WE have proposed to give our readers a more enlarged view of our sentiments, which were briefly presented in our prospectus. The next item in order is, "the total depravity and just condemnation of fallen man."
According to our engagement, we call the attention of our readers to the testimony which first from the word of God, and then from such collateral testimony as we can find existing among the human family, we intend on this occasion to present. The work before us is to prove that man in his fallen state, is totally depraved; and secondly, that he is justly condemned by law of God.
On this important subject mankind appears to be very generally in the dark; and from an ignorance of this subject many errors and extravagances have gained in the world as we shall notice in the conclusion of this article. We cannot expect that the proud heart of man will fall in love with the doctrine about to be presented, as it strikes a death blow at all personal righteousness or human excellence, as a ground for acceptance before the sovereign Judge of quick and dead. Painful as the awful truth may be, it should not be concealed that "Man in his best estate is altogether vanity." But as you are at this time called to contemplate man in his lost, depraved and condemned estate, you would have just cause to accuse us of "handling the word of God deceitfully," and of "giving flattering titles to men," should we fail to present him as he is presented in the record which the God of all truth has given us.
Of the numerous passages of divine truth, which prove that mankind are depraved, we give the following: "God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." - Eccl. vii 29. "Wherefore as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." - Rom. v. 12. "Their throat is an open sepulchre, with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known; their is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may become guilty before God. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." - Rom. iii. 13-20 and 23. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint, from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores," &c.-Isa. i. 5, 6. "What is man, that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?" - Job xv. 14. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." - Job xiv. 4. "Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." - Psalms li 5. "Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back; they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." - Psalms liii. 1-3. What then? Are we any better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. As it is written "There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after.
"The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent, they are like the deaf adder, that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely." - Psalms lviii. 3-5. The above are a few of the many passages of holy writ, which prove the total depravity of all mankind in their fallen condition. Here in this volume, according to which God will judge the world, the whole mass of mankind are presented on one general level; all have sinned; death has passed upon all; hence there is no class of our race exempt from this state of wretchedness and depravity, conceived in sin, estranged from the womb, going astray, and speaking lies, as soon as they are born.
But as we conceive the doctrine of total depravity involves as a consequence, total inability, i. e. not as natural creatures, to perform natural things, but as depraved beings to perform anything which is good and acceptable in the sight of God. Of man in his alienation from God, it is written, "The thoughts of his heart are evil, and that continually." " He cannot see the kingdom of God." - John iii. 3. "He cannot discern the things of the Spirit." 1 Cor. ii. 14. "He cannot receive the spirit of truth." - John xiv. 17. "He cannot do good." -Jeremiah viii. 23. "He cannot cease from sin." - 2 Peter ii. 14. "He cannot repent." -Acts v. 31. "Cannot believe (savingly) in Christ." - John vi .29; -Acts xiii. 41.
Man is not only a depraved and helpless creature, as a fallen sinner, but lie is also a condemned criminal, having sinned and come short of the glory of God, as we have shown. And the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness. He is not, as many suppose, (a probationer) in a state of trial, to see whether he will, or will not deserve eventually to be condemned; for the law has already uttered its thundering sentence: "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Nor again, as others have contended, that the sinner as a free moral agent, is endowed with natural ability to repent, believe the gospel, and be saved; and, in the words of A. Fuller, "Commanded to believe, on Pain of damnation."
"For they arc condemned already." Math. iii. 18. Hence, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." - Rom. ix. 16, 18. That the condemnation of fallen sinners is grounded on strict justice, but few will have the hardihood, in so many words, to deny. If it be admitted that the law of God is "Holy, just and good," and that a just and holy law has said, "The soul that sinneth it shall die;" and that the sovereign Judge has declared that there is none that doeth good, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; the point is established forever.
It does not belong to the discussion of this subject to present a remedy, a way of salvation, or to pursue the popular course even of those of our day who contend for the scriptural doctrine of Total Depravity as strenuously as we do, and after establishing the point by the word and testimony of God, still conclude their subject by exhorting those whom they have proven to be dead in trespasses and in sin, to be up and working for life. No, this does not belong to our statement at all; we have not so been taught. We find the fallen sinner condemned already, and under the wrath of God. The sentence is passed, irrevocably passed; God who cannot lie has said, that all have sinned, and that he will turn the wicked into hell with all the nations that forget him.
Thus the polluted sinner goes,
Laden with guilt and heavy woes,
Down to the regions of the dead,
With endless curses on his head.
Dead in sin, enmity against God, in love with sin, drinking down iniquity, as the ox drinketh water, raging and blaspheming, condemned and under the curse of a righteous, just and inflexible law, we find the human race. Dreadful as their situation is, here we must leave them.
In a subsequent number we shall treat upon the only possible way of salvation for any of the miserable sons of men which is brought to light through the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is, as we shall prove by the scriptures, special and particular.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.
April 24, 1833.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 56 - 60