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The case with man was plainly this: When God made man at first he implanted in him two kinds of principles. There was an inferior kind which may be natural, being the principles of mere human nature; such as self-love, with those natural appetites and passions, which belong to the nature of man, in which his love to his own liberty, honor, and pleasure were exercised: These, when alone, and left to themselves, are what the scriptures sometimes call flesh. Besides these, there were superior principles, that were spiritual, holy, and divine, summarily comprehended in divine love; wherein consisted the spiritual image of God, and man's righteousness and true holiness; which are called in scripture the divine nature, These principles may, in some sense, be called supernatural, being (however concreated or connate, yet) such as are above those principles that are essentially implied in, or necessarily resulting from, and inseparably connected with, mere human nature; and being such as immediately depend on man's union and communion with God, or divine communications and influences of God's spirit, which though withdrawn, and man's nature forsaken of these principles, human nature would be human nature still; man's nature, as such, being entire without these divine principles, which the scripture sometimes calls spirit, in contradistinction to flesh. These superior principles were given to possess the throne, and maintain absolute dominion in the heart; the other to be wholly subordinate and subservient. And while things continued thus, all was in excellent order, peace, and beautiful harmony, and in a proper and perfect state. These divine principles thus reigning, were the dignity, life, happiness, and glory of man's nature. When man sinned and broke God's covenant, and fell under curse, these superior principles left his heart: For indeed God then left him; that communion with God on which these principles depended, entirely ceased; the Holy Spirit that divine inhabitant, forsook the house. Because it would have been utterly improper in itself, and inconsistent with the constitution God had established, that he should still maintain communion with man, and continue by his friendly, gracious, vital, influences, to dwell with him and in him, after he was become a rebel and had incurred God's wrath and curse.
Therefore immediately the superior divine principles wholly ceased: so light ceases in a room when the candle is withdrawn; and thus man was left in a state of darkness, woeful corruption and ruin; nothing but flesh without spirit. The inferior principles of self-love and natural appetite which were give en only to serve, being alone, and left to themselves, of course became reigning principles; having no superior principles to regulate or control them, they became the absolute masters of the heart. The immediate consequence of which was a fatal catastrophe, a turning of all things upside down, and the succession of a state of the most odious and dreadful confusion. Man immediately set up himself, and the objects of his private affections and appetites, as supreme, and so they took the place of God. These inferior principles are like fire in á house; which we say is a good servant, but a bad master; very useful while kept in its place, but if left to take possession of the whole house, soon brings all to destruction. Man's love to his own honor, separate interests, and private pleasure, which before was wholly subordinate unto love to God and regard to his authority and glory, now disposes and impels him to pursue those objects, without regard to God's honor, or law; because there is no true regard to these divine things left in him. In consequence of which, he seeks those objects as much when against God's honor and law, as when agreeable to them. God still continuing strictly to require supreme regard to himself
, and forbidding all undue gratifications of these inferior passions—but only in perfect subordination to the ends, and agreeableness to the rules and limits, which his holiness, honor, and law prescribe-bence immediately arises enmity in the heart, now wholly under the power of self-love; and nothing but war ensues, in a course against God. As when a subject has once renounced his lawful sovereign, and set up a pretender in his stead, a state of enmity and war against his rightful king necessarily ensues. It were easy to show, how every lust, and depraved disposition of man's heart, would naturally arise from this privative original, if here were room for it. Thus it is easy to give an account, how total corruption of heart
should follow on man's eating the forbidden fruit, though that was but one act of sin, without God putting any evil into his heart, or implanting any bad principle, or infusing any corrupt taint, and so becoming the author of depravity.Only God's withdrawing, as it was highly proper and necessary that he should, from rebel man, and his
natural principles being left to themselves, is sufficient to account for his becoming entirely corrupt, and bent on sinning against God.
And as Adam's nature became corrupt, without God's implanting or infusing of any evil thing into it; so does the nature of his posterity. God dealing with Adam as the head of his posterity, (as has been shown) and treating them as one, he deals with his posterity as having all sinned in him. And therefore, as God withdrew spiritual communion, and his vital, gracious influence from all the members, as they come into existence; whereby they come into the world mere ftesh, and entirely under the government of natural and inferior principles; and so become wholly corrupt, as Adam did.”—Edwards' Works, pp 532–538.
To sum up the truth upon this subject in few words, I would say,
1. Moral depravity in our first parents was induced by temptation addressed to the unperverted susceptibilities of their nature. When these susceptibilities became strongly excited, they overcame the will; that is, the human pair were overpersuaded and fell under the temptation. This has been repeatedly said, but needs repetition in a summing up.
2. All moral depravity commences in substantially the same way. Proof,
(1.) The impulses of the sensibility are developed at birth. (2.) The first acts of will are obedience to these.
(3.) Self-gratification is the rule of action previous to the de- . velop ment of reason.
(4.) No resistance is offered to the will's indulging appetite until a habit of self-indulgence is formed.
(5.) When reason affirms moral obligation, it finds the will in a state of habitual and constant committal to the impulses of the sensibility.
(6.) The demands of the sensibility have become more and more despotic every hour of indulgence.
(7.) In this state of things unless the Holy Spirit interpose the idea of moral obligation will be but dimly developed.
(8.) The will of course rejects the bidding of reason and cleaves to self-indulgence.
(9.) This is the settling of a fundamental question. It is deciding in favor of appetite against the claims of conscience and of God.
(10.) Light once rejected can be thereafter more easily resisted.
(11.) Selfishness confirms and strengthens and perpetuates itself by a natural process. It grows with the sinners growth and strengthens with his strength, and will do so forever unless overcome by the Holy Spirit through the truth.
REMARKS. 1. Adam, being the natural head of the race, would naturally by the wisest constitution of things, greatly effect for good or evil his whole posterity.
2. His sin in many ways exposed his posterity to aggravated temptation. Not only the physical constitution of all men, but all the influences under which they first form their moral character are widely different from what they would have been, if sin had never been introduced.
3. When selfishness is understood to be the whole of moral depravity, its quo modo is manifest. Clear conceptions of the thing will instantly reveal the occasion and manner.
4. The only difficulty in accounting for it has been the false assumption that there must be and is something back of the free actions of the will, and sustaining to those actions the relation of a cause that is itself sinful.
5. If holy Adam and holy Angels could fall under temptations addressed to their undepraved sensibility, how absurd it is to conclude that sin in infants who are born with a physically depraved constitution, cannot be accounted for, without ascribing it to original sin, or to nature that is in itself sinful.
6. Without Divine illumination the moral character will of course be formed under the influence of the flesh. That is, the lower propensities will of course influence the will, unless the intelligence be developed by the Holy Spirit, as was said by President Edwards in the extract just quoted.
7. The dogma of constitutional moral depravity is a part and parcel of the doctrine of a necessitated will. It is a branch of a grossly false and heathenish philosophy. How infinitely absurd, dangerous and unjust then to embody it in a standard of Christian doctrine. To give it the place of an indispensable article of faith, and denounce all who will not swallow its absurdities, as heretics. 0, Shame!
8. We are unable to say precisely at what age infants become moral agents, and of course how early they become sin
Doubtless there is much difference among children in this respect. · Reason is developed in one earlier than in another, according to constitution and education.
9. They who maintain the sinfulness of the constitutional appetites, must of course deny that men can ever be entirely sanctified in this life, and must maintain as they do that death must complete the work of sanctification.
10. False notions of moral depravity lie at the foundation of all the objections I have seen to the doctrine of entire sanctification in this life.
11. A diseased nervous system is a fierce temptation. Some forms of disease expose the soul to much trial. Dispeptic and nervous persons need superabounding grace.
12. Why sin is so natural to mankind. Not because their nature is itself sinful, but because the appetites and passions tend so strongly to self-indulgence. Besides selfishness being the ruling passion of the soul, its manifestations are spontaneous.
13. The doctrine of original sin as held by its advocates must essentially modify the whole system of practical theology. This will be seen as we proceed in our investigations.
14. The constitution of a moral being as a whole when all the powers are developed, does not tend to sin, but strongly in an opposite direction, as is manifest from the fact that when reason is thoroughly developed by the Holy Spirit, it is more than a match for the sensibility and turns the heart to God.
15. The difficulty is that the sensibility gets the start of reason and engages the attention in devising means of selfgratification, and thus retards, and in a great measure prevents the development of the ideas of the reason which were designed to control the will.
16. It is this morbid development that the Holy Spirit is given to rectify, by so forcing truth upon the attention, as to secure the development of the intelligence. By doing this He brings the will under the influence of truth. Our senses reveal to us the objects correlated to our animal nature and propensities. The Holy Spirit reveals God and the spiritual world, and all that class of objects that are so correlated to our higher nature as to give Reason the control of the will. This is regeneration and sanctification as we shall see in its proper place.
Christ's Last Passover.
BY REV. JOHN Todo:
Pastor of the Congregational Church, Clarksfield, Huron County, Ohio. TO THE EDITORS OF THE OBERLIN QUARTERLY:
Dear Brethren:—The following article was prepared for publication at my request. Brother Todd originally wrote it some years ago, as a theological class exercise; and I was struck at the time with his complete success in elucidating a difficulty which had baffled some of the first minds of Germany, and which the celebrated De Wette and Winer had pronounced to be incapable of explanation, though it placed John in apparently irreconcilable contradiction with the rest of the Evangelists. Before Brother Todd read his exercise, the class, and their teacher too, were quite as much at fault as others on the subject; and the much praised article of Rauch failed to give us satisfaction.Professor Robinson's explanation had not appeared; and, as I have not yet seen it, I am still ignorant with what success his accurate learning and critical skill have handled the subject.
It may be thought by some that such inquiries are rather curious than useful. But those who believe in the inspiration or even entire trustworthiness of the gospel history, can never deem it unimportant to remove all seeming discrepancy. And it may illustrate the practical bearings' of such inquiries, to remark that accurate instruction on the topics of this article would have saved hundreds from the mournful hallucination respecting the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month.
With respect to the Scripture facts, on which the so-called Adventists founded their notion of the correspondence of type and anti-type as to time as well as other circuinstances, they were just as well and just as ill-informed as many of us who deplored and laughed at their unhappy delusion.
Clear light with regard to the time of our Lord's last Passover and his crucifixion, would have saved multitudes from unutterable folly, and many from temporal ruin.
Those who would profit by Brother Todd's article must take care to understand the whole; for there is no superfluous matter in it. He has just said what he had to say and then stopped.
JOHN MORGAN. BIBLICAL critics have differed much in regard to the order and time of many events narrated by the different Evangelists. Among other questions, one has arisen with reference to the time of our Savior's last observance of the Passover. In order to harmonize the seeming discrepancies in the New Testament history, some have assumed that Christ and his disciples partook of the Passover a day earlier than the rest of the Jews; others have concluded that the Passover was slain at the close of the thirteenth of Nisan, or the "going down of the sun” which ushered in the fourteenth, and that that was the time in which it was observed by the Jews generally; while others still, claim that the Passover was killed in the evening,