« السابقةمتابعة »
in a garden of Eden, (or pleasure,) and gave him a free use of all the creatures: only forbidding him to eat of the fruit of one tree, The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For in the day (said he) that thou eatest of it, thou shalt surely die.' In which threatening were doubtless included all evils: death spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
5. “ As Adam was under a law; whose sanction threatened death upon disobedience, so doubtless God favoured him with a covenant of life, and a promise of life and immortality upon his obedience. (p. 164.)
6. “ Adam broke the law of his Maker, lost his image and his favour, forfeited the hope of immortality, and exposed himself to the wrath of God, and all the punishments which he had threatened : in consequence of which he was now painfully afraid of him in whom he before delighted: and foolishly endeavoured to hide himself from the presence of the Lord.' (p. 168.)
7. “ Adam after his sin propagated his kind according to the law of nature: not in the moral image or likeness of God, not in righteousness and true holiness,' but in his own sinful likeness, with irregular passions, corrupt appetites and inclinations. (p. 170, 171.) To this degeneracy Job manifestly refers in those expressions, "What is man that he should be clean, or the son of man that he should be righteous ? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? Not one.' And David says the same thing. Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did
mother conceive me.'
“ This is not a hyperbolical aggravation of David's early sins and propensity to evil from his childhood. But the text is strong and plain in asserting sin some way to belong to his very conception, and to be conveyed from his natural parents, which is a different idea from his actual sins, or propensity to sin in his infancy. It shews the cause both of this propensity and of his actual sins, which operated before he was born. So that if original pravity be
stances, even in their infancy and childhood, as well as when they grow to years of ripe understanding. (p. 86.)
6 And methinks when I take a just survey of this world, with all the inhabitants of it, I can look upon it no otherwise, than as a grand and magnificent structure in ruins: wherein lie millions of rebels against their Creator, under condemnation to misery and death: who are at the same time sick of a moral distemper, and, disordered in their minds even to distraction. Hence proceed those numberless follies and vices which are practised here; and the righteous anger of an offended God visible in ten thousand instances. Yet are there proclamations of divine grace, health 'and life sounding among them; though very few take any notice thereof. Only here and there one attends to the call, and complies with the proposals of peace. His sins are pandoned and healed. And though his body goes down to the dust for a season, his soul is happy with God: while the bulk of those criminals, despising all the offers of mercy, perish in their own wilful madness;! (p. 89, 90.)
“ What is the chief temptation that leads some men to deny so glaring a truth? Is it that they cannot give a satisfactory account of some of the difficulties that attend it? Nay, many even of the heathen philosophers believed it, from their own experience, and their daily survey of mankind: though they were utterly at a, loss, how to account for it. And what if we could not assign a sufficient and satisfactory reason for it? Or shew how this spreading degeneracy began, or how it came to take place so universally? What if we were still at a loss to explain how all this guilt and misery came upon us, musti we therefore deny the things which we see and hear, and feel daily? (p. 91.)
“ Can we account for all the secret things in the creation of God? And must we deny whatever we cannot account for? Does any man refuse to believe, that the infinite variety of plants and flowers, in all their beauteous colours and forms, grow out of the same earthy, because he does not know all the springs of their vegetation? Do men doubt of a loadstone's drawing iron to itself, because they
cannot find out the way of its operation ? Are we not sure that food nourishes our bodies, and medicines relieve our pains? Yet we know not all the ferments and motions of those atoms, by which we are relieved and nourished. Why then should we deny that degeneracy of our nature, which admits of so full and various proof, though we are not able to account for every circumstance relating to it, or to solve every difficulty that may attend it?” (p. 92.)
How came Vice and Misery to overspread Mankind in all
Nations, and in all Ages? (p. 94.)
« HEATHEN Philosophers could never answer this: but Christians may, from the Oracles of God.
T'hese inform us, that the first man was a common head and representative of all mankind : and that he by sinning against his Maker, lost his holiness and happiness: and exposed himself and his posterity (whom he naturally produced and whom he legally represented) to the displeasure of his Maker, and so spread sin and misery through his whole offspring. (p. 102.)
So St. Paul, “ As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, even so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,' (Rom. v. 12.) All are esteemed in some sort guilty before God, though they did not sin after the similitude of Adam's transgression. They did not commit actual personal sin against a known law as Adam did.
« This may more fully appear from the following partioulars.
“1. It is plainly taught us in Scripture, that God at first created one man and woman called Adam and Eve; and from them is derived the whole race of mankind: God hath made of one blood,' as the apostle observes, “all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earthi'
bulk of mankind. Cast a glance at the sports of children, from five to fifteen years of age. What toys and fooleries are these? Would a race of wise and holy beings, waste so many years of early life in such wretched trifles ? And as for our manly years, what are the greatest part of the delights of men, but silly and irrational, if not grossly sinful? What are the pleasures even of the rich and great, to relieve them under the common sorrows of life? If they be not luxury and intemperance, are they not furniture and equipage, finery of dress and gay appearances ? To shine in silks of various dye, and blaze in the splendour of gold and jewels? Now would wise and holy creatures have made this the matter of their joy and pleasurc, My coat is gayer than your's, and I have more glittering things about me than you have! (p. 80, 81.)
“ Others call for cards or dice, to divert their trouble and pass away their time. How inexpressibly trifling are these sports, if mere diversion be sought therein? But if the design be gain, how is the game mingled with uneasy fears, with the working of various passions? Which in case of disappointment and loss, often break out into wrath and fury!
“ Again. What multitudes drench themselves in gross sensualities, as their chief delight? They make a god of their belly, till they overload nature, and make haste to disease and death. They drown their cares and their senses together; or they bury them in sensual impurities. (p. 82.)
“ Others release themselves from the troubles of life, by gadding abroad and mixing with impertinent company. Some delight in wanton jests, in foolish merriment, in mean and trifling conversation; a little above the chattering of monkies in a wood, or the chirping of crickets upon a hearth. Nay, perhaps it is their diversion, to rail at their neighbours, to murder the reputation of the absent. This is their mirth and recreation; these their reliefs against the common miseries of human life! (p. 83.)
“ But would a race of innocent beings flee to such mean
and foolish, or criminal refuges from pain as these? Would they pursue such vain and vile delights? Would they become rivals to the beasts of the field? Or sport themselves as devils do, in accusing their fellow-creatures? Surely if we survey the very pleasures, as well as the sorrows, of the bulk of mankind, we may learn from thence, that we are by no means such creatures as we were originally created.
“ I need add but one more proof of the general ruin of human nature. We are all posting to the grave. Every one of us are succeeding our neighbours, into some unknown, invisible world. And we all profess to believe this. Yet how exceedingly few are solicitous about this great and awful futurity? Though we are exposed to so many sins and miseries in this life, and are hastening visibly and hourly to the end of it, yet how few are there that make any careful preparation for a better state than this! What multitudes are daily running down into darkness, speeding to an endless duration in an unknown country, without any earnest inquiries about the manner of existence there! They walk over the busy stage of life, they toil and labour, or play and trifle awhile here, and then plunge into a strange, unseen world, where they will meet with a just and holy God, whose wisdom will assign them a place and portion suited to their own character. Now were men indeed wise and holy, could they remain so ignorant and thoughtless of that state, into which they are all hastening? Or could a gracious God create a race of beings, in such a stupid insensibility of their eternal interests, so unsuited to the felicities of an immortal spirit, and so negligent of all preparations for them ? (p. 85.)
“ Upon this whole survey, reason must join in this mournful confession, that there must be some spreading poison which has tainted our nature, made us so sinful and miserable, so thoughtless of the future, and unprepared for it. There must have been some general revolt of mankind from their Creator, whereby they have ruined their innocence and peace, and provoked the anger of their Maker, whereby they become exposed to such wretched circum