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truth by facts. We notice first the conduct of children. Who has marked their conduct, and is not constrained to acknowledge that the most early acts of their reason and the first instances of their apprehension are sin? The vicious inclinations which appear in the cradle, the violent motions of anger which disturb sucklings, their endeavor to exercise a weak revenge on those that displease them, must convince us that the corruption is natural, and proceeds from an infected original. This corruption grows with their growth, and strengthens with their strength. They can no sooner speak, but falsehood and lies drop from their tongues. They are stubborn and rebellious, prone to evil and averse to good; and if it be manifestly thus with some, it is the undoubted state of all, for their hearts and natures are fashioned alike; all men are of one blood and of one original; the fountain of their nature is one and the same: however, then, there appears to be a difference in the natural dispositions and propensities of children to evil, it cannot be that any of them can be naturally disposed to good; for "a bitter fountain cannot send forth sweet waters," although in some of its streams it may be less perceptible than in others. How can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit?"
15. From the conduct of children, we proceed to notice the sin and misery in the world. An eminent writer saith, "That man is a fallen creature is evident, if we consider his misery as an inhabitant of the natural world; the disorders of the globe we inhabit, and the dreadful scourges with which it is visited; the deplorable and shocking cir. cumstances of our birth; the painful and dangerous travails of women; our natural uncleanliness, helplessness, ignorance, and nakedness; the gross darkness in which we naturally are, both with respect to God and a future state; the general rebe'lion of the brute creation against us; the various poisons that lurk in the animal, vegetable, and mineral world, ready to destroy us; the heavy curse of toil and sweat to which we are liable; the innumerable calami
ties of life, and the pangs of death. Again, it is evident, if we consider him as a citizen of the moral world; his commission of sin; his omission of duty; the triumphs of sensual appetites over his intellectual faculties; the corruption of the powers that constitute a good head-the understanding, imagination, memory, and reason; the depravity of the powers which form a good heart-the will, conscience, and affections; his manifest alienation from God; his amazing disregard even of his nearest relatives; his unaccountable unconcern about himself; his detestable tempers; the general out-breaking of human corruption in all individuals; the universal overflowing of it in all nations. Some striking proof of this depravity may be seen in the general propensity of mankind to vain, irrational, or cruel diversions; in the universality of the most ridiculous, impious, inhuman, and diabolical sins; in the aggravating circumstances attending the display of this corruption; in the many inef fectuar endeavors to stem its torrent; in the obstinate resistance it makes to divine grace in the unconverted; the amazing struggles of good men with it; the testimony of the heathens concerning it; and the preposterous conceit which the unconverted have of their own goodness."
Now, my dear Benjamin, I have given you a plain, and, I trust, a true statement of the origin of all the sin and misery in our world.
§ 16. I shall now close this letter with the following observations, taken from one of the lectures of my dear tutor, the late Dr. Bogue.
"I. When God made Adam, there were in him two kinds of principles-natural and supernatural. The former includes all the powers of the mind, appetites, passions, which are essential to human nature; and principles too, reason, conscience, self-love, desire of approbation. The latter consisted of original righteousness, the moral image of God, and true holiness, which flowed immediately from the Holy Spirit. This bore sway over inferior natural
principles, and while things continued in this situation he was holy and happy.
II. By the fall, this beautiful order was destroyed. The natural principles remained; the supernatural principles were in God's righteous displeasure taken away; and from this constitution man became a creature of this present world, and seeks his happiness from it.
III. From this view of things we may account for the depravity of human nature.
1. There is no taint, nor stain, or positive malignity infused into the soul from above; nor is there any thing in the mere matter of the body that is vicious. God cannot, consistently with his nature and perfections, be active in infusing any bad quality, disposition, or inclination, into the human soul or body.
2. God creates the soul with its mere faculties and principles, but without original righteousness, and forms the body of mere matter, with the necessary organs.
3. From the want of supernatural principles and original rectitude, man has no relish for spiritual things, nor love to God, nor spiritual life.
4. The natural principles mentioned above, having the entire government of the human heart, lead men to consider the present world as the great and only sphere of their employment, and worldly objects as their chief good.
5. From the natural workings of these principles in the heart all our depravity flows, and may thus be accounted for:
1. The appetites, and passions, and external senses are excited early in life; reason grows more slowly.
2. Reason, conscience, self-love, sometimes allow the appetites and passions to bear boundless sway, without any regard to the commands and threatenings of God.
3. When reason, conscience, and self-love have influence, and restrain appetites and passions, outward wickedness is repressed, and the character is much fairer in the eyes of
the world; but no spiritual life, and still under the power of selfish and depraved principles.
4. When men see that God denounces his righteous indignation and wrath against those who go on in the way of iniquity, and love him not with their whole heart, they are displeased with his government and constitution, and resolve to go on in their wickedness. Hence arises an enmity against God in their hearts.
5. This depravity is always increased by actual transgression, and a course of sinning against God.
6. Perhaps this depravity is heightened or lessened by the passions of the soul, and humors of the body, of the immediate parents."
§ 17. To inquire how this corruption is propagated from Adam to his posterity, is a question more curious than profitable, and has been well taxed by the story of Augus tine: A man having fallen into a pit, one spies him, and asks carelessly, "How came you there ?" "Oh," cries the man from the miry pit to him, "hasten to get me out, rather than trouble yourself to inquire how I fell in.".
This is the gordian knot in theology. We cannot account for it, but from the will of God. That the Almighty could have prevented this awful state of things, none will call in question. Why he hath permitted it, forms one of those deep things of God, of which we can know but little in the present state; only this we are assured of, that he is a God of truth, and that whatever he does, or permits, will ultimately tend to promote his glory. Now, my brother, farewell, and "may the God of Peace sanctify us wholly in body, soul, and spirit."
Great God! renew our ruined frame;
Our broken powers restore;
Inspire us with an heavenly flame,
And flesh shall reign no more.
IMPUTATION OF ADAM'S SIN.
In my last I mentioned that original sin consists of two parts, i. e. inherent depravity, and the imputation of Adam's sin. The former has been considered, and I will now give you a statement of the latter.
§ 1. By Adam's sin, I mean his disobedience in eating of the forbidden fruit; and by the imputation of that sin to his posterity, I mean the putting to their account the guilt, i. e. the punishment due to that disobedience. Not the act, but the consequences of the act are imputed to them. This subject may be illustrated by similar daily transactions amongst men, and by an annual divine institution. With respect to the former, suppose A. borrows one hundred dollars of B. a banker; C. becomes security. A. fails, and is put in prison; C. is prosecuted and found guilty—not of having borrowed the money, but of being bound to pay it, because he voluntarily offered to be security. B. the banker, puts the amount to the account of C. as debtor, and to the credit account of A. accompanied by the following memorandum: C. owes these one hundred dollars, not that he borrowed them, but as security for A. A. is liberated from prison because his one hundred dollars are paid, not by himself, but by C. his security. With respect to the Divine institution, I allude to Yom Kiphpur, i. e. the day of atonement, when according to Leviticus, chap. 16, all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, are confessed over the head of the goat, while Aaron lays both his hands upon it, and he is said to put, or transfer them all upon the head of the goat,