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we are sure that this is true, that the Judge of all the earth must do right. It is better to presume any degree of error in the opinions of any description of men, than by supposing the original constitution of our nature sinful and corrupt, to make the Author of that nature responsible for human guilt. Let us believe any thing sooner than this. “ Yea,” saith the Apostle, “ let God be just, and every man a liar.”

I have recently endeavoured to show, by an examination of the general facts and laws of our constitution, that the actual state of human nature corresponds to this representation. Every thing about us, as it proceeds from the hand of God, is good; and it is our neglect and our abuse of it alone, which makes it bad. Our appetites are good. To satisfy our hunger or slake our thirst, is innocent and useful. This is the end for which our appetites are given; and for this alone, the Author of our nature is responsible. But if, passing the limits of the real wants of nature, we become gluttonous or intemperate, we know, we feel, that this is our fault alone. Our desires too are good. The ends for which they are implanted by Heaven are all good. To desire knowledge, esteem, power, superiority, society, or personal well-being, is innocent and useful. But if we cherish and foment our desires till they become passions; if we seek the good ends to which they prompt us, by unjust and unholy means, and in this way become vain,

proud, arrogant, envious, treacherous, unjust, and selfish—for this neglect and abuse of our nature, we alone are answerable. In the same way it may be shown, that every part of our original constitution is useful and indispensable, and that it is fitted and designed by our Maker for good ; and that consequently for all the perversions of the good purposes for which our capacities or affections were given us, we, we only are to answer. Man is the author of his own sins, the cause of his own woes, the architect of his own ruin. O sinner, thou destroyest thyself.

In the partial view already taken of this subject, the time did not permit an exhibition of scripture testimonies. I wish to supply this defect in the present discourse. In doing this, I shall simply examine those passages, which some have thought to speak a different language. If these should seem not to justify the conclusions which have been drawn from them, the question, I suppose all will admit, is decided.

The Mosaic account of the Fall of our first parents, claims our first and chief attention. We all believe that “God created man in his own image; in the image of God created He him.” The

question is, whether, from any cause, God has been less beneficent to our nature than to that of our primitive father; and now creates that in sin, which he originally formed in innocency.

In the first chapter of Genesis, the design of the

sublime historian is evidently to teach to all ages,

, in opposition to every system of atheism or idolatry, this grand truth; that the world was created by one God, by one infinite Mind. Those, who besides this, seek for a system of philosophy and geology in the Mosaic narrative, are at liberty to find it; but it is more, I think, than is professed to be given, more than seems necessary for revelation to impart, and more, therefore, than the sacred history ought to be made responsible for. That there is but one Creator of all things, is surely an idea magnificent enough to fill our loftiest


In the same way, I conceive, it is the chief design of the account of the Fall, to teach us why it is, that toil, and suffering, and death are the lot of

After being told that there is one common Parent of all, who, when he had beheld every thing which he had made, saw that it was very good, the question would naturally arise in the mind of every one,

Why then is not the life of man happier ? Why too is it not rendered immortal on the earth, or translated without death to the skies ?" These questions are answered, and most wisely and truly answered, in the account which is given us of the Fall of our first parents.

We there see that the state of man was originally a state of unmingled happiness and exemption from death. The fairest possible experiment was made,-not indeed, to satisfy the omniscient Creator, but to justify his ways


to our minds.

The man was placed in bowers of perfect bliss.

The earth, unsolicited, brought forth her fairest and richest products, asking of him only to direct and prune her · luxuriant abundance. Every gale wafted fragrance to him, every flower shed for him “odorous sweets,” every tree bent with balmy and ambrosial fruits, inspiring him with health and joy. All was peace and universal love; and, if the nature of man could have been trusted with perfect happiness and immortal life on earth, they were now within his reach. But it was soon seen that this was too much for a being so limited and imperfect. Man, being in honour, did not abide. He could not bear unmingled ease and prosperity. His desires passed the bounds of moderation. He fell from his innocence. He violated the divine command.

There, then, it was for ever demonstrated, that such a being as man, at his best estate on earth, is not capable of enduring unalloyed prosperity. He will infallibly abuse it. He needs adversity,“ the tamer of the human breast,” the “stern and rug

" ged” but faithful nurse of virtue. He needs toil and pain and sorrow. Nay, all this is not enough to restrain the torrent of human passion. He needs DEATH—that mysterious and terrible corrective of sin. He needs to know that his career on earth is bounded; that his days have their limit and their number ; that the desires of the wicked shall all finally perish.

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This is the lesson which is taught us by the fall of our first parents. We here see, why the infinite Beneficence of heaven has ordained our present state. We see why disease and suffering are sent on us; why we are condemned to eat of the ground in sorrow; why it brings forth thorns and thistles to us; why we are doomed to eat bread by the sweat of our face, till we return to the earth, and that inevitable sentence receives its execution, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Adam was a perfectly fair representative of our species. He was placed in the most favourable circumstances possible. If prosperity corrupted him, if he fell, what son of his can think that he should have succeeded better ? Let him, who never knew sin, let him, who feels no frailty within his breast, demand back of his Maker the Paradise that Adam lost.

You will observe that it is uniformly taken for granted in this account, that our primitive sire was exactly such a being as his children now are. He was no more than the most perfect specimen possible of a man. He was a creature of flesh and blood, as we are ; of powers, capacities, affections, like our own; and with that same inherent liability to sin, of which we are conscious. Not one word is uttered in the sacred narrative of his possessing an “ original righteousness,” which belongs not to our common nature.

This is purely a fiction of systematic theology.

It is clear that his nature was


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