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tude of the child, can never destroy the relation which has been constitúted by the great Creator between it and its parent. That parent is a monster, who makes the guilty conduct of his child a pretence or an excuse for utterly deserting him. And shall we then think, that moral turpitude attaches to the divine Being, because He continues to support and invigorate the powers of his rebellious and ungrateful creature, whom He has made dependent on Himself? Is God under obligation—is it necessary for His moral purity-instantly to withdraw His support and providential agency from His creatures when they sin? Then will it follow that the instant a creature sins, it must be annihilated; for its continuance in being depends on the divine power and providence, and does but contribute to the perpetuation of its guilt.
It will be admitted, that the agency and co-operation of God would have been proper and requisite had man continued in a state of innocence and virtue. The preserving and supporting power of God, according to the law by which he ordained at first, that that agency should be exerted, would have been rightfully exercised. How then comes it that God is under obligations instantly to withdraw that agency, when the creature rebels? Do the guilt and ingratitude of the creature, destroy its natural dependence on the Being that created it? The truth is, that this allegation, against which we contend, if it proves any thing, proves too much. The Lord has unquestionably, by His power and providence, upheld the world for thousands of years, and yet during all that time, it has been the great theatre of crime. Sin has reigned and triumphed over the successive generations of men, that have sprung up on it, and has reared innumerable memorials of its sway. One mighty tyrant after another, has appeared and flourished as actor on the stage, and his track has been marked with xtar, and rapine, and blood. Sword, famine and pestilence have followed in his train, and every hateful crime has stood like chosen attendants near his throne. And yet it is said that God raised him up. Of Pharoah there can be no dispute; nor of Nebuchadnezzar; nor of Cyrus and others. Yet no one presumes to impeach the purity of the divine character, because of that agency, which the divine providence may have had, in the preservation of corrupt and tyrannical despots. We ask why not, if the objection is of force? Whether is the agency of God's providence, in the support of the world, and of the huge monsters of crime, that have enslaved and tyrannized over it, any less liable to remark, than that which is ordinarily exerted in the sustentation of the sinner's mind?
Whatever view, therefore, we take of the divine agency so far as it is concerned in the production of sin, whether in the permitting of it, or in the exercise of forbearance towards the sinner, or in the preserving in being and continuing in wonted vigour, the powers of the moral being, no taint, nor the least imputation of moral turpitude can attach to God. Whence then it may be inquired originates human depravity? If God cannot be pronounced the author of sin, how comes it into being? An answer to this ques. tion, will require that we advert to the history, and general principles or constitution, of that goờernment which God exercises over men,
THE ORIGINAL OF HUMAN DEPRAVITY.
No historical information as to the origin of sin in other worlds—The history
of it in this-Its immediate effects on the character of our first parentsThe entire change it effected–That change did not affect the general agency of God, nor the physical nature of our first parents—The influence of this change on successive generations- Various opinions as to the origin of human depravity-Inquiry as to what original sin consists inThe phrase a very vague one-Several inquiries started—Sin cannot be predicated of being merely-Necessary to pay particular attention to the general characteristics of the creature, in order rightly to estimate the character of the holiness attributed to it—Holiness has respect to the exercises of the will-Whether there is any inherent cause of sinful actions in the soul-Dr. Owen's views-Boston's-Calvin's–Vink's-If created nature or existence be sinful, then is God the author of sin—No physical property lost or acquired by Adam's sin—No physical defect or efficient principle of physical being produced by it—But it rendered holy exercises in him morally impossible--Physical depravity renders sin necessaryDreadful practical results of such a doctrine—To the will of the sinner is to be assigned the immediate cause of sinful actions-Quotation from Dr. Owen-Inquiry as to the prime origin of sinful actions-Whether the legal or natural results of Adam's sin—The difference between a law, a covenant, and a constitution—The death and corruption of Adam's progeny, results of the divine constitution, ordained for the moral government of the human family-Certain plain facts, which cannot be deniedFolly and sin of objecting to the divine constitution—The law of development to be traced in every department of life--Applicable to our moral nature.
Of the introduction of sin into other worlds, we have no knowledge-no historical data whatever—nothing to conduct inquiry; and it would, therefore, be foolish to attempt it. Of its entrance into this, however, we have both
an historical account, and satisfactory knowledge of the moral constitution under which it occurs.
The simple statement is, that God prohibited the common parents of the human race, from eating the fruit of a certain trec--the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; doubtless called such, not because of any natural virtue which its fruit possessed, to quicken man's intellectual powers; for then would not its fruit have been withheld; but because it was made the test of man's obedience or subjection to God, his governor. His abstinence from, or participation of its fruit, would indicate or furnish knowledge as to his moral character, whether he was good or whether he was evil.
By means of an appeal, made directly to the senses and the heart of Eve, through the subtlety of the tempter, she was induced to violate the command of God. This result, however, was obtained through the natural exercise of her voluntary powers--i. e. according to the laws which God had ordained, to regulate their exercise. Motives and arguments, for and against, were presented to, and balanced in her mind. How long the process continued, we know not; but, eventually, “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant (desire) to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat." This act changed the entire character; for all the subsequent acts and exercises, the purposes, thoughts and sensibilities of their souls, became contrary to God. Whereas, before, there was the controling influence of the love of God, a consciousness of their attachment to Him, a knowledge of their relation with Him, to diffuse bliss throughout their souls, and regulate all their acts and emotions; there now succeeded an awful apprehension of Ilis displeasure, a consciousness of their
Gen. iii. 6.
own ingratitude, rebellion and guilt, and a knowledge that they should inevitably meet the retributions of His justice, whose commands they had violated.
These feelings, these exercises of mind and heart, were altogether new and painful, and quite contrary to those which originally characterised them. Instead of the harmonious actings of mind and heart toward God, as the fountain of their bliss, there was a terror of God, and a desire to escape from Him and to shun His notice, indicating, altogether, a very deficient state of heart toward Him. Their interests were no longer subordinated to the glory of God, and sought as thus
as thus subordinate; but exalted as supreme, and prosecuted to the neglect, and even contempt of the divine honor and authority,
Such is the general nature of human depravity. It consists not in the destruction of any moral capacity whatever. It was the same heart that once loved God supremely, which now feared and shunned Him, It was the same mind that delighted to contemplate and commune with llim, which now fled from His presence. No constitutional change had been sustained, but all his acts and emotions were deranged, Mindand heart alike had been thrown into disordered action, through apprehensions and emotions which followed from the ascendant influence of his selfishness.
It is obvious that such derangement must continuc, as long as the causes operating to produce it—that is, as long as God remains the same-determined to punish sin; and man having forfeited his claims and relationship, and friendly communication with Him, seeks his happiness in the world. The causes of this deranged and corrupt exercise of the mind and heart of man, lay not in the intersal essence and structure, or constitutional principles and properties of the soul; but in the character of God as moral governor, and in the altered relations and circumstances, which the first act of rebellion induced, as these