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cessary to the exercise of the opposite class; much in the same manner as the capacity for that class of sensations of which the eye is the medium, is withheld from those persons who are formed without that organ; while they are left capable of the other kinds of sensation of which other organs are the instruments.
It is not by any means designed to insinuate that those into whose minds these conceptions have found their way, reject all the great doctrines of which such a belief is legitimately subversive; nor that they regard themselves as laying any foundation for all the fatal conclusions which it authorizes. The contrary, it is acknowledged, and with the highest pleasure, is most notoriously the fact. Though they are obviously much perplexed to make out the consistency of many of their positions; and after the utmost efforts of reason, seem still to carry with them some lurking feeling that they are entangled in at least apparent contradiction ; yet as a body they formerly hold that mankind are blameable for their violations of the law of God; a considerable portion also represent them as capable of yielding obedience to the divine requirements; and they moreover, in large numbers at least, explicitly disown the doctrine of a physical depravity when imputed to them.
Still it is believed many of the opinions which they cherish and regard as of primary importance, involve that doctrine; and much of their language and reasoning is precisely such as they would naturally employ if they ex animo held it, plainly teaches it, and is fraught with much of the injurious influence which would result, were they without the intermixture of inconsistent opinions, formally
to announce the belief of a physical depravity as an article of their creed.
The reader is, therefore, desired to understand that it is not attempted here to make out that the authors to whom reference is made, never disown the doctrine of a physical depravitiy, nor exhibit opinions inconsistent with it; but merely that whatever other opinions may be avowed by them, many of the points of belief to which they have given a conspicuous place in their creed, in fact involve, and much of their language and argumentation directly inculcates that doctrine, and cannot be used but with the greatest impropriety unless that doctrine is regarded as true.
The first object then of the present discussion is, to show by quotations from theological works of extensive circulation and high repute, that, if many of the common statements and arguments relative to the subject are employed with any propriety, those views respecting the depravity of mankind are, at least virtually, extensively taught. Some considerations will then be adverted to, exhibiting their erroneousness; and a view presented of the constitution of man in relation to this subject, and of some conclusions for which it prepares the way respecting several other topics.
The quotations are regarded as presenting a fair specimen of views extensively entertained at the present day respecting the subjects to which they relate; and it is believed that at least most of the sentiments they express will be too readily recognized to leave it necessary to exhibit any farther evidence that they are held.
Proofs that such views are exhibited respecting the Depravity of Mankind.
THE following quotations present a specimen of the passages in which the existence of such a depravity is taught:
"Original sin is an hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused through every part of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us those works which the scriptures denominate the works of the flesh."
"It was the apostle's design [in Rom. 3.] to teach, that all are overwhelmed by an irresistible calamity, from which they cannot escape, unless rescued by divine mercy and as that could not be proved unless manifested by the overthrow and ruin of nature, he presented those testimonies [quotations from the Old Testament] by which he more than demonstrated that our nature is ruined. It follows, therefore, that men are such as they are there represented, non prava duntaxat consuetudinis vitio sed naturæ quoque pravitate ; not only by the faultiness of a criminal course of conduct, but also by a depravity of nature; for the apostle's argument, that there is no salvation for man but in the grace of God, because in himself he is hopelessly ruined, cannot stand on any other principle."--Inst. Cal.Lib. II.Cap. I. 8. and III. 2.
"Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk,) but is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated.”— The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England.
"We beleeve further, that in the beginning God created all the angels and men holy and good, and especially man in his likenesse, and to blessed immortality. But they, to wit, the angels and the two first of mankinde, did shortly after their creation, fall from God their creator; and have by such their fall, brought not only upon themselves the wrath of God, but also such a pollution of their natures, that now they can no more either will or accomplish any thing that is good which pollution fell on the lost angels at one time; But mankinde inherits such defilement, together with the guiltiness both of the first and second death, by propagation, one from another: From whence it is that the same corruption of mankinde is called original sinne."-Rolte's Translation of the Declaration of the Faith and Ceremonies of the Psaltzgrave Churches, Chap. II.
The views of Arminius and his followers on the subject of original sin were expressed in the following language:
"True faith cannot proceed from the exercise of our natural faculties and powers, nor from the force and operation of free will; since man in consequence of his natural corruption is incapable either of thinking or doing any good thing."-Mosheim's Eccl. Hist.
"We believe that through the disobedience of Adam. original sin is extended to all mankind, which is a corrup
tion of his whole nature, and an hereditary disease, wherewith infants themselves are infected even in their mothers' womb, and which produceth in man all sorts of sin; being in him as a root thereof."-Confession of the Reformed Dutch Church.
"The sinfulness of that estate whereinto men fell consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to evil."-Westminster Confession.
"Man's sinfulness as fallen, consists in the corruption of his nature, or a propensity and inclination to all evil, which is commonly called original sin; that is original sin inherent as distinguished from it as imputed to us. That the nature of man is vitiated, corrupted, and prone to all that is bad, is taken for granted by all; and indeed he that denies it, must be very much unacquainted with himself, or hardly retain the common notices which we have of good and evil.” -Ridgley's Body of Divinity.
"Having proved the imputation of the guilt of Adam's sin to his posterity, what follows upon it is, the corruption of nature derived unto them from him; by which is meant the general depravity of mankind, of all the individuals of human nature, and of all the powers and faculties of the soul, and members of the body."—Gill's Body of Practical Divinity.
"That the best men in the world do often commit sin, and have remaining pollution of heart, makes it abundantly evident that men when they are no otherwise than they were by nature, without any of those virtuous attainments, have a sinful depravity, yea must have great corruption of