« PreviousContinue »
blame of all their sins to themselves. And as they have freely and voluntarily sinned; so let them freely and voluntarily repent and believe the gospel. This is their immediate and important duty. They have no excuse for a moment's delay. Life and death are now set before them. It depends not upon the conduct of Adam, but upon their own choice, whether they shall be happy, or miserable forever. Though their sins have greatly abounded; yet if they repent and believe the gospel, the grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, shall much more abound, in their eternal salvation. Amen.
THE NATURE, EXTENT, AND INFLUENCE OF THE
MORAL DEPRAVITY OF SINNERS.
ROMANS viii, 7, 8. Because the carnal mind is eninity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
So then they that are in the flesh cannot pleuse God.
IT has been much disputed of late, among those who call themselves Calvinists, whether all the doings of unregenerate men are altogether sinful. There would be no difficulty in deciding this question, if those, who profess to believe the total corruption of human nature, would only agrec to draw the same inference from it. But there are many, who acknowledge, that the hearts of sinners are totally depraved, and yet deny, that their actions are altogether criminal. It seems necessary, therefore, in order to bring this point to a fair and final decision, not only to prove, that sinners are totally depraved; but also to prove, that their total depravity extends to all their actions, and turns them into sin. And the words which I have read, naturally lead us to consider this subject in this manner. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” By the carnal mind, the Apostle means the carnal heart; for it is the heart orly, which is enmity against God. And this carnal heart he represents, as corrupting all the actions which proceed from it. He lays down the total deprayity of sinners as a first
principle, from which he draws the only fair and natural conclusion, that they cannot please God. His plain meaning, therefore, may be clearly expressed in this plain proposition:
The total depravity of sinners renders all their actions totally depraved:
To illustrate this subject, I shall,
11. Show, that their total depravity totally depraves all their actions.
I. I am to show, that sinners are totally depraved.
There is no truth more clearly and fuily taught in Scripture, than the total depravity of sinners. They are represented as spiritually deaf and blind. “Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.” They are represented as spiritually dead. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in tresspasses and sins." They are represented as incapable of discerning the moral beauty of divine objects. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." These are plain, though figur. ative descriptions of the total depravity of sinners. 'Their hearts are also represented as not only destitute of moral goodness, but as full of moral evil. We read, 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.” Solomon says, “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” Our Lord told the unbelieving Jews, “I know
ye have not the love of God in you. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” The Apostle Paul paints the total de pravity of sinners in the strongest colors. “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 bitterpess. 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.” Agreeably to these representations, we find such appellations and epithets given to sinners, as strongly express their total depravity. They are called the unjust, the unrighteous, the ungodly, the unholy, the unbelieving, and enemies of the cross of Christ. Such persons as justly deserve these characters, must be entirely destitute of every holy and virtuous affection.
But the manner, in which the Scripture distinguishes saints from sinners, affords the most clear and convincing evidence, that all who are not saints, are totally depraved. According to Scripture, he that loveth God is a saint, but he that loveth him not is a sinner; he that repenteth of sin is a saint, but he that repenteth not is a sinner; he that believeth in Christ is a saint, but he that believeth not is a sinner; he that is boru of God is a saint, but he that is not born of God is a sinner; he that is in the Spirit is a saint, but he that is in the flesh is a sinner; he that is for Christ is a saint, but he that is against him is a sinner. This mode of distinction necessarily implies, that saints
have some grace, but sinners have none; that saints have some holiness, but sinners have none; and that nothing short of total depravity can justly denominate any person a sinner, in distinction from a saint. Though the plainest passages of Scripture in favor of total depravity, may be tortured to some other meaning; yet this argument in favor of this doctrine, drawn from the scriptural manner of distinguishing saints from sinners, admits of no evasion, and cannot be rejected, without rejecting the very distinction itself. Whoever undertakes to describe a sinner, without taking total depravity into his character, will describe a saint. If he say, a sinner is one who sometimes does good, and sometimes does evil; this is a description of a saint. For every saint sometimes does good, and sometimes does evil. If he say, a sinner is one who does more evil than good; this is a description of a saint. For every saint has more sin than holiness. If he say, a sinner is one who has the lowest degree of grace; this is a description of a saint. For the least degree of love, faith, repentance, or any other holy affection, forms the character of a saint, and entitles him to the divine favor. Indeed, ask any intelligent, frank, candid man, who denies total depravity, to tell you the essential difference between a saint and a sinner, and he will freely acknowledge that it is out of his power. For he knows, if all men are possessed of some real holiness, then the only moral difference between one person and another is, that one has more, and another has less true love to God. But this is the difference between one saint and another, and not the difference between a saint and a sinner. The most celebrated Writers, who deny total depravity, appear to be unable to point out any essential difference between saints and sinners. We may read all the ser