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What mean, too, such interrogatories and declarations as these? Does God intend to deceive, when He lets us know, that the whole blame of the sinner's rebellion, is to be laid to the charge of his nbstinate will? “Why is this people of Jerusalem slidden hack, with a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit; they refuse to return."1 «Woe unto thee Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? When shall it once be?"?2 “Behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me."3 Is it all a mere sporting with their misfortune? a raunting and triumphing over their misery, when God says, “I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear; this has been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyest not my voice.” Did He employ his prophets to utter falsehood, when they went to guilty men, and, in God's name, plead with them to repent, and say unto them, “as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"5 Who can, who dare insinuate these things? He had need to tremble, who exhibits God's word to men in such way, as to render all such appeals, and protestations, and oaths, as of no value. Any system of philosophy whatever, that conflicts with these, and numerous such like proofs and exhibitions of SINCERITY, ought, at once, to be discarded. It is sapping the very foundation of our faith.
It is reproaching God, and slandering Him in a vital part of His character. It creates much of the difficulty of faith. It ruins the souls of men. Miserable philosophy! how hast thou dared to list thine impudent face, and give the lie to God; and, having done so, sacreligiously summon to thine aid, the mysteries that attend His throne !
1. Jer. viii, 5.
4. Jer. xxii, 21.
2. Jer. xiii, 27. 3. Jer. xvi, 12.
5. Exek. xxxili, 11.
THE SPECIFIC CHARACTER OF HUMAX
The specific and formal character of human depravity-1 John ii, 15, 16–
James iv. 4—Romans viii, 7- The Scriptural view of this thing— The thoughts and wishes of wicked men, evincive of enmity against God—2. They dislike the word of God, and those ministers and professors, who are most pungent and faithful in urging it upon the conscience-3. They dislike serious and fervent prayer, &c.
From the remarks already made, on the subject of the derivation and moral certainty of human depravity, we may discover in what it specifically and formally consists. We have seen, that it did not consist in the loss of any one of his physical powers, or any constitutional susceptibility. He remained, after that he became a rebel, possessed of the very same natural capacities, but their exercise had become fatally disordered. We speak not metaphorically, as though disease had tainted and altered the faculties themselves, but that the laws, which regulated his thoughts, and all his actions, only operated to evince, that, instead of the feeling of love to God, being the supreme and governing principle of his soul, there was the dominion of entire selfishness, and the display of an aversion from God, or enmity against him. In this, consisted the very essence of his depravity. He became totally depraved.
His descendants all come into being, under the influence of causes, which render the same derangement, in the ex. ercise of their powers, morally certain. They no sooner
acquire the knowledge of God, and of His law, than they turn away from both, as not being the objects of their preference and delight. Their thoughts, and purposes, and affections, are engrossed by sensible and sinful objects. The world, and the things of the world, bear away their hearts.
This is the account which John, and James, and Paul have given us of this thing. The love of the world, is placed in strong contrast with the love of the Father, by the former. “If any man,” says he, "love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." Here the apostle comprehends, under three grand classes, all human corruption-every thing which is opposed to God. He says all that is in the world, which has not its origin in God and from God, but is produced by the influence of the world, is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Now, these things are not created essences, not disordered faculties, but actings and going forth of the soul, towards objects altogether inappropriate, and not designed by God, to engage the supreme affections of the heart. To let the heart run out towards them,--to bestow the affections supremely on them,-to pursue after them with ruling desire and purpose for their enjoyment, is mad rebellion against God.
Accordingly James, when speaking on the very subject of the lusting of the heart, asks, as though the knowledge we have is from consciousness, and not by mere inference, “Know ye not, that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?"and concludes, in the most pointed and peremptory manner, “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God." We cannot conceive of enmity against God, consisting in constitution or mere existence, abstract essence, or mere nature. It is, in its very nature, really and formally the workings or the acts and exercises of a rational and feeling creature; so that, when these apostles resolve, all that is in the world, which is not of the Father, into lustings, and represent those lustings to be in enmity with God, we are infallibly directed, in making our estimate of human depravity, to have exclusive regard to the acts and exercises of the human soul.
1. 1 John ii, 15-16.
2. 1 Jam. iv. 4.
This course Paul also has clearly sanctioned. “The carnal mind," says he,"is enmity against God.” It is not the constitutional mind, not the abstract essential being of the rational soul of man, not that unknown and unintelligible substratum in which, if we may so speak, are resident the properties of mind, of which he is speaking, but the minding the actings of the rational soul in the way of thought, care, purpose, desire, affection, will, &c. These, he say.s, in exact accordance with John and James, when induced by carnal things—when under the influence of the things of this world, are directly and essentially at war with God. They are specifically and formally rebellion against Him; for His law requires us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and it is, in the nature of things an absolute impossibility, that such minding—such a bestowment of our thoughts, purposes, affections, desires, cares, &c. on the things of this world, can ever be obedience to God. He has prohibited them, and they are essentially, and only, and totally disobedience, rebellion, enmity, against Him. They neither are, nor berome, submission to His will and holiness of heart. It is just as impossible, as that darkness should be light, and the not doing, should be the doing of the very thing required; and this is what the Apostle means, when he adds,
2. Rom. viii, Ogornue de tus ongxos, exfgee ens Osor--hgornje-QUOD QUIS SENTIT ET SAPIT, SENSUS, COGITATIO, DESIDERIUM, STUDIUM, AFFECTUS, . CUPIDITAS, VOLUXTAS. Schleus. Lex.
"IT, (i.e. the minding of the flesh,) is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” If he meant the mind of man, essentially and abstractly considered, all hope of conversion is forever extinguished. For even the philosophical theory, that provides for the introduction into it, of a newly created “something,” which is the cause of holy exercises, eannot leave the carnal mind totally unchanged as to its essence. If it does not, but teaches that the mind abstractly and essentially considered, is changed by a new creative act, the identity of the moral individual is destroyed. There is no other construction that can legitimately be put upon the Apostles' meaning than that just advanced. To mind the things of the flesh, is to rebel against God, and it is morally, and eternally impossible, that ever it can be accepted as obcdience to the law of God.
This is the view which the Divine Spirit gives of the conduct of those, who prefer the world to God. The love or friendship of the world, is enmity with God. Our blessed Saviour does not admit the possibility of a man's being the friend of both. “ No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And this account, is, by no means, given in too strong terms. For, although wicked men may not be conscious of malignant feelings against God, and may even deny the fact, in reference to themselves, that they are enemies of God, and wonder at, and abuse anyone who would preach such a doctrine; yet do they give abundant indications, in their conduct and conversation, that they do indeed hate God.
The Saviour testifies of the world, explicitly, that it hated Him. of the fact that it did so, His life, and the tragical circumstances of His death, have given unanswer
1. Mat. vi, 24.