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" they may keep the way of the LORD ?." Was not Abraham feparated from the world around him, separated from his own kindred? Yet there was an Ishmael in his family, a scoffer, a persecutor a.
Was not Ifaac the father of that “ profane person Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold “his birthright b!” So wicked were some of the fons of Jacob, that they “ troubled him, to make “ him to stink among the inhabitants of the “ land." Two of them were guilty of incestd; two of them were perfidious murderers; and they almost all conspired against Jofeph, and fold him as a Nave.
11. It is evident that this depravity is natural to man, because it is ascribed to him, and actually appears in his conduct, from his earliest years. Here we might appeal to universal experience. Where is the parent, who, unless wonderfully blinded by self-love or prejudice, has not remarked in his children the mournful dawnings of peevishness, wilfulness, disobedience, envy and resentment, almost from the womb ? Who has not seen, that falsehood is their natural language, as soon as they begin to speak? But we appeal to the observation of that Witness who cannot err. It is his testimony, that “ the imagination of “ man's heart is evil from his youth,” or “ in“ fancy e." It is not said that man's ways are evil, but the assertion respects his heart. Nor is it fimply declared that his heart is evil ; but this depravity is ascribed to the imagination of his heart; that is, to the very first figment of thought there. For in us, that is, “in our flesh,” in our nature as children of Adam, “ dwelleth no good
depravity z Gen. xviii. 19. a Gen. xxi. 9. ; Gal. iv. 29. b Heb. xii. 16. c Gen. xxxiv. 30.
d Gen. IXXV, 22. ; xxxvüi. 18. e Gen. vii. 33.
thing ;” and we are not “ sufficient of ourselves
to think any thing as of ourselves f.” This corruption is not confined to years of maturity. Man is thus depraved from his very infancy. For the original word, as it is sometimes rendered childhoods, properly denotes the whole age of man from his conception, till he arrive at the state of manhood. It is a derivative from the word which is used to signify a mere infant, and even an embryo in the womb h.
Do we read of some, who in their early years have manifested a different propensity? We are at the same time assured that this was entirely the effect of divine grace. Thus John the Baptist was “ filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his “ mother's womb."
111. Original depravity is evidently ascribed to that Patriarcb, who was to be the progenitor of the Messiah, as well as of the Church. It has been often observed, that the language employed
the Spirit of God, concerning the generation of Seth, deserves particular attention. " Adam “-begat a fon in his own likeness, after his
image ; and called his name Seth.” He must be wilfully blind, who, in this phraseology, observes not an obvious reference to the language used with respect to the creation of Adam, and at the same time a striking antithesis.
g 1 Sam. xii. 2.
f Rom. vii. 18. ; . Cor. ii. s. b Exod. ii. 6.; Judg. xiii. 7.
i Luke i. 19.
“ God said, “ Let us make man in our image, after our like“ ness k." But left the reader should overlook the contrast, because of the passage referred to being at some little distance in the history, the same language is repeated immediately before this declaration with respect to Seth : “ In the “ day that God created man, in the likeness of God “ made he him.---And Adam lived an hundred " and thirty years, and begat a fon in his own “ likeness, after his image!.” A very important difference is undoubtedly marked between the likeness of God and that of Adam. The likeness of Adam was that of a fallen mortal creature. Adam was now a believer, but he was a sinful man. The image of God, which he had lost by the fall, was indeed partially restored. But this was not properly his image : and as it was restored only by grace, it could not be communicated according to the course of nature. Adam could beget no son in his likeness, even as partially renewed. For moral rectitude can only be the effect of a new creation : and we are thus created, not in the first, but in the second Adam m. Although it had been poslible, that our first parent could have communicated his image as a renewed man, still there would have been a communication of his remaining corruption; and Seth would have inherited original fin.
k Gen. i. 26.
I Gen. V. I. 3
m Eph. ii. 10; Col. iii. 10.
The language of the Spirit of God, in this parsage, forms fo remarkable an antithesis to that employed concerning the creation of Adam, that the mind instantaneously and irresistibly recurs to it: and how repugnant foever to the pride of the heart, feels a secret conviction that this means. something very different from being “ created in “ God's image, after his likeness.”
This account is not given with respect to Cain, although there can be no doubt that it is equally applicable to him. But some might have indulged the vain imagination, that, when Cain ceived existence, fin retained more of its virulence in our first parents, than afterwards. Or, it might have been supposed, that this was peculiar to Cain, of whom it is said that he “ was of that " wicked one;" and that although fimilar depravity had been communicated to his pofterity, this had perished with them in the universal deluge. Nor is this faid of Abel, who, as far as appears, left no issue. But this account is refer ved for the history of that other seed, whom God appointed instead of righteous Abel. As, after the deluge, the earth was to be peopled solely by the descendants of Seth ; as the seed of the Church, nay, that seed, in which all the families of the earth should be blessed, was to spring from him ; we are taught, by the Spirit of inspiration, what judgment we ought to form with respect to the natural state of mankind in general, and even of those who are the heirs of glory. VOL. II.
iv. The very names of some of the patriarchs convey this important lesson. Among the Hebrews and other eastern nations, the names imposed on persons, either at their birth or afterwards, were always fignificant. They were monuments, of the most simple and familiar kind. They either denoted fomething singular in regard to their birth, or respected some blessing from God. Thus they were a sort of compendious history. For we must suppose, that parents were at pains to explain them to their children; and they could not be pronounced, without the recollection of the reason of their being impo
But most of the names given by the antediluvian patriarchs are confined to one affecting subject. They express the guilt and misery of our nature; as if these good men had still looked back to the entrance of fin, and kept in their eye its deserved punishment. The name of Abel, as it signifies vanity, or “ a vapour that foon vanish“eth away,” emphatically denoted, not merely the brevity of his life, but that of the life of man in general, who “ at his best state is altogether
vanity.” Seth, the substitute for Abel, gave a name to his son, which exhibits man in the same melancholy point of view. “ He called his name “ Enos.” This signifies forrowful, grievously fick, miserable. Nor was this name confined to him. Like that of Abel, it is extended to all men ; who are often called Enos, or fons of Enos, be
cause a Fleury, Mours des Israelites, Chap. i.