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THE FALLEN STATE OF MAN.
It is an indisputable fact that God made man upright, with a body free from every defect, and a soul free from every taint of sin. The Scriptures teach us that man was formed in the image of God-his moral image which consisted “in righteousness and true holiness.” In this state he had the knowledge of God, communion with Him, the enjoyment of his love, and the dominion over the creatures of this lower world, according to the saying of the Psalmist, “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.”
The end for which man was created was one worthy of the adorable Creator. “ It became
him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,” to form man for his own glory. This was the end which God had in view when he made man out of the dust of the earth, “ and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” This end man was capable of answering, being endowed with powers whereby he was fitted to admire, praise, and display the divine perfections. Is man, however, now in that state in which he was originally formed? Has he answered the end of his creation ? No; he has “ wrought out many inventions.” “O Israel ! thou hast destroyed thyself.” - All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” As the arrow falls short of the mark at which it is aimed; as he who runs in a race falls short of obtaining the prize ; so man has fallen short of glorifying God. Of this fact proofs almost innumerable are at hand, plain, palpable, and forcible, from which the following shall be selected.
One proof of the fallen state of man may be drawn from the sacred Scriptures. All the inspired penmen, whatever may be the age in which they lived, have borne testimony to this sad fact. Moses testifies, “ that all flesh has corrupted his way upon the earth.” Job represents man “as abominable and filthy, who drinketh in iniquity like water.” David says, “ Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." " The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Isaiah says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Jeremiah tells us, that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” The Prophet Micah says of men, “ The best of them is a briar; the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge.” Paul declares that “the carnal mind is enmity against God :" and John asserts that “ the whole world lieth in wickedness."
No man perhaps ever had a better acquaintance with human nature than the Apostle Paul: and what does he say respecting it? How awful the picture he draws of it in the 3rd chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. He states that the human race is altogether corrupt : - As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable ; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they have used deceit; the
poison of asps is under their lips.” He points out the misery of man in consequence of sin: “ Destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes." And lest any should suppose, and please themselves with the idea, that the description he gives of man's fallen state does not apply to them, he expressly says, “ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
But the Scriptures not only present us on this subject with the sentiments of holy men, who, since they spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, must be supposed to have had correct views of things, and to have spoken the mind of heaven; but they present us also with the direct testimony of God himself. They introduce to our notice Him who made man, and knows what is in man; Him who searches the heart and tries the reins of the children of men; Him“ who is a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he;" testifying, “ that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ;" that out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false