How glorious a being was man, as thus endowed with rational faculties, robed in righteousness and true holiness, made the steward of God on earth, and vested with a regency which was limited only by his primary relations to Deity!  Surely it is not wise to set aside this biblical and confessional view of man as created and to substitute for it any of those naturalistic theories which, in order to subvert the biblical doctrine of a moral fall from this lofty primeval condition, represent man, rather, as starting from some low estate of savagery, gradually accumulating mental capacity and acquiring knowledge of himself and his earthly environment, and slowly and painfully developing, through long ages, into his present estate of comparative maturity.  To say nothing of the radical conflict between such theories and the biblical records, many considerations will arise in our further study of the moral condition and experience of mankind to show that these theories are, on both philosophic and ethical grounds, untenable.  It is sufficient here to note, first, the low estimate which is thus put upon man and his moral endowments; secondly, the evidences afforded by human history of extensive moral lapses in the career of men and races; and, thirdly, the witness of Christian experience, not to a spiritual development from antecedent germs of character but to a moral restoration or renovation such as certifies in consciousness to the dreadful reality of that antecedent moral fall which the Word of God faithfully describes.

From: Theology of the Westminster Symbols: A Commentary Historical, Doctrinal, Practical on the Confession of Faith and Catechisms and the Related Formularies of the Presbyterian Churches by Edward D. Morris (Columbus: The Champlin Press, 1900), p. 246.

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