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ysis, you know nothing. You need not think to lay the blame there. As well might you do it in reference to bone and muscle, flesh and sinews, and say that they, in themselves, are sin, as to resolve the guilt of your own voluntary acts into the essence and constitution of
your bea ing. You are conscious of various acts and affections, and that you possess a power to restrain and regulate them, For the exercise of this power, you are held responsible, and will be judged.' And, in your preference of this world, and dislike of God, thus giving your hearts to inferior things, and things opposed to Him, when He requires you to Love Him, with all your hearts, lies the sum and substance of your depravity. That there must be a nature to act, is not denied, but that there exists any necessity for you to sin, arising from constitution or any thing else, and depriving you of the power of voluntary agency as a free and accountable creature, cannot be proved.
THE MORAL CONDITION OF DECEASED
IMPOSSIBLE to conjecture the precise period at which we become capable
of moral action-Circumstances unfavourable to holy developments induced by the rebellion of our first parents--A remedial scheme provided. -Life can be imparted through Christ to rebels brought into connection with Him-The law of development obtains here—The Spirit's agency in establishing that connection-1 Cor. xv, 45---49-A connection may be formed between Christ and the soul at any period—The death of an infant no proof of final condemnation-A presumption to the contrary But not decisive—The wisdom and goodness of God manifest in leaving this subject as it is-A purpose of election establishes no actual connec. tion between Christ and the elect- Luke i. 35 and ij. 40 examined-Nothing to be inferred from it as to physical holiness—But the fact is established by it that the nature of man previous to any of its moral developments may be the object and subject of the Spirit's care and agencyThe actual exercise of faith, &c. can only be predicated as absolutely necessary in those whose moral powers have been sufficiently developed Infants equally with adults indebted to redeeming love-The death of infants a bright feature in the Saviour's triumphs-The lessons of rebuke and consolation and duty it furnishes.
The view of human depravity, already given, not only throwslight on the responsibilities and character of men; but also on the prob: ble condition of such as die in infancy. At what precise period of human existence, the susceptibilities. of our nature are so far developed, as to bring the individual so directly under the law, as to be held accountable for his own acts, or to possess such knowledge, as to render those aqts sigful, it is impossible to conjecture. It cannot how
ever be late in life.
At a very early period, the child learns to submit to the will of its parent. Its corporea! imbecility, its limited knowledge, and its cherished and absorbing affection for the parent, all, doubtless, contribute to affect it, with a sense of the propriety of such submission.
Yet it is placed in circumstances altogether unpropitious to holy developments; and, if it is allowed to remain in this world, will, like all that have gone before it, choose to do evil.
One act, in opposition to the will of the Great Creator, we have seen, spreads death through all the family of man, involves in sin innumerable myriads, originally made dependent on the first rebel, and strikes into eternity itself, a blow of utter desolation, to the hopes and happiness of human kind, Where are the consequences of rebellion to end? Who can estimate the bearing of one act? How murderous and ruinous the attempt, to pervert the laws of the divine government! What will be the misery and confusion, the devastation and horror resulting, where the rebel, in the holy Sovereignty of God, shall be allowed to push his enmity forward, eternity, in all the tragic scenes of Hell, shall unfold. Blessed be God, that He has provided a remedial scheme, by which, in perfect consistency with every principle of His moral government, man may be recovered, alike from his rebellion, and its ruinous tendency and results. Through the redemption which there is in Jesus Christ, the rebel can be recovered to the love and enjoyment of God to the possession and exhibition of holiness—and to the forfeited, and even enhanced glories of man's original condition. The eternal Son of God, by virtue of his assumed humanity, the redemption which He has wrought, and the sovereign ordination of God, is become a new Head of influences. There is life to be derived from the blessed Jesus. “Our life is hid with Christ in God," and Christ has become “our life.”l. All the life that ever is to be, or can be enjoyed, by fallen and degenerate men, is entrusted in the hands of Christ. It must flow from Him to them, and for that purpose, there must be some connection established between Him and them. But, as the law of development was that, on which the propagation of life was to be conducted from Adam down, so it has pleased God to provide, on the same principle, for the exhibition of the wonders of spiritual life. By virtue of our union with Christ, we live, and grow, and thrive. He is the vine, and we are the branches. He is the head, and we are the members of the body. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye,” said the blessed Saviour, "except ye abide in me."
1. Col. iii, 3, 4,
Now, it is by the Holy Spirit, which procecdeth from the Father, through the Son, and whom the Son giveth to whomsoever he will, that a connection is established between Him and the guilty soul of man. Through the agency of that Spirit, the man's thoughts, affections, and cares, are brought off from this world, and bestowed on Christ, in faith, and repentance, &c. and thus commence the erolution and exhibition in them, of those fruits of the Spirit, or gracious exercises, which form the character of the renovated man, and assimilate him to the great prototype in heaven. “The first man Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam, was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which was natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are carthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."??
However, the immediate reference of the apostle here, may be understood,--whether to the entire character of the redeemed, or to the ultimate perfection of their being, when put in possession of their glorious resurrection-body-it is of little consequence to determine. It is the great principle recognized by him, which concerns us; and that is, that the blessed Saviour stands at the head of an entire family of rational beings, in whom are developed his own likeness and life, and that by virtue of their connection with Him, just as our first father Adam stood, as it were, the fountain of our race, and has transmitted his own likeness and mortality, to those descending from him by ordinary generation. As yet, there is not the perfection of this great redeeming process; nor will there be, till, at the consummation of all things, the glorified spirits around the throne, shall repossess their risen and sublimated bodies. But the redeeming process is going on, and we may descry its wondrous developments, continually taking place, in all its incipient and early stages.
1. John xv, 4.
2. 1 Cor. iv, 15, 19.
If it pleased God to commence almost simultaneously with the being's existence, and to bring it under the operation of the great laws of redemption, which, by virtue of a connection established with Christ, shall secure holy developments, can any one object? Surely none are disposed to do so, when, in this world, those developments are made, as in the case of those children, who seem to have been sanctified from the womb. Shall we then object to its being done in another world? The circun stance of death's eventuating as soon as birth, or, at any subsequent time, before the moral powers shall have been developed, so far as to bring the child directly and personally under the authority of law, can certainly be no objection against the reality of an union being constituted, between Christ and the soul of that child, through some special care or agency of the Spirit.
The death of the infant, is no more proof of its final condemnation, than the death of the believer. On the contrary,