And 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.
~ Genesis 6:5
How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
~ Job 15:16
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
~ Proverbs 6:18
This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
~ Ecclesiastes 9:3
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
~ Isaiah 6:5
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
~ Isaiah 6:9-10
Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.
~ Ezekiel 8:12
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
~ Matthew 15:19
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
~ Mark 7:21-23
And 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 also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
~ Ephesians 2:1-3
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
~ Titus 3:3
O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
~ Jeremiah 4:14
And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
~ Ezekiel 8:9
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
~ Romans 3:23
From Their Depravity, All Men Sin Immediately, Continually and Progressively, by Jonathan Edwards.
The following contains in excerpt from his work, “The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin, Defended”.
Wherein Are Considered some Evidences of Original Sin from Facts and Events, as Found by Observation and Experience, together with Representations and Testimonies of Holy Scripture, and the Confession and Assertions of Opposers.
The evidence of original sin from what appears in fact of the sinfulness of mankind.
Section 4. The depravity of nature appears by a propensity in all to sin immediately, as soon as they are capable of it, and to sin continually and progressively; and also by the remains of sin in the best of men.
The great depravity of man’s nature appears, not only in that they universally commit sin, who spend any long time in the world, but in that men are naturally so prone to sin, that none ever fail of immediately transgressing God’s law, and so of bringing infinite guilt on themselves, and exposing themselves to eternal perdition, as soon as they are capable of it.
The Scriptures are so very express in it, that all mankind, all flesh, all the world, every man living, are guilty of sin; that it must at least be understood, everyone that is come to be capable of being active, in duty to God, or sin against him, is guilty of sin. There are multitudes in the world, who have but very lately begun to exert their faculties as moral agents; and so are but just entered on their state of trial, as acting for themselves. There are many thousands constantly in the world, who have not lived one month, or week, or day, since they have arrived to any period that can be assigned from their birth to twenty years of age. And if there be not a strong propensity in man’s nature to sin, that should as it were hurry them on to speedy transgression, and they have no guilt previous to their personal sinning, what should hinder but that there might always be a great number of such as act for themselves on the stage of the world, and are answerable for themselves to God, who have hitherto kept themselves free from sin, and have perfectly obeyed God’s law, and so are righteous in God’s sight with the righteousness of the law; and if they should be called out of the world without any longer trial (as innumerable die at all periods of life) would be justified by the deeds of the law? And how then can it be true, that in God’s sight no man living can be justified, that no man can be just with God, and that by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified, because by the law is the knowledge of sin? And what should hinder but that there may always be many in the world, who are capable subjects of instruction and counsel, and of prayer to God, for whom the calls of God’s word to repentance and to seek pardon through the blood of Christ, and to forgive others their injuries, because they need that God should forgive them, would not be proper; and for whom the Lord’s prayer is not suitable, wherein Christ directs all his followers to pray, that God would forgive their sins, as they forgive those that trespass against them?
If there are any in the world, though but lately become capable of acting for themselves, as subjects of the law of God, who are perfectly free from sin, such are most likely to be found among the children of Christian parents, who give ’em the most pious education, and set them the best examples: and therefore such would never be so likely to be found in any part or age of the world, as in the primitive Christian church, in the first age of Christianity (the age of the church’s greatest purity) so long after Christianity had been established, that there had been time for great numbers of children to be born, and educated by those primitive Christians. It was in that age, and in such a part of that age, that the apostle John wrote his first epistle to the Christians that then were. But if there was then a number of them, come to understanding, who were perfectly free from sin, why does he write as he does? (1 John 1:8, 9, 10), “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and the truth is not in us.”
Again, the reality and greatness of the depravity of man’s nature appears in this, that he has a prevailing propensity to be continually sinning against God. What has been observed above, will clearly prove this, That same disposition of nature, which is an effectual propensity to immediate sin, amounts to a propensity to continual sin. For a being prone to continual sinning is nothing but a proneness to immediate sin continued. Such appears to be the tendency of nature to sin, that as soon as ever man is capable, it causes him immediately to sin, without suffering any considerable time to pass without sin. And therefore, if the same propensity be continued undiminished, there will be an equal tendency to immediate sinning again, without any considerable time passing. And so the same will always be a disposition still immediately to sin, with as little time passing without sin afterwards, as at first. The only reason that can be given why sinning must be immediate at first, is that the disposition is so great, that it will not suffer any considerable time to pass without sin: and therefore, the same disposition being continued in equal degree, without some new restraint, or contrary tendency, it will still equally tend to the same effect. And though it is true, the propensity may be diminished, or have restraints laid upon it, by gracious disposals of providence, or merciful influences of God’s spirit; yet this is not owing to nature. That strong propensity of nature, by which men are so prone to immediate sinning at first, has no tendency in itself to a diminution; but rather to an increase; as the continued exercise of an evil disposition, in repeated actual sins, tends to strengthen it more and more: agreeable to that observation of Dr. Taylor’s (p. 228). “We are apt to be drawn into sin by bodily appetites, and when once we are under the government of these appetites, it is at least exceeding difficult, if not impracticable, to recover ourselves, by the mere force of reason.” The increase of strength of disposition in such a case, is as in a falling body, the strength of its tendency to descend is continually increased, so long as its motion is continued. Not only a constant commission of sin, but a constant increase in the habits and practice of wickedness, is the true tendency of man’s depraved nature, if unrestrained by divine grace; as the true tendency of the nature of an heavy body, if obstacles are removed, is not only to fall with a continual motion, but with a constantly increasing motion. And we see, that increasing iniquity is actually the consequence of natural depravity, in most men, notwithstanding all the restraints they have. Dispositions to evil are commonly much stronger in adult persons, than in children, when they first begin to act in the world as rational creatures.
If sin be such a thing as Dr. Taylor himself represents it (p. 69), “A thing of an odious and destructive nature, the corruption and ruin of our nature, and infinitely hateful to God”; then such a propensity to continual and increasing sin, must be a very evil disposition. And if we may judge of the perniciousness of an inclination of nature, by the evil of the effect it naturally tends to, the propensity of man’s nature must be evil indeed: for the soul being immortal, as Dr. Taylor acknowledges (p. 370), it will follow from what has been observed above, that man has a natural disposition to one of these two things; either to an increase of wickedness without end, or till wickedness comes to be so great, that the capacity of his nature will not allow it to be greater. This being what his wickedness will come to by its natural tendency, if divine grace don’t prevent, it may as truly be said to be the effect which man’s natural corruption tends to, as that an acorn in a proper soil truly tends by its nature to become a great tree.
Again, that sin which is remaining in the hearts of the best men on earth, makes it evident, that man’s nature is corrupt, as he comes into the world. A remaining depravity of heart in the greatest saints, may be argued from the sins of most of those who are set forth in Scripture as the most eminent instances and examples of virtue and piety: and is also manifest from this, that the Scripture represents all God’s children as standing in need of chastisement. (Heb. 12:6, 7, 8), “For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth; and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth…. What son is he, whom the father chasteneth not? If ye are without chastisement … then are ye bastards, and not sons.” But this is directly and fully asserted in some places; as in that forementioned Eccles. 7:20: “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.” Which is as much as to say, there is no man on earth, that is so just, as to have attained to such a degree of righteousness, as not to commit any sin. Yea, the Apostle speaks of all Christians as often sinning, or committing many sins; even in that primitive age of the Christian church, an age distinguished from all others by eminent attainments in holiness; (Jas. 3:2) “In many things we all offend.” And that there is pollution in the hearts of all, as the remainder of moral filth that was there antecedent to all attempts or means for purification, is very plainly declared in Prov. 20:9: “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”
According to Dr. Taylor, men come into the world wholly free from sinful propensities. And if so, it appears from what has been already said, there would be nothing to hinder, but that many, without being better than they are by nature, might perfectly avoid the commission of sin. But much more might this be the case with men after they had, by care, diligence and good practice, attained those positive habits of virtue, whereby they are at a much greater distance from sin, than they were naturally: which this writer supposes to be the case with many good men. But since the Scripture teaches us, that the best men in the world do often commit sin, and have remaining pollution of heart, this makes it abundantly evident, that men, when they are no otherwise than they were by nature, without any of those virtuous attainments, have a sinful depravity; yea, must have great corruption of nature.