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For the further elucidation of this subject, let us examine what kind of righteousness can be found in men during the whole course of their lives. Let us divide them into four classes. For either they are destitute of the knowledge of God, and immerged in idolatry; or, having been initiated by the sacraments, they lead impure lives, denying God in their actions, while they confess him with their lips, and belong to Christ only in name; or they are hypocrites, concealing the iniquity of their hearts with vain disguises; or, being regenerated by the Spirit of God, they devote themselves to true holiness. In the first of these classes, judged of according to their natural characters, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there will not be found a single spark of goodness; unless we mean to charge the Scripture with falsehood in these representations which it gives of all the sons of Adam that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;” (w) that "every imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ; " (x) that “the thoughts of man are vanity; that there is no fear of God before his eyes;”(y) that “there is none that understandeth, none that seeketh after God;" (2)
z in a word, “that he is flesh,” (a) a term expressive of all those works which are enumerated by Paul — "adultery, forni
(6) Jer. xvi. 9. (2) Gen. vi. 5; viii. 21.
(2) Psalm xiv. 1–3. Rom. iii. 11.
(y) Psalm xciv. 11; xxxvi. 1.
(a) Gen. vi. 3.