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Andovere.

Vicus.

THAT THE COMMON

THEORIES AND MODES OF REASONING

RESPECTING

THE DEPRAVITY OF MANKIND

EXHIBIT IT AS

A PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTE,

WITH

A VIEW OF THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE

RELATIVE TO

THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF MAN

AS

A MORAL AGENT.

NEW YORK:

PUBLISHED BY F. & R. LOCKWOOD, No. 154 BROADWAY.

C. S. Van Winkle, Printer, 2 Thames-street.

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Southern District of New York, ss.

BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the second day of April, in the forty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States of America, F. &. R. Lockwood, of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the words following, to wit ;

« Proofs that the Common Theories and modes of Reasoning respecting the Depravity of Mankind exhibit it as a Physical Attribute, with a view of the Scriptural Doctrine relative to the Nature and Character of Man as a Moral Agent."

IN CONFORMITY to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An Act for the encouragement of Learning by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned." And also to an Act entitled “ An Act supplementary to an act entitled An Act for the encouragement of Learning by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits there. of to the arts of designing, engraving and etching historical and other prints."

JAMES DILL,
Clerk of the Southern District of New-York.

INTRODUCTION.

That the Scriptures represent mankind as never obeying the law of God, while left without the renovating influences of the Divine Spirit, and as assuming that character in consequence of the first transgression of their great progenitor, none, it is believed, who render themselves familiar with the sacred page, can easily fail to perceive. Accordingly by far the greater portion of the Christian world have in all ages united in regarding those doctrines as revealed truths; and in considering the former, particularly, as one of the most prominent and important taught in the inspired volume. But in their speculations in regard to the reason that mankind pursue that course of conduct, they appear to have formed conceptions respecting the nature of man,conceptions that in their system of belief have of course mingled with the truths imbibed from the Scriptures relative to the character of man-which not only are not authorized by the sacred volume, but are inconsistent with what are admitted to be some of its most obvious and momentous truths. Such it is imagined has been, and is now the fact, with at least a large part of the protestant world, and was likewise with many who flourished antecedently to the Reformation.

The error to which allusion is made lies in the views generally presented in the writings both of the past and present day, and exhibited in the pulpit and in conversation, respecting the nature of mankind as moral agents.

Those views, to a certain extent, and the methods employed to vindicate and enforce them, indicate and are adapted to produce an impression that the sins of men arise from some disorder, defect, or depravity in their physical constitution, derived from their common father, and inflicted on him and them in consequence of his eating the forbidden fruit, and so wrought into his and the nature of man universally, as to become a portion of it, and be like any other essential property conveyed from parents to children by generation. This depravity, according to the statements and arguments respecting it with which the theological world abounds, if we admit the conclusions which those arguments and statements authorize, is the sole cause that men transgress the law of God; and its nature is such as renders them physically incapable of exercising holi

ness.

On its introduction, the human constitution became totally incompetent to that whole class of moral exercises which are excellent, and adequate only to those which are evil. Not indeed by utterly annihilating its moral powers, or disqualifying it for all voluntary action ; but, as it would seem, by extinguishing a certain capacity belonging to it in its primeval state, and physically requisite to that species of operation which are morally excellent, though unne

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