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the very moment of its entrance on the theatre of life? And if any attain to three score years, or four, is not their strength labor and sorrow? Wherever we cast our eyes around us, are not spectacles of wretchedness presented to our view? One pines in poverty, wanting even the necessaries of Tife ; another is tortured with exquisite pain; in the morning he-longs for the return of evening, and in the evening longs for the approach of morning, that another period of his torment may be past. Do we not taste some bitteringredient intermingled withevery cup of earthly enjoyment, as a plain proof that the curse denounced against the first transgression of Adam is now experienced by all his natural offspring ? “Cursed be the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” What is the glare of the wealthy, or the majesty of the great but more splendid misery? Disquiet and anxiety rankle the bosom of the prince upon his throne, no less than of the beggar upon the dung-hill; disease tortures alike the body covered with purple and with rags; and death, with equal sternness, demands admission into the palace of the mighty and the cottage of the mean. “Although,” as the plaintive patriarch expresses it, “although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards.” Vexation and disappointment meet us in every stage,
and occupation, and enjoyment of life. On what principle, then, can we account for this universal reign of misery and death, unless from the universal reign of transgression? Who ever perished being innocent ? Or where were the righteous cut off? Will a tender parent deliberately scourge a child who uniformly obeys his commands? Will a righteous judge doom to punishment or death the citizen who has never broken the laws of his country ? Or can it be consistent with the benevolence or justice of the Creator, to pursue with constant marks of his indignation a being who always fulfilled his pleasure, and answered the end of its existence ?– There is no misery among the angels of light, those blessed spirits that kept their first estate and obey the will of their Lord; being perfectly holy, they are perfectly happy: There will be no complaint either outward or inward among all the redeemed of the Lamb through eternity; “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more: there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” Their bodies, which
now frail through corruption, shall flourish in immortal youth. We therefore infer the apostacy of all men from that vanity, and those miseries to which they are now subjected; we may reasonably conclude that all must have sinned, because they actually suffer; “that destruction and misery are in their paths, because there is.
no fear of God before their eyes." Such is the reasoning of the great apostle on this subject. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so that death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned;" he teaches, as plainly as language can express, that “sin brought death into the world and all our woe;" that all the afflictions which accompany man from his cradle to the grave, come only as the reward of transgression ; he proves also, from this universal reign of death, the corruption even of infants; that they must be guilty before God, if not actually by any transgression of their own, yet originally in Adam their representing head.
« For until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression.”
The proposition that all have sinned, is therefore undeniably established from the plain repeated testimonies of Jehovah in his word; from the consciousness which every one, who iinpartially searches his own heart, must have of his imperfections : from an observation of human conduct in every possible circumstance and relation of life; and also from those miseries to which all are exposed. From this variety of evidence we are obliged to draw the humiliating conclusion, “ there is none righteous, no, not one; they are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable ; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
In applying this doctrine we are called,
1. To pause and drop a tear over the perished glory of human nature. Into what degradation and misery is it now plunged by transgression ?“ How is the gold become dim, bow is the most fine gold changed ?” The building once stood fair and firm; all its parts proportioned with infinite wisdom, and its height towering towards the heavens; thus situated, it promised to resist every storm and to stand an eternal monument of glory to its Author, and admiration to the world. But, ah, how fallen! by one untimely shock this fair fabric is prostrated in ruins, and lies a spectacle of pity, of scorn, to God, to angels, and the universe. Behold man as he proceeds at first from his Creator's hand; he is formed after “ the divine image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness;" light beams unclouded upon his understanding; he possesses all that knowledge of God, of his persons and perfections, which was necessary for the discharge of his duty, or could conduce to his happiness ; holiness, without the least spot of pollution, sits enthroned on his heart; his affections are all pure and spiritual, centering upon Jehovah as bis glory and joy; the very members of his body are all holy, ready to encourage and aid his immortal spirit in the service of his Creator ; the tongue, like a well tuned organ, expressing the gratitude and devo
tion of the heart,poured forth the melody of praise ; the eye, upon each survey of the natural world, of the trees which so richly adorned the garden, of the sun which“ ruled by day, and the moon and the stars which adorned the evening sky," lifted up the soul to a fresh admiration oftheir infinite Author. Every outward enjoyment was crowned with the most intimate, uninterrupted communion of his God. Such was the character, such the condition of Adam when created first and placed in the terrestrial paradise. No wonder that apostate spirits envied his happiness, and early employed their infernal ingenuity in attempting to rob him of his God and glory. How changed, how degraded now! Light in his understanding is succeeded by the blackness of darkness; holiness in his heart by the most incorrigible enmity and obstinacy ; his affections, that were once pure, are become earthly, sensual, and devilish; the members of his body are utterly disordered, and have become instruments of unrighteousness to sin; his throat is an open sepulchre,” emitting the foul abominations of his heart; “his mouth, formerly the organ of praise, “ is full of cursing and bitterness; his feet,” formed to run the way of the divine commandments, “ are swift to shed blood:” “The eyes, which before met the approach of God with rapiure, are now clouded with sorrow, tremble with fear, or strain with remorse and horror at the voice of the Almighty ; that