Imágenes de páginas

for the kingdom of God; for which, in the judgment of infinite wisdom, we cannot be qualified, but by overcoming our present temptations." And in p. 78. S. he says, “ We are upon trial, and it is the will of our Father that our constitution should be attended with various passions and appetites, as well as our outward condition with various temptations." He says the like in several other places. To the same purpose very often Dr. Turnbull, particularly Christian Philosophy, p. 310. “ What merit (says he) except from combat? What virtue without the encounter of such enemies, such temptations as arise both from within and from abroad? To be virtuous, is to prefer the pleasures of virtue, to those which come into competition with it, and viče holds forth to tempt us; and to dare to adhere to truth and goodness, whatever pains and hardships it may cost. There must therefore, in order to the formation and trial, in order to the very being of virtue, be pleasures of a certain kind to make temptations to vice.”

In reply to these things I would say, either the state of temptation, which is supposed to be ordered for men's trial, amounts on the whole to a prevailing tendency to that state of general wickedness and ruin, which has been proved to take place, or it does not. If it does not amount to a tendency to such an effect, then how does it account for it? When it is inquired, by what cause such an effect should come to pass, is it not absurd to allege a cause, which is owned at the same time to have no tendency to such an effect? Which is as much as to confess, that it will not account for it. I think it has been demonstrated, that this effect must be owing !o some prevailing tendency. If the other part of the dilemma be taken, and it be said, that this state of things does imply a prevailing tendency to that effect, which has been proved, viz. that all mankind, without the exception of so much as one, sin against God, to their own deserved' and just, eternal ruin ; and not only so, but sin thus immediately, as soon as capable of it, and sin continually, and have more sin than virtue, and have guilt that infinitely outweighs the value of all the goodness any ever have, and that the generality of the world in

all ages are extremely stupid and foolish, and of a wicked character, and actually perish for ever ; I say, if the state of temptation implies a natural tendency to such an effect as this, it is a very evil, corrupt, and dreadful state of things, as has been already largely shewn.

Besides, such a state has a tendency to defeat its own supposed end, which is to refine, ripen, and perfect virtue in mankind, and so to fit men for the greater eternal happiness ana glory : Whereas, the effect it tends to, is the reverse of this, viz. general, eternal infamy and ruin, in all generations. It is supposed, that men's virtue must have passions and appetites to struggle with, in order to have the glory and reward of victory ; but the consequence is, a prevailing, continual and generally effectual tendency, not to men's victory over evil appetites and passions, and the glorious reward of that victory, but to the victory of evil appetites and lusts over men, and utterly and eternally destroying them. If a trial of vir. tue be requisite, yet the question is, whence comes so general a failing in the trial, if there be no depravity of nature ? If conflict and war be necessary, yet surely there is no necessity that there should be more cowards than good soldiers ; unless it be necessary that men should be overcome and destroyed : Especially it is not necessary that the whole world as it were should lie in wickedness, and so lie and die in cowardice.

I might also here observe, that Dr. Turnbull is not very consistent, in supposing, that combat with temptation is req. uisite to the very being of virtue. For I think it clearly follows from his own notion of virtue, that virtue must have a being prior to any virtuous or praiseworthy combat with temptation. For, by his principles, all virtue lies in good af. fection, and no actions can be virtuous, but what proceed from good affection.* Therefore, surely the combat itself can have no virtue in it, unless it proceeds from virtuous affection; and therefore virtue must have an existence before the combat, and be the cause of it.

* Christian Philosophy, p. 113......016.


Universal Mortality proves Original Sin; par

ticularly the Death of Infants, with its vari. ous circumstances,

THE universal reign of death, over persons of all ages indiscriminately, with the awful circumstances and attendants.of death, proves that men come sinful into the world.

It is needless here particularly to inquire, whether God has not a sovereign right to set bounds to the lives of his own creatures, be they sinful or not; and as he gives life, so to take it away when he pleases? Or how far God has a right to bring extreme suffering and calamity on an innocent moral agent ? For death, with the pains and agonies with which it is usually brought on, is not merely a limiting of existence, but is a most terrible calamity; and to such a creature as man, capable of conceiving of immortality, and made with so earnest a deșire after it, and capable of foresight and of reflection on approaching death, and that has such an extreme .dread of it, is a calamity above all others terrible, to such as are able to reflect upon it. I say, it is needless, elaborately to consider, whether God may not, consistent with his perfec. tions, by absolute sovereignty, bring so great a calamity on mankind when perfectly innocent. It is sufficient, if we have good evidence from scripture, that it is not agreeable to God's manner of dealing with mankind so to do.

It is manifest, that mankind were not originally subjected to this calamity : God brought it on them afterwards, on occasion of man's sin, at a time of the manifestation of God's great displeasure for sin, and by a denunciation and sentence pronounced by him, as acting the part of a judge, as Dr. Tay · VOL. VL


lor often confesses. Sin entered into the world, and dealli by sin, as the apostle says. Which certainly leads us to suppose, that this affair was ordered of God, not merely by the sovereignty of a Creator, but by the righteousness of a judge. And the scripture every where speaks of all great afflictions and calamities, which God in his providence brings on mankind, as testimonies of his displeasure for sin, in the subject of those calamities; excepting those sufferings which are to atone for the sins of others. He ever taught his people to look on such calamities as his rod, the rod of his anger, his frowns, the hidings of his face in displeasure. Hence such calamities are in scripture so often called by the name of judgments, being what God brings on men as a judge, executing a righteous sentence for transgression : Yea, they are often called by the name of wrath, especially calamities consisting or issuing in death. And hence also is that which Dr. Taylor would have us take so much notice of, that some. times, in the scripture, calamity and suffering is called by such names as sin, iniquity, being guilty, &c. which is evidently by a metonymy of the cause for the effect. It is not like. ly, that in the language in use of old among God's people, calamity or suffering would have been called, eren by the names of sin and guilt, if it had been so far from having any connexion with sin, that even death itself, which is always spoken of as the most terrible of calamitics, is not so much as any sign of the sinfulness of the subject, or any testimony of God's displeasure for any guilt of his, as Dr. Taylor supposes.

Death is spoken of in scripture as the chief of calamities, the most extreme and terrible of all those natural evils, which come on mankind in this world. Deadly destruction is spoken of as the most terrible destruction. Sam. v. 11. Dead. ly sorrow, as the most extreme sorrow. Isa. xvii. 11. Matth. xxvi. 38, and deadly enemies, as the most bitter and terrible

' See Levit. . 6. Numb. i. 53, and xviii. 5. Josh, ix, 20. 2 Chron. xxiv. 28, and xix. 2, 10, and xxviii, 13, and xxxii. 25. Ezra vii. 28: Neh, xiii. 18. Zech, yii. 12, and many other places.

enemies. Psal. xvii. 9. The extremity of Christ's suffer ings is represented by his suffering unto death. Philip. ii. 8, and other places. Hence the greatest testimonies of God's anger for the sins of men in this world, have been by inflicta ing death : As on the sinners of the old world, on the inhab. itants of Sodom and Gomorrah, on Qnan, Pharaoh, and the Egyptians, Nadab and Abihu, Korah and his company, and the rest of the rebels in the wilderness, on the wicked inhab, itants of Canaan, on Hophni and Phinehas, Ananias and Şap, phira, the unbelieving Jews, upon whom wrath came to the uttermost, in the time of the last destruction of Jerusalem. This calamily is often spoken of as in a peculiar manner the fruit of the guilt of sin. Exod. xxviji. 43. “That they bear not iniquity and die.” Levit. xxii. 9. 4.Lest they bear sin for it and die.” So Numb. xviii. 22, compared with Levit. X. 1, 2. The very light of nature, or tradition from ancient revo elation, led the heathen to conceive of death as in a peculiar manner an evidence of divine vengeance. Thus we have an account, Acts xxviii. 4. That when the Barbarians sa tu the venomous beast hang on Paul's hand, they said among them. selves, no doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the seas, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. A

Calamities that are very small in comparison of the unia versal, temporal destruction of the whole world of mankind by death, are spoken of as manifest indications of God's great displeasure for the sinfulness of the subject ; such as the des truction of particular cities, countries, or numbers of men, by war or pestilence. Deut. xxix. 24. “ All nations shall say, wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger?" Here compare Deut. xxxii. 30. 1 Kings ix. 8, and Jer. xxii. 8, 9. These calam. ities, thus spoken of as plain testimonies of God's great anger, consisted only in hastening on that death, which other. wise, by God's disposal, would most certainly have come in a short time. Now the taking off of thirty or forty years from seventy or eighty, (if we should suppose it to be so much, one with another, in the time of these extraordinary judge ments) is byt a small matter, in comparison of God's first

« AnteriorContinuar »