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ECT. VIII.

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ative corruption of mankind appears it is considered that the world has tantly, and so exceedingly corrupt, :, great, and continual means, that

men from sin, and promote virtue m. sorrow and death, which came on Adam's sin, was brought on them olent father exercising a wholesome ren; to restrain them from sin by | earthly things to abate their force duce them to be moderate in gratiody; to mortify pride and ambition ; s have before their eyes a striking definitely hateful to God, by a sight of

more proper to give them the utmost ud to fix in their minds a sense of 1?

46

christians declined a And alter to be ez ha gosto

what Dr. T. himself says: In giving an account how the doctrine of original sin came to prevail among christians, he observes, (p. 167. S.) “That the christian religion was very early and grievously corrupted, by dreaming, ignorant, superstitious monks.” In p. 259. he says, “ The generality of christians have embraced this persuasion concerning original sin; and the consequence has been, that the generality of christians have been the most wicked, lewd, bloody, and treacherous of all mankind."

Thus a view of the several successive periods of the past duration of the world, from the beginning to this day, shews that wickedness has ever been exceeding prevalent, and has had vastly the superiority in the world. And Dr. T. himself in effect owns, that it has been so ever since Adam first turned into the way of transgression. “ It is certain (says he, p. 168.) the moral circumstances of mankind, since the time Adam first turned into the way of transgression, have been very different from a state of innocence. So far as we can judge from history, or what we know at present, the greatest part of mankind have been, and still are very corrupt; though not equally so in every age and place.” And lower in the same page, he speaks of Adam's posterity, as having sunk themselves into the most lamentable degrees of ignorance, superstition, idolatry, injustice, debauchery, fc.

These things clearly determine the point concerning the tendency of man's nature to wickedness, if we may be allowed to proceed according to such rules and methods of reasoning as are never denied or doubted to be good and sure, in experimental philosophy :* or may reason from experience and facts, in that manner which common sense leads all mankind to in other cases. If experience and trial will evince any thing at all concerning the natural disposition of the human heart, one would think the experience of so many ages as have elapsed since the beginning of the world, and the trial made by hundreds of different nations together for so long a time, should be sufficient to convince all, that wickedness is agreeable to the nature of mankind in its present state.

Here, to strengthen the argument, if there were any need of it, I might observe not only the extent and generality of the prevalence of wickedness in the world, but the height to which it has risen and the degree in which it has reigned. Among innumerable things which confirm this, I shall now only observe, The degree in which mankind have from age to age been hurtful one to another.

Many kinds of brute animals are esteemed very noxious and destructive, many of them very fierce, voracious, and many very poisonous, and the destroying of them has always been looked upon as a public benefit: But have not mankind been a thousand times as hurtful and destructive as any one of them, yea, as all the noxious beasts, birds, fishes, and reptiles in the earth, air, and water, put together, at least of all kinds of animals that are visible? And no creature can be found any where so destructive of its own kind as man is. All others, for the most part, are harmless and peaceable with regard to their own species. Where one wolf is destroyed by another wolf, one viper by another, probably a thousand men are destroyed by those of their own species. Well therefore might our blessed Lord say, when sending forth his disciples into the world, (Matth. x. 16, 17.) Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves ;-BUT, BEWARE OF MEN. Why do I say wolves? I send you forth into the wide world of men, that are far more hurtful and pernicious, and of whom you had much more need to beware, than of wolves.

* Dr. TURNBULL, though so great an enemy to the doctrine of the depravity of nature, yet greatly insists upon it, that the experimental method of reasoning ought to be adopted in moral matters and things pertaining to the human natare; and should chiefly be relied upon in moral as well as natural philosophy. See Introduc. to Mor. Phil.

It would be strange indeed, that this should be the state of mankind, distinguished by reason for that very end that they might be capable of religion, which summarily consists in love, if men, as they come into the world, are in their nature innocent and harmless, undepraved, and perfectly free from all evil propensities.

SECT. VIII.

The native depravity of Mankind appears, in that there has been

so little good effect of so manifold and great means, used to promote Virtue in the world,

The evidence of the native corruption of mankind appears much more glaring, when it is considered that the world has been so generally, so constantly, and so exceedingly corrupt, notwithstanding the various, great, and continual means, that have been used to restrain men from sin, and promote virtue and true religion among them.

Dr. T. supposes, that sorrow and death, which came on mankind in consequence of Adam's sin, was brought on them in great favour; as a benevolent father exercising a wholesome discipline towards his children; to restrain them from sin by increasing the vanity of all earthly things to abate their force to tempt and delude; to induce them to be moderate in gratifying the appetites of the body; to mortify pride and ambition ; and that men might always have before their eyes a striking demonstration that sin is infinitely hateful to God, by a sight of that than which nothing is more proper to give them the utmost abhorrence of iniquity, and to fix in their minds a sense of the

46

VOL. II.

dreadful consequences of sin, fc. fc. And in general, that they do not come as punishments, but purely as means to keep men from vice and to make them better.- If it be so, surely they are great means. Here is a mighty alteration : mankind, once so easy and happy, healthful, vigorous, and beautiful, rich in all the pleasant and abundant blessings of paradise, now turned out, destitute, weak, and decaying, into a wide barren world, yielding briars and thorns, instead of the delightful growth and sweet fruit of the garden of Eden, to wear out life in sorrow and toil, on the ground cursed for his sake; and at last, either through long and lingering decay, or severe pain and acute disease, to expire and turn to putrefaction and dust. If these are only used as medicines, to prevent and to cure the diseases of the mind, they are sharp medicines indeed; espe. cially death ; which, to use Hezekiah's representation, is as it were breaking all his bones. And one would think, should be very effectual, if the subject had no depravity--no evil and contrary bias to resist and hinder a proper effect-especially in the old world, when the first occasion of this terrible alteration, this severity of means, was fresh in memory. continued alive near two thirds of the time before the flood ; so that a very great part of those who were alive till the flood might have opportunity of seeing and conversing with him, and hearing from his mouth not only an account of his fall, and the introduction of the awful consequences of it, but also of his first finding himself in existence in the new-created world, of the creation of Eve, and what passed between him and his Creator in paradise.

But what was the success of these great means, to restrain men from sin and to induce them to virtue ? Did they prove sufficient ?-instead of this the world soon grew exceeding corrupt; till, to use our author's own words, mankind were universally debauched into lust, sensuality, rapine, and injustice.

Then God used further means: He sent Noah, a preacher of righteousness to warn the world of the universal destruction which would come upon them by a flood of waters, if they went on in sin. This warning he delivered with circumstances tending to strike their minds and command their attention. He immediately went about building that vast structure, the ark, in which he must employ a great number of hands, and probably spent all he had in the world to save himself and his family. And under these uncommon means God waited upon them one hundred and twenty years.—But all to no effect. The whole world, for ought appears, continued obstinate, and absolutely incorrigible: So that nothing remained to be done with them, but utterly to destroy the inhabitants of the earth; and to begin a new world from that single family who had distinguished themselves by their virtue, that from them might be propagated a new and purer race. Accordingly, this was done: And the inhabitants of this new world, Noah's posteri ty, had these new and extraordinary means to restrain sin and excite to virtue, in addition to the toil, sorrow, and common mortality, which the world had been subjected to before, in consequence of Adam's sin : viz. that God had newly testified kis dreadful displeasure for sin, in destroying the many millions of mankind, all at one blow, old and young, men, women, and children, without pity on any for all the dismal shrieks and cries with which the world was filled. They themselves, the remaining family, were wonderfully distinguished by God's preserving goodness, that they might be a holy seed, being delivered from the corrupting examples of the old world ; and being all the offspring of a living parent, whose pious instructions and counsels they had, to enforce these things upon them, to prevent sin, and engage them to their duty. These inhabitants of the new earth must, for a long time, have before their eyes many evident and striking effects of that universal destruction, to be a continual affecting admonition to them. And besides all this, God now shortened the life of man to about one half of what it used to be. The shortening man's life, Dr. T. says, (p. 68.) “ Was that the wild range of ambition and lust might be brought into narrower bounds, and have less opportunity of doing mischief; and that death, being still nearer to our view, might be a more powerful motive to regard less the things of a transitory world, and to attend more to the rules of truth and wisdom."

And now let us observe the consequence.—These new and extraordinary means, in addition to the former, were so far from proving sufficient, that the new world degenerated and became corrupt by such swift degrees, that as Dr. T. observes, mankind in general were sunk into idolatry, in about four hundred years after the flood, and so in about fifty years after Noah's death they became so wicked and brutish, as to forsake the true God, and turn to the worship of inanimate creatures.

When things were come to this dreadful pass, God was pleased, for a remedy, to introduce a new and wonderful dispensation--separating a particular family and people from all the rest of the world by a series of the most astonishing miracles, done in the open view of the world ; and fixing their dwelling as it were in the midst of the earth, between Asia, Europe and Africa, and in the midst of those nations which were most considerable for power, knowledge, and arts—that might, in an extraordinary manner, dwell among that people, in visible tokens of his presence.

There he manifested himself, and thence to the world, by a course of miraculous operations and effects, for many ages; that the people might be holy to God

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