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from the mire of sin, in which he delights to lie. Hence said the Lord Jesus Christ to the Jews in his day, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." John, 5:40. They were not only naturally unable to come, but they had no inclination to the duty. But the awful nature of this depravity will appear more fully, if we consider its properties.
§ 8. 1. It is incorporated with our very nature; it has a real being in us before we have a visible being in the world. The old man is furnished with all its members before we are formed, quickened before we are alive, and born before we come into the world. What David confessed of himself is true of all mankind: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Ps. 51:5. With the beginning of our existence we have the snares of sin in our bodies, the seeds of sin in our souls, and the stain of sin upon both. This is what the wise man called "foolishness bound up in the heart of a child," that proneness to evil and backwardness to good, which is the burden of the regenerate and the ruin of the unregenerate. By nature we bear the image of the earthly man in his fallen condition, which image is called the "old man," "the body of sin," "the flesh," "sin indwelling," "the desires of the flesh and of the mind," which plainly shows that our corrupt dispositions and propensity to evil is hereditary to us, and transmitted from parents to their children, and is therefore entailed upon all, and natural to all that partake of the human nature in its fallen state; so that it is impossible to be a man and not to have this universal fault and corruption of nature; and the reason why one man imitates another in actual transgressions is, because it is natural for him to do so. Evil examples only stir up, discover, and make known what was kid in the heart. Thus the viper of natural corruption, by the heat of temptation, revives, and makes its poisonous and malignant nature manifest; it was there before, else external example would not have produced it. Cain would never have murdered his brother Abel if he had sinned only by
example. It is certain that corrupt examples have a powerful influence on the human heart, because it is already corrupt and prone to evil; therefore the company of wicked men, the wanton and profane, should be most carefully shunned and avoided; for "evil communications corrupt good manners;" by these, indeed, an alteration is made in the manners or actions of men, but the fountain of all our thoughts, words, and works is poisoned already and made bitter by original sin. We observe,
§ 9. 2. This corruption is universal. It extends to every individual of the human race, (the second Adam excepted,) and to every part of each individual. When the question is asked, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" i. e. how can a holy or righteous person be born of a sinner, the answer is peremptory-" Not one." Job, 14: 14. All of every nation, people, kindred and tongue, are sharers in this depravity. What difference soever there be in their climates, colors, and external conditions of life, yet the blood from whence they spring taints them all. Both Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, male and female, bond and free, equally derive their being and nature from Adam; therefore his depravity of nature is in them all; none is exempt, for we are all his offspring; herein the prince and the beggar, the philosopher and the fool, are upon a level; and in him that is least sensible of it, it is most manifest.
§ 10. That all men are not equally wicked, riotous, and immoral, is manifest, and we allow it; which is probably owing to the difference of their bodily constitutions, education, and temptations. Many also are withheld under various restraints, and so prevented from doing the evil and committing the sin which their natures incline them to: thus, for want of power or opportunity, they cannot do the evil which they otherwise would do. When Hazael was informed by the prophet that he would commit such evil as to set cities on fire, dash out children's brains, and rip up women with child, he was angry. But he did that afterward
when king, which he seemed to detest so much as to think he should never be guilty of them unless transformed into a dog. Poor Hazael! he was not acquainted with the desperate corruption of man's heart, which habitually inclines him to the most barbarous, and cruel, and bloody acts.
§ 11. And as the whole world lies in wickedness, so the whole man is full of it. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint; from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it.” Isa. 1:5, 6. “There is an ocean of corruption," saith Mr. Clarkson, “in every man. And as the sea receives several names from several shores and coasts, so does this from the several parts and faculties. In the mind it is enmity, in the thoughts vanity, in the ap prehension blindness, in the judgment darkness and error, in the will rebellion, in the conscience searedness, in the heart hardness, in the affections carnality, in the memory unfaithfulness, in the fancy folly, in the appetite inordinancy, in the whole body vileness." Every part, every faculty, is naturally corrupted and wholly corrupted in all acts. The mind in its apprehensions blind, in its judgment erroneous, in its reasoning foolish, in its designs evil, in its thoughts vain. The will, as to its elections, perverse, choosing evil rather than good; in its consent servile, over-ruled by corrupt judgment, base appetite; in its commands most tyrannical; in its inclinations wicked; in its intentions obdurate; in its fruitions furious. The memory apt to receive what is evil, and to exclude what is good; to retain that which should be excluded, to let slip that which should be retained; to suggest that which is wicked, to smother that which is good. The conscience corrupt in its rules and principles, in its injunctions and prescriptions, in its accusations, in its absolutions, &c. &c. Time would fail to speak of the imagination, the affections, the appetites, the senses, and the different organs and members of the body, which have all become the members of unrighteousness. Bishop Wilkins, whose fine sense, learning and philosophy were never disputed, speaking of
this subject, saith, "The heart is the root and fountain of all other sin, from whence every actual abomination doth proceed. Atheism, and pride, and baseness, and cruelty, and profaneness, and every other vice which the most wicked wretch in the world is guilty of, doth proceed from hence. Hell itself, which is the proper place of sin, is not more full of sin, for the kind of it, than our natures are." "This further appears," ," saith he in another place, "if we look upon our own natures in the rage, blasphemies, baseness, and madness of other men's lives; there being not any kind of evil which either man or devil hath committed, but there are in our natures the principles and inclinations to it; the best of us being, by nature, as bad as the worst of sinners."
§ 12. I know, my dear Benjamin, that this is an humbling and mortifying description of human nature, yet it is not the less true. The sacred Scriptures declare it, the miseries in the world confirm it, and the conduct of men establishes it beyond a reasonable dispute. Yea, the half has not been told. Let us first attend to the testimony of the sacred Scriptures. Our inspired historian, Moses, tells us that even before the flood it was declared by a voice from heaven, not only that "the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, but that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Gen. 6:5. "How came it to pass, saith the pious Mr. Charnock, "that man's wickedness should swell so high? whence did it spring? from the ima gination?-Though there might be sinful imaginations, might not the superior faculty preserve itself untainted? Alas! that was defiled; the imagination of the thoughts was evil. But though running thoughts might wheel about in his mind, yet they might leave no stamp or impression upon the will and affections. Yes, they did; the imagina tion of the thoughts of his heart was evil. Surely all could not be under such a blemish: were there not now and then some pure flashes of the mind? No, not one. Every imagination. But granting that they were evil, might there
not be some fleeting good mixed with them; as a poisonous toad hath something useful? No, only evil. Well, but there might be some intervals of thinking, and though there was no good thought, yet evil ones were not always rolling there. Yes, they were continually; not a moment of time that man was free from them. One would scarcely imagine such an inward nest of wickedness; but God has affirmed it; and if any man should deny it, his own heart would give him the lie. Again saith the Lord, "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." In the days of Job human nature was no better. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." Job, 14: 4. Eliphaz was of the same sentiment. "What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?" Job, 15: 14. David saith, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." Ps. 58: 3. Solomon testifieth that "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child." Prov. 22:15; and that "there is not a just man upon earth that does good and sinneth not." Eccl. 7. 20. By the prophet Jeremiah, Jehovah declares that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Jer. 17:9.
13. Jesus Christ, in his conversation with Nicodemus, asserts that human nature is corrupt, and all that proceeds from it is corrupt; "that which is born of flesh is flesh." John, 3:6; and hence proves the absolute necessity of regeneration; that old things may pass away, and all things be made new. 2 Cor. 5:17. This change is set forth by such phrases as these: being born again, having a new heart given us, and a new spirit put within us; being quickened, or brought to life when dead; and being created after God, in allusion to the first creation of man in the likeness of his Maker. All which strong modes of expression evidently imply that man, by the fall, is become totally depraved.
14. From scripture proofs we proceed to establish the