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Does the depravity of man destroy his moral agency?
A. It does not. He has the very same faculties of mind which Adam had before he fell, and is, therefore, just as much bound to love God with all the heart, and his neighbor as he ought to love himself, as Adam was before he fell.
Q. 12. What is the degree of man's depravity ?
Ă. It is entire or total. I. By this is not meant, 1. That mankind are as bad as they can be; for they are greatly restrained ; or 2. That they all are equally wicked ; for some are worse than others; or 3. That they are destitute of everything useful and lovely in society; for many are possessed of very amiable and useful natural qualities; or 4. That their natural or intellectual faculties are destroyed; for these remain ; or 5. That they have not the natural affections of gratitude, sympathy, pity, humanity, and the like; for all mankind, whether holy or unholy, possess these in common. But II. By this is meant, that mankind by nature are entirely destitute of holiness or moral goodness, and are sinful so far as their affections and actions partake of a moral nature. If this be not a fact, it will be difficult to point out the difference between a saint and a sinner, as the least degree of holiness gives a person the character of a saint.
Q. 13. How does it appear that all men are thus depraved ?
my mother conceive me.-Job xiv. 4. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not one.-Job xv. 14. What is man that he should be clean ? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ?—John iji. 6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. -Ps. Iviji. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.-Prov. xxii. 15. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child.--Isaiah xlviii. 8. For I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.-Gen. viii. 21. For the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.—John iii. 6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh.-Romans visi. 7. Be cause the carnal mind is enmity against God;
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
A. From experience, observation, history, and the word of God. 1. We all are conscious, if we carefully examine ourselves, that our hearts, naturally, are not right with God, but are opposed to him, and to that which is good. 2. The conduct of those of mankind, who are in an unrenewed state, which we witness in them from time to time, proves their entire depravity. 3. The history of the world is but little else than a history of evil devices and crimes. 4. The Scriptures are explicit in teaching man's entire depravity, in various passages. (k)
Q. 14. What are the consequences of man's depravity ?
A. 1. The loss of communion with God. 2. The toils and sorrows of this life. 3. The death of the body. 4. The exposure of all men to the miseries of hell forever. And, 5. The actual endurance of these by the finally impenitent. (?)
(l) Gen. vi. 5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the carth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.—Romans viii. 7, 8. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.—John v. 42. But I know
ye have not the love of God in you.-Romans vii. 18. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.—1 Cor. ii. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishnoss unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(?) Gen. iii. 24. 16, 17. So he drove out the man; and lie placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.-Gen. ii. 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof ihou shalt surely die.-Gen. iii. 19. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.—Gal. fii. 10.
For as many as are of the works of the law, are under
Q. 15. Of wliat consequence are the doctrines of man's apostasy, depravity, and lost state ?
A. They lie at the very foundation of the religion of the Bible. They ought, therefore, to be properly understood, and firmly believed.
Ă. The provision made for the salvation of sinners of the human race by the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ.
Q. 2. In what does this provision consist ?
A. 1. It does not consist in Christ's literally discharging the debt of sin, considering it as in the light of a pecuniary debt, due from man to God; for sin is not to be reckoned as a debt in reality, but as a crime. When spoken of as a debt, it is merely in a figurative
Besides, if sin be reckoned as a pecuniary debt, and this debt be discharged, then the sinner has an undoubted right to freedom from the evil of sin, both in the present and future life, and can demand it as a matter of justice, whether his heart be right with God or not. But this none will pretend. 2. Neither does this provision for man's salvation consist in a literal transfer of man's sins to Christ, nor of His righteousness to man. For if the sins of men are thus transferred to Christ, then He is sinful, and men are free from sin; or if the righteousness of Christ is thus transferred to men, then they are holy, and He is destitute of holiness. But the sinner is as guilty and ill-deserving as though Christ had the curse ; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.--2 Thess. i. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lorci and the glory of his power.--Matt. xxv. 4. Then shall he say also imto ihem on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, iüto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
not died. Indeed, sin and holiness are personal, and, therefore, not literally transferable. Debts may be transferred, but sins and crimes, in the very nature of things, cannot in reality be transferred. But, 3. This provision for man's salvation does consist in Christ's dying in our stead, and thereby satisfying Divine justice, and making known the righteousness of God, so that He can be just while He grants pardon and salvation to all who believe. (a)
Q. 3. Did Christ endure the same kind and quantity of sufferings, that would have been endured by sinners had He not died for their redemption ?
A. Certainly not. He was not troubled with inimical feelings to God,
,—was not burdened with a guilty conscience,—was not afflicted with utter and absolute despair. On account of Christ's greatness, dignity, and worth, which take their character from His whole Person, uniting as it does the Divine and human natures, it was not necessary, that He should suffer so great a quantity of evil, as all mankind must
(a) Rom. iii. 25, 26. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.-Heb. ij. 10. For it became him, for whom are all things, and hy whom are all things, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. -Isaiah liji. 5. 10, 11. But he was wounded for our transgres. sions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied : by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.-Rom. v. 10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.-Philip. ii. 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.--Heb. ii. 14. Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same ; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
have justly suffered had they perished in their sins. The death of Christ was a substitute for the just punishment of sinners, inasmuch as it answered the same great ends in God's moral government. His sufferings sufficiently manifested the demerit of sin, and God's holy abhorrence of it; and in this way Christ did not destroy the law, but fulfilled it. The dignity and authority of the Lawgiver are vindicated, justice is satisfied, and a way is opened for the free and consistent exercise of mercy to man, guilty and ill-deserving.
Q. 4. Were Christ's sufferings bodily or mental, or both ?
A. They were both, though chiefly mental; and in these the atonement principally consisted. (b)
Q. 5. Did Christ suffer in liis human or Divine nature, or both?
A, He suffered in His human nature, body and soul only, The Divine nature, however, enabled Him to endure the evils that were laid upon Him, and, by its connection with the human nature, added unspeakable worth to His sufferings; for these take their character and value from the whole complex Person of Christ.
Q. 6. Were the sufferings of Christ great and distressing?
A. His sufferings of body were severe, but the agony of His spirit exceeded all human comprehension.
(b) 1 Pet. iii. 18. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by ihe Spirit.-Is. liii. 10. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his secd, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.--Luke xxii. 41. And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.- Viatt. xxxvi. 38. Then said he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. --Matt. xxvii. 46. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani ? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsakep me ?