« AnteriorContinuar »
evil we do really derive from our first parents, though their sin, as an individual act, was entirely confined to theinselves,
This great and necessary doctrine concerning original sin is expressly made known to us in the Word of God, as closely connected with the wonderful redemption of our souls, through the atonement made for us all. In this second covenant between God and man, every one, who shall be finally saved, will be saved through Christ only. Of the unnumbered human beings who die, a large proportion leave the world in the age of infancy, before they can willingly have committed any actual sin whatever. But inasmuch as they are not guilty in the sight of God of wilful sin, the necessity of their being included in the redemption made by Jesus Christ must be no other than this; that as infants are born of sinful parents, and from those parents inherit a sinful nature, they must be redeemed from their natural state of moral evil by an atoning Mediator, before they can be admitted into the pure and ineffable presence of that God, who hath declared, that without shedding of blood there is no remission.”
The arguments in support of this doctrine, more frequently, it is to be feared, spoken of than really and practically believed, are chiefly of two sorts : those which come from
the Word of God; and those which proceed from our own' experience. There are many passages in Holy Writ which speak of our natural corruption in Adam's sin: “Through the offence of one many be dead.”* By one man's disobedience many were made sinners.”+ “ Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”+
In addition to these humbling scripture assurances of our natural corruption, we have the living testimony of our own experience. Whence that violent and natural inclination to what is wrong, even in very childhood, long before reason rules, or the mind becomes capable of discerning good from evil? Whence, even in the regenerate Christian, that frequent opposition of the will and desire to what conscience approves, and God, with many an awful threat against disobedience, plainly commands or forbids! Whence that continued resistance to the pure and self-denying rules of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whose doctrines, whose precepts, whose own holy example, are set forth to us all, under the dreadful sanction of eternal punishment in hell to those who shall refuse obedience? Whence can all this perverse inclination arise, but from a source naturally predisposed to evil, to call * Rom. v. 15.
+ Rom. v. 19. † Psalm li. 5.
evil good, and good evil ; and ever proving with shameful evidence that we are all born in sin, and the “children of wrath.”
From this universal corruption of our race, one only hath been free; sin hath no power whatever over our great Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. He, who united the human with the divine nature in His own person, that He might Himself pay the price of man's redemption,“ knew no sin.” This is the great, the only exception to the humbling truth, that all, from Adam fallen in paradise, to this present hour, are born with strong natural dispositions to sin against God.
5. I know,” saith St. Paul, speaking in the character of a man unrenewed by the Holy Spirit, “ I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find
“ The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth."+ " For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”+ - Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”S “ These and many similar passages from * Rom. vii. 18.
+ Gen. viii. 21. Gal. v, 17.
Rom. viii. 7.
Holy Writ, the whole history of mankind, together with our own individual experience, teach the unwelcome truth, with an evidence that none may resist, that we are all “ born in sin,"
gone from original righteousness :" and it is the fearful consequence of the whole sad truth, that, by nature, we all deserve the severity of the righteous judgment of God. It was thus that St. Paul addressed the first Christians, and ourselves in them :
Among whom also,” the children of disobedience, “ we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind ; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”*
We know, indeed, through the Gospel, that pardon, peace, and even future glory, are freely offered to all who take Christ for their Saviour, and act upon the terms of their baptismal covenant in Him. But still the sinful nature remains, even in the regenerated Christian, and can be finally subdued only at death.
Though “ there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit,"t yet even the inclination or thought of the mind towards what is evil, though, through God's grace, the evil be resisted, hath of itself the Eph. ii. 3.
* Rom. viii, 1.
nature of sin: so long as ever we remain here, we shall be subject to the evil of our fallen nature; in some way or other, tempting us to commit siñ. Our life is prolonged for the very purpose of subduing it, and if, under the spiritual help of God, we faithfully resist it, it will at last be entirely subdued : at the end of our Christian warfare our natural corruption shall altogether yield to superadded grace; and death shall be swallowed
in victory, in the triumph of our Redeemer, and the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost.
We have considered the doctrine of our church concerning the deep and difficult subject of original sin. It is a scripture doctrine, or our church would not have received it. It must not, therefore, be trifled with by any one, either by his being careless about a right understanding thereof, or by his neglecting those practical uses for which it stands written for us in the Word of God. These are first, to humble us under a deep sense of our own worthlessness, in the sight of that great and holy Being, who nevertheless is our God and Heavenly Father, but “is of purer eyes, than to look upon iniquity.” And, secondly, to exalt our faith in what hath been done for us all by Him who saved us from all our sins, and so, through the renewing influence of His Holy Spirit, restores us, in His