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are formally enumerated, as characteristics of the doctrine of the Reformers, and their successors-Lutherans, Calvinists, and Arminians,—and are represented as held as generally by the churches at present—with the exception of such as have recently abandoned them--as at any former period; and the denial by the writers in the Christian Spectator, and the author of the examination of " The New Divinity,” that such is the fact, and attempt to prove that in place of entertaining these views, the leading Calvinists of NewEngland have never held any thing on the subject, beyond the doctrine, that sin is a mere attribute of actions not of nature,-is exhibited as a total and flagrant misrepresentation. No difference, then, exists between us, in respect to the fact, that these are exhibited by the doctrine that has hitherto prevailed, as the characteristics of depravity.

II. The whole question, accordingly, at issue on this branch of the subject between the advocates of that doctrine and myself, is simply, whether a depravity, answering to those characteristics, may with propriety be denominated a physical attribute.

No room exists, however, it seems to me for disputation respecting it. There clearly are no characteristics that are more peculiar to such attributes, or distinguish them more widely from all other affections, than those that are enumerated of this :--that it is not a voluntary affection, or an effect of volition, but a property of nature ; that it not only exists antecedently to and independently of volition, but is exempt from the control of the will likewise in the exertion of its agency, and produces its effects involuntarily—a trait clearly that can belong to nothing but a physical attribute ;that it is not a negation, or non-existence of a specific quality, but is a roal existence, and a positive cause, exerting

an incessant and a more extensive and momentous influence than any other power; that it comes into being and is continued in existence by the same laws as other constitutional qualities; and that precisely the same agency from the Spirit is requisite to accomplish its expulsion or transformation, as would be required to achieve an equal change in any other attribute. No traits then can be conceived, that could more decisively mark it as a physical property than these ; nor any imagined, that could add in the slightest degree to its claims to that rank. If these therefore do not authorize the ascription to it of that character, it may safely be pronounced to be impossible to fix on any that can, or to demonstrate that any such attribute belongs to the soul.

To this it may perhaps be objected, that however these considerations may seem to authorize such a conclusion, yet that a sufficient reason for withholding from this depravity the name of a physical attribute, is seen in the fact that it is held to be eradicable from the mind, without destroying or detracting from its capacity as a moral agent; whereas attributes, that inhere in the essence of the soul, and are properly denominated physical, are essential not only to its intelligent and moral nature, but to its being.

The advocates of this doctrine, however, although they do not exhibit this particular species of moral taste or disposition, as essential to constitute an intelligent and responsible agent, yet regard an attribute of essentially the same nature and office, as an indispensable ingredient in such a constitution. They not only hold that on the eradication of this, a holy disposition is and must be implanted in its place, and that Adam was created with such a principle of rectitude; but regard such a power, either holy or “unholy, as

essential in order to the existence of a susceptibility of influence from moral inducements, and a capacity for volition. These views are expressed not only by those from whom the foregoing quotations are transcribed, but still more clearly and emphatically by several of the writers to whom they allude, and whose doctrines it is their object to defend. President Edwards says:

“ Human nature must be created with some dispositions : a disposition to relish some things as good and amiable, and to be averse to other things as odious and disagreeable; otherwise it must be without any such thing as inclination or will, it must be perfectly indifferent, without preference, without choice or aversion toward any thing as agreeable or disagreeable. But if it had any concreated dispositions at all, they must be either right or wrong ; either agreeable or disagreeable to the nature of things."-Edwards's Works, Vol. vi. p. 269.

With this representation accords likewise that of Dr. Smalley, Dr. Burton, and every writer without exception who concurs with those authors in their views of depravity. The assumption of the necessity of such a moral taste, lies indeed at the foundation of all their speculations on the subject, and is the whole ground of their inductive argumentation to demonstrate its existence, in one form or the other ascribed to it, in all the individuals of our race. Were it not regarded as wholly essential to a capacity for moral agency, and the exertion of voluntary acts, no force or propriety could attach to their inference of its existence, from the actions that men exert. Although, therefore, this taste or disposition may in the judgment of those who teach its existence, differ in its moral character, and be susceptible of change in the same individual from good to evil, and evil to good, yet they hold that in one or the

other of the forms in which it is supposed to exist, it is indispensable to the mind's capacity for moral agency, and as essential an ingredient in its constitution, as are any of the attributes that inhere in and are inseparable from its nature.

It may be still further objected perhaps to this designation, that the doctrine of physical depravity was specifically disclaimed and rejected by the early protestants, and is in like manner disclaimed by many of those who still hold their views. The theory, however, of depravity which they disclaimed, differed most essentially from that which I regard their doctrine as involving; as it exhibited the mind itself, as identical with its depravity; or denied the existence of any difference between its depravity and its essence and attributes; whilst the error I have imputed to their doctrine is simply that of exhibiting depravity as a physical attribute. The difference of the doctrine of those theologians from that which they rejected, is seen from the following passages from the Formula Concordiæ.


A controversy has arisen among some of the theologians of the Augustan Confession, respecting the nature of original sin ; one party contending, as the nature and essence of man became totally corrupt through the fall of Adam, that since that fall, his corrupt nature, substance or essence, or at least, the chief and most excellent part of his essence; that is, his rational soul in its highest relations or principal powers, is itself original sin ; and that it is therefore called a sin of nature or person, because it is not a thought, word, or work of any kind, but nature itself, from which, as from a root, all other sins arise. For that reason, therefore, they affirm that since the fall, inasmuch as nature is corrupted through sin, there is no difference whatever between man's nature, substance, or essence, and original sin.

“ The other party, however, asserts the contrary; that original sin is not the nature, substance, or esscnce itself of man; that is, his

body and soul, which are now in us, ever have been since the fall, and will ever continue to be the work and creature of God; but that that original evil is something in the nature itself of man, his body, soul, and all his powers; namely, a dccp, thorough, horriblc, and as to language, inexplicable corruption of his nature, so that he is wholly divested of the original righteousness with which he was at first created, and become utterly dead to all spiritual good, and turned to every evil; and that it is on account of this corruption and innate sin, which inheres infixed in nature itself, that actual sins of every kind proceed from the heart. They affirm therefore, that a distinction is to be maintained between the nature and essence of depraved man, or his soul and body, which ever since the fall are the work of God, and original sin, which is the work of thic devil, through which nature is depraved.

“It is clear indeed that christians ought not only to acknowledge and speak of actual faults and trangressions of the divine law as sins, but likewise to regard that horrible and abominable hereditary disease through which their whole nature is corrupted, as a pre-eminently awful sin; as the source indeed and head of all sins, from which other transgressions spring as from a root, and flow as from a fountain. This evil, Luther was accustomed sometimes to denominate a sin of nature and person, that he might show that even if man were never to think, speak, or do any ing evil, which since the fall is in this life plainly impossible to human nature, yet that nevertheless, the nature or person of man is a sinner ; that is, is throughout its lowest depths and profoundest recesses totally, in the eye of God, infected, poisoned, and corrupted by original sin, as with a spiritual leprosy. On account of this corruption and sin of the first pair accordingly, man's nature or person is accused by the law of God and condemned, so that we are by nature children of wrath, and the vassals of death and damnation, unless graciously rescued from those evils through the merits of Christ.

“But although original sin infects and corrupts the whole nature of man, like a spiritual poison, or horrible leprosy, as Luther denominated it, so that now the two cannot be separately pointed out to the eye in the depraved mass; that is nature by itself, and original sin by itself; yet corrupt nature or the substance of depraved man, body and soul, or man himself as he is created, in whom original sin dwells, in respect to which nature, substance, and in short, the whole man is corrupt—is not onc and identically the same with original sin which dwells in his nature and corrupts it ; just as in a leprous

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