صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

part of them visibly follow the corrupt influences of sense, appetite, passion, and manifest very early the evil principles of stubbornness, pride, and disobedience. (p. 44.)

“ To give a still fuller confirmation of this truth, that mankind have a corrupt nature in them, let it be observed, that where persons have not only had all possible helps of education from their parents, but have themselves taken a religious turn betimes, what a perpetual hinderance do they find within themselves! What inward oppositions work

! in their heart, and perhaps interrupt their holy course of life! What vanity of mind, what irregular appetites, what forgetfulness of God, what evil thoughts and tendencies of heart rise up in contradiction to their best purposes ! Insomuch that there is not a just man upon earth, who,' through his whole life, doth good and sinneth not.' (p. 45, 46.)

“ To sum up the three last considerations. If the bulk of mankind are grossly sinful, and if every individual without exception is actually a sinner against the law of his Creator: if sinful propensities appear even in our most tender years; and every child becomes an actual sinner almost as soon as it becomes a moral agent: then we have just reason to conclude, that there is some original taint spread through the whole race of men from their birth.

“ It has been said indeed, that if the first man fell into sin, though he was innocent and perfect, then among

million of men, every one might sin, though he was as innocent and perfect as Adam.' (p. 47.)

answer, There is a bare possibility of the event; but the improbability of it is in the proportion of a million to




“And I prove it thus. If a million of creatures were made in an equal probability to stand or fall : and if all the numbers from one to one million inclusively, were set in a rank, it is a million to one that just any single proposed number of all these should fall by sin. Now the total sum is one of these numbers, that is, the last of them. Con

[ocr errors]



sequently it is a million to one against the supposition that the whole number of men should fall.

" And yet farther, if they were all made (as the goodness of God seems to require) in a greater probability of standing than falling, then it is abundantly more than a million to one, that all should sin without exception. And the argument grows still ten thousand times stronger, if we suppose ten thousand millions to have lived since the creation. (p. 48.)

“8. That man is a fallen creature, appears further from hence: no man is able by his present natural powers to perform that law of his Creator which is still written upon his heart. (p. 49.)

“Does not this law require us to love God with all our hearts, to do to others as we would they should do to us, and to govern our senses, appetites, and passions; by the rules of reason? Does it not require that these things, whether they regard God, ourselves, or others, should be done perfectly, without defect? Doth it not demand, that we should fear, honour, and trust the great God, and obey all his will in a perfect manner? Doth it not prescribe constant justice, truth, and goodness, toward our neighbour, without one covetous wish, one act of the will, or tongue, or hand, contrary to truth or love? Does it not demand, that every sense, appetite, and passion, should be perfectly subject to reason? Now is there a man on earth, who can say, “ I am able by my natural powers to do this ?" (p. 50.)

“ Even the outward temptations to which man is exposed, are evidently too strong, to be effectually and constantly resisted, by his now enfeebled reason and conscience; while at the same time his will, his appetites, and passions, have a powerful propensity to comply with them. (p. 51.)

“ Now would a just, a wise, and merciful God have formed intellectual creatures, in such a wretched state, with powers and capacities so much below their duties, that they

[ocr errors]


break his law daily and continually, and are not able to help it? (p. 52.)

<< Should it be said, 'God cannot require more than we are able to perform. You have an answer in your own bosom. For you know and feel God does require this, even by the law, he has written in your heart: get you feel you are not able to perform it, untie or cut the knot how you may. 1,

“ Should it be said again, 'God pities and pardons feeble creatures,': I answer, 1a According to the covenant of grace he does, but not according to the law of creation, But, 2. Did God make some of his poblest creatures, so feeble in their original state, as continually to offend, and want pardon? Did he give them such a law as should nerer, never be fulfilled by any one of them. Would a God who adjusts the proportions of all things with the exactest wisdom, give a law to his creatures so disproport tionate to their original powers, that even in the state of their creation, they are under a necessity of breaking it, and stand in need of daily forgiveness? Does not this single consideration prove, that man is now a degenerate being, and not such as he was at first created, by the wise, the righteous, the merciful God? (p. 54.);

“ If you who are most ongilling to acknowledge the fall of man, would but look into yourself daily, and ob, serve all the sinful and irregnlar turns of your own heart; how propense you are to folly, in greater or less instances, how soon appetite and passion oppose reason and con, science: how frequently you fall short of the demand of the perfect law of God: how thoughtless and forgetful yoụ are of your Creator, how cold and languishing your affection to bim: how little delight you have in virtue, or in communion with God could you think you are such an innocent and holy creature as God at first created you? And that you have been such, eyen from your childhood? Surely a more accurate observation of your pwn heart must convince you, that you yourself are degenerated from the first rectitude of your nature. (p. 55.)

9. “Another proof of the degeneracy of mankind is this, they are evidently under the displeasure of God, which could not be in their primeval state. As we have taken a short view of the sins of men, let us also briefly survey the miseries of mankind, and see how these consist with their being in the favour of God. (p. 56.)

“ Think on the thousands of rational creatures descending hourly to the grave: a few, by some sudden stroke; but far the greater part by painful and slow approaches. The grave! A dark and shameful prison! Which would never have been made for creatures persisting in innocence, and abiding in the favour of him that gave them life and being. Death is the wages of sin; and from this punishment of sin, none of mankind can claim a discharge.

" Had they stood, can we think any of them would have died? Much less every one of them? And especially that half the human race should have been doomed to die before seven years old ? Before they reach the tenth part of the present age of man, or have done any thing in life worth living for? (p.57.)

“But let us proceed to other miseries that attend us, and hasten us down to the grave.

“ Think next of the multitudes that are racked day and night by the gout and stonę, the cholic and rheumatism, and all manner of acute and painful diseases: and then say, Would a merciful God have contrived these torments for sinless creatures ? Think of the dismal scenes of war and bloodshed that have by times overspread all nations! Cast your thought, on a field of þattle, where thousands of men are destroyed like bryte beasts, and perish by sharp and bloody strokes; or by the fatal engines of death. See thousands more lie on the cold ground, with their flesh and limbs battered and torn, wounded and panting in extreme anguish, till the murmuring soul takes its flight! Are these the signals of their Maker's love, and of his image in which they were created ? (p. 59.)

“ Think of the numbers that are swallowed up in the mighty waters, by the rage of stormy winds and seas.

[ocr errors]


Review the multitudes that have been swept away by the pestilence, or consumed by the tedious agonies of famine. Would famine and pestilence, with all the train of lingering horrors which attend them, have ever been made for 'innocent creatures, to have swept away whole nations of them of every age and sex, men, women, and children, without distinction ? (p. 59.)

“ Think yet again, what numbers of men have been 'crushed into miseries and death, and buried by earthquakes. Or have had their bones disjointed, and their flesh painfully battered by the fall of houses : perhaps buried alive in the ruins of entire towns or villages, while their neighbours have been drowned in multitudes, by the dismal eruptions of water, or destroyed by deluges of liquid fire bursting out of the earth. Would a God of goodness and justice have treated innocent creatures in this manner? (p. 60.)

“ Carry your thoughts to the countries of those savages, where thousands of their conquered enemies, or prisoners of war, are offered in sacrifice to their idols, or tortured and roasted to death by slow fires! Add this to all the former miseries, and then let calm reflection say, whether this world does not look like a province half forsaken of its gracious Governor?

“ Some perhaps will say, it is but a small part of mankind, who are involved in these dreadful calamities: and they may suffer peculiar afflictions, for their own personal iniquities. (p. 61.)

“I answer, Take a just survey of those who have suffered thus, and there is not the least reason to think they were sinners above others. Do not these calamities spread through whole countries and involve the best and the worst of men together? Whole nations suffer by them at once. And indeed such is the corruption of human nature, that wherever they come they find none innocent. And it is the general situation of mankind, under the just displeasure of God, which exposes them to such destruction.

“ But to proceed. Think of the innumerable common misfortunes that attend human life! What multitudes


« السابقةمتابعة »