage from which they had escaped.

There is one thing further to be remarked. This language is used in relation to the whole body of the Ephesian Christians, and not to the personal condition of any individuals among them. Those who advocate the doctrine of original sin will admit this position, so far as it applies to this passage and to all the context, which corresponds to it in sentiment; but when it comes to the other side of the comparison, they will insist that the apostle alludes only to the regenerate and elect Christians. But what color is there for this distinction? Not the least. St Paul gives not the most distant hint of such a thing. His language is as unqualified on the one side as on the other. Yet it would be going great lengths to say, that we must suppose every individual of the Ephesian church to have been in that state, which is called by the advocates of this doctrine, regenerate, elected, saved. If then we cannot believe this, and if, at the same time, we are convinced, that the language of the apostle is as unqualified as we have stated, there will remain little doubt but that the view already taken of his meaning is the true one, namely, that he had reference solely to a comparison of their former situation as Jews or heathens, and their present situation as professed Christians - that it was a comparison of advantages, means, privileges alone ; and that by a faithful, though eloquent delineation of the invaluable superiority of those which they now enjoyed, he might suggest the most powerful motives to them to walk worthy of the vocation, wherewith they were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.'

May we not now fairly conclude, that the doctrine of original sin is not to be found in the passage we have considered? And if so- if the very strong language, which there occurs, does not teach it, - the probability that it is nowhere taught in scripture, is vastly strengthened.

In conclusion, let me remark, that the doctrine is wholly at variance with the moral perfections of God. If we are totally depraved at birth, God must have made

If we bring into this world an irresistible proneness to moral evil, or sin, that proneness is to be ascribed to the gift of God. Our nature, whatever it be, is the gift of God. Wherein, then, can consist human guilt in the sight of God ? Will a just God punish his creature for being what he made him ? Will a merciful God blame him because he does not overcome an irresistible propensity ? You perceive at once to what monstrous consequences the doctrine would lead us. If, however, we are created innocent if we come into this world

us so.


alike destitute of holiness and sin, if we have light given us wherewith to distinguish right from wrong, and if we have the ability to choose and to practise the one the other, - then, and then alone are we accountable beings -- then, and then alone we are justly the subjects of a moral government

then we are deserving of applause or censure, of reward or punishment. And this we do believe. ‘God made man upright, but he sought out many inventions. We were created innocent; if we are depraved, it is our own fault, and we must justly receive the recompense of our depravity. How vastly more efficient this view of the subject is in restraining from sin, I trust, needs not be shown. Remember, then, that you have no apology for your guilt, in the inability and corruption of your nature ; that was given you in unsullied purity, and nothing but your own, personal, individual sin, can stain it. You have never been, in the sense in which the Ephesians were,

children of wrath,' for you have been born and bred under the sacred light and institutions of Christianity: but there is a worse sense, in which you may answer to the language of the text

- in which you may be children of wrath,' aliens,' strangers, without hope, without God in the world. If you are, or become so, how much more aggravated will be your guilt! how much more awful your condemnation ! May God preserve us all from such corruption ! the only kind of corruption which we need dread, as it is the only kind for which we could be blamed

a. corruption, which would wither all that is lovely in human character, and elevated in human virtue, and which must inevitably bring shame and misery on the soul !

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March, 1831.

Price 4 Cents.

This tract originally appeared as the Preface to Locke's • Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul to the Galatians, Corinthians, Romans and Ephesians.' It is a matter alike of surprise and regret, that the volume has never been republished in this country. The preface has been twice reprinted here; once in a little book, containing besides this, Le Clerc's treatise on Inspiration; and again in the last number of the excellent Collection of Essays and Tracts in Theology,' edited by Mr Sparks. As the circulation of the latter work was confined to a comparatively small number of subscribers, and as the other reprint of this Essay is now seldom to be found, the Exec. Comm. of the AMER. UNIT. Assoc. have thought that they should render a service to the community by placing it among their tracts. Some passages, not essential to the purpose or connexion of the Essay have been omitted, to bring the whole within the most convenient number of pages.


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