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A. It is. Whatsoever transgresses this law, either in thought, word, or action, is sin, and exposes the transgressor to its penalty.(e)
Q. 7. Does sin consist in the external action, or in the state of the heart, whence the action proceeds?
A. All sin proceeds from the heart. A person is good or bad, according to his heart. The reason why the actions of wicked men and devils are criminal, is, that they flow from a sinful heart.(ƒ)
Q. 8. Are all sins equally heinous?
Some sins are more aggravated than others, 1. From their nature, 2. From the character of the person offending or offended, and, 3. From other circumstances.
Q. 9. In what is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. It is briefly comprised in the ten commandments, written by the finger of God upon two tables of stone, and delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai with awful majesty, solemnity and glory.(g)
(e) 1 John iii. 4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.-Ezek. xviii. 4. The soul that sinneth, it shall die.-James i. 15. Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (f) 1 Sam. xvi. 7. For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.-Matt. xv. 19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
(g) Exod. xix. 18, 19. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.-Exod. xxxi. 18. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him, upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Exod. xx. 3-17.
I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Q. 10. What distinction is there in the two tables of this law?
A. The former contains the first four commandments, which comprise our duty to God;-the latter contains the last six commandments, which include our duty to ourselves, and to our fellow creatures.
Q. 11. What is the summary of these ten command
A. Supreme love to God, and impartial love to mankind. This seems to be a brief exposition of the whole moral law, which is fulfilled in pure disinterested love.(h)
Q. 12. Did God give to our first Parents any test of their obedience, in addition to the moral law?
A. He did. He gave them a positive precept or law,* prohibiting them to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which stood in the midst of the garden of Eden.(i)
IV. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. V. Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
VI. Thou shalt not kill.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy-neighbor's.
(h) Matt. xxii. 37-40. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.-Rom. xiii. 10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
(i) Gen. ii. 16, 17. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.
*The distinction between moral and positive laws and duties seems to be this, viz. moral laws or duties are founded in the nature or relation of beings, made known by the light of nature; positive laws or duties are founded in the relation of beings, discoverable by Divine revelation only. As good a reason, no doubt, exists in the Divine mind for the one as the other.
Q. 13. What was the design of this prohibition? A. It was a test of their conduct, upon which was suspended their eternal state. (j)
Apostasy, Depravity, and Lost State of Man.
Q. 1. What is meant by the apostasy of our first Parents?
A. Their falling from original moral rectitude. (a) Q. 2. In what way did our first Parents apostatize? A. By violating the command of God in eating the forbidden fruit.(b)
Q. 3. Was their eating the forbidden fruit a great
A. It was; because by doing it they sinned against the clearest light, and the most powerful motives, being unthankful and discontented, believing the Tempter rather than God, and thus bringing upon themselves the greatest evils.
Q. 4. How long did our first Parents continue in the state in which they were created?
A. It is impossible to determine exactly. The time probably was short.
Q. 5. How did the apostasy of Adam affect his posterity? or what was the connection between him and them?
A. By Divine constitution, Adam was their federal or representative head. If he obeyed, his posterity would
(j) Gen. ii. 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Rom. vi. 23. For the wages of sin is death.--Ezek. xviii. The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
(a) Eccl. vii. 29. Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.
(b) Gen. iii. 6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant 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.
be holy, or morally upright. If he disobeyed, they would be sinful or morally depraved. (c)
Q. 6. Was Adam the cause of the depravity or sinfulness of his posterity?
A. No. He was merely the occasion of it. It was according to the divine constitution that his posterity should be depraved or sinful, if he sinned.
Q. 7. Are Adam's posterity guilty of his particular sin in eating the forbidden fruit?
A. Certainly not, if by this phrase is meant, that they are culpable for his act in eating the forbidden fruit. Moral actions, holiness and sin, are personal, and are not transferable. The sins of Adam and of his posterity, are perfectly distinct, and must of necessity be so,—as distinct as his volitions and theirs.
Q. 8. Is it just to represent Adam as chargeable with all the sins of the human race?
A. Certainly not. Adam is properly culpable for no sins but his own. The sins of his posterity are properly theirs. To cast the blame of our sins, therefore, upon Adam, and exculpate ourselves, is wicked, and savors of great impiety.(d)
Q. 9. What is meant by original sin?
(c) Rom. v. 12, 13, 14, 18, 19. Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed where there is no law, Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.-1 Cor. 15. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
(d) Ezek. xviii. 2, 3. 20. What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.-Deut. xxiv. 16. The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin. -Hosea xiii. 9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.
A. In the common language of theological writers it means native depravity, or the innate sinfulness of the human heart; though it is sometimes used to mean the sin which Adam committed in eating the forbidden fruit, and to mean this, because it was that sin, which, by Divine constitution, decided the moral character, or was the occasion of the native depravity, of all his posterity.
Q. 10. Does the Bible teach the native depravity of mankind? or that whenever they begin to act as moral agents, they act sinfully?
A. It does; and in the following ways. 1. The Bible teaches the doctrine of native depravity, by teaching the depravity of the whole human race. The fact that none of mankind ever fail to become sinners and to live in the practice of sin till renewed by divine grace is more than probable proof that they are naturally averse to good and prone only to evil. (e) 2. The Bible teaches native depravity, by teaching that infants need a Saviour. All of the human race, infants as well as others, who are ever admitted to heaven, will ascribe their salvation to Christ. But this they cannot do, unless they had been the subjects of sin and condemnation. Infants then are depraved.(ƒ) 3. The Bible teaches native depravity, by requiring the baptism of infants. Baptism represents the washing of the soul from sin and pollution by the blood of Christ, applied by the Holy Spirit in His purifying influences. If then children are not depraved, their baptism is an insignificant rite.(g) 4. The Bible teaches native depravity,
(e) Rom. v. 12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.-Rom. iii. 10-12. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no, not one.-Eccl. vii. 20. For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.
(f) Matt. ix. 12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.Luke xix. 10. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.-Rev. i. 5, 6. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(g) Acts xvi. 15, 33. And when she was baptized, and her house. hold, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to