MAN AS HE IS
[I have revised the language slightly. RDI]
I. "God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions." Adam rebelled. The natural man became unnatural. The animal triumphed over the human elements in his nature. Sin was born on the earth. The crown fell from his head. The glory of the Lord departed from him. He felt his guilt and trembled; he saw his nakedness and blushed. The bright light of the Lord became a dimly smoking candle. He was led to judgment. He was tried, condemned to death, stripped of his inheritance; but given a stay of execution. He was permitted to roam abroad at large till the King authorized his seizure and destruction.
2. The stream of humanity, thus contaminated at its source, cannot in this world ever rise of itself to its original purity and excellence. We all inherit a frail constitution physically, intellectually, but especially morally. We have all inherited our father's personality and fate. Adam, we are told, after he fell "begat a son in his own image." That son was just as bad as any other son ever born in the world. He murdered his own dear brother, because he was a better man than himself. Thus "by one man sin entered into the world," and death by that one sin, and so death, the wages of sin has fallen upon all the offspring of' Adam, because in him they have all sinned or been made mortal. As a result, they are born under condemnation to that death which fell upon our first parent.
3. In Adam all have sinned; therefore, "In Adam all die." Your nature, dear reader, not your person, was in Adam when he stretched out his hand to break the law of Jehovah. You did not personally sin in that act; but your nature, then in the person of your father, sinned against the Author of your existence. In the just judgment of your heavenly Father, your nature sinned in Adam, and with Him it is right that all human beings should be born mortal. Therefore death reigns over the whole race even "over them that have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," i.e. by violating a "positive law." What God can righteously and justly inflict upon a part of mankind, He may justly and mercifully inflict upon all; new born infant, or aged saint. The apostle expressly says that death, is the "wages of sin." This reward for sin is presently inflicted upon at least one-fourth of the human race who have never violated any law, or sinned personally by any act of their lives. According to the most accurate estimates, between one-third and. one fourth of the children die in infancy (under two years) without the consciousness of good or evil. Innocent as respects actual and personal transgression, He inflicts upon them the peculiar and appropriate wages of sin. .This alarming and most strangely meaningful fact proves that Adam was not only the common father, but the actual representative of all his children!
4. There is a sin of our natures as well as personal transgression. Some mistakenly call the sin of our nature "original sin," as if the sin of Adam was the personal sin of all his children. True, our nature was corrupted by the fall of Adam before it was transmitted to us; and hence that inability to do good, and that idiotic tendency to do evil, which is so clearly seen in the human race. Let no man lift his voice against the transmission of a moral disorder, until he is able to explain the fact that the special characteristic vices of parents appear in their children as much as the color of their skin, their hair, and the shape of their faces. A disease in the moral constitution is as clearly transmissible as any physical taint, if there be any truth in history, biography, or human observation.
5. Still, man is not under an irresistible necessity to sin! Weak, easily seduced, he may or may not yield to passion and seduction. Hence the differences we so often discover in the dirt and filth of man. All inherit a fallen, sinful, nature, though all are not equally sinful. We find the degrees of sinfulness and immorality are very different in different persons. True, without a knowledge of God and His revealed will, without faith, without a mediator - "it is impossible to please God." Still there are those who, lacking this knowledge and belief, are more honorable than others. Luke says: "The Jews in Berea were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed" (Acts 17:11). But until man in his present unnatural state believes the gospel report of his sins, and submits to Jesus Christ as the only Mediator and Saviour of sinners, it is impossible for him to do any thing absolutely pleasing or acceptable to God.
6. Although condemned to natural death, although greatly fallen and depraved, still, because of the second Adam (Christ), only those are punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord who actually and willingly sin against a dispensation of mercy under which they have been placed. This is the "condemnation of the world that light has come into the world, and man choose darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil."
[If, as we believe, all dying before the "age of accountability" are "safe," probably half of the human race are "saved." We wonder about all the "fetuses" aborted? Certainly God has it all under control. RDI]