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mons of Barrow, Clarke, Hoadley, and Tillotson, and never find a single instance, in which they have drawn two essentially different moral characters. They speak of saints and sinners in Scripture language; but they never show, wherein they essentially differ, nor describe that particular act or exercise of mind, by which a sinner becomes a saint. Hence it appears from fact, as well as from Scripture, that it is impossible to point out any essential moral difference between a sinner and a saint, without making total depravity the peculiar and essential character of a sinner. If there be any such persons in the world, therefore, as justly deserve to be called sinners, in distinction from saints, they are totally depraved, and wholly under the dominion of a carnal mind, which is enmity against God. The way is now prepared to show,
II. That the total depravity of sinners totally defiles and depraves all their actions.
Their total depravity is of a moral nature, and en. tirely distinct from their intellectual powers. They can perceive as well, they can remember as well, they can reason as well, and they can distinguish between moral good and evil as well, as the best of saints. The total depravity of their natural faculties, would entire ly destroy their moral deprayity. For were their reason and conscience totally depraved, they would be altogether incapable of doing right or wrong, or per. forming any moral action, which should be either pleasing or displeasing to God. Their moral deprav, ity, therefore, must consist in their hearts. And this is agreeable to the whole tenor of Scripture. The Apostle tells us, “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” As enmity belongs to the heart, and not to the understanding; so the heart must be the seat of mora! corruption. Solomon says, “Foolishness is
then total depraviti,
bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” By foolishness here he means moral depravity; and this he places in the heart. God promises to renew the hearts of sinners, in order to remove their moral depravity. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” If the removal of an evil heart will take away total depravity,
certainly consists in an evil heart. When God would paint the depravity of sinners in the strongest colors, he says, “When they knew him, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.?? So when Christ would ag, gravate the depravity and guilt of the Jews in the highest degree, he says, “They have both seen and hated both me and my father.” Paul also represents the very essence of sin, or moral depravity, as consisting in the opposition of the heart to the light of conscience. “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” And this every sinner knows to be true, by his own experience. He finds that his heart is not only distinct from his conscience, but in direct opposition to it. His conscience tells him to do what his heart nates and opposes; and on the other hand, his heart inclines him to do what his conscience forbids and condemns. It appears from Scripture and experience, therefore, that the heart is the only seat of moral depravity. There is no other place in the mind, where it can be found, nor where it can possibly exist.
Now, if sinners are totally depraved, and their total depravity lies in the heart; then the Apostle's reasoning is plain and conclusive. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please. God.” A corrupt heart necessarily corrupts all the actions which proceed from it. And since sinners always act from a corrupt heart, all their actions must be corrupt. The only way
to prove any action to be criminal, is to prove that it was done from a wicked heart. Why is mur. der a crime? No other reason can be given, but that it necessarily flows from malice prepense. Why are all the actions of the devil criminal? No other reason can be given, but that he always acts from a malevo, lent heart. If sinners, therefore, have a totally depraved heart, which is enmity against God, and if they always act from this malevolent heart; then it necessarily follows, that all their actions are sinful, and dis. pleasing to him, who knows from what source they proceed. There is no way to evade the force of this reasoning, but only to deny that all the actions of sin ners flow from the heart. And since some have presumed to deny this plain and important truth, I will endeavor to demonstrate it. Here I would observe,
1. The Scripture represents, all human actions as flowing from the heart. We are told, that Abraham was required to sacrifice his son, and that he obeyed the divine command. But we know, that his obedience wholly consisted in the intention of his heart, David is représented as doing well, while it was only in his heart to build the house of the Lord. This Solomon expressly declares. “And the Lord said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart." And Judas acted from the heart in betraying Christ. For Satan put it in his heart to betray him. That is, Satan suggested the temptation, and Judas in his heart complied with it. These, and numerous other intances which might be collected from Scripture, clearly show, that all human actions originate in and flow from the heart.
Our Savior taught this doctrine in the plainest and strongest terms. "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: And an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you,
every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Christ insisted much upon this point in
” opposition to the Pharisees, who were fond of
separa. ting actions from the heart. He addressed them in this pointed language. “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” He then spake a parable to illustrate this declaration. “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which goeth out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” This parable offending the Pharisees, Peter desired Christ to explain it. Accordingly he replied and said, “Are ye also without understanding? Do not ye understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the Heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.' Our Lord here plainly asserts, that alt human actions proceed from the heart; and he conveys the same sentiment in his exposition of the divine law. “When the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, Then one of them who was a lawyer asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the secoud is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.” It is easy to see the truth and propriety of this exposition, if all the actions of men flow from the · heart. For if this be true, then the commands to read and pray, to labor six days in the week and sanctify the seventh, and to perform all other virtuous and holy actions, are necessarily comprized in the law of love. By requiring a good heart, God virtually requires all good actions, and virtually forbids all bad actions. So the Apostle reasons upon the subject. “He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, that is, for this reason, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” This text plainly teaches, that the law requires love, because love will produce all good actions, and prevent all bad ones; or in other words, that the law requires a good heart, because all good actions will flow from it; ind forbids a bad heart; because all bad actions will low from it. Thus it appears from Scripture precepts nd prohibitions, as well as from Scripture represenitions and declarations, that all human actions flow om the heart. And to make it appear, that we we given the true sense of Scripture upon this point, id still further to establish it, we may observe;