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ii. 17. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.' −1 John, i. 8. "If we
say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."-10. "In many things we offend all."-James, iii. 2.
Besides these, and many other direct proofs of this doctrine, the indirect ones are both numerous and strong. Of this kind is the doctrine of Repentance. With this doctrine our Saviour's forerunner, John the Baptist, began his ministry. "Repent ye; for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand."-Math. iii. 2. Our Saviour's personal ministry commenced with the same address. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand."-iv. 17. When our Lord called to him his twelve Apostles, and sent them out with his commission to preach his Gospel, they began with the same doctrine. "They went out and preached that men should repent."-Mark, vi. 12. The subject that employed the ministry of St. Paul he thus describes : Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." As repentance is the universal doctrine of the Gospel, and a doctrine it preaches to all men, the foundation of this address lies in this, that all men are sinners. The necessity of faith in Christ, is another indirect proof of the same doctrine. His precursor represented him as the object of faith, when he thus addressed the multitude who surrounded him,-"Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." It was, we have seen, one of the grand subjects of the Apostle Paul's ministry, to preach the necessity of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Through this faith we are said to be justified, and by this faith we are said to be saved and sanctified. But, if any
man is not a sinner, of this faith he stands in no need, and of him no such thing can be reasonably required, for our Saviour expressly teaches, that such persons he came not to save; and common sense tells us, that such persons stand in no need of salvation. The exhibition of Christ, as a propitiation for sin, is only for the salvation of sinners; and the universality of the offer of salvation proceeds on this, that all men are sinners. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus."—Rom. iii. 25, 26. "He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”—1 John, ii. 2. The necessity of regeneration, of a man's being made a new creature, is another demonstrative evidence that all men are sinners. Why cannot a man enter into the kingdom of God, without regeneration? To this the only satisfactory answer is, that as men are naturally dead in trespasses and sins, the sanctifying grace of God is absolutely necessary to make them new creatures. "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature."-2 Cor. v. 17. Precisely the same mode of reasoning applies to conversion. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven."-Math. xviii. 3. A state which renders conversion necessary, must be a state of impurity and sin; and such is the natural state of all men, for the Scripture exempts no man from the necessity of such a change.
The Christian dispensation, which in the most pointed language teaches the doctrine of human depravity, in its initiatory rite, confirms by symbolical action, what it com
All its sub
mands its ministers to preach to mankind. jects are ordered to be received, by being washed with water, the general means of purification. Every man knows that what is clean, requires not to be washed, and that the necessity of washing arises from that impurity, for the removing of which, water is applied. The very terms salvation, saved, &c., which relate to the blessings of the Gospel, necessarily refer to an antecedent state of guilt, and spiritual death, from which the Gospel, when it is cordially received, brings deliverance. Nor can any man rationally call Jesus his Saviour, without acknowledging his participation in the ruin brought upon mankind, by their rebellion against God. The name Jesus is also given to our Saviour, because he saves his people from their sins. So closely intwined with Christianity is the doctrine of human depravity, that we cannot speak of the Gospel itself, of its Sacraments, of the names of the Redeemer, or of the salvation it sets before men, but the doctrine is in our mouths, and if we speak with spiritual discernment, our hearts deeply feel it; and we have, as the holy Psalmist says, our sins ever before us. Whatever difficulties this important subject may contain, we have seen that it is plainly stated in the Scripture, and is so closely connected with the whole doctrine of our Redemption, that he who rejects the one, can never consistently embrace the other. They must be received or rejected together. He who has not felt his spiritual death in Adam, will not seek his spiritual life in Christ; and he who does not confess that he has borne the image of the earthy, will not be earnest in seeking to possess the image of the heavenly.
The propagation of a corrupted nature from Adam to all his posterity, is perfectly analogous to what we find in
the natural world. Of the whole of Creation with which we are conversant, it is the universal law, that every plant, that every animal, possesses the properties of that from which it sprang. The vine is not propagated from the thorn, nor the fig tree from the bramble. The harmless sheep and the ferocious tiger, propagate each his own kind.
The state of that globe on which we dwell, proclaims it to be the habitation of a fallen and guilty race. Its elements are often in a state of hostile conflict. Tempests sweep along its surface, with destructive fury. Internal fires prey upon its bowels, and, bursting out, spread desolation over the most fertile countries. The mass of waters which surrounds it, often pours death upon the children of men. The earth itself is convulsed, and trembles under their feet. Once the crimes of its inhabitants brought upon it a flood, which left only one family alive; and of that general wreck, the vestiges are still to be found on the tops of the highest mountains. Even the heavens and the earth which now are, we know, shall at last be purified by fire, to become the fit habitations of righteous beings.
A writer, of profound sagacity, speaking of our Saviour's interposition to prevent that punishment from following, which, according to the general laws of Divine government, must have followed the sins of the world, had it not been for his interposition, observes that "Were we to suppose the constitution of things to be such, as that the whole creation must have perished, had it not been for somewhat, which God had appointed should be, in order to prevent that ruin; even this supposition would not be inconsistent, in any degree, with the most absolutely perfect goodness. But still it may be thought that
this whole manner of treating the subject before us, supposes mankind to be naturally in a very strange state; and truly so it does. But it is not Christianity which has put us into this state. Whoever will consider the manifold miseries, and the extreme wickedness of the world; that the best have great impurities within themselves, which they complain of, and endeavour to correct; but that the generality grow more profligate and corrupt with age; that heathen moralists thought the present state to be a state of punishment: and what might be added, that the earth, our habitation, has the appearances of being a ruin; whoever, I say, will consider all these, and some other obvious things, will think he has little reason to object against the Scripture account, that mankind are in a state of degradation, against this being the fact: how difficult soever he may think it to account for, or even to form a distinct conception of the occasions and circumstances of it. But that the crime of our first parents was the occasion of our being placed in a more disadvantageous condition, is a thing throughout, and particularly analogous to what we see in the daily course of natural Providence, as the recovery of the world, by the interposition of Christ, has been shown to be so in general."*
The history of human society, which presents little to our eyes, but the report of the follies and crimes of the men who have lived before us, exactly agrees with the transactions which we see passing in the world around us. That men, in general, are both foolish and wicked, few persons who are competent judges will be found to dispute; though some who suppose themselves to be such,
Butler's Analogy, Part 1, Chap. 5.