By James H. Brookes
DEPRAVITY OP MAN.
Let ns consider the account which the Bible everywhere gives of man, from the time that sin entered into the garden of Eden. The first recorded act after the fall is the atrocious murder by the first-born of the race committed upon his younger brother, Gen. iv: 8; and soon we are told that “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” Gen. vi. 5. “How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water,” Job. xv. 16. They are corrupt; they have done abominable works; there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one,” Ps. xiv. 1-3.
But bad as this is, there is something still worse, for the very nature is declared to be corrupt. ‘‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me,” Ps. li. 5. To religious Israel, a body of people coming with their imposing forms of worship and outward ceremonies, God said, “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. Prom the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; hut wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment,” Isa. i. 5, 6. “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we do all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away,” Isa. Ixiv. 6.
Thus it is all the way through the Old Testament, and the men employed to write the Bible bore tremendously hard not only upon the great leaders of the favored nation, but upon the nation itself. Abraham told a lie twice about his wife, at the risk of her honor, Gen. xii. 13; xx. 2; Isaac was a feeble and foolish father, who “loved Esau because he did eat of his venison,” Gen. xxv. 28; Jacob was false and cunning and treacherous, Gen. xxvii; Job opened his mouth and cursed his day, Job iii. 1; David was guilty of adultery and murder, 2 Sam. xi; Solomon was led to ruin by “outlandish women,” Neh. xiii. 26; Isaiah cried, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,” Isa. vi. 5; Jeremiah wished that the man who told his father of his birth might be as Sodom and Gomorrah, Jer. xx. 14-18; Elijah fled from the threat of the angry Jezebel, 1 Kings xix. 1-4.
Idolatry commenced with the people of God, even while Moses was on the mount receiving the law, Ex. xxxii; and with rare intervals it continued both among the kings and their subjects, until the utter overthrow of the ten tribes called Israel, about the year 721 B. C., after the kingdom had existed 254 years. The kingdom of Judah lasted for 135 years longer, and at last was entirely crushed in the year 587 or 6 B. C. The history is an almost unbroken record of unbelief, disobedience and deliberate rebellion up to the blasting stroke of God’s righteous wrath. Now the question is, did the Jews write such a history of their heroes and nation? Every fair man will answer this question in the negative, and admit that it is easier to believe in inspiration, than to accept a statement so absurd as the assertion that they were like the historians of any other people.
But the difficulty is not removed by glancing at the New Testament: “Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness,” Mark vii. 21-23. “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 God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doth good, no, not one.” This is followed by the astounding accusation that the throat, tongues, lips, mouth, feet, ways, eyes, all the parts of man, are sold to evil, so that every mouth is stopped, literally, fenced up, and all the world is subject to the judgment of God, Rom. iii. 9-19.
To saints it was written, “'You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom we all. had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind; and were by nature children of wrath even as others,” Eph. ii. 1-8.
It is a nature in which ‘‘dwelleth no good thing,” Rom. vii. 18, a nature which “is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Rom. viii. 7. The apostle includes himself when he says, ‘‘We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another,” Tit. iii. 3. Nay, in a time yet future, “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the Antichrist], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Rev. xiii. 8; and after the Millennium, the desperate depravity of the race will break forth again in open revolt against God, Rev. xx. 8, 0.
Without attempting to prove the accuracy of the description, which is found from Genesis to Revelation, of human nature, let an honest skeptic ponder whether man wrote such an account of himself and his fellow-men. The very unpopularity of the testimony, like the unpopularity of the Bible’s conception of God, shows that he did not; and that we are compelled to see a supernatural power controlling and guiding the pens that placed man in the awful darkness surrounding him in the portrayal of the Scriptures. Contrary to the innate belief of nearly all, that there is an inherent tendency in nations and individuals to advance in all that is good, leading Evolutionists to speak boastfully of the “Ascent of man,” the Bible gives us a humiliating story of the “Descent of man,” as seen in the history of the Jews, the moral degradation of the ancient heathen world, Rom. i. 18-32, and in the deeper ruin that shall close the present age, 2 Tim. iii. 1-7. Well may we say, as we turn the pages of the witnesses, “Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” 2 Sam. vii. 19.