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have conveyed holiness to his children, and they likewise to theirs, and so there must have been a constant succession of holy families down to this day; which we find is contrary to universal observation and experience.
Others suppose, that the depravity of the soul originates from the mortality of the body. Though they allow, that the soul comes pure and clean from the hands of God; yet they imagine a corrupt mortal body must soon defile it. They say, while the minds of children are weak and ignorant, their bodily appetites and passions gain the ascendency, and lead them into sinful courses and evil habits. But this supposition is clogged with insurmountable difficulties. How can a corrupt body corrupt a pure mind? At most, the body can afford only temptations to sin; but temptations of themselves have no power to corrupt a pare heart, Christ was once an infant. He grew like other infants, in body and mind; but yet his mind was never corrupted by his body. Though he was subject to hunger, thirst, pain, weariness, and mortality; yet these bodily appetites and infirmities never led him into intemperance, impatience, or any other moral evil. His soul was holy, harmless, undefiled, while united to an carthly, feeble, mortal body. Hence it appears to be contrary to fact, that the depravity of the soul should arise from the mortality of the body; or that the mortal bodies of infants should morally defile their pure and immortal spirits.
But though we cannot suppose, that infants derive their moral corruption from Adam, nor from their own mortal bodies; yet we can easily conceive of their becoming depraved, in consequence of the first apostacy. God constituted such a connexion between Adam and his posterity, that if he sinned, they should
all become sinners. Accordingly, in consequence of
. Adam's first transgression, God now brings his posterity into the world, in a state of moral depravity. But how? the answer is easy. When God forms the souls of infants, he forms them with moral powers, and makes them men in miniature. And being men in miniature, he works in them, as he does in other men, both to will and to do of his good pleasure: or produces those moral exercises in their hearts, in which moral depravity properly and essentially consists. Moral depravity can take place no where but in moral agents, and moral agents can never act but only as they are acted upon by a divine operation. It is just as easy, therefore, to account for moral depravity in infancy, as in any other period of life.
INFERENCE 7. If God can work in saints both to will and to do of his good pleasure; then he can convert sinners, consistently with their activity and moral freedom. God operates precisely in the same manner, in producing the first exercise of grace, as in producing the second, or any other. All that he does, in converting, or regenerating a sinner, is to work in him to will and to do that which is holy, instead of that which is sinful. The sinner is not passive, but active in this change. He acts as freely, while God turns him from sin to holiness, as ever he did in his life. He feels no violence done to his will, nor the least constraint thrown upon his moral freedom. God has often converted some of the most hardened and obstinate sinners. He subdued the hearts of his rebellious people, in Babylon. He converted, in one day, three thousand of those, who had been concerned in crucifying the Lord of glory. He met Paul on his way to Damascus, and instantaneously turned that blasphemer and persecutor into a meek and humble fol
lower of Christ. And he can now convert as many and as great sinners as he pleases, in perfect consistency with the free and voluntary exercise of all their natural powers. God has no occasion of sending sinners to another world, in order to soften and change their hearts; for he is always able to work in them both to will and to do that which is pleasing in his sight, without destroying, or even obstructing their moral freedom.
INFERENCE 8.-If God always works in men both to will and to do; then they are as able to work out their own salvation, as to perform the common actions of life. The only reason, why sinners suppose they are less able to work out their own salvation, than to do the common actions of life, is because they imagine they need more divine assistance, in working out their own salvation, than in doing any thing else. If they are urged to repent, they say they cannot repent, of themselves; for repentance is the fruit of the Spirit. If they are urged to believe in Christ, they say they cannot believe, of themselves; for faith is the gift of God. And if they are urged to make themselves a new heart, they say they cannot do this, of themselves; for it is the work of God to give them a new heart. These expressions plainly intimate, that they suppose they always-act, of themselves, except in the concerns of religion; and of consequence, that they are less able to perform religious duties, than the common actions of life. But there is no just ground for this conclusion, They never do act, of themselves. They live, and move, and have their being in God, who constantly works in them both to will and to do, in every instance of their conduct. They are as able, therefore, to do right, as to do wrong; to do their duty, as to neglect their duty; to love God, as to hate God; to choose life, as to choose death; to walk in the narrow way to heaven, as to walk in the broad way to hell; and to turn from sin to holiness; as to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. Hence they are expressly required to begin to be holy, and to perform the very act of turning, repenting, and changing the heart. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord.” Isaiah lv, 7. “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die? Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit: for why will ye die, house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord: wherefore turn yourselves; and live ye.” Ezekiel xviii, 31, 32, and xxxiii, 11. “Therefore also now saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God.” Joel ži, 12, 13. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you: cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James iv, 8. “Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets, she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the opening of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn ye at my reproof.” Proverbs i, 20, , 21, 22. “O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved: how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee.” Jeremiah iv, 14. “Wash
make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well.” Isaiah i, 16, 17. If there be any justice or propriety in these commands, then sinners are as
able to turn from sin, to change their hearts, or to be gin to be holy; as to perform any other religious duty, or common action.
Besides, the sacred writers borrow similitudes from the common conduct of men, to illustrate the duty and obligation of sinners to repent and embrace the gospel. The evangelical Prophet cries, “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price.” These similitudes plainly suppose, that every sinner is as able to embrace the gospel, as a thirsty man is to drink water, or an hungry man to eat the most delicious food. In the parable of the marriage supper, God is represented as sending forth his servants, to invite sinners to come and receive the fruits of his love. This invitation carries the idea, that sinners are as able to come to the gospel feast, as to come to any other, to which they are kindly invited. Take away this point of resemblance, and the parable is totally unmeaning, or extremely impertinent. The parable of the prodi. gal son, is designed to illustrate the immediate duty of sinners to return to God, from whom they have unreasonably departed. But where is the beauty or propriety of the parable, unless sinners are as able to return to their heavenly Father, as an undutiful, wandering child is to return to his earthly parent? By the obedience of the Rechabites, God reproved the disobedience of his own people. But how did that example reach the case, unless the Israelites were as able to obey the commands of God, as the Rechabites were to obey the command of their father? It is the plain language of these similitudes, that sinners are as able to work out their own salvation, with fear and trembling, as to perform the most common and ordinary