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own good time, to the divine Image which we have lost.
With respect to ourselves, we greatly need the humbling doctrine of our natural corruption: our natural pride is ever leading us to
think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.” Let us but
oppose ture doctrine of original sin, to the feelings of our self-importance in the pride of our hearts, and then ask, whether pride was made for man? Who can vaunt himself of any real or fancied excellence of mind or body, of outward circumstance, worldly honours and temporal advantages, if he really believe what Holy Scripture teaches, that he is born in sin, a being naturally corrupt, and prone to moral evil ? Who can arrogate merit to himself, if he truly believe that even our best deeds, in respect to unsinning obedience, are but as
filthy rags,” and that though we had done all that hath been commanded to us, we must ever remain
unprofitable servants ?” If these humiliating truths from the doctrine of original sin, do not practically, as well as in our ready confession thereof, abase us in our own eyes, and shew us the true antidote against self-exaltation and conceit, we must either disavow them in our hearts, or deem them matter of little weight. The alternative, either
is fatal to all spiritual progress, and will feed our natural pride until it shall have settled down into overwhelming selfishness, and shall have quenched the last remaining spark of essential charity. We then become, whatever be our other virtues, the base, the useless, the encumbering character which the holy Apostle expressly compares to the unmeaning and unprofitable noise of the “sounding brass and the tinkling cym
While we thus consider this wholesome corrective to our natural pride, let us be guarded, at the same time, against the perversion of the doctrine of original sin, as preventing our own best exertions, or as leading us into despair. We must not, then, suffer the scriptural assurance, and our own consciousness of our common fallen nature, to weaken our own endeavours after holiness, in the faithful seeking after and doing the Will of God; nor to lessen our firm belief that God is as willing as He is able to pity and cleanse those who are by nature sinful, and miserably prone to sin. Without perplexing our minds as to the useless question of the extent of our natural corruption, or of the times, the seasons, and the measure of God's spiritual aid, we must believe and
apPy the plain written truth, that “ we can do
all things” necessary for á sound faith and a holy life, “through Christ which strengtheneth us.''
Without suffering our souls to be cast down above measure under the humiliating belief of our own worthlessness, and of God's infinite and eternal purity, we must remember the positive and gracious assurance written in His own fatherly concern for all His creatures : “ Like as a father pitieth his own children, so is the Lord merciful unto them that fear Him. For He knoweth whereof we are 'made;
He remembereth that we are but dust."* Let us now give our attention to the other great end intended by the doctrine of original sin: it is, that we may glorify our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, in His sufferings and death on behalf of creatures só fallen, so corrupted, so sinful as ourselves.
We do glorify Christ, in the belief and practical application of the doctrine of original sin, when we accept of His salvation with firm faith, and feel that we owe our hope of future pardon and glory to Him alone. We do glorify Christ herein, when, in humble dependence upon God's Holy Spirit, we strive day by day to learn, understand, and seriously perform the plain and required duties of our Christian pilgrimage. Hence is Christ glori
* Psalm ciii. 13, 14.
fied in His servants upon earth, for they are His own redeemed, and He leads them to His own glory.
Born, as we all are, under sin, we had no power within ourselves to save ourselves from out natural corruption. But our merciful God no soonet declared His knowledge of the sin, than He Himself foretold a Lamb for a sitioffering that " the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head;" that God, manifest in the flesh, should break the power of the Devil, and conquer death for man. All this hath been fulfilled.« In the fulness of time" He graciously condescended to take unto Himself the nature of man who had sinned, Himself perfectly free from sin, and in that nature, ás man, to die; so, in His own person making atonement to eternal justice for His own broken laws. Saved by the blood of the eternal Son of God, the world is now called upon to rejoice in His redeeming love, to glorify Christ for this His unspeakable gift, and thus to derive spiritual good from the knowledge and the cure of original sin. So receiving, and so applying these scripture truths, we shall then be better prepared to join in the holy rapture of the devout Apostle, and with some small proportion of his spirit to exclaim, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How
unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"*
The doctrine which we have now been considering, as found in Scripture, and taught by our holy church, concerning original sin, must not be thought lightly of: we are all, young and old, rich and poor, equally concerned in it. It is, indeed, too little attended to by most of us, as to its real spiritual usefulness. Ву some it is scarcely thought upon at all; by others it is ill understood; and by too many it is sadly perverted from the truth and simplicity, under which Holy Scripture hath made it known to us. But were that sound instruction which Scripture gives hereof applied, as it ought to be, to influence the conduct in daily life, it would probably better advance the spiritual views and desires of mankind, than any other point of doctrine, taken by itself alone, which our holy religion affords.
Let us try this in reference to our own souls, and honestly ask our conscience, whether, did we really believe and act upon the scripture account of our natural corruption through sin, and of our restored state through the grace granted in the Redeemer, we should not be brought to live with the active remernbrance of the danger, in which, in a probationary state, every fallen creature must continually
* Rom. ix. 23.