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to us for ever, only for the sake of what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for us on earth, and is doing for us in heaven. Let us then, having closed with Christ by faith and come unto Göd by bim, continue, in the way of well-doing, to place our entire dependance on the meritorious righteousness of Jesus Christ, wrought out for us on earch, and pleaded for us by bim in heao ven, for our being brought to the vision and fruition of God in glory. Thus doing we shall find experimen, tally thecruth of that scripture, Heb. vii. 25. He is able to save them to the utter most, that corne unto God by him, feeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us.
Doct. III. The souls of men, while in the stače of nacure, are dead..--- This is a truth implied in the pro. mise of life, here made to the fouls of them, who hear. ken to the call of God.--- Hear, and your foul ball live, This plainly intimates to us, that the souls of sinners while at a distance from God, are destitute of life. For a promise of life, fupposes them not as yet to be por. feffed of life ; but to be in a state of death. Thus it is said of the Prodigal son, that while he was gone from his' facher, he was dead. Luk. xv. 24..... Here, the only thing that may be enquired into is this, viz.
Quest. In what senfe are the souls of men dead, while in the state of nature ?
Answ. 1. Negatively, in two words. It cannot mean,
1. That they are dead, so as to be without natural life.' When the body is dead, ic is destitute of all life. But it is not fo, nor can it be so, as to the souls of men.
They are of an immortal nature, and therefore their life will be eternal. They are fpiritual, immaterial beings, and therefore have nothing in their nature or essence, that can be subje&t to deach. The souls of men, are not like the souls of beasts, mortal and perishable. Eccl.. iii. 21. Who knoweth the Spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth 'I'he Spiric of the beaft falls and dies, and perishes with the body. But the fpirit of man after death, lives and
goes up to God, to be sentenced to an eternal life of happiness or misery. In respect therefore of naturai life, the souls of finners are alive, and shall be so everlastingly. The death then of the souls of sinners whicha che text speaks of, is consistent with the existence and natural life of their souls. .
2. Nor can it mean that they are dead, so as to be without rational actings. When the body is dead, its operations cease. It puts forth no bodily acts. But it is not thus with che souls of men in their fallen estate. They are not so dead, as to be under a privation of power, to perform such acts, as are proper to tational beings. Reason is essential to the soul of man, and infeparable from it. So that the reasoning powers and faculties of the soul, do remain while in a state of sin. Nor does.che sinfulness of the foul, preventi che actings and exercises of those rational powers in it. Hence, men in a stace of fin, are sometimes men of excellent parts, of great wisdom, and large understanding both in things natural and divine. Hereinchey many times outshine those thac are brought out of a state of sin, into a state of grace. That death of the soul therefore which the text speaks of, does not deny the soul's capacity to ex: ert its racional powers, and that in a very eminent degree..... Thus for the negative answer,
Answ. 2. Affirmatively, in two words also. · 1. The souls of med while in the state of nature, are legally dead..... They are under a sentence of death. The holy law of God condemns them to a death of misery and punishment. That's the righteous sentence of God, Ezek. xviii. 4. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The wages aflign'd to them by the law of God, is death. Rom. vi. 23. The wages of fun, is death. And judgment is come upon them unto condemnation, Rom. v. 18. They are in a Itate of condeinnation, and lie open to the curse of the law of God. Gal. iii. 10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all sbings which are turitten in the book of the law to do them. So chat as men when, under a senrece of condemnation 10 die, are said to be dead in law ; in like manner the souls of finners being under a sentence of deach, may be said to be legally dead. And unless the grace of God prevene ir, by bringing the sioner to repentance and faithi in Christ, this sentence of death will afTuredly be executed upon them in the fulness thereof for ever.
2. The souls of men while in the state of nature, are Spiritually dead. They are under a spiritual death, as iç is taken in opposition to that life, which the foul of Adam had before the fall; and which the souls of believers have by and after regeneration. Wherein the spiritual death of the soul consists, we may more clearly apprehend, by considering its resemblance to bodily deach, which is more obvious to us..
1. The souls of men while in the state of nature, are destitute of that fpiritual principle, which thould animate and enliven them, namely, the holy image of God. The body of Adam, before the infusion of the soul, was a lifeless lump : So is the body after the soul's deparcure from it. The soul is the life of the body, that which animales it. When therefore the body is deprived of the soul, then ic is dead. Even so when the soul is under a privation of the holy image of God, ic is spiritually dead. Though it be rationally alive, as to a principle of reason ; yet it is spiritually dead, as lo a principle of grace and boliness. The holy image of God was at firít imprinted upon the foul of man ; and thereby he was ficted and capacicated to live unio God. But by the fall, man lost this holy image of God upon his soul, and so it became a dead soul. Now all men abiding in the fallen state, are under this lofs and want of the holy image of God, and so are spiritually dead. They are destitute of the holy Spirit in his fanctifying gifts and graces, and so are dead. Hence the apostle Jude speaking of some seducers, declares them to be twice dead. Jud. v. 12. and then gives this evi. dence of it, V. 19. baving not the spirit. They were dead, because destitute of the quickning spirit of grace. Souls that have not a principle of grace wrought in
them by the holy spirir, are spiritually dead souls. When therefore finners are renewed and fanétified by the holy Spirit, then they are alive unto God. Thus it is said of the converted Prodigal, that he was dead, but is alive again. Luk. XV. 24.:
2. The souls of men while in the state of nature, are under an impotency to acts of spiritual life. A dead body cannot move or work ; though when living it was ever fo active, it cannot now put forth one vital act. So the souls of finners cannot perform actions of spiricual life. They are dead co every thing that is spiricually good. Indeed, they may do works materially good, such as are agreable to the letter of the law; but they cannot do works spiritually good, such as are conformed to the law in its spiritual intent and meaning. The law of God is fpiritual, Rom. vii. 14. And it requires duties to be done from a spiritual principle of grace; after a spiritual and gracious manner, for a spiritual and divine end. Now thus the soul in the state of nature cannot discharge ducies of obedience. Hence natural men cannot do any thing that is cruly good and accep. table to God. Rom. viii. 8. So then they that are in the Hero, i. e. the carnal, corrupt state, cannot please God. While in that state, chey not only do not, but cannot please God. They are under a total inability of doing things well-pleasing to God; such as God should ap. prove of, accept, and reward with eternal life.
3. The fouls of men while in the state of nature, have no spiritual fenfes. The body, when it is dead, is altogether fenseless. The senses which it once enjoyed, and which were very quick, while living, are now utterly lost : so the souls of unregenerated men, are destitute of their spiritual fenfes. . Particularly,
1. They have no fpiritual Sight. The bodily eye when dead sees nothing. Though the sun shine upon it in its full brightness, yet the eye discerns nothing of it. Its visive faculty is wholly loft, so chat it cannot fee any object of sense presented to it. Thus the souls of finners in their natural estate discern mot spiritual
objects. objects. The understanding, which is the eye of the soul, is spiritually blind. A woful deach is come upon it, whereby it is darkned and blinded.; Yea, and that in men that have a great measure of natural reason, and this heightned by exercise. The apostle Speaking of the wise, the scribe, the disputer of ibis world, says of them all, while in their natural estate, that they receive not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness. unto them, neither can they know them, because they are fpiritually discerned, 1 Cor. j. 20. compared with chap. ii. 10. Though they were men of wisdom, learning, and great argumentative skill, yet they had not ability to understand spiritual things spiritually, and to form right. notions of them. And therefore oftentimes men of the greatest parts, are the greatest opposers of the spiritual mysteries of the gospel.' The Pharisees, who were a. mong the chief enemies of Christ and che gospel, were inen of great natural and acquired abilities, yet were Itark blind as to fpiritual things. And though they could not bear the charge of blindness, yet our Lord fast. ned it upon them, Job. ix. 40, 41. Such is che blindness of men's minds naturally, that they do misjudge of spiritual things, and pass a wrong judgment upon them. Thus they do in matters intellectual or doctrinal. They judge that to be true, which is false, and that to be false, which is true. Hence it is that they embrace damnable errors and heresies, and disbelieve the great truths of the gospel. And as they pass a wrong judg. ment in matters doctrinal, ro likewise in matters prace rical. They call good, evil; and evil, good. Isai. v. 20. The ways of God, they judge to be hard, unpleasant and unprofitable. The ways of sin, they judge to be tweet, desirable and gainful. And hence they forsake the ways of the Lord, and walk in the ways of fin. This proceeds from the blindnefs of their minds ; as the apostle says, Eph. V. 17, 18. This I fay therefore and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other i Gentiles walk, in the vanity of obeir mind, having the understanding darkned, being alienated froin the life of God, i