« ZurückWeiter »
in the way of natural generation are infected with it. But if it be asked, how this original corruption is propagated from parents to children? how it comes to pass that our souls are defiled and tainted with original sin Indeed the question is very hard and difficult. It may be this is one of those mysteries which are reserved for the world to come, about which we cannot in our present state solve every difficulty that may be moved. It is much more our duty and interest to be solicitous how to get sin out of our souls, than to pry and search into the way how it came into them. However, this is certain, that God doth not infuse it. Souls receive neither purity nor impurity from him, but only their naked essence, and the natural powers and properties flowing therefrom... He doth not infuse any impurity into men; for he cannot be the author of sin, who is the revenger of it. Nor: doth he create mens souls in their original purity and rectitude; for the sin of Adam lost that, and God's justice withholds it from his posterity. As a pure and holy God, he cannot infuse any impurity into the souls of men; and as a just and righteous God, he may and doth with-hold from, or create them void and destitute of, that holiness and righteousness which was once their happiness and glory. Again, it is probably thought by some, that original sin comes neither in by the soul alone, nor by the body alone, apart from the soul, but upon the union and conjunction of both in one person. It is the union of these two that constitutes a child of Adam, and as such only we are capable of being infected with his sin. Solid divines, without a daring intrusion into unrevealed secrets, proceed by the following steps in answering this question. 1. If it be demanded, How it comes to pass that an infant becomes guilty of Adam's sin the answer is, Because he is a child of Adam by natural generation. 2. But why is he deprived of that original rectitude with which Adam was created? they answer, Because Adam lost it by his sin, and therefore could not transmit to his posterity what he had lost. . 3. But how comes he to be inclined to that which is evil the answer is, Because he wants that original rectitude, which Adam had when he was created. For whosoever wants original righteousness, inclines naturally to that which is evil,
And so the propension of nature to that which is bad, seems to be by way of concomitancy with the want of original righteousness. No action can be holy which doth not flow from the image of God in the soul, as its root and principle. And therefore man being despoiled of this image of God, there is no action of any man in a state of nature but what is sinful and corrupt. But, as I said before, it much more concerns us how to get original corruption removed, than to inquire how it came in. This corruption may well be called original sin, because we have it from our original, it being as old as ourselves; and because it is transmitted from Adam, the origin of mankind; and, which is the Last thing, because all actual transgressions proceed from it, Matt. xv. 19.; as I have already shewn. I shall shut up this point with a few inferences, 1. No wonder then that we are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward; that we are attacked and made prisoners as soon as we come into the world. This says that the straight way in the course of justice would be, that we go from the womb to the grave, and that the cradle be turned into a coffin. For, in a spiritual sense, we are all dead born; and no wonder that natural death should seize those that are spiritually dead; and that all sorts of miseries should pursue those that are destitute of every thing that is good. 2. There is no ground for parents to be lifted up on the account of children, however numerous and fair. For though they may have fair faces, they have foul and deformed souls by nature; and natural beauty is far outbalanced by spiritual ugliness. Parents had much need to carry them by faith and prayer to the fountain of Christ's blood, to get them washed and purified from their spiritual uncleanness. 3. This doctrine lets us see the absolute necessity of Christ as a Saviour, who alone is able to save us from the guilt of sin by his blood, and from the filth and pollution of it by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and from the dominion of it by the power of divine ace. ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ John iii. 3. o - 4. Lastly, See the absolute necessity of mortification, of crucifying the flesh; for from it all actual sins proceed. A form of godliness will not do: No ; we must strike at the root, otherwise the branches will never die. The consideration of the total corruption and depravation of our nature should make us all lie low in the dust before a holy God, watchful against every motion and temptation to sin, restless till we be delivered from it, and indefatigable in the course of the Christian warfare. And it calls every one to mourning and lamenting over the ruins of our nature, and to supplicating the God of all grace, that he may cleanse our polluted souls, and wash us from our sins in the blood of Jesus.
of THE MISERY of MAN's NATURAL STATÉ.
Rom. v. 12–By one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
SE words teach us a lesson that all the books of philosophers could never do. They were sensible of the depravity and misery of human nature; but how it was depraved, and what was the spring of all the troubles the life of man is exposed to, they were utterly ignorant. We all see a flood of misery let into the world; but what way the sluice was opened, we can only learn from divine revelation. And in this passage we have it; viz. By one man sin entered into the world, and misery followed it close at the heels. This one man was Adam, the natural root, and the federal head of all mankind, ver. 14. In the words we have, 1. A flood of misery passing over the world, Death passed upon all men. For understanding this, ye must compare it with Gen. ii. 17. “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.’ This awful threatening is marked to be accomplished here. Death there implies loss of communion with God, which was evident in the fulfilling of the threatening, Gen, iii. 24, when God drave out the man, viz. from paradise, and placed a heavenly guard to prevent man's access to the tree of life. It also implies a being under God's wrath and curse, as the threatening imports. This is spiritual death. It further implies temporal death, a liableness to the miseries of this life, and to death itself, Gen. iii. 16.19.; and also eternal death; which appears from man's being excluded paradise and the tree of life, ver. 22. This threatened death, says the apostle, passed upon all men. “It is appointed unto all men once to die.’ viz. a natural death. There is no discharge in this war. All men are spiritually dead, dead to God and happiness. And they are all subject to eternal death, in the separation of both soul and body from God and the felicity of the other world. 2. How the sluice by which this misery has overflowed the world was opened. (1.) The personal cause was one man viz. Adam. (2.) The real cause was his sin, the sin of eat. ing the forbidden fruit. This sin was the sin of all: for all (viz. on whom death passed) have sinned, not in their own persons, for infants on whom death has pased, have not so sinned ; but have therefore sinned in Adam. And this sin of the first man is the cause of all the misery that has overtaken the human race. The text affords the following doctrine. DocT. “All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.’ In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, I. That all mankind are made miserable. II. That this misery came by their fall in Adam. III. What that misery is that hath by the fall overtaken all mankind. IV. Deduce some inferences for application. I. That mankind, and all mankind, are made miserable, needs no laborious proof. Sad experience in all ages confirms the truth of this assertion. Troops of misery receive us as soon as we come into the world, whereof some one or other always accompany us till we be laid in the grave. Let men be clothed in rags, or wear a crown, the garment common to all is misery. Every sigh, tear, or sorrowful look, is a proof of this. II. That this misery came upon men by the fall, is also clear from the text. Man came not out of God's hands with the tear in his eye, or sorrow in his heart, or a burden on his back. He never put on his dole-weed or mourning garment, till he had by sin made himself naked. Death never could enter the gates of the world, till sin set them wide open, Gen. iii. And then one sinlet in the flood; and many
sins followed and increased it. The first pilot dashed the ship on a rock, and then all that were in it were cast into a sea of misery. Our first parents fell, and we being in them felt with them the sad and mournful effects of their fall. III. I proceed to shew what that misery is which hath by the fall overtaken all mankind. It may be taken up in these three things. 1. Man's loss by the fall, 2. What he is brought under by it. 3. What he is liable to in consequence of it. . . FIRST, Let us view man's loss by the fall. He has lost communion with God. He enjoyed it before that fatal period; but now it is gone. It implies two things. 1. Asaving interest in God as his God. Man could then call God his own God, his Maker, his Husband, his Friend, his Portion, being in covenant with him. 2, Sweet and comfortable society and fellowship with God: and all this without a mediator, God and man not having been enemies or at variances This sweet and agreeable communion he lost, as appears from Gen. iii. 8, where it is said, “They (our first parents) heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.’ When God spoke to him before, it was refreshing and comfortable to him; but now it was a terror to him; evidently shewing that all correspondence was broke up. Thus man lost God, Eph. ii. 12. the greatest and the fountain of all other losses. He is no more the God of fallen men, till by a new covenant they get a new interest in him. This is the greatest of all losses and miseries. Had the sun been for ever darkened in the heavens, it had been no such loss as this. God is the cause and fountain of all good; and the loss of him must be the loss of every thing that is good and excellent. Man is a mere nothing without God; a nothing in nature without his common presence, anda nothing in happiness without his gracious presence, Psal. xxx. 5. “In his favour is life.” Psal, lxiii. 3. ‘Thy loving-kindness is better than life.” That day man fell, the foundation of the earth was drawn away, and all fell down together; the soul and the life departed from all men, and left them all dead, ha: lost God, the fountain of life and joy. Hence we may inter, Wol. I. T t