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in the sight of God to every human character. He - that only "hateth his brother is a murderer;" he that cherishes an impure desire is an adulterer; he that covets is an idolater.* In this polluted principle lurk the seeds of all sin; and where nothing else of a moral nature exists, as in all cases where "true holiness" is wanting, it constitutes the whole character in the sight of God. Of course the character of all unholy men, however variously compressed by restraints, is specifically the same.
What then does our text affirm of all unsanctified men? That every imagination of the thoughts of their heart is only evil continually. Language could not more fully or plainly assert that fundamental doctrine of our holy religion which I shall lay at the foundation of these lectures, that mankind by nature are totally depraved.
But what is meant by total depravity? Not that men are as bad as they can be; for in general they lie under strong restraints. Not that they are all equally wicked; for some are more restrained than others. Not that they are destitute of every thing useful and lovely in society; their humanity and social affections are decidedly of this character. Not that the form of their actions is always wrong; the contrary is manifestly true. It is only meant that they are utterly destitute of holiness, and of course are sinful so far as their feelings and actions partake of a moral nature. It certainly is not meant that they are necessarily inclined to evil without the power of resistance. They possess ample power, and in all their wickedness are voluntary and free.
This is the precise shape of the doctrine to be supported. The principal arguments on which it rests will be detailed in this and the three following lectures.
* Mat. v. 28. Eph. v. 5. Col. iii. 5. 1 John iii. 15.
Argument I. By the first creation or birth mankind are united to the first Adam and inherit the character which he possessed immediately after the fall, until by a second creation or birth they are united to the second Adam and become partakers of his holiness.It is necessary to view this argument by parts.
I. Depravity is derived from Adam. This is proved,
(1.) From the universal depravity of man. "God looked upon the earth and behold it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted his way." "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 together become filthy; there is none that doth good, no not one." "We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin; 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 doth good, no not one. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified." "The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." "If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we say that we have not sinned we make him a liar and his word is not in us." God "now commandeth all men every where to repent.”*
So deeply is sin rooted in the human heart that the continued struggles of the best men, with all the means and aids derived from heaven, have never prevailed in a single instance to eradicate it entirely. "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I
* Gen. vi. 12. Ps. xiv. 2, 3. and cxxx. 3. Acts xvii. 30. Rom. iii. 9-12, 20. Gal. iii. 22. 1 John i. 8. 10.
am pure from my sin?" "There is not a just man upon earth that doth good and sinneth not." "In many things we offend all." "For there is no man that sinneth not."*
Now here is a wonder to be accounted for,-sin tainting every individual of Adam's race in every age, country, and condition, and surviving in every heart all exertions to destroy it. One would think this might prove, if any thing could prove, that sin belongs to the nature of man, as much as reason or speech, (though in a sense altogether compatible with blame,t) and must be derived, like other universal attributes of our nature, from the original parent, propagated precisely like reason or speech, (neither of which is exercised at first,)-propagated like many other propensities, mental as well as bodily, which certainly are inherited from parents, -propagated like the noxious nature of other animals. If the phenomenon is not accounted for in this natural and easy way, so analogous to that great law by which all animals propagate their kinds and their dispositions, it must remain to the end of the world an unsolvible mystery. I prove the derivation of sin from Adam,
(2.) From the fact that mankind are born depraved.
Whether the depravity of infants consists in exercises or dispositions, or whether from the first or at what age they begin actually to sin, I shall by no means allow myself to inquire. Without denying what others may choose to assert on these points, all that I can feel authorized to say is, that, as the young lion is born not an elephant, but with a carnivorous nature, though he does not at first feed on
*1 Kings viii. 46. Prov. xx. 9. Eccl. vii. 20. James iii. 2.
+ Compatible with blame because an hereditary propensity is as much the spontaneous action of the heart as any other; and to be willing is to be free; to be voluntary in sin is to be blameworthy.
flesh; and as the serpent is not a dove, but possesses a poisonous nature, while yet in the egg; and both will certainly act out their peculiar nature when they arrive at maturity; so infants are born with a nature which, not by necessity, but by the free consent of the heart, will in all cases actually sin as soon as they are able. Without denying that more is true, I mean to assert no more when I speak of the depravity of infants and when I call them sinners.Least of all do I undertake to decide on their condition in a future world. In the hands of divine mercy I leave them, and bow in submissive silence. That infants in this sense are depraved, I argue,
 From the fact already established, that in all ages and nations, without a single exception, they do sin when they arrive at years of discretion. This furnishes the same evidence that they are born with a bent to evil, that is furnished by the universal propensity of lions to feed on flesh, that they are born with a carnivorous nature. I argue this,
[2.] From the sufferings and death of infants. If it be said that the sufferings and death of brutes furnish the same evidence of their depravity, I admit that the groans of the irrational creation, as well as the briers and thistles of the ground, prove that the nature of all things is marred by the sin of man. But for this no animals would have been carnivorous, none poisonous, none resentful.* The fall of man, though it could not infect brutes with moral depravity, has occasioned a real depravation of their nature. No animals are found, if possessed of sufficient vigour, which are not capable of bitter animosity. I am willing to regard the sufferings of the irrational tribes as a public token of the depravation of their nature; and must by analogy regard the sufferings and death of infants as a token of the depravity of a nature created for moral action.
*Isa. xi. 6.-9. and lxv. 25.
In relation to mankind it is a fundamental maxim of divine government that "the curse causeless shall not come. "Whoever perished being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?"* I forbear to insist on the several recorded instances of the destruction of infants expressly in token of God's displeasure against sin, as at the time of the flood, the burning of Sodom, (which ten righteous persons would have saved,†) the plagues of Egypt, the destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, of Achan, of the nations of Canaan, of Jerusalem, of Babylon ;+ as also the express command, in several instances, to destroy infants with their parents as a punishment for sin. I forbear to insist on these; for in that memorable passage in the 5th of Romans, the apostle appears to have settled the point that death comes upon the whole human race, (not as it does on brutes,) in consequence of their sin, of nature or practice. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned." His argument plainly rests on the principle that among the human race, (not among brutes,) the empire of sin and that of death are coextensive. If in the sequel he makes the visible ground of the death of infants to be the public sin of Adam, (a point which I freely concede,) I hope to show hereafter, that for the posterity of Adam to suffer any evil on account of his sin, is itself a sufficient proof that they partake of his depravity. I argue the depravity of infants,
[3.] From their need of a Saviour and from their being brought to a Saviour in baptism. "We thus judge, that if one died for all then were all dead, and that he died for all."|| If infants are saved by Christ certainly they are sinners, (in the sense al
*Job iv. 7. Prov. xxvi. 2. Gen. xviii. 32. Exod. xii. 29. Numb. xvi. 27-33. Deut. ii. 34. and iii. 6. and vii. 2. and xxxii. 25. Josh. vii. 24, 25. Isai. xiii. 18. Jer. ix. 21. and xliv. 7. Lam. ii. 11, 19, 20. and iv. 4, 10. Num. xxxi. 17. 1 Sam. xv. 3. Ezek. ix. 6. 2 Cor v. 14, 15.