Imagens das páginas

and hold it out by such a variety of stratagems, as corrupt man stands it out against the repeated attacks of truth and grace. If he yields at all, it is seldom before he is brought to the greatest extremity. He " feeds on the dust of the earth;" he tries to "fill his" soul "with the husks" of vanity; and fares hard on sounds, names, forms, opinions, withered experience, dry notions of faith, and empty professions of hope, and fawning shows of love, till "the famine arises," and the intolerable want of substantial bread forces him to surrender at discretion, and without reserve.

Some stand it out thus, against the God of their salvation, ten or twenty years; and others never yield, till the terrors of death storm their affrighted souls, their last sickness batters down their tortured bodies, and "the poison of the arrows of the Almighty drinks up their" wasted "spirits." What a strong proof is this of the inveteracy and obstinacy of our corruption!


But a still stronger may be drawn from the amazing struggles of God's children with their depravity, even after they have, through grace, powerfully subdued and gloriously triumphed over it. Their Redeemer himself " is the Captain of their salvation:" they are embarked with him, and bound for heaven; they look at the compass of God's word; they hold the rudder of sincerity; they crowd all the sails of their good resolutions, and pious affections, to catch the gales of Divine assistance; they "exhort one another daily" to ply the oars of faith and prayer with watchful industry; tears of deep repentance and fervent desire often bedew their faces in the pious toil: they would rather die than draw back to perdition; but, alas! the stream of corruption is so impetuous that it often prevents their making any sensible progress in their spiritual voyage; and if in an unguarded hour they drop the oar, and faint in "the work of faith, the patience of hope," or "the labour of love," they are presently carried down into the dead sea of religious formality, or the whirlpools of scandalous wickedness. Witness the lukewarmness of the Laodiceans, the adultery of David, the perjury of Peter, the final apostasy of Judas, and the shameful flight of all the disciples.


When evidences of the most opposite interest agree in their deposition to a matter of fact, its truth is greatly corroborated. To the last argumem, taken from some sad experiences of God's people, I shall therefore add one, drawn from the religious rites of Paganism, the confession of ancient heathens, and the testimony of modern Deists.

When the heathens made their temples stream with the blood of slaughtered hecatombs, did they not explictly deprecate the wrath of Heaven and impending destruction? And was it not a sense of their guilt and danger; and a hope that the punishment they deserved might be transferred to their bleedmg victims, which gave birth to their numerous expiatory and propitiatory sacrifices 1 If this must be granted, it is plain those sacrifices were so many proofs that the considerate heathens were not utter strangers to their corruption and danger.

Vol. HI. 20

But let them speak their own sentiments. Not to mention their allegorical fables of Prometheus, who brought a curse upon earth by stealing fire out of heaven; and of Pandora, whose fatal curiosity let all sorts of woes and diseases loose upon mankind; does not Ovid in his Metamorphoses give a striking account of the fall, and its dreadful consequences? Read his description of the golden age, and you see Adam in paradise; proceed to the iron age, and you behold the horrid picture of our consummate wickedness.

If the ancients had no idea of that native propensity to evil, which we call original depravity, what did Plato mean by our "natural wickedness."* And Pythagoras, by " the fatal companion, the noxious strife that lurks within us, and was born along with us ?"f Did not Solon take for his motto the well-known saying, which, though so much neglected now, was formerly written in golden capitals over the door of Apollo's temple at Delphos. " Know thyself V% Are we not informed by heathen historians, that Socrates, the prince of the Greek sages, acknowledged he was naturally prone to the grossest vices? Does not Seneca, the best of the Roman philosophers, observe, " We are bom in such a condition that we are not subject to fewer disorders of the mind than of the body ?"§ Yea, that "all vices are in all men, though they do not break out in every one ;"|| and that " to confess them is the beginning of our cure ?"H And had not Cicero lamented before Seneca, that "men are brought into life by nature as a stepmother, with a naked, frail, and infirm body; and a soul prone to divers lusts?"

Even some of the sprightliest poets bear their testimony to the mournful truth I contend for. Propertius could say, "Every body has a vice to which he is inclined by nature."** Horace declared that "no man is born free from vices," and that "he is the best man who is oppressed with the least :"ff that " mankind rush into wickedness, and always desire what is forbidden :"fl: that " youth hath the softness of wax to receive vicious impressions, and the hardness of a rock to resist virtuous admonitions in a word, that "we are mad enough to attack heaven itself, and" that "our repeated crimes do not suffer the God of heaven to lay by his wrathful thunderbolts. "||U

* Kama tv ipvau. Ilenco that excellent definition of true religion, eipatw 4»<r;ii(, The cure of a diseased soul.

t Avypii yap cvvoira6o{ cptf ffXaitrovaa X(Xq0n>,
Sv/ifvTQS. Aux. Car*.

I rW0< irtavruv.

§ Hac conditions nati sumus; animalia obnoxia non paucioribus animi quam corporis morbis.

0 Omnia in omnibus vitia sunt, sed non omnia in singulis extant.

'Vitia sua confiteri sanitatis principium est.
*" Unicuinue dedit vitium natura create
ft Nam vitiis nemo'sine nascitur, optimus ille est

Qui minimis urgetur.
tt Gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas;

Nitimur in vetitum semper cupimusque nogata.
v§ Cereus in vitium flecti, monitoribus asper.
HI) Cffllum ipsum petimus stultitia; neque
Per nostrum patimur scelus

Iracunda Jovem ponere fulmina.

And Juvenal, as if he had understood what St. Paul says of the " car-.nal mind," affirms that " nature unchangeably fixed" tends, yea, "runs back to wickedness,"* as bodies to their centre.

Thus the very depositions of the heathens, in their lucid intervals, as well as their sacrifices, prove the depravity and danger of mankind. And so does likewise the testimony of some of our modern Deistical philosophers.

The ingenious author of a book called "Philosophical Inquiries concerning the Americans," informs us it is a custom among some Indians, that as soon as the wife is delivered of a child the husband must take to his bed, where he is waited on by the poor woman who should have been brought there; and that to this day the same ridiculous custom prevails in some parts of France. "From this and other instances," says our inquirer, "we may collect that, however men may differ in other points, there is a most striking conformity among them in Arsurdity." The same philosopher, who is by no means tainted with what some persons are pleased to call enthusiasm, confirms the doctrine of our natural depravity by the following anecdote, and the ironical observation with which it is closed:—The Esquimaux, (the wildest and most sottish people in all America,) call themselves men, and all other nations barbarians. "Human vanity, we see, thrives equally well in all climates; in Labrador as in Asia. Beneficent nature has dealt out as much of this comfortable quality to a Greenlander as to the most consummate French petit-maitre."

The following testimony is so much the more striking, as it comes from one of the greatest poets, philosophers, and Deists, of this present free-thinking age:—" Who can, without horror, consider the whole earth as the empire of destruction? It abounds in wonders, it abounds also in victims; it is a vast field of carnage and contagion. Every species is, without pity, pursued and torn to pieces, through the earth, and air, and water. In man there is more wretchedness than in all other animals put together: he smarts continually under two scourges which other animals never feel; anxiety and listlessness in appetence, which makes him weary of himself. He loves life, and yet he knows that he must die. If he enjoys some transient good, for which he is thankful to Heaven, he suffers various evils, and is at last devoured by worms. This knowledge is his fatal prerogative: other animals have it not. He feels it every moment rankling and corroding in his breast. Yet he spends the transient moment of his existence in diflusing the misery that he suffers; in cutting the throats of his fellow creatures for pay; in cheating and being cheated, in robbing and being robbed, in serving that he may command, and in repenting of all that he does. The bulk of mankind are nothing more than a crowd of wretches, equally criminal and unfortunate, and the globe contains rather carcasses than men. I tremble upon a review of this dreadful picture, to find that it implies a complaint against Providence, and I wish that I had never been born." (Voltaire's Gospel of the DaV."\)

* Ad mores natura recurrit Damnatos, fixa et mutari nescia. \ Wild error is often the guide, and glaring contradiction the badge, both of those who reject revelation, like Voltaire, and of those who indirectly set aside


And yet, O strange infatuation! Vain man will be wise, and wicked man pretends to be righteous! Far from repenting in the dust, he pleads his innocence, and claims the rewards of imaginary merit! Incredible as the assertion is, a thousand witnesses are ready to confirm it.

Come forth, ye natural sons of virtue, who with scornful boasts attack the doctrine of man's depravity. To drown the whispers of reason and experience, sound each your own trumpet: thank God "you are not as other men:" inform us you "have a good heart" and "a clear conscience:" assure us you "do your duty, your endeavours, your best endeavours," to please the Author of your lives: vow you never " were guilty of any crime, never did any harm:" and tell us you hope to mount to heaven on the strong pinions of your "good works and pious resolutions."

When you have thus acted the Pharisee's part before your fellow creatures, go to your Creator and assume the character of the publican. Confess with your lips you are "miserable sinners," who "have done what" you "ought not to have done, and left undone what" you "ought to have done:" protest "there is no health in" you: complain "that the remembrance of your sins is grievous unto you, and the burden of them intolerable:" but remember, O ye self righteous formalists, that, by this glaring inconsistency, you give the strongest proof of your unrighteousness. You are, nevertheless, modest, when compared with your brethren of the Romish Church.

These, far from thinking themselves "unprofitable servants," fancy

one half of it, like the Pharisees and Antinomians around us. See a striking proof of it. This very author in another book, (O, see what antichrittian morality comes to!) represents the horrible sin of Sodom, as an "excusable mistake of nature," and assures us that, "at the worst of times, there is at most upon earth only one man in a thousand that can bo catled wicked." Now for the proof! "Hardly do we see one of those enormous crimes, that shock human nature, committed in ten years at Rome, Paris, or London, those cities where the thirst of gain, which is the parent of all crimes, is carried to the highest pitch. If men were essentially wicked, we should find, every morning, husbands murdered by their wives, &c, as we do hens killed by foxes." According to this apostle of the Deistical world, it seems that the most intense thirst of gold is no degree of wickedness: that a woman, to be very good, needs only not cut her husband's throat while he is asleep; and that it even little matters whether she omit the dire murder out of regard to his life or her own. What moral philosophy is here! Why, if the sin of Sodom is a peccadillo, a frolicsome mistake; and nothing is wickedness but a treacherous cutting of a husband's or a parent's throat; I extend my charity four times beyond thee, O Voltaire! and do maintain that there is not one wicked man in five thousand.

I insert this note to obviate the charges of severe critics, who accuse me of dealing in "gross misrepresentations, false quotations, and forgeries," because 1 'quote some authors when they speak as the oracles of God; and do not swell my book with their inconsistencies, when they contradict the Scriptures, reason, and the truths which they themselves have advanced in some happy moments; and because I cannot force my reason to maintain with them both sides of a glaring contradiction.

O ye Deistical moralists! let me meet with more candour, justice, and mercy from you, than I have done from the warm opposers of the second Gospel axiom. It is enough that you discard Scripture; do not, like them, make k a part of your orthodoxy, to murder reason, and kick common sense out of doors! they are, literally, "righteous overmuch." Becoming meritmongers, they make a stock of their works of supererogation, set up shop with the righteousness they can spare to others, and expose to sale indulgences and pardons out of their pretended treasury. Nor are there wanting sons of Simon, who with ready money purchase, as they think, not livings in the Church below, but, which is far preferable, seats in the Church above, and good places at the heavenly court.

Was ever a robe of righteousness (I had almost said a fool's coat) so coarsely woven by the slaves of imposture and avarice; and so dearly bought by the sons of superstition and credulity?

O ye spiritual Ethiopians, who paint yourselves all over with the corroding white of hypocrisy, and after all, are artful enough to lay on red paint, and imitate the blush of humble modesty; ye that borrow virtue's robes to procure admiration, and put on religion's cloak to hide your shameful deformity: ye that deal in external righteousness, to carry on with better success the most sordid of all trades, that of sin; of the worst of sins, pride; of the worst pride, that which is spiritual: ye numerous followers of those whom the Prophet of Christians called crafty "serpents," and soft "brood of vipers;" ye to whom he declared that "publicans and harlots shall enter the kingdom of heaven before you;" if I call you in last, to prove the desperate wickedness of the human heart, it is not because I esteem you the weakest advocates of the truth I contend for, but because you really are the strongest of my witnesses.

And now, candid reader, forget not plain matter of fact; recollect the evidence given by reason; pass sentence upon these last arguments, which I have offered to thy consideration; and say whether man's disposition and conduct toward his Creator, his fellow creatures, and himself, do not abundantly prove that he is by nature in a fallen and lost estate.


THE preceding arguments recommend themselves to the common sense of thinking heathens, and the conscience of reasonable Deists; as being all taken from those two amazing volumes which are open to, and legible by, all, the world and man. The following are taken from a third volume, the Bible, despised by the wits of the age, merely because they study and understand it even less than the other two. "The Bible!" says one of them with a smile, "save yourself the trouble of producing arguments drawn from that old legend, unless you first demonstrate its authenticity by the noble faculty to which you appeal in these pages." For the sake of such objectors, I here premise, by way of digression, a few rational arguments to evince, as far as my contracted plan will allow, the Divine authority of the Scriptures.

1. The sacred penmen, the prophets, and apostles, were holy, excellent men, and would not,—artless, illiterate men, and therefore could not,—lay the horrible scheme of deluding mankind. The hope of gain did not influence them, for they were self-denying men, that left all to follow a Master who "had not where to lay his head;" and whose grand initiating maxim was, "Except a man forsake all that he hath, he can

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