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off the brute creatures from it by the deluge; that as men had set the marks of their impiety, God might set the marks of his indignation on the earth. (2.) To shew the heinousness of their sin, in making the earth which God had so adorned for the use of man a sink of sin, and a stage whereon to act their wickedness, in defiance of heaven. God saw this corruption of life; he not only knew it, and. took notice of it, but he made them to know, that he did take notice of it; and that he had not forsaken the earth, though they had forsaken heaven.
Secondly, Corruption of nature. "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." All their wicked practices are here traced to the fountain-head; a corrupt heart was the source of all. The soul, which was made upright in all its faculties, is now wholly disordered. The heart, that was made according to God's own heart, is now the reverse of it, a forge of evil imaginations, a sink of inordinate affections, and a store-house of all im piety, Mark vii. 21, 22. Behold the heart of the natural man, as it is opened in our text. The mind is defiled; the thoughts of the heart are evil; the will and affections are defiled; the imagination of the thoughts of the heart, (i. e. whatsoever the heart frameth within itself by thinking, such as judgment, choice, purposes, devices, desires, every inward motion,) or, rather, the frame of thoughts of the heart (namely, the frame, make, or mould of these, 1 Chron. xxix. 18.) is evil. Yea, and every imagination, every frame of his thoughts is so. The heart is ever framing something; but never one right thing; the frame of thoughts, in the heart of man, is exceeding various; yet are they never cast into a right frame: But is there not, at least, a mixture of good in them? No; they are only evil; there is nothing in them truly good and acceptable to God; nor can any thing be so that comes out of that forge; where not the Spirit of God, but "the prince of the power of the air worketh," Eph. ii. 2. Whatever changes may be found in them, are only from evil to evil; for the imagination of the heart, or frame of thoughts in natural men, is evil continually, or every day; From the first day, to the last day in this state, they are in midnight darkness; there is not a glimmering of the light of holiness in them; not one holy thought can ever be produced by the unholy heart. O what a vile heart is this! O what a corrupt nature is this!
The tree that always brings forth fruit, but never good fruit, whatever soil it be set in, whatever pains be taken on it, must naturally be an evil tree: and what can that heart be, whereof every imagination, every set of thoughts, is only evil, and that continually? Surely that corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk into the marrow of our souls; and will never be cured, but by a miracle of grace. Now such is man's heart, such is his nature, till regenerating grace change it. God that searcheth the heart saw man's heart was so, he took special notice of it; and the faithful and true witness cannot mistake our case; though we are most apt to mistake ourselves in this point, and generally do overlook it.
Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, What is that to us? Let that generation of whom the text speaks see to that. For the Lord has left the case of that generation on record, to be a looking-glass to all after-generations; wherein they may see their own corruption of heart, and what their lives would be too, if he restrained them not; for "as in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man," Prov. xxvii. 19. Adam's fall has framed all men's hearts alike in this matter. Hence the apostle, Rom. iii. 10. proves the corruption of the nature, hearts, and lives of all men, from what the Psalmist says of the wicked in his day, Psal. xiv. 1, 2, 3. Psal. v. 9. Psal. cxl. 3. Psal. x. 7. Psal. xxxvi. 1. and from what Jeremiah saith of the wicked in his day, Jer. ix. 3. and from what Isaiah says of those that lived in his time, Isa. Ivii. 7, 8. and concludes with that, ver. 19. "Now we know, that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." "Had the history of the deluge been transmitted unto us, without the reason thereof in the text, we might thence have gathered the corruption and total depravation of man's nature; for what other quarrel could a holy and just God have with the infants that were destroyed by the flood, seeing they had no actual sin? If we saw a wise man, who having made a curious piece of work, and heartily approved of it when he gave it out of his hand, as fit for the use it was designed for, rise up in wrath and
break it all in pieces, when he looked on it afterwards; would we not thence conclude the frame of it had been quite marred, since made, and that it does not serve for that use it was designed for? How much more, when we see the holy and wise God destroying the work of his own hands, once solemnly pronounced by him very good, may we conclude that the original frame thereof is utterly marred, that it cannot be mended, but it must needs be new made, or lost altogether? Gen. vi. 6,7. " And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart; and the Lord said, I will destroy man," or blot him out; as a man doth a sentence out of a book, that cannot be corrected, by cutting off some letters, syllables, or words, and interlining others here and there; but must needs be wholly new framed. But did the deluge carry off this corruption of man's nature? Did it mend the matter? No, it did not. God, in his holy providence, "That every mouth may be stopped, and all the new world may become guilty before God," as well as the old, permits that corruption of nature to break out in Noah, the father of the new world, after the deluge was over. Behold him as another Adam, sinning in the fruit of a tree, Gen. ix. 20, 21. He planted a vineyard, and he drank of the wine, and was drunken, and he was uncovered within his tent. More than that, God gives the same reason against a new deluge, which he gives in our text for bringing that on the world: "I will not (saith he) again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth,” Gen. viii. 21. Whereby it is intimated, that there is no mending of the matter by this means; and that if he would always take the same course with men that he had done, he would be always sending deluges on the earth, seeing the corruption of man's nature remains still. For though the flood could not carry off the corruption of nature, yet. it pointed at the way how it is to be done, viz. That men must be born of water and of the Spirit, raised from spiritual death in sin, by the grace of Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood; out of which a new world of saints arise in regeneration, even as the new world of sinners out of the waters, where they had long lain buried (as it were) in the ark. This we learn from 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21. where the apostle, speaking of Noah's ark, saith, "Wherein few,"
The like fi
that is, "eight souls, were saved by water. gure whereunto, even baptism doth also now save us.". Now the waters of the deluge being a like figure to baptism; it plainly follows, that they signified (as baptism doth) "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." To conclude, then, these waters, though now dried up, may serve us for a looking-glass, in which to see the total corruption of our nature, and the necessity of regeneration. From the text thus explained, ariseth this weighty point of Doctrine, which he that runs may read in it, viz. Man's nature is now wholly corrupted. Now is there a sad alteration, a wonderful overturn, in the nature of man! where, at first, there was nothing evil; now there is nothing good. In prosecuting of this doctrine, I shall,
First, Confirm it.
Secondly, Represent this corruption of nature in its several parts.
Thirdly, Shew you how man's nature comes to be thus corrupted.
Lastly, Make application.
That Man's Nature is corrupted.
FIRST, I am to confirm the doctrine of the corruption of nature; to hold the glass to your eyes, wherein you may see your sinful nature; which, though God takes particular notice of it, many do quite overlook. And here we shall consult, 1. God's word. 2. Men's experience and observation.
I. For scripture proof, let us consider,
First, How the scripture takes particular notice of Adam's communicating his image to his posterity, Gen.
“Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth." Compare with this ver. 1. of that chapter, "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him." Behold here, how the image after which man was made, and the image after which he is begotten, are opposed. Man was made in the likeness of God; that is, a holy and righteous God made a holy and righteous creature; but fallen Adam begat a son, not in the likeness of God, but in his own likeness; that is, corrupt sinful Adam begat a corrupt sinful son. For as the image of God bore righteous
ness and immortality in it, as was cleared before, so this image of fallen Adam bore corruption and death in it, 1. Cor. xv. 49, 50. compare with ver. 22. Moses, in that fifth chapter of Genesis, being to give us the first bill of mortality that ever was in the world, ushers it in with this, that dying Adam begat mortals. Having sinned, he became mortal, according to the threatening; and so he begat a son, in his own likeness, sinful, and therefore mortal; thus sin and death. passed on all. Doubtless, he begat both Cain and Abel in his own likeness, as well as Seth. But it is not recorded of Abel; because he left no issue behind him, and his falling the first sacrifice to death in the world, was a sufficient document of it; nor of Cain, to whom it might have been thought peculiar, because of his monstrous wickedness; and besides, all his posterity was drowned in the flood; but it is recorded of Seth, because he was the father of the holy seed; and from him all mankind since the flood has descended, and fallen Adam's own likeness with them.
Secondly, It appears from that scripture-text, Job xiv.4. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." Our first parents were unclean, how then can we be clean? How could our immediate parents be clean? Or, how shall our children be so? The uncleanness here aimed at is a sinful uncleanness; for it is such as makes man's days full of trouble; and it is natural, being derived from unclean parents; "Man is born of a woman, ver. 1. And how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" Job xxxv. 4. An omnipotent God, whose power is not here challenged, could bring a clean thing out of an unclean; and did so, in the case of the man Christ; but no other can. Every person that is born according to the course of nature is born unclean. If the root be corrupt, so must the branches be. Neither is the matter mended, though the parents be sanctified ones; for they are but holy in part, and that by grace, not by nature; and they beget their children as men, not as holy men. Wherefore, as the circumcised parent begets an uncircumcised child,and after the purest grain is sown, we reap corn with the chaff; so the holiest parents beget unholy children, and cannot communicate their grace to them, as they do their nature;