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VI. ON THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF THE HEART.
The corruption of the human race after the fall, was radical and universal. 6 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.
It would seem surprising, that any one should read this passage in the Bible, and yet deny the doctrine of human depravity, did we not know the natural blindness of the understanding by reason of sin.
A painful truth is however plainly stated; that the heart of man is evil. And that this solemn truth may be placed in the strongest light, it is further added ; that not only the thoughts, but the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart are evil.
By this declaration we learn how the fall has corrupted all the secret workings of the human mind; since the very outline or rude sketch of the thoughts is polluted.
If the fountain be thus poisoned, can we wonder at those deadly streams which issue from it?
All who know themselves, through the teaching of the divine Spirit, can testify to the truth of this scripture from their own experience ; “ The heart knows its own bitterness."
O! that sovereign grace may cast down every proud and sinful imagination, which is contrary to the holy law of God, and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Some, contending for a portion of natural goodness, may perhaps say: True, the imagination is often defiled, but must we acknowledge no remainders of virtue ?
What saith the Scripture : “every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is evil.”
Allowing that this is true, yet may there not be some mixture of good with the evil ?
What saith the Scripture : "every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil."
Admitting this, yet may there not be some intervals of goodness ?
What saith the Scripture: “every imagination of the thoughts of a man's heart is only evil continually."
If this be indeed the state of man's heart, yet may not the innocent season of youth be an exemption from this awful charge?
What saith the Scripture: “the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.” Gen. viii. 21. “ The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies. Ps. lviii. 3. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child." Prov. xxii. 15. “ Childhood and youth are vanity.” Eccles. xi. 10. And, as if determined to abase the pride of fallen man, and to place the doctrine of original sin beyond dispute ; David, speaking under the influence of the Spirit of truth, declares: “ I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Ps. li. 5.
Very many apposite and important passages might be adduced, all of which attest this solemn truth of original sin. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not one.” Job xiv. 4.
66 What is man that he should be clean; and he that is born of a woman that he should be righteous ?” Job xv. 14. 66 How can he be clean that is born of a woman ?" Job xxv. 4.
Hence we conclude, with divine inspiration, that we are by nature the children of wrath.” Ephes. ii. 3. That " there is none righteous, no not one.” Rom. iii. 10.
0! my soul, cavil not with thy justly offended
Creator, but confess thy guilt both original and actual. Seek for grace to lie low at his feet; and to accept with joyful heart, those gracious offers of pardon and peace, which are so freely made to thee, through the great propitiatory sacrifice of his wellbeloved Son.
The grace of God when viewed, as it always ought to be, in connection with the wretched state of sinful man, shines like the beauteous rainbow on the darkened cloud. Its lovely hues cheer and delight the mind in the midst of surrounding gloom.
How consoling to a soul bowed down under a sense of guilt, are the following promises : “ When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, LIVE; yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE.” Ez. xvi. 6.
Then comes the source of this mercy ;—“I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jer. xxxi. 3.
But how can a polluted creature be pleasing to a pure and holy God? Behold the effects of sovereign grace: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean ; from all your filthiness and from all
your idols will I cleanse you ; a new heart will I give you; and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh; and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.” Ez. lvi. 25 to 27.
The safety and perseverance of the redeemed is sweetly declared in the following delightful promise: “I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them; that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put
“ Fear not
my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Jer. xxxii. 39–40.
Support and final success are also promised to the believer under all the various trials and difficulties which he may be called upon to endure in the cause of his covenant God and Saviour. for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee, with the right hand of my righteousness.” Is. xli. 10.
" When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee; for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel thy Saviour. " Is. xliii. 2.
For the present and everlasting consolation of the believer, a full and free forgiveness of all sin is graciously declared : “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Is. xliii. 25.
“ I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions and as a cloud thy sins-return unto me, for I have redeemed thee.” Is. xliv. 22. “ Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation ; ye shall not be ashamed, nor confounded world without end." Is. xlv. 17. Well may
the ransomed sinner exclaim :“O! Lord I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away and thou comfortest me. Behold, God is my salvation ; I will trust and not be afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song ; he also is become my salvation." Is. xii. 1, 2. "I will extol thee, my God, O! King : and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.” Ps. cxlv. 1.
“ Bless the Lord, O! my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O! my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction ; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies." Ps. ciii. 1 to 4.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever. And let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
When I survey the human race,
How vast the love that brought thee down,
Yet, with this crown and purple robe,
Whilst others spurn this matchless love,
Then shall I live in heav'nly rest,