« PoprzedniaDalej »
shed on it; and to view the dawn, as it is succeeded by the blaze of glory with which the Sun of Righteousness hath invested it. He who will receive no further knowledge of his Saviour than the first promise gives, acts just as reasonably as he who refuses to receive any further information, with respect to the extent of that death, which was originally threatened, as the punishment of human transgression. The wisdom of God saw it meet, that the greatness of our forfeiture, and of the punishment we had incurred, should appear with an evidence, increasing only in proportion as the doctrine of the Atonement was expanded to our view; and as the Saviour was more fully exhibited, as dying for our offences, and as raised again for our justification. It is through him that we are delivered from the wrath to come; and through his atoning blood alone it is, that we have boldness and confidence to enter into the most holy place. i · It is to the New Testament then, that we are to apply for a full statement of our own demerits, and for a full illustration of our plenteous Redemption. Had the first appeared in all its terrors, before the second appeared in all its grace and fulness, it must have thrown an additional gloom upon a dispensation, already surcharged with the spirit of bondage. Now that we have received the Atonement, we can look back, with a steadfast eye, on the condemnation from which we are delivered ; and when we view the amazing price of our ransom, we are taught to ascribe the glory, the praise, and the honour to Him who loved us, and who washed us from our sins, in his own blood. The bloody sweat, the dying agonies, the dolorous complaint of the Son of God upon the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? are the best comment upon that sentence of death, that tribulation and anguish, which are the consequences of sin ; and he who believes in the one, will not only not dispute the truth, but will powerfully feel the force, of the other.
That infants are exposed to much pain and misery, in the present world, as the consequences of the fall of man, cannot be denied. Now, if it comports with the justice of God, that they suffer in the present state, which every man who would not fly in the face of his Maker, must ad. mit, it can never be proved that it would be unjust to extend this punishment to a future world. For injustice consists, not in the length of the punishment, but in the application of it to improper persons. Justice and injustice must be the same in all worlds. The considerations are therefore sufficient to show, that the whole human race are, by nature, children of wrath. But from what God might have done, in perfect consistence with his justice, there can be no argument to what God will do. Infants are admitted to the privileges of the Gospel, and are declared by our Saviour to form a constituent part of his kingdom. There is not a sentence in the whole word of God which teaches, that one individual who dies in infancy shall eventually perish; but to infants, as well as to adults, the declaration of the Scriptures universally applies :-" Their robes must be washed, and made white in the blood of the Lamb."
ON THE UNIVERSAL DEPRAVITY OF HUMAN
trine is 10 that a creascas pure
This doctrine is intimately connected with the former. We cannot suppose that a creature should be liable to everlasting death, whose nature was pure and uncontaminated; or that misery should be found, where sin had not prepared the way for it. The doctrine of human depravity is forcibly stated, in almost innumerable places of Scripture, a few only of which our limits will allow us to quote. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”—Gen. vi. 5. For the punishment of these crimes, the old world was swept away with a flood; but we may hope they were succeeded by a better and a purer race of men. It was not so. Immediately after the flood, we have this declaration from God,—“ I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.” As if the Almighty had said, such is the deprayity of human nature, that were the sins of mankind to be punished in this manner, every generation must have its flood, and the earth be under a perpetual state of curse. I will, therefore, not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, though the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.-Gen. viii. 21. In the times of David, God is represented as taking a survey of human principles and of human actions, and the result of that examination is accurately stated to us by Omniscience himself. “The Lord looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside ; they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.—Psalm, xiy. 2, 3. The Prophet Isaiah declares the universality of human guilt,—“ All we, like sheep, have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way.”—lii. 6. " We are all as an unclean thing; and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”—Ixiv. 6. The heart of man is thus described by the Prophet Jere. miah, « The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it ?”
In the New Testament, the proofs of this doctrine meet us almost in every chapter, either directly or indirectly. The direct are such as these, “ What then? are we better than they ?" (the Jews than the Gentile world,) “No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.”-- Rom. iii. 9. “ Now we know, that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”—19. “ For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”-23. In this chapter, various declarations of God with respect to the wickedness of men in former times, are, by the spirit of God, applied to the state and character of men universally; and made so many links of that chain of reasoning, by which the universality of human guilt is fully demonstrated. “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood ; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known ; there is no fear of God before their eyes.”—10 to 18, inclusive. These are the premises upon which the Apostle rests his conclusion, “ that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Even those who, by the grace of God, and a lively faith in the Gospel of his Son, were now brought into a state of reconciliation with God, and regenerated in the spirit of their minds, among whom the Apostle numbers both himself and his fellow ministers of Christianity, were, antecedently to that divine calling, bound with the cords of iniquity. “ Among whom," (the children of disobedience,) “ also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were, by nature, the children of wrath, even as others.”—Eph. ii. 3. The same persons are represented as “dead in trespasses and sins,” before they were quickened by the spirit of God.1. Those very persons who were reconciled to God, are thus described before their conversion,—You, that were some time alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”-Colos. i. 21. Our blessed Saviour himself spoke the same doctrine, when he taught that he came " to seek and to save that which was lost.”—Math. xviii. 11. " They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick : I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”—Mark,