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Q. 12. 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 neighbour as himself, as Adam was before he fell.
Q. 13. What is the degree of man's depravity? Ă. It is entire or total. By this is meant,
1. Not that mankind are as bad as they can be, for they are greatly restrained; or that they all are equally wicked, for some are worse than others; or that they are destitute of every thing useful and lovely in society, for many are possessed of very amiable and useful natural qualities; or that their natural or intellectual faculties are destroyed, for these remain; or 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 by this is meant,
2. That mankind by nature are entirely destitute of holiness or moral goodness, and positively 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, for the least degree of holiness gives a person
the character of a saint. Q. 14. How does it appear that all mankind are thus depraved?
A. From experience, observation, history, and the word of God. We all are conscious, if we carefully examine ourselves, that our hearts, natuis born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Ps. 58. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Prov. 22, 15. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. Isa. 48. 8. For I know that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. Gen. 8. 21. For the imagination of man's heart is eyil from his youth.
rally, are not right with God, but opposed to Him, and to that which is good. 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. The history of the world is but little else, than a history of evil devices and crimes. The Scriptures are explicit and abundant, in teaching man's total depravity, by express passages. (*)
Q. 15. What are the consequences of man's depravity?
A. The loss of communion with God, the toils and sorrows of this life, the death of the body, the exposure of all men to the pains and miseries of hell for ever, and the actual endurance of these by the finally impenitent. (*)
(m) Gen. 6. 5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually Rom. 8. 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 5. 42. But I know you that ye have not the love of God in you. Rom.7.18. 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. 2. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(n) Gen. 3. 24, 16, 17. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a Haming 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. 2. 17. But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest there. of thou shalt surely die. Gen. 3. 19. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Gal. 3. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse, for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which
Q. 16. Are the doctrines of man's apostacy, depravity, and lost atate, fundamental? and therefore, important to be understood and believed?
A. They are; for they lie at the very foundation of the religion of the Bible. They ought, therefore, to be properly understood, and firmly believed.
are written in the book of the law, to do them. 2 Thess. 1. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power. Matt. 25. 41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
Q. 1. What is meant by the atonement? A. A provision made for the salvation of sinners of the human race. :
In what does this provision consist? 1. 1. It does not consist in Christ's literally discharging the debt of sin, considering it as 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 sense.
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 not died. Indeed, sin and holiness are personal, and, therefore, not transferable. Debts may be transferred, but sins and crimes, in the very nature of things, cannot be transferred.
3. This provision for man's salvation does consist in satisfying publick justice, in making God's government honourable, so that He can consistently grant pardon and salvation to all, who repent and believe. It opens a way, in which God can righteously make gracious communications to the sinful children of men.)
Q. 3. How does the atonement do this?
Ă. It does this by manifesting, declaring, or making known the righteousness of God in His moral government towards man, while He pardons and saves the penitent and believing (6)
Q. 4. In what way was the atonement effected? À. By the sufferings and death of Christ.(0)
(a) Isa. 42. 21. The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law and make it honourable.
(b) Rom. 3. 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.
(c) Heb. 2. 10. For it became him, fo hom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sous unto glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Isa. 53. 5, 10, 11. But he was wounded for our transgressions, 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. 5.10. 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. 2. 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.