That God should be reconciled after such a dreadful breach as the fall of man made, is wonderful; no sin, all things considered, was ever like to this sin: other sins, like a single bullet, kill particular persons, but this, like a chain-shot, cuts off multitudes as the sand upon the sea-shore, which no man can number.
If all the posterity of Adam in their several generations, should do nothing else but bewail and lament this sin of his, whilst this world continues, yet would it not be enough lamented; for a man so newly created out of nothing, and admitted the first moment into the highest order, crowned a king over the works of God’s hands, Psal. 8:5. a man perfect and upright, without the least inordinate motion, or sinful inclination: a man whose mind was most clear, bright, and apprehensive of the will of God, whose will was free, and able to have easily put by the strongest temptation: a man in a paradise of delights, where nothing was left to desire for advancing the happiness of soul or body: a man understanding himself to be a public, complexive person, carrying not only his own, but the happiness of the whole world in his hand: so soon, upon so slight a temptation, to violate the law of his God, and involve himself and all his posterity with him, in such a gulf of guilt and misery; all which he might so easily have prevented! O wonderful amazing mercy, that ever God should think of being reconciled, or have any purposes of peace towards so vile an apostate creature as man.
The degeneration of human nature is such that it not only practice sins, but glories in them.
Man fallen is but man inverted and turned upside down; his love is where his hatred should be, and his hatred where his love should be; his glory where his shame should be, and his shame where his glory should be.
Many count strictness a disgrace, and sin a bravery. The apostle saith, “They glory in their shame” (Phil. 3:19). It cometh to pass sometimes through ignorance; men mistake evil for good, and so call revenge valour or resolution, and prosperity in an evil way the blessing of providence upon their zealous endeavours, and presumptuous carelessness a well-built confidence.
God charged it upon his people that they had made great feasts of rejoicing when they had more cause to mourn: “The holy flesh is past from thee; when thou dost evil, then thou rejoicest” (Jer. 11:15). Usually, by our fond mistakes, thus it is we are blessing and praising God when we have more cause to humble and afflict our souls.
Sometimes it is through stupidness and sottishness of conscience; when men have worn out all honest restraints, then they rejoice in evil, and delight in their perversities (Prov. 2:14). The drunkards think there is a bravery in their strength to pour in wine, and can boast of the number of their cups; the soaken adulterer of so many acts of uncleanness; the swearer thinketh it the grace of his speech to interlard it with oaths; and proud persons think conceited apparel is their best ornament.
Good God! whither is man fallen! First we practise sin, then defend it, then boast of it. Sin is first our burden, then our custom, then our delight, then our excellency.
Adapted from The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 4:395–396.
This life was not intended to be the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it. As the fruit is far from ripeness in the first appearance, or the flower while it is but in the husk or bud; or the oak when it is but an acorn; or any plant when it is but in the seed; no more is the very nature of man on earth. As the infant is not perfect in the womb, nor the chicken in the shell, no more are our natures perfect in this world.
The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, 11:254.