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Preached at the
Lady MOYER'S LECTURE,
On the Corruption of Human
JOB XIV. 3, 4.
Doft thou open thine Eyes upon fuch an one, and bringeft me into Judgment with thee?
Who can bring a clean Thing out of an Unclean? Not one.
HESE Words contain Job's Ex-SERM.IV.
Words of a great Writer, who clearly
SERM.IV. of the Woman, is as follows, "Why art "thou extreme to mark all my Errors? "Is it reasonable to expect Purity in a "Man born of a Woman, who is by the
very Condition of his Birth unclean *?" The Difobedience of our firft Parents involved their Posterity, and entailed a Depravity of Nature upon their Defcendants: Which Depravity, though it is not a Sin in us, till the Will clofes with it, and deliberately confents to it; yet is certainly finful in itself, and therefore is ftiled Original Sin. For if it were not so, if the first Rife of evil Thoughts, and every Tendency and Biafs to Vice were not criminal in itself; the Consent of the Will to it could never make it fo. For the Confent of the Will cannot alter the Nature of Things.
St. Paul, Col. iii. 9, 10. fays, Ye have put off the old Man with his Deeds, and have put on the new Man, which is renewed in Knowledge AFTER THE IMAGE of Him, that created him; or, as it is in another Place, Ephef. iv. 24. which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holi
Bishop Sherlock's Second Differtation, Pag. 253.
nefs. Now to be renewed after the Image SERM.IV. of our Creator, fignifies in the Original, to receive again, what we had once loft. Man therefore once had (in his primitive State) that Image, to which he is to be restored by the Grace of our Lord Jefus Chrift. This is the Sense which Irenæus, a Father of the fecond Century, puts upon thefe Words. For he fays, "What we loft in "Adam, viz. the divine Image and Like
nefs, we receive again in Chrift Jefus *." Adam was formed in the Image of God; and what that Image was, we learn from the foregoing Words of St. Paul, that ye put on the new Man, which, after God (after the Image of God) is created in Righteousness and true Holiness. It is plain, that we who are shapen in Wickedness, who are born with ftrong Propenfions to Vice, are not created in Righteousness and true Holiness: It is plain therefore, that we are fallen from our original and primitive State of Innocence.
Far be it from me to vilify human Nature, as if it were totally bad, without any Remains and Traces of it's primitive Greatnefs. I own, that any Man may, through
SERM.IV. the Grace of God and his own Endeavours,
ftand clear of all presumptuous Sins, and much more of all evil Habits. I own that our Paffions are innocent in themselves, though they are often wrong in their Degree, being not very feldom difproportioned to the real Value of Things; very violent and exorbitant, where they ought to be moderate; and very moderate and remiss, where there is no eminent Danger of Excefs. I grant, that, though our Nature is degenerated, yet it is not intirely inverted, fo as to have no Relifh for Goodness; that we are not only capable of Virtue, but also of great Attainments therein; we may not only be virtuous, but even excel in Virtue.
Notwithstanding, there are plain Proofs that we are fallen Creatures, from the Perverfeness of our Will, and the Weakness of our Understanding.
For no Creature could come originally from God's Hand, but what was perfect in it's Kind: No rational Creature can be perfect in his Kind, in whom there is a ftrong Propenfion to Vice, that is, to what is unreasonable, and a great Irregularity of the Appetites and Affections. Had Man continued fuch as he was at firft formed;
the Balance certainly must have been, at SERM.IV. leaft, even, between the fenfitive and intellectual Part in our Compofition, between our Paffions and our Reafon: But that it is not fo, is plain from this; that it is not the Province of Wisdom to run into the Arms of a Temptation, and boldly to grapple with it; which when we do, we feldom fail of being foiled in the Conflict. But our Victory over Temptations is to decline a Combat with them; and a confiderable Part of the Innocency, which is in the World, may be owing to the Want of Opportunities to commit Vice. There is a Stock of Corruption in us, though fometimes unfufpected by us, which often difcovers itself, as foon as there are fuitable Objects to call it forth. Hence it is, that few or none are to be trufted with abfolute Power; because an unlimited Extent of Power gives thofe vicious Inclinations their full Play, which before were cramped and confined within narrow Bounds. We do not diftruft ourselves; because we know not what is in ourselves. Many, who would have said in a private Capacity, Is thy Servant a Dog, that he should do thefe Things? have done the very Things in a