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TAKING UP THE CROSS.
The annexed feeling, and beautiful lines, are said to have been written by a young English lady, who had experienced much affliction. There is a devotedness-a spirit of religion running through it, which cannot fail to touch the most obdurate heart
Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave, and follow thee;
Thou, from hence, my all shalt be!
God and heaven are all my own!
They have left my Saviour too;
Thou art not, like them, untrue;
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Show thy face and all is right.
Come disaster, scorn, and pain;
With thy favor, loss is gain;
I have set my heart on thee;
All must work for good to me!
"Twili but drive me to thy breast;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
While thy love is left to me;
Were that joy unmixed with thee.
Soul! then know thy full salvation;
Rise o’er sin, and fear, and care;
Something still to do or bear!
Think what heavenly bliss is thine;
Child of Heaven, canst thou repine?
Armed by faith, and wing'd by prayer,
God's own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
THE DOCTRINE OF HUMAN DEPRAVITY; CONSIDERED
IN CONNECTION WITH ITS PRACTICAL RESULTS.
The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.' Isalah i. 5,6.
This is as affecting a description as could well be given of the moral and spiritual condition of mankind. No one, we apprehend, can suppose that it signifies a physical disorder, for it can scarcely be misunderstood in that manner. The evangelical prophet was manifestly speaking of the moral state of the Jewish people, and to illustrate this, he employs the figurative and energetic language of our text. It is not, therefore, the outward man he has in view, but the inward; not the body, but the soul; not the physical diseases of the former, but the moral disorders of the latter. But as we can form clearer and more definite ideas of those things which we take cognizance of by the senses, than of those which are the subjects only of abstract reasoning and intellectual observation, the prophet illustrates the condition of the interior man, by that of the exterior. He represents the soul in its depraved and sinful state, by a body under the ravages of a universal, loathsome, fell disease, which has spread itself over the entire frame, and presents nothing to view but an extended surface of putrefaction.
The passage may be applied to mankind in two ways, either individually or generally. It may signify that each individual person is thus morally diseased: or that it is the condition of human society in general. That the very heart, that is, the seat of the affections and moral powers, is faint; and the whole head, representing the intellectual endowments, is sick: and that it extends from the sole of the foot,---the lowest walks of life, to the head, the highest classes; and so through all the intermediate grades. In fact we are to consider it in both senses. It is true in the general, and it is
true in the particular. As the disease has spread over all the world, it has equally infected every individual in the world.
Some, however, have denied the general applicability of the text, and limited it exclusively to the Jews, to whom, we admit, the prophet, more directly alluded. But in describing this portion of our race, he has described the whole; for there is no difference ;' we all
sprang from the same parent stock, and are involved in the same moral calamity. This is the point, which it devolves upon us to establish. In doing so, we shall endeavor in the first place to exhibit the scriptural views of the moral state of mankind: Secondly, remove some objections to this doctrine. And thirdly, close with some practical deductions.
1. The scriptural views of the moral state of mankind. may not be misunderstood in our observations, nor appear to be striking in the dark, we at once express the conviction that the sacred oracles most explicitly teach the doctrine of the total depravity of human nature, a doctrine, by the way, which has been a fundamental article of faith in the Methodist church, from its origin to the present day, invariably and universally acknowledged by its authorities.
The first ground on which our belief in this doctrine rests, is, the scriptural account of the fall of Adam, and the subsequent propagation of the human race. The Bible informs us, that God created man in his own image,' which consists in righteousness and true holiness. He was then a perfect and a holy being, having every passion subject to his Maker's will, every affection responsive to his voice, and every faculty exerted to the utmost in his service, which, at the same time, was the joy and delight of his heart, as well as the sole purpose of his existence. He was placed by his Munificent Creator in the garden of Eden, not in a state of luxurious indolence, but “to dress and to keep it,' with light and graceful activity, and with an innocent and cheerful mind. Of the fruit of every tree in the garden he received free permission to partake, save one alone. This was the tree of knowledge of good and evil,' of which he was not to eat, under the penalty of death: "for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' This is not to be regarded in the light of a merely arbitrary decree, but as a wise and benevolent institution. It served as a test of man's allegiance to his Sovereign, and as a salutary memento of his own dependance and responsibility. It was necessary as a subject of the divine government, that he should be placed under law, and it was kind, to set up an enduring remembrancer of that law and of its obligations and penalty.
In order to a correct apprehension of our subject, it is essential that we should distinctly keep in mind, that man was created a moral agent; capable, that is, of good and evil, with the power of choosing
between the tivo. He was made holy, but not immutable, nor under any manner of
necessity or constraint. It is manifest, that on no other principles could he have evinced the spirit of true allegiance : for had he not been thus constituted he must have been a necessary agent, a passive thing, acting under a physical necessity, like a machine which is moved by some propelling power, and is incapable alike of virtue or of vice. Our noble epic poet, in his Paradise Lost,' has very well expressed this doctrine.
• I made them just and right
What pleasure I from such obedience paid? Consequently it was not consistent with man's nature by any constraint, or necessitating influence to prevent the Fall. Man being endowed with every requisite for perfectly obeying the law, was to prove his allegiance by voluntary service, or he could give no proof at all. Man, howeevr, did not endure the test of his fidelity. Satan tempted the woman, and she fell; she join'd her blandishments and persuasions to Satan's suggestions, and the man thus assailed also fell, in a great measure probably as Milton conceives, and as St. Paul seems to teach,
not deceiv'd, But fondly overcome by female charms.' Nor can the fall of man be fairly urged, as is sometimes attempted, as an evidence of man's imperfect nature. For without a possibility of falling, he could not have been a moral agent ; and it is not conceivable that he could have been placed in any situation affording a suitable test of his moral power, in which his liability to fall would bave been less. Nor, as we have before observed, could the Deity have prevented it, by any constraining influence without destroying man's moral agency, and thus frustrating his own design in his creation.
That man really did undergo a vast moral change for the worse, immediately upon the commission of this act, we need not now
From the face of the narrative it is undeniably manifest; and we would refer you to the account itself, to discern the difference in the character of Adam, prior to eating of the fatal fruit, and subsequently to that event. Having been, in consequence of this rash act, expelled from Eden, the sacred history proceeds to trace the progeny of the disobedient pair. And here we have abundant evidence, that as the root was now become evil, so also
take time to prove.
were the branches. Cain their first born was a fratricide; and Abel sufficiently indicated, by the sacrifices he offered, a sense of his natural and inherent depravity, and that his goodness was derived from the plighted atonement of the promised Redeemer. Of Seth, who from the death of Abel and disinheritance of Cain took the place of the First Born, the Spirit of inspiration testifies that he was begotten in the likeness, after the image of his father;-a phrase which we understand in its scriptural acceptation, to signify similarity of moral character. This doctrine is supported by the voice of philosophy as well as by that of scripture. For while the one declares nothing can produce, what is not in itself,' and ' like only produces like,' the other recognizes the same principle when it says, 'who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.' (Job 14, 4.) On this subject nothing can be clearer than the testimony of St. Paul, in the 5th chapter of his epistle to the Romans. Here he asserts that by one man sin entered into the world,' (v. 12:) through the offence of one many are dead,' (15;) - by the offence of one, judgement came upon all men to condemnation,' (13;) and by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.'
The doctrine of our natural depravity, is abundantly corroborated by the moral history of mankind. It was but a short period comparatively, before all flesh corrupted his way on the earth,' and the earth was filled with violence, and every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually. To such a height did the wickedness of man arise, that God, in his just and indignant retribution, cleared the earth of its inhabitants by a deluge of waters. We would have supposed that by this event man would have learnt to fear his God, and that the moral impression produced by it could never have been obliterated. But how soon did man's native tendency to rebellion show itself in the building of Babel? And when, from the increase of wickedness, the Lord selected one nation to be a peculiar people to himself; a repository for his name, his laws, and his religion; fenced them about with a hedge of rigid discipline, and singular customs, to keep them from blending with other nations, and being carried away with their vices; we should have said surely this people will show themselves worthy of the distinction conferred upon them! But how are we disappointed ! What foul revolts, and severe punishments we read of, in their future history! How often were they visited with judgements from heaven for their sins, until at length they have become an astonishment, a proverb and a bye word among all nations, whither the Lord hath driven them. And when we look beyond the Israelites to the other tribes of the earth, are we not still more shocked with the account of human vices. What is the whole tenor of history but a record of the crimes of mankind? Every page is stained by the