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6 of man's heart is evil from his youth.” We may take the psalmist David's testimony of himself, as a sample of the rest of mankind; and indeed he plainly intimates, that it is a common calamity. “ Who can understand his “ errors ? Cleanse thou me from fecret faults. Behold! “I was shapen in iniquity, and in fin did my mother con. ceive me.”

We may take also the testimony of the apostle Paul, in his episle to the Romans, which is the more full to our present purpose, that as he had never been at Ronie, he is there laying the foundation of religion in general, and the Christian dispensation in particular, by a clear and explicit proof of the need the world had of a Saviour, from its universal corruption and depravity. See then what he says—“ What then ? Are we better than they? “No, in no wise, for we have before proved both Jews and " Gentiles, that they are all under fin. As it is written, " there is none righteous, no not one." And again * Now we know that what things foever the law faith, it « faith to them who are under the law, that every mouth “ may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty “ before God, ---For all have finned and come short of the “ glory of God.”

You may also see that the apostle traces this disorder to its very source" Wherefore as by one man fin entered “ into the world, and death by fin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have finned.”

I shall add but one express scripture testimony more. “ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses " and sins."

But besides the particular passages of scripture, pofitively declaring this truth, the whole frame and contex. ture of the scriptures, and all the difpenfations of Divine Providence recorded in them, are a proof of the same thing. Man is every where considered as in a fallen and finful state. Every thing that is prescribed to him, and every thing that is done for him, goes upon that suppofition. It is not one man, or a few men, that are in fcripture called to repentance, but all without exception. Now repentance is only the duty of a sinner. An innocent

person cannot repent; he has nothing to grieve for in his heart, or to forsake in his life. It is also proper to observe, that one of the scripture characters of God is, Merciful and gracious, slow to anger, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. Now, he could not be to us a forgiving God, and there would be no need that he should be revealed under that character, unless we were finners, that fool in need of pardon. Mercy, indeed, is the distinguishing attribute of God, and this can only have respect to offenders. All the other perfections of God, might be exercised towards pure and holy creatures; but mercy, only towards sinners. He might be a good, holy, just, wise, powerful God, to persons in a state of innocence, but he can shew mercy only to the guilty.

Do not the dispensations of God's providence thew the same thing ? He sent the flood, as a testimony of the wickedness of the world, and for the punishment of a guilty race. Remember also the facrifices, which were appointed, and accepted by God, from the beginning of the world. Sacrifices are for atonement, and expiation. They are plainly a substitution in the room of a forfeited life. It is doing violence to common sense, to make them any thing else. The whole Jewilli econo!y, which had in it fo many facrifices, so many offerings, lo many washings and purifications, does plainly suppose, the person using them to be infected with fin, or moral pollution. Had not this been the case, they had been extremely abfurd and improper.

But the strongest teftimony of all, that God hath given to the guilt and corruption of mankind, is his fending his own Son into the world, to redeem them, by the sacrifice of himself—To what purpose redeem them, if they were not in bondage ? Why so colly an expiation, if our lives had not been forfeited to divine justice ? But that it was for this purpose, that Christ came into the world, is so plain, from the whole of the scriptures, that I shall select but one passage out of many, to prove it—" Whom God " hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his

blool, to declare his righteousnets, for the remission of fins that are past, tirroug! the forbearance of God." VOL. II.

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What is said already on this head, is a full proof from scripture, that man is now, by nature, in a state of fin; that he is also, in consequence of that, in a state of misery, and liable to the wrath of God, is proved by many of the same passages, and by many others—" For the wrath of “ God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness, “and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in un

righteousness-For the wages of sin is death,” &c. But I need not multiply passages to this purpose ; for in all God's dispensations, the deserved punishment of finners is as evident as their finfulness itself. It is indeed fully proved, from the essential perfections of God, particular. ly his holiness and justice. He is of purer eyes than that he can behold iniquity. Evil cannot dwell with bim, nor fools, that is, finners, stand in his sight.

Is not all this then my brethren, a sufficient proof, from the testimony of God, that man in a natural state, is sinful and miserable? fhall we affirm ourselves to be whole, if he faith we are unsound ? Do we know more than God? Will we not give credit to the fountain of truth? Nor is it any objection to this, that we ourselves know it not, or are but little fensible of it. One considerable part of the difease, is blindness of understanding : so that we may, and mutt, till our eyes are opened, be ignorant of our danger -We may think and say, that we are rich, and increafed in goods, and have need of nothing, while we are wretched and miserable, and Slind and naked.

2. The same thing appears from the visible state of the world, and our own experience. Unbelievers are apt to hear with indifference and neglect, what they are told from scripture testimony, unless otherwise confirmed to them; and it is with the unbeliever we have now to do. Besides, the eltablishment of this truth, upon other evidence than that of scripture, ought to have a powerful influence, in inducing men to believe the other truths in fcripture, that are connected with and founded upon it. I think it therefore, highly proper, to lay before you what evidence we have of our loft flate, from the observation of the world, though the scriptures had been filent. I would likewise recommend to all, what shall be said on this subject, to preserve your faith unshaken, and keep you from blafphemous, unbelieving thoughts, if at any time you should be tempted to them : fince even unenlightened reason confirms the foundation of divine truth, and nature, and providence conspire in preaching the doctrine

of divine grace.

Now, doth not our experience, as well as the observation of others, shew us, that we are born in fin, and con. ceived in iniquity ? May we not say from our own knowledge, that the imaginations of the heart of man, are only evil from his youth, and that continually? Is there not a proneness, and tendency to evil, universally to be observed in mankind ? and a backwardness and aversion to that which is good? Is not this apparent even in children, upon the first dawn of reason in their minds, and the first fight of choice or inclination in their hearts? Surely it must be owned, that in that early period, they are at least comparatively innocent-If any among us, is without fin, it must be the youngest; yet folly is bound in the heart of a child. How hard is it to guard them froin evil, and to in. {pire them with good dispositions, even by the wisest and earliest care, in their instruction and even after the most successful pains, are there not still many remaining blemishes, through the prevalence of corrupt nature, which shew, that the ground-work itself, was faulty ? But on the contrary, how easily do men learn that which is evil? Do they need to be taught? Is it not enough to give them licence? How just is that description in Jeremiah? They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I am far from denying, that men are improved and forwarded in fin, by instruction and example, as well as in that which is good: but it is plain, they are far apter scholars, in the first, than in the last; which plainly shews they are more powerfully disposed to it by nature. Nay, is it not evident, from the universal experience and testimony of those, who act from a principle of Religion; that it is extremely difficult, with all the care they can take, to resist the propensity of nature to the contrary? And that in the beft, it often gets the fuperiority, when they are off their guard ? Is not this an evidence of the depravity and cor.

ruption of human nature, and its tendency to evil? Are trole who hate fin, often overcome by it, and shall thofe who love it, presume to say, they are free from it?

If any should ask, how I prove that that course of action to which human nature is inclined is evil, without the afsistance of scripture?' I answer, from reason; and that many ways from its pernicious effects on societies, and private persons; from the testimony of the world in general, when others than themselves are concerned, and from the testimony of every man's conscience in his own cale. Who is there, that does not often feel in himself, a powerful tendency to what he cannot but in his heart con. demn? Is not his conscience God's vicegerent ? and doih not natural religion, as well as the religion of Christ, declare him corrupt? So that I may say with the Apostle Paul, not citing the patrage as a proof, but as an illustration and description of the character, and state of natural men, “For when the Gentiles which have not the law, do

by nature the things contained in the law; these having “ not the law, are a law unto themselves, which shew the “ work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience “ also bearing witness, and their thoughts, the mean while, accusing or else excusing one another."

Thus there is as much light remaining with us since the fall, as to shew, that we are out of the way, but not to bring us back to it again.

As a serious confideration of the state of the wicked may New us our natural impurity, so it bath been long ago difcovered, and conselled by many of the ancient heathens, who never heard of the name of Christ, nor knew of the remedy. These, discerning by nature, the perfectly pure and holy nature of God, and comparing it with the disposi. tions prevalent in man, could not reconcile them together; but concluded, that a creature so corrupt, could not come in that condition out of the hands of its Creator. This difficulty fome of them endeavored to solve by a state of pre-existence; which bears fome resemblance to the true solution, given of it in the holy scripture: viz. the apostacy of our first parents; which entailed a corrupted nature upon their poscrity, in which the light of nature and re. vealed truth, feem almost wholly to coincide.

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