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JOHN, Xv. 3.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken
The word clean is often figuratively used in Scripture to express moral or spiritual purification. In this sense it is evidently used in this passage. The disciples, to whom Christ originally addressed the text, were once depraved, destitute of holiness, under the power of sin, prone to evil, and averse to all good. But they had all been cleansed from this original depravity, and had become habitually holy. The means or instrument by which this great moral change had been wrought upon them, was the word of Christ.
The same is true of all who are now the real disciples of Christ; they were once depraved, and they have been cleansed or made holy through the instrumentality of the word of Christ.
The text teaches, by implication, man's depravity ; and instructs us how it may be remedied.
The object of the ensuing discourse will be,
I. To establish the fact of human depravity,
II. To speak of the remedy presented in the Gospel.
I. As to the fact ; this is implied in the text. That the disciples had been made clean through the word of Christ which had been spoken unto them, evidently implies that they had previously been unclean, or destitute of holiness, and positively corrupt or depraved: and this is true of all mankind. By nature, or in their natural state, all are depraved—destirute of holiness-prone to evil, and averse to good continually.
This is proved by the declarations of the word of God, and by facts.
In the Scriptures we read, “ The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.”
" Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not “ What is man that he should be clean ? and he that is born of a woman that he should be righteous ?" “ The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live.” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” “ The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." • 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 doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips : whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood : destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known : there is no fear of God before their eyes.” Such is the testimony of God, in his word, respecting the native character of man; and it does unequivocally establish the universal and total depravity of human nature.
This testimony is abundantly confirmed by facts. The history of the world, in all ages, is a history of human depravity. The historic page is continually polluted with human crime.
But we need not recur to ages past for evidence of human depravity; the painful proof is ever before our eyes; we meet it constantly in our intercourse with our fellow-men. What do the deceptions and frauds so frequently witnessed in the commerce of men with each other, and by which multitudes are injured, and even ruined in their estates prove? They prove human depravity. The same is proved by the lying, and slander, and backbiting, and tale-bearing so common in society, and so destructive of social enjoyment. Mingle in society, and your ears are often assailed with oaths, and curses, and blasphemies—every one of them painfully illustrating the depraved and ruined character of man. Look at the awful profanation of