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for ever to punish us, if we repent not and amend our lives: and if we serve and obey him, we may always rely on his protection and favour; for whom he loves he will love unto the end. He will ever bless his faithful people, he “ will guide them by his counsel while they live, and afterwards receive them to glory.” But if we throw off the restraints of religion, from the persuasion that God will not punish us so severely as he has threatened, let us know that the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, and that with him is no variableness neither shadow of turning, that he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

From the consideration of the divine power, let us learn to adore the infinite strength of his almighty arm which has stretched out the heavens like a curtain, and hath ḥung the earth upon nothing, which sustains the system of the universe, and the lives of all his creatures; which can create or annihilate worlds by one single act, and which worketh all things after the counsel of his will. As he has our lives and fate entirely in his hands, let us dread his displeasure, which is ready to destroy all the workers of iniquity : “ let us fear him who can both kill our bodies, and cast us soul and body into hell-fire : yea, let us fear him."

From the wisdom of God, let us admire the wonderful contrivances exhibited in the works of nature, and the illustrious displays of this perfection in the dispensations of providence and grace. Let us examine the wise adaptation of means to ends in every object within the reach of our inspection, and search the scriptures which contain the wisdom of God in the mystery of redemption, and then we shall be enabled to exclaim, “ great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! in wisdom hast thou made them all.”

From the goodness of God, we should learn thankfulness for the manifestations of it exhibited both towards

and that he hath not only made provision for our bodies, but for the salvation and happiness of our souls. Let us therefore magnify the Lord, and let our spirits rejoice in God our Saviour, who hath thus done such great things for us.

From the holiness, justice, and truth of God, let us learn to be holy as he is holy, as without holiness we cannot be admitted to his presence and enjoyment either here or hereafter. Let us learn that God will render to us according to our works, and confer happiness on us as the reward of our holiness, or inflict misery as the punishment of our vices. Let us consider that as God has promised to bestow the heavenly inheritance on his faithful servants, and threatened everlasting destruction to his enemies, he will assuredly accomplish his purposes; and therefore “ let us fear lest a promise being made us of entering into rest, any of us should” by ungodly lives, “ at last fall short of it.”

SERMON II.

ON THE

DEGENERACY OF HUMAN NATURE.

Rom. V. 12. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

THE scriptures inform us, that “God made man upright,” and invested him with his own image, which consisted “ in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness.” But man being in honour, abode not in his original condition; he soon lost that rectitude with which he was en: dowed, and became degenerated in all his faculties. This assertion may be deemed the mere dogma of scholastic divines, but its truth is founded on observation as well as scripture.

That sin exists in the world, is a fact which is too evident to be disputed. Our own experience, and that of every past age, testifies that we are sinful and corrupted beings.

The sinfulness or corruption of human nature is a theological term, which signifies that degeneracy from integrity of heart and rectitude of conduct, which, as moral agents, we should possess and maintain.

We are born with an innate sense of right and wrong, that teaches us to obey the law of our nature under which we are constituted.

That law to which we are subject, is the dictates of conscience guided by reason, and the more perfect rule of duty prescribed by revelation.

G

This law is a standard of perfection, which however none of our race have ever yet attained; as we find that mankind have violated it universally, and that "there is none who doeth good and sinneth not.” Whence this universal depravity of the human race originated, is a question which has perplexed wise men in every age of the world to explain.-- The philosophers of antiquity could never account for the origin of moral evil; because when they reflected on the goodness of the Deity, whose tender mercies are over all his works, they were at a loss to conceive how he could create man with a nature so wicked and perverted. In their various speculations on this subject, they proposed many different theories, which from their extravagance, indicated the incapacity of the human mind to investigate doctrines which revelation alone is fitted to resolve. The most celebrated hypotheses entertained by the ancients respecting the origin of moral evil, were those of Pythagoras and the Manicheans. The former of these supposed, that all mankind had formerly lived in some pre-existent state, and that they were now expiating in this world, the crimes committed in that period of their being. But the absurdity of this notion is evident, by considering, that we have neither any consciousness nor proof of our existence in any state prior to the present; and therefore it would be unreasonable that we should now be suffering for crimes of which we have no knowledge. Another opinion very generally prevalent was that of Zoroaster, commonly called Manichæism, which maintained that there were two principles in nature; the one the author of all good, the other of all evil. But this is repugnant to every idea of the perfections of God, and the free agency of man. For, if one God be good, he cannot exert his goodness in an unlimited manner, since he would be counteracted by the malignant Deity, and therefore could not be infinite in power, which however is an essential attribute of the Supreme Being. Besides, if there be a principle in nature which is the cause of evil, then sin is necessary as it proceeds from him, and therefore man is no longer to be regarded as the author of his own actions, nor accountable for his behaviour. This

however is a tenet which neither reason ñor religion admits, and therefore the theory on which it is founded is untenable:

There is a third scheme which was adopted by the Stoics in ancient times, and has been revived by the Pelagians among the moderns. This theory supposes evil to be an inseparable concomitant of beings united to material bodies, and that a degree of iinperfection must be necessarily attached to finite creatures. But however plausible it may appear, there is this strong objection against its truth, that it supposes God to have created us imperfect, and yet that he requires a perfect obedience, contrary to those rules of equity by which he governs the whole of his intelligent creatures. In short, there is no theory invented by human wisdom; which can afford any consistent account of the origin of moral evil; and we would to this day have been bewildered in the mazes of uncertainty in our investigations on this subject, if the scriptures had not taught us the only true solution of the difficulties with which it is perplexed. From them we are informed, that God made man upright, and that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death hath passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” As the doctrine of original sin is one in which we are all peculiarly interested, it is well deserving our research ; and therefore an inquiry into its nature, and the extent of its influence may be deemed important to every reflecting mind. In prosecuting this subject in detail, it will be necessary to shew,

1. The proof of original sin, derived both from reason and revelation.

II. The nature of original sin, and how it is communicated to us.

It. The extent of the punishment to which we are liable by its imputation.

IV. The application of the subject. I. The evidences of original sin are many and palpable. Sin exists in the world at present, it has existed in all preceding ages, and may be traced up to Adam our first

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