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It follows from the Proposition proved in the foregoing Seco
tion, that all Mankind are under the influence of a prevail-
THE proposition laid down being proved, the consequence of it remains to be made out, viz. that the mind of man has a natural tendency or propensity to ihat event, which has been shewn universally and infallibly to take place (if this be not sufficiently evident of itself, without proof) and that this is a corrupt or depraved propensity.
I shall here consider the former part of this consequence, namely, whether such an universal, constant, infallible event is truly a proof of the being of any tendency or propensity to that event; leaving the evil and corrupt nature of such a propensity to be considered afterwards.
If any should say, they do not think that its being a thing universal and infallible in event, that mankind commit some sin, is a proof of a prevailing tendency to sin ; because they do not only sin, but also do good, and perhaps more good than evil ; let them remember, that the question at present is not, how much sin there is a tendency to ; but, whether there be a prevailing propensity to that issue, which it is allowed all men do actually come to, that all fail of keeping the law per- • fectly ; whether there be not a tendency to such imperfection of obedience, as always without fail comes to pass ; to that degree of sinfulness, at least, which all fall into ; and so to that utter ruin, which that sinfulness implies and infers. Whether an effectual propensity to this be worth the name of depravily, because of the good that may be supposed to balance it, shall be considered by and by. If it were so, that all mankind, in all nations and ages, were at least one day in their lives deprived of the use of their reason, and run raving mad; or that all, even every individual person, once cut their OWA
throats, or put out their own eyes ; it might be an evidence of some tendency in the nature or natural state of mankind to such an event; though they might exercise reason many more days than they were distracted, and were kind to, and tender of themselves oftener than they mortally and cruelly wounded themselves.
To determine whether the unfailing constancy of the above named event be an evidence of tendency, let it be considered, what can be meant by tendency, but a prevailing liableness or exposedness to such or such an event. Wherein consists the notion of any such thing, but some stated prevalence or preponderation in the nature or state of causes or occasions, that is followed by, and so proves to be effectual to, a stated prevalence or commonness of any particular kind of effect? Or, something in the permanent state of things, concerned in bringing a certain sort of event to pass, which is a foundation for the constancy, or strongly prevailing probability of such an event ? If we mean this by tendency (as I know not what else can be meant by it, but this, or something like this) then it is manifest, that where we see a stated prevalence of any kind of effect or event, there is a tendency to that effect in the nature and state of its causes. A common and steady effect shews, that there is somewhere a preponderation, a prevail. ing exposedness or liableness in the state of things, to what comes so steadily to pass. The natural dictate of reason shews, that where there is an effect, there is a cause, and a canse sufficient for the effect; because, if it were not sufficient, it would not be effectual; and that therefore, where there is a stated prevalence of the effect, there is a stated prevalence in the cause : A steady effect argues a steady cause. We obtain a notion of such a thing as tendency, no other way than by observation; and we can observe nothing but events ; and it is the commonness or constancy of events that gives us a notion of tendency in all cases. Thus we judge of tendencies in the natural world. Thus we judge of the tendencies or propensities of nature in minerals, vegetables, animals, rational and irrational creatures. A notion of a stated tendency, or fixed propensity, is not obtained by observe
ing only a single event. A stated preponderation in the cause or occasion, is argued only by a stated prevalence of the effect. If a die be once thrown, and it falls on a particular side, we do not argue from hence, that that side is the heaviest ; but if it be thrown without skill or care, many thousands or millions of times going, and constantly falls on the same side, we have not the least doubt in our minds, but that there is something of propensity in the case, by superior weight of that side, or in some other respect. How ridiculous would he make him. self, who should earnestly dispute against any tendency in the state of things to cold in the winter, or heat in the summer ; or should stand to it, that although it often happened that water querched fire, yet there was no tendency in it to such an effect.
In the case we are upon, the human nature, as existing in such an immense diversity of persons and circumstances, and never failing in any one instance, of coming to that issue, viz. that sinfulness, which implies extreme misery and eternal ru. in, is as the die often cast. For it alters not the case in the least, as to the evidence of tendency, whether the subject of the constant event be an individual, or a nature and kind. Thus, if there be a succession of trees of the same sort, proceeding one from another, from the beginning of the world, growing in all countries, soils, and climates, and otherwise in (as it were) an infinite variety of circumstances, all bearing ill fruit; it as much proves the nature and tendency of the kind, as if it were only one individual tree, that had remained from the beginning of the world, had often been transplanted into different soils, &c. and had continued to bear only bad fruit. So, if there were a particular family, which, from generation to generation, and through every remove to innumerable dif. ferent countries, and places of abode, all died of a consumption, or all run distracted, or all murdered themselves, it would be as much an evidence of the tendency of something in the nature or constitution of that race, as it would be of the tendency of something in the nature or state of an individual, if some one person had lived all that time, and some remarka. ble event had often appeared in him, which he had been the agent or subject of from year to year, and from ageto age, continually and without fail.
Here may be observed the weakness of that objection, made against the validity of the argument for a fixed propensity to sin, from the constancy and universality of the event, that Adam sinned in one instance, without a fixed propensity. without doubt a single event is an evidence, that there was some cause or occasion of that event ; but the thing we are speaking of, is a fixed cause. Propensity is a stated, continued thing. We justly argue, that a stated effect must have a · stated cause ; and truly observe, that we obtain the notion of tendency, or stated preponderation in causes, no other way than by observing a stated prevalence of a particular kind of effect. But who ever argues a fixed propensity from a single event? And is ii not strange arguing, that because an event which once comes to pass, does not prove any stated tendency, therefore the unfailing constancy of an event is an evidence of no such thing? But because Dr. Taylor makes so much of this objection, from Adam's sinning without a propensity, I shall hereafter consider it more particularly, in the beginning of the 9th Section of this Chapter ; where will also be considered what is objected from the fall of the angels.
Thus a propensity, attending the present nature or natural state of mankind, eternally to ruin themsclves by sin, may certainly be inferred from apparent and acknowledged faci. And I would now observe further, that not only does this follow from facts that are acknowledged by Dr. Taylor but the things he asserts, the expressions and words which he uses, do plainly imply that all mankind have such a propensity; yea, one of the highest kind, a propensity that is invincible, or a tendency which really amounts to a fixed, constant, unfail-/ ing necessity. There is a plain confession of a propensity or proneness to sin, p. 143. “Man, who drinketh in iniquity like water, who is attended with so many sensual appetites, and so apt to indulge them." And again, p. 228, 6 we are very apt, in a world full of temptation, to be deceived, and drawn into sin by bodily appetites.” If we are very apt or prone to be drawn into sin by bodily appetites, and sinfully to
indulge them, and very apt or prone to yield to temptation 10 sirin then we are prone to sin; for to yield to temptation to sin is sinful. In the same page he represents, that on this account, and on account of the consequences of this, the case of those who are under a law, threatening death for every sin, must be quite deplorable, if they have no relief from the mercy of the lawgiver. Which implies, that their case is liopeless, as to an escape from death, the punishment of sin, by any other means than God's mercy. And that implies, that there is such an aptness to yield to temptation to sin, that it is hopeless that any of mankind should wholly avoid it. But he speaks of it elsewhere, over and over, as truly impossible, or what cannot be ; as in the words which were cited in the last Section, from his note on Rom. v. 20, where he repeatedly speaks of the law, which subjects us to death for every transgression, as what cannot give life ; and represents that if God offered us no other way of salvation, no man from the beginning of the world could be saved." In the same place he, with approbation, cites Mr. Locke's words, in which, speaking of the Israelites, he says, “ All endeavors after righteousness were lost labor, since any one slip forfeited life, and it was impossible for them to expect ought but death.” Our author speaks of it as impossible for the law requiring sinless obedience, to give life, not that the law was weak in itself, but through the weakness of our flesh. Therefore he says, he conceives the Law not to be a dispensation suitable to the infirmity of the human nature in its present state. These things amount to a full confession, that the proneness in men to sin, and to a demerit of, and just exposedness lo eternal ruin by sin, is universally invincible, or, which is the same thing, amounts to absolute, invincible necessity ; which surely is the highest kind of tendency or propensity ; and that not the less for his laying this propensity to our infirmity or weakness, which may seem to intimate some defect, rather than any thing posjtive : And it is agreeable to the sentiments of the best divines, that all sin originally comes from a defective or privalive cause. But sin does not cease to be sin, or a thing not justly exposing to eternal ruin (as implied in Dr. Taylor's own