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“ We are
here in this world? And if the world be polluted, or so constituted as naturally and infallibly to pollute the soul with sin, Who is the cause of this pollution ? And, who created the world?
Though in the place now cited, Dr. T. so insists upon it, that God must be answerable for the pollution of the soul, if he has infused or put the soul into a body that tends to pollute it : yet this is the very thing which he himself supposes to be fact, with respect to the soul being created by God, in such a body, and in such a world; where he apt, in a world full of temptation, to be drawn into sin by bodily appetites.” And if so, according to his way of reasoning, God must be the author and cause of this aptness to be drawn into sin. Again, p. 143. we have these words, “ Who drinketh in iniquity like water? Who is attended with so many sensual appetites, and so apt to indulge them?” In these words our author in effect says the individual things that he exclaims against as so gross, viz.-The tendency of the body, as God has made it, to pollute the soul which he has infused into it. These sensual appetites which incline the soul or make it apt to a sinful indulgence, are either from the body which God hath made, or otherwise a proneness to sinful indulgence is immediately and originally seated in the soul itself, which will not mend the matter.
I would lastly observe, that our author insists upon it, p. 42, S. that this lower world, in its present state, “ Is as it was, when, upon a review, God pronounced it and all its furniture, very good. And that the present form and furniture of the earth is full of God's riches, mercy, and goodness, and of the most evident tokens of his love and bounty to the inhabitants." If so, there can be no room for evading the evidences from facts of the universal infallible tendency of man's nature to sin and eternal perdition; since, on the supposition, the tendency to this issue does not lie in the general constitution and frame of this world, which God hath made to be the habitation of mankind.
That propensity which has been proved to be in the Nature
of all Mankind, must be a very evil, depraved, and pernicious Propensity; making it manifest, that the Soul of Man as it is by Nature, is in a corrupt, fallen, and ruined State; which is the other Part of the Consequence drawn from the Proposition laid down in the first Section.
The question to be considered in order to determine whether man's nature be depraved and ruined, is not, Whether he is inclined to perform as many good deeds as bad ones? But to which of these two he preponderates in the frame of his heart and the state of his nature, a state of innocence and righteousness, and favour with God; or a state of sin, guilti. ness, and abhorrence in the sight of God ?-Persevering sinless righteousness, or else the guilt of sin, is the alternative on the decision of which depends-according to the nature and truth of things, as they are in themselves, and according to the rule of right and of perfect justice-man being approved and accepted of his Maker and eternally blessed as good; or his being rejected and cursed as bad. And therefore the determination of the tendency of man's heart and nature, with respect to these terms, is that which is to be looked at, in order to determine whether his nature is good or evil, pure or corrupt, sound or ruined. If such be man's nature and the state of his heart, that he has an infallibly effectual propensity to the latter of those terms; then it is wholly impertinent to talk of the innocent and kind actions, even of criminals themselves, surpassing their crimes in numbers, and of the prevailing innocence, good nature, industry, felicity, and cheerfulness of the greater part of mankind. Let never so many thousands or millions of acts of honesty, good nature, &c. be supposed ; yet, by the supposition, there is an unfailing propensity to such moral evil as in its dreadful consequences infinitely outweighs all effects or consequences of any supposed good. Surely that tendency which in effect is an infallible tendency to eternal destruction, is an infinitely dreadful and pernicious tendency: And that nature and frame of mind which implies such a tendency, must be an infinitely dreadful and pernicious frame of mind. It would be much more absurd to suppose, that such a state of nature is not bad, under a notion of men doing more honest and kind things than evil ones ; than to say the state of that ship is good for crossing the Atlantic Ocean, though such as cannot hold together through the voyage, but will infallibly founder
such a way.
and sink, under a notion that it may probably go great part of the way before it sinks, or that it will proceed and sail above water more hours than it will be in sinking.: Or, to pronounce that road a good rond to go to such a place, the greater part of which is plain an, safe, though some parts of it are dangerous and certainly fatal to them that travel in it; or to call that a good propensity, which is an inflexible inclination to travel in
A propensity to that sin which brings God's eternal wrath and curse (which has been proved to belong to the nature of man) is evil, not only as it is calamitous and sorrowful, ending in great natural evil; but as it is odious and detestable ; for by the supposition, it tends to that moral evil by which the subject becomes odious in the sight of God, and liable as such, to be condemned, and utterly rejected, and cursed by him. This also makes it evident, that the state which it has been proved mankind are in is a corrupt state in a moral sense, that it is inconsistent with the fulfilment of the law of God, which is the rule of moral rectitude and goodness. That tendency which is opposite to what the moral law requires, and prone to that which the moral law utterly forbids and eternally condemns, is doubtless a corrupt tendency, in a moral sense.
So that this depravity is both odious, and also pernicious, fatal and destructive, in the highest sense; as inevitably tending to that which implies man's eternal ruin. It shews that man, as he is by nature, is in a deplorable state, in the highest sense. And this proves that men do not come into the world perfectly innocent in the sight of God, and without any just exposedness to his displeasure. For the being by nature in a lost and ruined state, in the highest sense, is not consistent with being by nature in a state of favour with God.
But if any should still insist on a notion of men's good deeds exceeding their bad ones, and that, seeing the good more than countervails the evil, they cannot be properly denominated evil; all persons and things being most properly denominated from that which prevails and has the ascendant in them; I would say further, That if there is in man's nature a tendency to guilt and ill desert in a vast overbalance to virtue and merit; or a propensity to sin, the demerit of which is so great, that the value and merit of all the virtuous acts that ever he performs are as nothing to it; then truly the nature of man may be said to be corrupt and evil.
That this is the true case, may be demonstrated by what is evident of the infinite heinousness of sin against God, from the nature of things. The heinousness of this must rise in some proportion to the obligation we are under to regard the Divine Being; and that must be in some proportion to his worthiness of regard; which doubtless is infinitely beyond
the worthiness of any of our fellow-creatures. But the merit of our respect or obedience to God is not infinite. The merit of respect to any being does not increase, but is rather diminished, in proportion to the obligations we are under in strict justice to pay him that respect. There is no great merit in paying a debt we owe, and by the highest possible obligations in strict justice are obliged to pay; but there is great demerit in refusing to pay it. That on such accounts as these, there is an infinite demerit in all sin against God, which must therefore immensely outweigh all the merit which can be supposed to be in our virtue, I think is capable of full demonstration; and that the futility of the objections which some have made against the argument might most plainly be demonstrated. But I shall omit a particular consideration of the evidence of this matter from the nature of things, as I study brevity, and lest any should cry out, metaphysics! as the manner of some is, when any argument is handled against a tenet they are fond of with a close and exact consideration of the nature of things. And this is not so necessary in the present case, in as inuch as the point asserted—that he who commits any one sin has guilt and ill desert so great, that the value and merit of all the good which it is possible he should do in his own life is as nothing to it—is not only evident by metaphysics, but is plainly demonstrated by what has been shewn to be fact, with respect to God's own constitutions and dispensations towards mankind. Thus, whatever acts of virtue and obedience a man performs, yet if he trespasses in one point, is guilty of any, the least sin, he-according to the law of God, and so according to the exact truth of things and the proper demerit of sinis exposed to be wholly cast out of favour with God and subjected to his curse, to be utterly and eternally destroyed. This has been proved ; and shown to be the doctrine which Dr. T. abundantly teaches.
But how can it be agreeable to the nature of things and exactly consonant to everlasting truth and righteousness, thus to deal with a creature for the least sinful act, though he should perform ever so many thousands of honest and virtuous acts, to countervail the evil of that sin? Or how can it be agreeable to the exact truth and real demerit of things, thus wholly to cast off the deficient creature without any regard to the merit of all his good deeds, unless that be in truth the case, that the value and merit of all those good actions bear no proportion to the heinousness of the least sin?
If it were not so, one would think that however the offending person might have some proper punishment, yet seeing there is so much virtue to lay in the balance against the guilt, it would be agreeable to the nature of things that he should find some favour, and not be altogether rejected and made the subject
of perfect and eternal destruction ; and thus no account at all be made of all his virtue, so much so as to procure him the least relief or hope. How can such a constitution represent sin in its proper colours, and according to its true nature and desert, (as Dr. T. says it does) unless this be its true nature, that it is so bad, that even in the least instance it perfectly swallows up all the value of the sinner's supposed good deeds, let them be ever so many. So that this matter is not left to our metaphysics or philosophy; the great lawgiver and infallible judge of the universe has clearly decided it in the revelation he has made of what is agreeable to exact truth, justice, and the nature of things, in his revealed law or rule of righte.
He that in any respect or degree is a transgressor of God's law, is a wicked man, yea, wholly wicked in the eye of the law; all his goodness being esteemed nothing, having no ac
li count made of it, when taken together with his wickedness. And therefore, without any regard to his righteousness, he is, by the sentence of the law, and so by the voice of truth and justice, to be treated as worthy to be rejected, abhorred, and cursed for ever; and must be so, unless grace interpose to cover his transgression. But men are really in themselves what they are in the eye of the law, and by the voice of strict equity and justice ; however they may be looked upon and treated by infinite and unmerited mercy.
So that on the whole it appears all mankind have an infallibly effectual propensity to that moral evil, which infinitely outweighs the value of all the good that can be in them ; and have such a disposition of heart, that the certain consequence of it is their being, in the eye of perfect truth and righteousness, wicked men. And I leave all to judge, whether such a disposition be not in the eye of truth a depraved disposition ?
Agreeable to these things, the scripture represents all mankind not only as having guilt, but immense guilt, which they can have no merit or worthiness to countervail. Such is the representation we have in Matt, xviii. 21. to the end. There, on Peter's enquiring, How often his brother should trespass against him and he forgive him, whether until seven times ? Christ replies, I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven ; apparently meaning, that he should esteem no number of offences too many, and no degree of injury it is possible our neighbour should be guilty of towards us, too great to be forgiven. For which this reason is given in the parable following, that if ever we obtain forgiveness and favour with God, he must pardon that guilt and injury towards his majesty which is immensely greater than the greatest injuries that ever men are guilty of one towards another ; yea,