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النشر الإلكتروني

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womb is plain; the fact is too visible to be denied. We are not, therefore, so much concerned to know how we came by the disease, or how, or where we may procure a remedy.

The psalmist, David, had a deep experience of this sinful infection, this native stain of the soul: wherefore, he cries out, Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me, Psal. li. 5. The Spirit of God, generally, convinceth sinners first of their actual sins, and then of their original depravation. As we trace back the streams to the fountain, so we trace back our actual transgressions to the innate corruption of the heart, which is the root and source of all outward sins. Accordingly, David, having confessed his actual offence in the matter of Uriah, ver. 4. he proceeds to lament that vitiosity of nature, which he brought into the world with him; Behold, saith he, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. He introduceth his lamentation with a note of attention, behold, in order to make us take more notice of it. In acknowleding himself to be conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity, he plainly owns, that he was tainted with that hereditary pollution of nature we are speaking of, and so bears ample testimony to the doctrine of original sin. I know, indeed, some endeavour to dilute these words by an hyperbole, and say, that David, thereby only intends an aggravation of his actual offence: but this is all an evasion. There can be no hyperbole here, because the in

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spired writer, speaks neither more nor less than the exact truth. "These words, (saith a learned divine,) are not an hyperbolical aggravation of David's actual sins, as the Pelagians of old, the Socinians, and some others of this day vainly pretend, only to make them consistent with their scheme of religion; for they set forth a sin of quite another kind; a sin in our very frame and constitution, and are a plain and positive assertion of the catholic doctrine of original sin. Now, if there be no such sin, these words are so far from being an hyperbole, that they contain a mere fiction; they do not aggravate what is, but acknowledge what has no reality at all.

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men feel that pressure and burden of sin, which the psalmist felt when he penned these words, they will not resolve them into an hyperbole, or any figure of speech, but into a sensation of the heart; and they themselves will make the same confession, and become advocates for the same truth. So long as men continue ignorant of that mass of corruption, that world of iniquity that is within them, it is no wonder they oppose this doctrine, though at the same time their blindness and obstinacy, in rejecting so selfevident a truth, are but too visible effects of that apostacy which they contradict, and labour to dis'prove. If men did but truly know, and deeply feel the state of their own hearts, they would find this doctrine written there with a pen of iron, and with a

*Dr. Delaune's. Sermon on Psal. li. 5.

point of a diamond; or, as holy Job expresses it, graven with an iron pen, and lead in the rock for ever, Their inward experience would then convince them, that every thought, every imagination of man's heart is evil, only evil, continually evil, Gen. vi. 5. viii. 21.

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The inspired Psalmist delivers the same truth, Psal. lviii. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb. This alienation or estrangement of the creature, man from his Creator, is from the womb, or from his youth, Gen. viii. 21. which implies that it is born with him, and in him; he derives it from his parents in a way of natural generation. The Psalmist adds, They go estray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Children are inclined to all vice in general, but to lying in particular; you may catch them in this sin as soon as they are able to speak; and this sin makes them the children of the devil, you will believe our Saviour, John, viii. 44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of. his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it. You see, then, how nearly children in their natural state are related to the devil. Hence Solomon saith, foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, Prov. xxii. 15. By foolishness, the wise man means sin, and especially the sin of our nature; and when he saith bound, he lets us know how intimately it adheres to the child; it is wrapt up in his heart, it is interwoven with his very nature and constitution. Accordingly we find God himself thus addressing his people ;

I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb, Isa. xlviii. 8. God does not give things empty and insignificant names; if, therefore, he calls his people transgressors, it is because they really are such; and from the womb, denotes as much as from their birth and conception; and so informs us, that in their very rise and original, they were defiled with this in-bred depravity. What then becomes of the Pelagian hypothesis, which supposes that children are born innocent and free from sin, and are only corrupted by the ill example of others? These texts teach us another lesson; they tell us, that the wicked (and such we are all by nature) are estranged from the womb; that the people of God, as well as others, are transgressors from the womb; and that foolishness, or sin, which so early appears in children, is not barely owing to the influence of the bad example of others, but is bound up in their little degenerate hearts. And all this is confirmed by daily experience, for we see children running into wickedness as greedily as to their natural food; they drink iniquity like water, and are never better pleased than when they are committing sin. Their wills ase bent upon evil, and they delight in doing mischief. And although wholesome instructions are administered unto them, and examples of piety and virtue set before them, yet you will find they take infinitely more pleasure in vice than in virtue; their natures are wild and ungovernable; they are sullen, self-willed

unruly creatures; and they will do what they please in spite of all arguments and persuasions to the contrary. Man is born (the note of similitude is not inserted in the original Hebrew) a wild ass's colt, i. e. a wanton, skittish, savage, untractable creature; and the gradation of the words is observable ;( saith Dr. Edwards ;) man is a colt, an Ass's colt, a wild ass's colt. Job, xi. 12.

The apostle Paul freequently mentions this. Thus Rom. iii. 10. There is none righteous, no, not one; that is, none are so by nature; but, as he tells us, ver. 9. both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, viz. under the guilt of Adam's actual transgression, and under the disorder of a vitiated nature, upon both which accounts all the world is become guilty before God, ver. 19. Again, the apostle saith, All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Greek word* which is here translated come short, is properly expressive of our fall in Adam, and of the default of our nature consequent thereupon: it denotes our loss of the divine image, our loss of the divine favour, our loss of all that happiness and holiness which we possessed in Adam; it expresseth our loss of communion with God, and our loss of the enjoyment of God both present and future. Some think the apostle, in this chapter, is describing the general decay of religion among the Jews, and the

* Υσερούνται της δόξης του, Θεού, ver. 23,

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