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what a combat of passions was he in! When the temptation which deceived him vanished, and his spirit recovered out of its surprise, and took a clear view of his guilt in its true horror, what indignation was kindled in his breast ! How did shame, sorrow, revenge, despair—those secret executioners-torment his spirit! Guilt is the consequence of sir, and a real sense of it will make it intolerables and nothing can remove it, and give peace to the conscience, but the precious blood of the Messiah. In vain do men try to commit sin in the dark, or to flee from the presence of God, to whom "the darkness and the light are both alike." Nor will their endeavor to work out a righteousness avail more than a garment of fig-leaves, for "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Isa. 64 : 6.
16. 4. They were driven out of paradise, an emblem of their alienation from God, the only source of true hap. piness. For "in his presence is fullness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore.”. Ps. 16: 11. And there is no other way of drawing nigh unto God but by the blood of the Cross. Universal nature was armed against rebellious man, and would have destroyed him, without the merciful interposition of God. The angels, with flaming swords, expelled him from paradise; the beasts, which were all innocent whilst man remained innocent, espoused God's interest, and are ready to revenge the
done to the Creator. The insensible creation, which at first was altogether beneficial to man, is become hurtful. The heavens sometimes are hardened as brass, in a long and obstinate serenity, and sometimes are dissolved in a deluge of rain. The earth became barren and unfruitful to the sower: it brings forth “ thorns and thistles instead of vread."
5. Lastly, they were forced to earn their subsistence by the sweat of their brow; and to Ere, especially, peculiar calamities were threatened.
$ 17. Before I close this letter, my dear Benjamin, I must beg of you seriously to consider the awfully aggrą
rating circumstances which attended the conduct of our first parents. He that committed it was under special obligations to God. It was committed in paradise. Almost as soon as man was created did he grievously offend his Creator. Almost as soon as he had the honor of covenanting with his Maker, notwithstanding the flattering prospects which he had, he violated the covenant. Was he not now guilty of the basest ingratitude to his most bountiful benefactor ? Was not this sin the most criminal and shameful disobedience? The most abandoned and infamous of the creatures was obeyed, the great God disobeyed. Was it not the most unnatural and unprovoked rebellion? The rightful proprietor of all worlds was man's rightful sovereign. Had not man solemnly promised fidelity and allegiance to him? Let no man say that the punishment was greater than the sin.
§ 18. To a superficial reader it may appear, if not altoge. ther innocent and harmless, at most but a frivolous offence. But upon proper examination it will be found to be a most aggravated crime, or rather a complication of crimes. For though the matter of the offence seems, small, yet the disobedience was infinitely great, it being the transgression of that command which was given to be the instance and real proof of man's subjection to God. The honor and majesty of the whole law were violated in the breach of that symbolical precept. It was a direct and formal rebellion, a public renunciation of obedience, an universal apostacy from God, and change of the last end, that extinguished the habit of original righteousness. Several writers have shown that the breach of this positive law carried in it a virtual violation of all the commandments of the moral law. Others have made it inpear in a striking manner, that the conduct of Adam was the greatest infidelity; prodigious pride; horrid ingratitude; visible contempt of God's majesty and justice; unaccountable folly, and a cruelty to himself and to all his posterity. There is, however, a sin which exceeds hat of Adam. The infidel who trainples under foot the blood of Christ, sins greater than be, and is worthy of sorer condemnation. Heb. 10: 29. For the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. 1 John, 1:7.
In my next, God willing, I shall show more particularly the effects of Adam's fall upon the whole human race. Blessed be God for the second Adam, the Lord from heaven!
1. Frequently enorinous expenses have been incurrea, great hardships endured, and many valuable lives lost in following up rivers to their spring or origin. My intention, in the present letter, is to trace the ocean of sin and misery to its original source, generally styled original sin.
I acknowledge that of all the articles of faith, none appears harder to reconcile with reason and common sense than the doctrines of imputed sin and imputed righteousness. How sin can justly be imputed to the personally innocent, or righteousness to those who are personally sinful; how one can deserve condemnation because another has sinned, or justification and a reward because another has been obedient—at first view, looks hard to conceive, is not utterly im. possible ever to comprehend. Nevertheless, these doctrines are true, and worthy of our serious consideration. For the knowledge of our fall in Adam, and its dreadful consequences, and our recovery by Christ, are the two great things on which the whole structure of true religion moves, and which
go linked together, as it were, hand in hand. As the foriner cannot be thoroughly understood without taking a survey of the latter, so the latter cannot be comprehended without a sound knowledge of the former. It is therefore of very great importance both to be established in the belief of the doctrine, and to acquaint ourselves with the nature and consequences of Adam's sin.
§ 2. In my last letter I have stated the immediate consequences of the fall of our first parents with respect to themselves; I will now point out those which relate to their posterity. These effects are generally called original sin, and consist of two parts, that which is imputed to us, and that which is inherent in us; the former is called the guilt or punishment of Adam's sin, and the other is called depravity.
3. The word original sin, indeed, is not found in the sacred Scriptures, yet that which is intended by it, being so clearly grounded on the word of God, the name cannot disgust any who have not a quarrel against the thing, no more than the name of trinity, sacraments, &c.
$ 4. It is called original sin, because it is in every one from his original; it may say to every one, “ As soon as thou wast, I am;" or because it is derived from Adam, the original of all mankind, out of whose blood God has made us all; or because it is the original of all other sins.
§ 5. The two parts of original sin should never be con. sidered as separate from each other, but as most closely united; but to view them fully, they must be considered as distinct in our ideas.
In the present letter I shall confine myself to that part called "the depravity of our nature." To present the subject in a clear light we shall consider its nature, properties, reality, and consistency with the character of God. First, depravity consists in a want of all that is good, an aversion to it, and a propensity to all evil.
06. There is a privation of all that is good. By the first act of sin, as has been shown, there was a loss of ori. ginal purity and righteousness; the image of God, wherein man was created, was defaced and blotted out, and it left our first parents destitute of all that is holy and good. Hence their posterity could not derive from them any dispositions or principles that are holy or good. For they could not communicate to their offspring what they themselves did not possess. The copy cannot be better than the original, nor the effect nobler than the cause. No stream can rise higher than the fountain : it is no wonder, therefore, if that which is poisonous brings forth a poisonous seed. The natural constitution of every thing is transmitted by natural generation. Hence it is said of Adam, that he "begat a son in his own likeness, after his image.” What the apostle said of himself is true of all: “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." Rom. 7: 18. No grace, no holiness, nothing that is truly and spiritually good. There is neither seed nor fruit, neither root nor branch, neither inclination nor motion, neither habit nor act that is good or acceptable in the sight of God. Hence the Holy Ghost has declared us to be “ without strength, not sufficient of ourselves to do a good action, to speak a good word, or so much as to think a good thought."
$ 7. Nor are we allowed to understand it, that the mind of man, in its present state, is " like a fair sheet of
paper, capable of any impress.” Alas! it is far otherwise. There is in every man not only a want of original righteousness, but an awful propensity to all evil, and an astonishing aversion to all good. “The uprightness and integrity of man," saith Bishop Beveridge, "wherein he was first created, is now lost, the whole soul and body corrupted, the whole har. mony of man dissolved; so that we are not only deprived of grace, but defiled with sin; the image of God is not only razed out, but the image of the devil is engraven upon our souls; all men, and all of men being now quite out of order." Sin is the natural man's element; and as the fish is averse to come out of the water, so is the sinner averse to emerge