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vus—crooked. The terms united, signify crooked manners, or bad morals. In this discussion I must,

1. Remind you of some positions that have been settled respecting Moral Depravity.

2. Consult the oracles of God respecting the nature of Moral Depravity, or Sir.

3. Consult the oracles of God in respect to the proper method of accounting for the existence of sin.

4. Show the manner in which it is to be accounted for as an ultimate fact.

1. Some positions that have been settled.

(1.) It has been shown that moral depravity resolves itself into selfishness.

(2.) That selfishness consists in the sapreme choice of selfindulgence.

(3.) That self-indulgence consists in the committal of the will to the gratification of the sensibility, as opposed to obeying the law of the reason.

(4.) That sin or moral depravity is a unit, and always consists in this committed state of the will to self-gratification, irrespective of the particular form or means of self-gratification.

(5.) It has also been shown that Moral Depravity does not consist in a sinful nature.

(6.) And also that actual transgression can not justly be ascribed to a sinful constitution.

(7.) We have also seen that all sin is actual, and that no other than actual transgression can justly be called sin.

II. Consult the oracles of God respecting the nature of Moral Depravity or sin.

Reference has often been made to the teachings of inspiration upon this subjeet. Butit is important to review our ground in this place, that we may ascertain what are the teachings, and what are the assumptions of the bible in regard to the nature of sin. Does the bible purposely define sin? Does it assume that as truth, which natural theology teaches upon this subject. What is taught in the bible, either expressly, or by way of inference and implication upon this subject?

1. The bible gives a formal definition of sin. 1 Jno. 3:4, Sin is a transgression of the law, and 5: 17, All unrighteousness is sin. As was remarked on a former occasion, this definition is not only an accurate one, but is the only one that can possibly be true. (2.) The bible every where makes the law the only stand

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ard of right and wrong, and obedience to it to be the whole
of virtue, and disobedience to it to be the whole of sin. This
truth lies every where upon the face of the bible. It is
taught, assumed, implied or expressed on every page of the

(3.) It holds men responsible for their voluntary actions
alone, or more strictly for their choices alone, and ex-
pressly affirms that “if there be a willing mind, it is accepted
according to what a man hath, and not according to what he
hath not.” That is, willing as God directs is accepted as
obedience, whether we are able to execute our choices or not.

(4.) The bible always represents sin as something done or
committed or wilfully omitted, and never as a part or at-
tribute of soul or body. We have seen that the texts
that have been relied on as teaching the doctrine of consti-
tutional sinfulness, when rightly understood, mean no such
(5.) The bible assures us that all sin shall pass

in review
at the solemn judgment, and always represents all sin then
to be recognized, as consisting in the deeds done in the body”,
Texts that support these assertions are too numerous to need
to be quoted, as every reader of the bible knows.

3. Consult the bible in respect to the proper method of accounting for moral depravity, or sin.

(1.) We have more than once seen that the bible has given us the history of the introduction of sin into our world, and that from the narrative, it is plain that the first sin consisted in selfishness, or in consenting to indulge the excited constitutional propensities in a prohibited 'manner. In other words, it consisted in yielding the will to the impulses of the sensibility, instead of abiding by the law of God as revealed in the intelligence. Thus the bible ascribes the first sin of our race to the influence of temptation.

(2.) The bible once, and only once, incidentally intimates that Adam's first sin has in some way been the occasion (not the cause) of all the sins of men. Rom. 5: 12-19.

(3.) It neither says nor intimates any thing in relation to the manner in which Adam's sin has occasioned this result. It only incidentally recognizes the fact, and then leaves it just as if the quo modo was too obvious to need explanation.

(4.) In other parts of the bible we are informed how we are to account for the existence of sin among men. For example, James 1: 15. When lust (desire epethamia) has conceived, it bringeth forth sin. Here sin is represented, not


as desire, but as consisting in the consent of the will to gratify desire.

James says again that a man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lusts, (epithumias, desires) and enticed. That is, his lusts or the impulses of his sensibility are his tempt

When he is overcome of these, he sins. (5.) Paul and other inspired writers represent sin as consisting in a carnal or fleshly mind. In the mind of the flesh, or in minding the flesh. It is plain that by the term flesh they mean what we understand by the sensibility as opposed to the intelligence. And that they represent sin as consisting in obeying, minding the impulses of the sensibility. They represent the world and the flesh and Satan as the three great sources of temptation. It is plain that the world and Šatan tempt by appeals to the flesh or to the sensibility. Hence the apostles have much to say of the necessity of the destruction of the flesh, of the mortification of the flesh, of the members, of putting off the old man with his deeds &c. Now, it is worthy of remark that all this painstaking on the part of inspiration to intimate the source from whence our sin proceeds, and to apprise us of the proper method of accounting for it, and also of avoiding it, has led certain philosophers and theologians to take a view of it which is directly opposed to the truth. Because so much is said of the influence of the flesh, they have inferred that the nature and physical constitution of man is itself sinful. But the representations of Scripture are that the body is the occasion of sin. The law in his members, that warred against the law of his mind, of which Paul speaks, is manifestly the impulses of the sensibility opposed to the law of the reason. This law, that is, the impulses of his sensibility, bring him into captivity, that is, influences his will, in spite of all his resolutions to the contrary.

In short, the bible rightly interpreted, every where assumes and implies that sin consists in selfishness. It is remarkable, if the bible be read with an eye to its teachings and assumptions on this point, to what an extent this truth will appear.

4. How moral depravity is to be accounted for.

(1.) It consists, remember, in the committal of the will to the gratification or indulgence of self; in the will's following or submitting itself to be governed by the impulses and desires of the sensibility instead of submitting itself to the law of the intelligence.

(2.) This definition of the thing shows how it is to be accounted for, namely: The sensibility acts as a powerful impulse to the will from the moment of birth, and secures the consent and activity of the will to procure its gratification, before the reason is at all developed. The will is thus committed to the gratification of feeling and appetite, when first the idea of moral obligation is developed. This committed state of the will is not moral depravity, and has no moral character until the idea of moral obligation is developed. The moment this last idea is developed, this committal of the will to selfindulgence must be abandoned or it becomes selfishness, or moral depravity. But as the will is already in a state of committal, and has to some extent already formed the habit of seeking to gratify feeling, and as the idea of moral obligation is at first but feebly developed, unless the Holy Spirit interferes to shed light on the soul, the will, as might be expected, retains its hold on self-gratification. Here moral character does and must commence. Let it be remembered that selfishness consists in the supreme and ultimate choice, or in the preference of self-gratification as an end, or for its own sake, over all other interests. Now, as the choice of an end implies and includes the choice of the means, Selfishness of course, causes all that outward life and activity that makes up the entire history of sinners.

This selfish choice is the wicked heart—the sinful nature -the propensity to sin—the sinful appetite—the craving for sin, and all that causes what is generally termed actual transgression. This sinful choice, is properly enough called indwelling sin. It is the latent, standing, controlling preference of the mind, and the cause of all the outward and active life. It is not the choice of sin but the choice of self-gratification, wbich choice is sin.

Again. It should be remembered that the physical depravity of our race has much to do with our moral depravity. A diseased physical system renders the appetites, passions, temper, and propensities more clamorous and despotic in their demands and of course confirms and strengthens selfishness. It should be distinctly understood that physical depravity has no moral character in itself. But yet it is a source of fierce temptation to selfishness. The human sensibility is manifestly deeply physically depraved, and as sin or moral depravity consists in committing the will to the gratification of the sensibility, its physical depravity will mightily strengthen moral depravity. Moral depravity is then universally owing to temptation. That is, the soul is tempted to self-indulgence,

and yields to the temptation, and this yielding, and not the temptation, is sin or moral depravity. This is manifestly the way in which Adam and Eve became morally depraved. They were tempted, even by undepraved appetite, to prohibited indulgence, and were overcome. The sin did not lie in the constitutional desire of food, or of knowledge, nor in the excited state of these appetites or desires, but in the consent of the will to prohibited indulgence.

Just in the same way all sinners become such, that is, they become morally depraved by yielding to temptation—to selfgratification under some form. Indeed it is impossible that they should become morally depraved in any other way. To deny this were to overlook the very nature of moral depravity. It is remarkable that President Edwards, after writing five hundred pages, in which he confounds physical and moral depravity, in answer to an objection of Dr. Taylor of England, that his view made God, the author of the constitution, the author also of sin, turns immediately around, and without seeming to see his own inconsistency, ascribes all sin to temptation, and makes it consist altogether in obeying the propensities, just as I have done.

"One argument against a supposed native, sinful depravity, which Dr. Taylor greatly insists upon, is, “that this does in effect charge him, who is the author of our nature, who formed us in the womb, with being the author of a sinful corruption of nature; and that it is highly injurious to the God of our nature, whose hands have formed and fashioned us, to believe our nature to be originally corrupted and that in the worst sense of corruption."

With respect to this, I would observe, in the first place, that this writer, in handling this grand objection, supposes something to belong to the doctrine ob jected against, as maintained by the divines whom he is opposing, which does not belong to it, nor follow from it. As particularly, he supposes the doctrine of original sin to imply, that nature must be corrupted by some positive influ. ence; "something, by some means or other, infused into the human nature; some quality or other, not from the choice of our minds, but like a taint, tincture, or infection, altering the natural constitution, faculties, and dispositions of our souls! That sia and evil dispositions are implanted in the fætus in the womb." Whereas truly our doctrine neither implies nor infers any such thing. In order to account for a sinful corruption of nature, yea, a total native depravity of the heart of man, there is not the least need of supposing any evil quality infused, implanted, or wrought into the nature of man, by any positive cause or influence whatsoever, either from God, or the creature; or of supposing that man is conceived and born with a fountain of evil in his heart, such as is any thing

properly positive. I think a little attention to the nature of things will be sufficient to satisfy any impartial,considerate inquirer, that the absence of positive good principles, and so the withholding of a special divine influence to impart and maintain those good principles-leaving the common natural principles of self-love, natural appetite, &c. to themselves, without the government of superior divine principles will certainly be followed with the corruption; yea, the total corruption of the heart, without occasion for any positive influence at all: And that it was thus in fact that corruption of nature came on Adam, immediately on his fall, and comes on all his posterity as singing in him and falling with him.

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