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ly puts an end to his present existence, as though that would put an end to his misery and his crime.
While, therefore, the susceptibilities of our nature are derived to us, by the very law of reproduction, which God has ordained to regulate His own agency in the creation of the successive generations of men; while there is nothing sinful in these susceptibilities, considered merely as eristent, or as claborated in our moral constitution, they are nevertheless subjected to certain great established laws, which affect their development, and which, in consequence of the sin of Adam, render the wilful transgression of his offspring morally certain. These laws do not impose upon man a necessity to sin against God. They are but a part of that great scheme of providential agency, which God. originally projected, and made subordinate to his system of moral government intended for man. The very same la ws regulating His own agency, would, upon the supposition of Adam's continuous holiness, have rendered the holiness of his descendants morally certain. The development of our constitutional susceptibilities, would have been conducted, on the same general principles, and would, doubtless, have been eifectuated in the same order; but it would have been just as morally certain, that men would not have sinned, as it now is, they will, as soon as capable of moral agency.
We need not look into the internal structure of the human soul, to discover an adaptation to the purpose of rebellion there, as though God had, by. His own creative agency, taken care to adjust its complicated machinery, so as to secure, by the very necessities of its being, such a result. God cannot act with any such design. It is just as morally impossible, as it is to “deny Himself,” whichi, an Apostle has declared to be absolutely impracticable.? We can see sufficient to account for man's wilful rebellion, in that derangement which ensucd in the whole circuin
1. 2 Tim. i., 13.
stances and condition of the human race, as consequent upon Adam's sin.
The laws affecting the development of our moral powers, as we may perceive in the history of every individual, are perverted and operate to secure such a result.
INSTINCT, whatever that may be, first operates, and its tendency is simply for the preservation, and future growth of the animal body. Who can fail to see, that it is, in fact, God's agency, for the care of a being, devoid of that intelligence, which is necessary to qualify and enable it to take care of itself? In the instincts of an infant, however, there can be nothing sinful, nor in their exercise-no more than in its respiration, or any other of its involuntary motions.
Next to instinct, or simultaneously with its very first actings, commences the process, which lies at the basis of all its future knowledge, viz: its ANIMAL SENSATIONS. These are but the impressions which those external objects, with which it is brought in contact, make upon it, and in a way, appropriate to the different senses, which are fitted for receiving and transmitting them. In the receiving of these impressions, or, in other words, in being the mere subject of sensations, proluced by external objects, there is nothing sinful. This is a part of God's natural government. ile has constituted us to be so affected, and we can no more prevent it, than we can alter the laws of Heaven.
Connected with these impressions or sensations, there is presently found, a DEVELOPMENT OF FEELING OR PASSION beginning to take place; that is, the child gives indication of something affecting and moving it, other than the mere impression which is made upon its senses, by an external object. It evinces love and dislike, desire and aversion. It craves the mother's breast, and manifests delight as it is unfolded to it. It turns from the spoon, and loathes the nauseating drug, which it had once imbibed from it. These for the sin of Adam--unless as the expression be under
and their kindred feelings, most unequivocally manifested, and at a very early period, may, indeed, be all traced to original animal sensations, of which the conscious being has retained the recollection; but, it is very obvious, that they are something different from mere sensation. Sensation has contributed to their development; but they have, evi: dently, an impulsive influence themselves. They certainly incite to act, and secure demonstrations of will and purpose. And these, invariably, take a wrong direction.
We are not concerned, to inquire into the philosophical theories of men, as to what it is, which determines the character of influential feeling, rendering it different in different individnals;-whether originally dependent on some peculiarity in the corporeal organization-or what physiological writers term temperament;-or whether adventitious, the result of circumstances, accidentally associated, affecting, permanently, by first and deep impressions, the sensibilities of the being. Our object is simply an observation of facts, so far as they tend to shape, or affect, the future moral character of the child. We say future, for it is a question alike pertinent and important, whether, in the incipient period of infancy and childhood, there can be any moral character whatever possessed.
Moral character, is character acquired by acts of a moral nature. Moral acts, are those acts which are contemplated by the law, prescribing the rule of human conduct. It is not every act which we perform, that is of a moral character. The instinctive actions, which are done without thought, and, as it were, involuntarily, and which are designed, by our great Creator, for the preservation of our animal life, --the different functions of the various organs of our animal frame, designed for the promotion of our animal life, and which are, in some degree, dependent on the
will,--and the cravings of appetite, which are dependent on the very organization of our bodies, are not, in themselves, sinful or holy.
They do not possess a moral character, because the law of God does not require or forbid them. But, in so far as these things may influence us to do, or to refuse to do, what God has required, they fall under the cognizance of law. The law is so framed, as to regulate all our deliberate and voluntary actions. It prohibits some, and requires others, and defines the objects and extent to which we may allow ourselves to be carried, by the impulses of appetite, and by a respect for our well being. Every action that is deliberate, and the result of motive, i. e. which originates in some voluntary determination of the mind, as having an end in view, has an end prescribed to it. This end is the only legitimate one, and from which, if we deviate, or for which, if we substitute another, the action so performed, not coming up to the standard of God, becomes sinful. “Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all. for the glory of God.” Such' being the case, that many actions possess altogether an indifferent character, and some do not fall even under the cognizance of the law of Godand that too in adults, where the capacities for moral action are fully developed, -it is obvious, that in infancy and incipient childhood, where none of the actions are deliberate, or the result of motive, operating in connection with the knowledge of law, and of the great end of all human actions, no moral character can appropriately be predicated. There are, in fact, no moral acts. The being is not yet actually under the goverment of law. It is, indeed, under the providential care of God, and shares, in common with the whole animate and inanimate creation, the benefit of his natural or providential government; but it has not yet come under the actual operation of law, as addressed to the reason and conscience of individual personal agents. Its moral powers, or capacities for moral action, have not yet been sufficiently developed for this. To predicate personal sin, therefore of the infant,'is as manifestly contrary to fact, as it is to the common sense and feelings of mankind.
1:1 Cór, xico
In so saying, the reader will perceive our meaning to be, simply, that the infant, whose moral powers are yet undeveloped, has not committed acts, which can be considered violations of the law of God. It has no personal sin; for it has not morally acted. Its physical nature cannot be accounted sinful: for that would be to change the very meaning of terms. Properly speaking, therefore, we can predicate of it neither sin nor holiness, personally considered. Yet, it is placed in a rebellious world, subject to the influence of ignorance, with very limited and imperfect experience, and liable to the strong impulses of appetite and passion, so that the moral certainty is as strong as any thing can be, that the very susceptibilities of its nature, being, at the earliest moment, excited by sinful or sorbidden objects, -and God being under no obligations, nor choosing, in this world, to vouchsafe the influence of his holy Spirit, which is necessary to prevent from choosing and doing what is wrong,—there shall take place those acts, of which alone we can legitimately and intelligibly predicate moral depravity. Instinct, animal sensation, constitutional susceptibilities, create an impulse, which not being counteracted by moral considerations, or gracious influence, lead the will in a wrong direction, and to wrong objects.
It was thus, that sin was induced in our holy progenitors. No one can plead in Eve, an efficient cause of sin, resident in her nature, (any prava vis,) or operative power, sinful in itself, anterior to, and apart from her own vol