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them, may think small deviations from established order, for the sake of greater spiritual improvement and edification, allowable; but they who have watched the tendency of such deviations, have found that they always ended in the sacrifice of those sound principles by which mankind are kept in subjection to God and to one another, and by which alone social harmony and subordination can be maintained.

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Gen. viii. 21.

The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth. SUCH

UCH is the character given of man, not by the

flattering pencil of man himself, but by Him who searches the heart, and who alone knows it thoroughly,—The LORD our MAKER!

The doctrine which the words contain is commonly called Original Sin. It is the first doctrine of the Scriptures. The whole religion of the Bible supposes it, requires it, and is built upon it; and it is so much a first principle, that he, who will not learn this, can learn nothing else to make him wise unto salvation. It must not be expected, that in one popular discourse, I should do full justice to à subject of so much' importance. But I shall throw out a few hints concerning it, for the consideration of those, who either do not believe it, or are not affected with it. And I hope to shew it to be not only a true, but a most important and most necessary doctrine. The proof of it shall briefly be given from Scripture and from facts. The vanity of objections, and the necessity of a practical learning of the doctrine must be shewn: The truth of all the rest of the capital doctrines of Scripture must

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be illustrated on the supposition of the certainty of this: And the great point of instruction in the way of salvation, as the consequence of the whole, must be distinctly stated.

ist, The thing asserted in the Text is true, imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth. The words are very plain. Can there be more than one meaning annexed to them? It is not asserted of this or of that man, but of mankind universally. And this too “from his youth;" from the earliest life, before there can be any opportunity to corrupt him by bad examples or habits. The disposition itself is bad. The first conceptions of man, before

, they are expressed in words or actions, even the imaginations are evil : How evil then must he be ! If the source itself be poisonous, how destructive must be the waters that flow from it, in the whole current of human conduct? And he, who says this, is the Lord who cannot lie. The occasion of his saying so shews the doctrine in the fullest light, as he is assigning a reason, why he will no more cut off mankind by a flood, as he had done: And what is the reason he will not? Is it that men are better now than formerly? No! man is evil from his youth, in his imaginations. Every generation is so, and will be so, and therefore he might cut them all off, one after another, and never cease to destroy them by floods. Their incurable wickedness is then the true reason, why, after having made an example of one generation, in this manner, he will not repeat the experiment. Such is the force of the divine declaration to Noah after the flood.

" I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake;

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