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TO WHICH IS ADDED
A LIST OF OLD-SCHOOL ERRORS,
SHORT REFUTATION APPENDED TO EACH.
BY REV. D. H MASON.
"He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth
EPHESIANS, ii. 1, 2, 3.
"AND you, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in times past, ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also, we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
In reading this passage of Scripture, I have omitted the phrase, “hath he quickened," as being supplied by the translators; it is, however, embraced in the fifth verse, in its proper position.
It will be perceived that this portion of Scripture has particular reference to the depravity of the whole race of man.
There are some persons in the world, who are bold enough to deny that the sons and daughters of Adam are depraved.
My present purpose is not to discuss the point, whether man is depraved; but shall quote a few texts of Scripture on this subject, which, if compared with the facts as exemplified by the feelings and conduct of mankind, will be sufficient to satisfy any candid mind of the fact that all are depraved.
Romans, iii. 9th to the 18th.-What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved, both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. 11. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. 13. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; 14. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15. Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16. Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17. And the way of peace have they not known: 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
It will be my object in the following discourse, to develop the true source from whence springs our depravity; and to make it manifest according to express declarations of Scripture, and the analogy of Scripture in regard to this doctrine.
In order to give greater perspicuity to this subject, it will be proper, in the first place, to exhibit some of the views entertained by divines and others, in regard to the origin of our depravity, and attempt to show wherein they appear to be inconsistent with the word of God, and the analogy of faith.
These views are embraced in three distinct systems of doctrine.
The first system to which I shall refer, and which admits the depravity of our race, is embraced in the following hypothesis:
That as man is the creature of God, and God has endowed him with all his faculties and propensities, both of soul and body, just as it pleased him, according to his own will and design; and as man cannot create or alter the faculties or propensities of his nature, therefore his depravity cannot be voluntary.
That this doctrine is contrary to the Scripture account of the origin of our depravity, it will only be necessary to cite a few plain declarations from the Bible, to make its inconsistency apparent.
Eccl. vii. 29. Lo! this have I found, that God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.
Here the word man is a generic term, including the whole
Then instead of inculcating the idea that God created man with a wicked and depraved nature, it boldly declares that God had made the race upright, and that they had sought out their own evil devices.
Again, Genesis, i. 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
This has reference to Adam and Eve; here also the word man is a generic term, including the race; and there is abundant reason to believe, that the first pair were created with the faculties, feelings, appetites and propensities that have been possessed by any of their posterity.
Again, Psalm lviii. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, seeking lies.
But this system of arbitrary depravity would impress the idea that they were created astray before they were born.
Again, Isaiah, liii. 6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.
Romans, iii. 12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable.
I would here remark, that it would be strange language to say that any thing was found that had never been lost; or that a soul was saved that had never been lost; so also it would be absurd to speak of man's going astray from the right path when he had always been in the wrong.
Therefore we believe that the passages of Scripture just cited, and such others as speak of man as being lost, estranged, or gone astray, plainly teach that man was once in a state in which he was not wicked, and has voluntarily gone in the wrong way.
And that this doctrine of arbitrary depravity is contrary to the analogy of faith, a few short arguments will be sufficient to place the subject in its proper light.
Man, to be an accountable creature, must be a free moral agent; but this doctrine supposes him to be created with a