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Adam Clarke on the Sinfulness of Mankind

The following are wise words from Adam Clarke on the utter sinfulness of mankind:

That a sinner is abominable in the sight of God and of all good men; that he is unfit for the society of the righteous; and that he cannot, as such, be admitted into the kingdom of God, needs no proof. It is owing to the universality of the evil that sinners are not expelled from society as the most dangerous of all monsters, and obliged to live without having any commerce with their fellow creatures. Ten lepers could associate together, because partaking of the same infection; and civil society is generally maintained, because composed of a leprous community.

All are born with a sinful nature; and the seeds of this evil soon vegetate, and bring, forth corresponding fruits. There has never been one instance of an immaculate human soul since the fall of Adam. Every man sins, and sins too after the similitude of Adam’s transgression. Adam endeavored to be independent of God; all his offspring act in the same way: hence prayer is little used, because prayer is the language of dependence; and this is inconsistent with every motion of original sin. When these degenerate children of degenerate parents are detected in their sins, they act just as their parents did; each excuses himself, and lays the blame on another. “What hast thou done?” “The woman whom thou gavest me, — SHE gave me, and I did eat.” “What hast THOU done?” “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Thus, it is extremely difficult to find a person who ingenuously acknowledges his own transgression.

Sin is represented as a king, ruler, or tyrant, who has the desires of the mind and the members of the body under his control; so that by influencing the passions he governs the body. Do not let sin reign, do not let him work; that is, let him have no place, no being in your souls; because wherever he is he governs, less or more: and indeed sin is not sin without this. How is sin known? By evil influences in the mind, and evil acts in the life. But do not these influences and these acts prove his dominion? Certainly, the very existence of an evil thought to which passion or appetite attaches itself, is a proof that there sin has dominion; for without dominion such passions could not be excited. Wherever sin is felt, there sin has dominion; for sin is sin only as it works in action or passion against God. Sin cannot be a quiescent thing: if it do not work, it does not exist.

After all the proofs of man’s natural excellence, we have ten thousand others of his internal moral depravity, and alienation from the divine life. The general tenor of his moral conduct is an infraction of the laws of his Creator. While lord of the lower world, he is a slave to the vilest and most degrading passions; he loves not his Maker; and is hostile and oppressive to his fellows. In a word, he is as fearfully and wonderfully vile, as he was “fearfully and wonderfully made;” and all this shows most forcibly that he stands guilty before God, and is in danger of perishing everlastingly.

Men may amuse themselves by arguing against the doctrine of original sin, or the total depravity of the soul of man; but while there is religious persecution in the world, there is the most absolute disproof of all their arguments. Nothing but a heart wholly alienated from God could ever devise the persecution or maltreatment of a man, for no other cause than that he has given himself up to glorify God with his body and spirit, which are his.


Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/14/2012 at 10:00 AM

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