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ence they have had of it. But human nature, considered as the divine workmanship, should, methinks, be treated as sacred; for in the image of God made he man.” The views which have been offered
important, not only as it respects our ideas of the divine character, but as it regards the practice of true repentance. When I am called on to repent of my sinful nature; to repent of being born a sinner; to repent of not having a better nature than it has pleased God to give me; this language is, I confess, wholly unintelligible to me. The thing is utterly impossible. I may be sorry, indeed, that Maker was not more kind to me ; I
may ment the original vileness of my heart, as I may lament an unfortunate tincture of my skin, or any natural deformity of my body. But to be sorry for any
defect of my nature as if it were my fault, this is a sentiment which it is impossible that any rational being should ever feel. I have reason to think that many persons have suffered the most exquisite anguish from finding their inability to repent of guilt, which as it was not their own, it was out of their power to avoid. But no. It is
But no. It is my own sins alone which can fill me with remorse; it is tual negligences and violations of duty which cover me with shame; it is my personal faults for which alone I am responsible. For these, the tears of contrition ought to flow. Would to God that they might flow with that godly sorrow which leads to repentance not to be repented of!
These are the views of the real nature and sources of sin in the human constitution, which I have formed from the best study I could give of the scriptures, and from the best observation I have been able to make of the actual state of man. They are consistent,-indeed I am persuaded they are the only views which are truly consistent with the deepest and most affecting views of our unworthiness and guilt in the sight of God. When we believe that every single faculty of our nature is capable of perversion and abuse, and are conscious that in many respects we actually pervert and abuse them daily, and in all come short of the glory of God; surely we have here a ground for the profoundest, sincerest, humblest penitence, which the heart can ever feel.
There are two impressions which I could wish that these discourses should leave on your minds. The first I give you in the words of St. James ;
man say when he is tempted, • I am tempted of God;' for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.”
The second impression, which I could wish should be left with you, is expressed by St. Paul. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed, lest he fall.” From the liabilities to sin which we discern in every part of our nature, we are taught our dangers and our duties. We must feel how
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much we need to watch and to pray that we enter not into temptation. We must be always vigilant, always on the alert. They who navigate in a vessel liable to a thousand accidents, a sea in which there are shoals and currents innumerable, if they would keep their course or reach their port in safety, must watch over every part of their ship, carefully repair the smallest damages, and often throw out their line and take their observations. So it should be with the christian in the dangerous voyage of life. He must never relax his watchfulness, however fair may seem the skies, and prosperous the gales; and in the storms of temptation, the anchor of his soul must be the hope of the gospel of Christ, sure and steadfast.
Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man
upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
There are two important sentiments contained in this passage of scripture. The first is, that man, as he proceeds from the hand of his Maker, is what he ought to be. He is formed with all the capacities and endowments, animal, moral, and intellectual, which fit him for the circumstances in which he is placed. He is not indeed, an angel, and of course has not the powers of an angel. But he has all that such a being as a man should possess, in order to do the duties of a man. He is placed for wise, but inscrutable
in of trial, discipline, probation. It is intended that he should form and exercise a character in this world, which will fit him for a higher sphere. In order to this, it is necessary that he should be both liable to sin, and capable of virtue; and be furnished at the same time with motives to the one, and surrounded with temptations to the other. When therefore it is said that God makes man upright, or more literally and properly, makes him right, it is not meant that he makes him originally perfect in wisdom or virtue; but simply that he makes him right or perfect as a man ; he adapts his nature to his condition; he makes him exactly as a being placed in a state of trial ought to be made. He is formed liable to sin, because otherwise there could be no exercise or trial of virtue. He is made also capable of good; for otherwise, to command him to be virtuous would only be the most cruel mockery.
The second great sentiment of the text is, that as our Creator has formed us right, it is our own neglect or abuse of the nature He has given us, which is the cause of our sins. For that long and dark tissue of crimes, which the melancholy page of history records against our species, in ages that are past; for all those enormities, which we now shudder to be hold acted before us on the theatre of the world; for those many frailties and sins with which our own hearts daily reproach us; we have no one to accuse but ourselves. The throne of God is spotless, though we were covered with pollution. We ought to carry this sentiment with us into all our speculations on the state and prospects of human nature. Whatever else may be false,