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Preached at the
JOB XIV, 3, 4:
one, and bringest me into Judgment
with thee? Who can bring a clean Thing out of an Un
clean Not one.
T HESE Words contain Job's Ex-Serm.IV.
poftulation with his Maker, and I the Sense of them, to use the Words of a great Writer, who clearly proves, that they have a plain Reference to the Introduction of Corruption, by the Sin
Serm.IV. of the Woman, is as follows, “ Why art
“ thou extreme' to mark all my Errors ? “ Is it reasonable to expect Purity in a “ Man born of a Woman, who is by the “ very Condition of his Birth unclean *?" The Disobedience of our first Parents involved their Posterity, and entailed a Depravity of Nature upon their Descendants : Which Depravity, though it is not a Sin in us, till the Will clofes with it, and deliberately consents to it; yet is certainly finful in itself, and therefore is stiled Original Sin. For if it were not so, if the first Rise of evil Thoughts, and every Tendency and Biafs to Vice were not criminal in itself ; the Consent of the Will to it could never make it so. For the Consent of the Will cannot alter the Nature of Things.
St. Paul, Col. iii. 9, 10. fays, Ye have put of the old Man with his Deeds, and have put on the new Man, which is renewed in Knowledge AFTER THE IMAGB of Him, that created bim ; or, as it is in another Place, Ephef. iv. 24. which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holi
... * Bishop Sherlock's Second Dissertation, Pag. 253.
ness. ness. Now to be renewed after the Image Serm.Iv. of our Creator, signifies in the Original, to receive again, what we had once loft. Man therefore once had in his primitive State) that Image, to which he is to be restored by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Chrift. This is the Sense which Irenæus, a Father of the second Century, puts upon thefe Words. For he says, “ What we lost in “ Adam, viz. the divine Image and Like“ ness, we receive again in Christ Jesus *.”
Adam was formed in the Image of God; - and what that Image was, we learn from
the foregoing Words of St. Paul, that ye put on the new Man, which, after God (after the Image of God) is created in Righteousness and true Holiness. It is plain, that we who are shapen in Wickedness, who are born with strong Propenfions to Vice, are not created in Righteousness and true Holiness : It is plain therefore, that we are fallen from our original and primitive State of Innocence.
Far be it from me to vilify human Nature, as if it were totally bad, without any Remains and Traces of it's primitive Greatness. I own, that any Man may, through
* Irenæus, Lib. 3. cap. 20...
SERM.IV. the Grace of God and his own Endeavours; m o stand clear of all presumptuous Sins, and
much more of all evil Habits. I own that our Paffions are innocent in themselves, though they are often wrong in their Degree, being not very feldom disproportioned to the real Value of Things; very violent and exorbitant, where they ought to be moderate ; and very moderate and remiss; where there is no eminent Danger of Excess. I grant, that, though our Nature is degenerated, yet it is not intirely inverted, so as to have no Relish for Goodness ; that we are not only capable of Virtue, but also of great Attainments therein ; we may not only be virtuous, but even excel in Virtue.
Notwithstanding, there are plain Proofs that we are fallen Creatures, from the Perverseness of our Will, and the Weaknefs of our Understanding.
For no Creature could come originally from God's Hand, but what was perfe&t in it's Kind : No rational Creature can be perfeet in his Kind, in whom there is a strong Propension to Vice, that is, to what is unreasonable, and a great Irregularity of the Appetites and Affections. Had Man continued such as he was at first formed;
the Balance certainly must have been, at Serm.IV. į least, even, between the sensitive and in
tellectual Part in our Composition, between
our Passions and our Reason: But that it i is not fo, is plain from this ; that it is not
the Province of Wisdom to run into the Arms of a Temptation, and boldly to grapple with it; which when we do, we seldom fail of being foiled in the Conflict. But our Victory over Temptations is to de cline a Combat with them; and a confiderable Part of the Innocency, which is in the World, may be owing to the Want of
Opportunities to commit Vice. There is a - Stock of Corruption in us, though some
times unsuspected by us, which often discovers itself, as soon as there are suitable Objects to call it forth. Hence it is, that few or none are to be trusted with absolute Power ; because an unlimited Extent of Power gives those vicious Inclinations their full Play, which before were cramped and confined within narrow Bounds. We do not distrust ourselves; because we know not what is in ourselves. Many, who would have said in a private Capacity, Is thy Servant a Dog, that he should do thefe Things ? have done the very Things in a