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break it all in pieces, when he looked on it afterwards ; would we not thence conclude the frame of it had been quite marred, since made, and that it does not serve for that use it was designed for? How much more, when we see the, holy and wise God destroying the work of his own hands, once solemnly pronounced by him very good, may we conclude that the original frame thereof is utterly marred, that it cannot be mended, but it must needs be new made, or lost altogether ? Gen. vi. 6,7.“ And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart; and the Lord said, I will destroy man,”'or blot him out; as a man doth a sentence out of a book, that cannot be corrected, by cutting off some letters, syllables,or words, and interlining others here and there; but must needs be wholly new framed. But did the deluge carry off this corruption of man's nature? Did it mend the matter? No, it did not. God, in his holy providence, “That every mouth may be stopped, and all the new world may become guilty before God,” as well as the old, permits that corruption of nature to break out in Noah, the father of the new world, after the deluge was over. Behold him as another Adam, sinning in the fruit of a tree, Gen. ix. 20, 21. He planted a vineyard, and he drank of the wine, and was drunken, and he was uncovered within his tent. More than that, God gives the same reason against a new deluge, which he gives in our text for bringing that on the world: “I will not (saith he) again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth," Gen. viii. 21. Whereby it is intimated, that there is no mending of the matter by this means; and that if he would always take the same course with men that he had done, he would be always sending deluges on the earth, seeing the corruption of man's nature remains still. For though the flood could not carry off the corruption of nature, yet it pointed at the way how it is to be done, viz. That men must be born of water and of the Spirit, raised from spiritual death in sin, by the grace of Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood ; out of which a new world of saints arise in regeneration, even as the new world of sinners out of the waters, wière they had long lain buried (as it were) in the ark. This we learn from 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21. where the apostle, speaking of Noah's ark, saith, “Wherein few,"
that is, « eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto, even baptism doth also now save us." Now the waters of the deluge being a like figure to baptism; it plainly follows, that they signified (as baptism doth)" the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” To conclude, then, these waters, though now dried up, may serve us for a looking-glass, in which to see the total corruption of our nature, and the necessity of regeneration. From the text thus explained, ariseth this weighty point of Doctrine, which he that runs may read in it, viz. Man's nature is now wholly corrupted. Now is there á sad. alteration, a wonderful overturn, in the nature of man! where, at first, there was nothing evil; now there is nothing good. In prosecuting of this doctrine, I shall,
First, Confirm it.
Thirdly, Shew you how man's nature comes to be thus corrupted. Lastly, Make application.
That Man's Nature is corrupted. First, I am to confirm the doctrine of the corruption of nature ; to hold the glass to your eyes, wherein you may see your sinful nature; which, though God takes particular notice of it, many do quite overlook. And here we shall consult, 1. God's word. 2. Men's experience and observation. 1
1. For scripture proof, let us consider,
First, How the scripture tükes particular notice of Adam's communicating his image to his posterity, Gen. V, 3.
“ Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth.” Compare with this ver. 1. of that chapter,: “ In the day that God created many in the likeness of God made he him.” Behold kere, how the image after which man was made, and the image after which he is begotten, are opposed. Man was made in the likeness of God; that is, a holy and righteous God made a holy and righteous creature ; but fallen Adam begat a son, not in the likeness of God, but in his own likeness; that is, corrupt sinful Adam begat a corrupt sinful son. For as the image of God. bore righteous:
ness and immortality in it, as was cleared before, so this image of fallen Adam 'bore corruption and death in it, 1. Cor. xv. 49, 50. compare with ver. 22. Moses, in that fifth chapter of Genesis, being to give us the first bill of mortality that ever was in the world, ushers it in with this, that dying Adam begat mortals. Having sina ned, he became mortal, according to the threatening : and so he begat a son, in his own likeness, sinful, and therefore mortal ; thus sin and death passed on all: Doubtless, he begat both Cain and Abel in his own likeness, as well as Seth. But it is 'not recorded of Abel; because he left no issue behind him, and his falling the first sacrifice to death in the world, was a sufficient docu: ment of it; nor of Cain, to whom it might have been thought peculiar, because of his monstrous wickedness ; and besides, all his posterity was drowned in the flood ; but it is recorded of Seth, because he was the father of the holy seed ; and from him all mankind since the food has descended, and fallen Adam's own likeness with them.
Secondly, It appears from that scripture-text, Job xiv.4. 6 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." Our first parents were unclean, how then can we be clean ? How could our immediate parents be clean? Or, how shall our children be 60 ? The uncleanness here aimed at is a sinful uncleanness; for it is such as makes man's days full of trouble i and it is natural, being derived from unclean parents ; “ Man is born of a woman, ver. 1. And how can he be clean that is born of a woman ??! Job XXXV. 4. An onnipotent God, whose power is not here challenged, could bring a clean thing out of an unclean'; and did so, in the case of the man Christ; but no other can. Every person that is born aecording to the course of nature is born unclean. If the root be corrupt, so must the branches be. Neither is the matter mended, though the parents be sanctified ones; for they are but holy in part, and that by grace; not by nature ; and they beget their children as men, not as holy men. Wherefore, as the circumcised parent begets an uncircumcised child and after the purest grain is sown, we reap corn with the chaff; so the holiest parents beget unholy children, and cannot communicate their grace to them, as they do their natures which many godly parents find true, in their sad experience,
Thirdly, Consider the confession of the Psalmist David, Psalm li. 6...“ Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Here he ascends from his actual sin, to the fountain of it, namely, corrupt nature. He was a man, according to God's own heart; but from the beginning it was not so with him. He was begotten in lawful marriage ; but when the lump was shapen in the womb, it was a sinful lump. Hence the corruption of nature is called the old man; being as old as ourselves, older than grace, even in those that are sanctified from the womb.
Fourthly, Hear our Lord's determination of the point, John iï. 6. « That which is born of the flesh is flesh," Behold the universal corruption of all mankind, all are flesh. Not that all are frail, though that is a sad truth too.; yea, and our natural frailty is an evidence of our natural corruption ; but that is not the sense of this text; but here is the meaning of it, all are corrupt and sinful, and that naturally; hence our Lord argues here, that be'cause they are flesh, therefore they must be born again, or else they cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” ver. 3, 5. And as the corruption of our nature evidenceth the absolute necessity of regeneration ; so the absolute necessity of regeneration plainly proves the corruption of our nature ; for why should a man need a second birth, if his nature were not quite marred in the first birth? Infants must be born again, for that is an except (John ii. 3.) which admits of no exception. And, therefore, they were circumcised under the Old Testament ; as having the body of the sins of the flesh (which is conveyed to them by natural generation) to put off,” Col. ü.
And now by the appointment of Jesus Christ, they are to be baptized; which says they are unclean, and that there is no salvation for them, but by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” Tit. iii. 5,
Fifshly, Man certainly is sunk very low now, in comparison of what he once was: God made bim but a « little lower than the angels ;" but now we find him likened to the beasts that perish. He hearkened to a brute ; and is now become like one of them. Like Nebuchadnezzar, his portion (in his natural state) is with the beasts, " mind
ing only earthly things,” Phil. iii. 19. Nay, brates, in sorne sort, have the advantage of the natural man, who is sunk a degree below them. He is more witless, in what concerns him most, than the stork, or the turtle, or the crane, or the swallow, in what is for their interest, Jer. viii. 7. He is more stupid than the ox or ass, Isa. i. 3. I find him sent to school, to learn of the ant or emmot, which having no guide or leader to go before her; no overseer or officer to compel or stir her up to work; no ruler, but may do as she lists, being under the dominion of none; yet “provideth her meat in the summer and harvest, Prov. vi. 6. 7. 8. while the natural man has all these, and yet exposeth himself to eternal starving. Nay, more than all this, the scripture holds out the natural man, not only as wanting the good qualities of those creatures; but as a compound of the evil qualities of the worst of the creatures, in which do concenter the fierceness of the lior, the craft of the fox, the unteachableness of the wild ass, the filthiness of the dog and swine, the poison of the asp, and such like. Truth itself calls them « serpents, a generátion of vipers ; yea more, even “ children of the devil, .Mat. xxi. 33. John viii. 44. Surely then, man's nature is miserably corrupted.
Lastli;, “ We are by nature children of wrath," Eph. ii. 3. We are worthy of, and liable to the wrath of God; and this by nature ; and, therefore, doubtless we are by nature sinful creatures. We are condemned before we have done good or evil ; under the curse, ere we know what it is. « But will a lion roar in the forest, while he hath no prey ?". Amos. iii. 4. that is, Will a holy and just God roar in his wrath against man, if he be not, by his sin, made a prey for wrath? No, he will not, he cannot: Let us conclude, then, that according to the word of God, man's nature is a corrupt nature.
II. If we consult experience, and observe the case of the world in these things that are obvious, to any person that will not shut his eyes against clear light; we will quickly perceive such fruits, as discover this root of bitterness: I shall propose a few thing's; that may serve to convince us in this point. :.
First, Who sees not a flood of miseries overflowing the world? And whither can a man go, where he shall