« AnteriorContinuar »
to the man himself, or to others. So Eccl. ix. 3. “ Madfest is in the heart of the sons of men, while they live." And those words of Christ to Peter, Matth. xvi. 23. “ Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” Signifying plainly, that to be carnal and vain, and opposite to what is spiritual and divine, is what properly belongs to men in their present state. The same thing is supposed in that of the apostle, I Cor. iii. 3. « For ye are yet carnal. For whereas there is among you envying and strife, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ?" And that in Hos. vi. 7. « But they like men, have transgressed the covenant.” To these places may be added Matth. vii. 11. “ If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts." Jam. iv. 5. • Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us, lusteth to envy ?” 1 Pet. iv. 2. “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the lusts of men, but to the will of God." Yet above all, that in Job'xv. 16. « How much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquia ty like water? Of which more presently.
Now what account can be given of these things, on Dr. Taylor's scheme? How strange is it, that we should have such descriptions, all over the Bible, of man, and the sons of men! Why should man be so continually spoken of as evil, carnal, perverse, deceitful, and desperately wicked, if all men are by nature as perfectly innocent, and free from any propensity to evil, as Adam was the first moment of his creation, all made right, as our author would have us understand, Eccl. vir. 29 ? Why, on the contrary, is it not said, at least as often, and with equal reason, that the heart of man is right and pure ; that the way of man is innocent and holy ; and that he who eavors true virtue and wisdom, savors the things that be of men ? Yea, and why might it not as well have been said, The Lord looked down from heaven on the song of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and did seek after God; and they were all right, altogether pure, there was none inclined to do wickedness, no, not one?
Of the like import with the texts mentioned are those which represent wickedness as what properly belongs to the
quorld ; and that they who are otherwise, are saved from the world, and called out of it. As John vii. 7. “ The world cannot hate you ; bùt me it hateth ; because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." Chap. viii. 23, “ Ye are of this world: I am not of this world.” Chap. xiv. 17. “ The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive ; because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him : But ye know him." Chap. xv. 18, 19. “ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own : But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Rev. xiv. 3, 4. “ These are they which were redeemed from the earth....redeemed from among men." John xvii. : 9. “ I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me." Ver. 14. “ I have given them thy word ; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” I John iii. 13. « Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." Chap. iv. 5. « They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." Chap. v. 19. “ We are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” It is evident, that in these places, by the world is meant the world of mankind; not the habitation, but the inhabitants : For it is the world spoken of as loving, hating, doing evil works, speaking, hear.
It shews the same thing, that wickedness is often spoken of as being man's own, in contradistinction from virtue and holiness. So men's Justs are often called their own heart's lusts, and their practising wickedness is called walking in their own ways, walking in their own counsels, in the imagination of their own heart, and in the sight of their own eyes, according to their own devices, &c. These things denote wickedness to be a quality belonging properly to the character and nature of mankind in their present state : As, when Christ would represent that lying is remarkably the character and the very nature of the devil in his present state, he expresses it thus, John viji. 44. “ When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own : For he is a liar, and the father of it.” Vol. VI.
And that wickedness belongs to the nature of mankind in their present state, may be argued from those places which speak of mankind as being wicked in their childhood, or from their childhood. So, that in Prov. xxii. 15. “ Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child ; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Nothing is more manifest, than that the wise man in this book continually uses the word folly, or foolishness, for wickedness : And that this is what he means in this place, the words themselves do shew: For the rod of correction is proper to drive away no other foolishness, than that which is of a moral nature. The word rendered bound, significs, as is observed in Pool's Synopsis, a close and firm urion. The same word is used in chap. vi. 21. « Bind them continually upon thy heart.” And chap. vii. 3. “ Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart." To the like purpose is chap. iii. 3, and Deut. xi. 18, where this word is used. The same verb is used, 1 Sam. xviii. 1. “ The soul of Jonathan was knit (or bound) to the soul of Da. vid, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” But how comes wickedness to be so firmly bound, and strongly fixed, in the hearts of children, if it be not there naturally? They having had no time firmly to fix habits of sin, by long custom in actual wickedness, as those that have lived many years in the world.
The same thing is signified in that noted place, Gen. vii. 21. “ For the imagination of man's heart is evil, from his youth." It alters not the case, whether it be translated for or though the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, as Dr. Taylor would have it ; still the words suppose it to be so as is said. The word translated youth; signifies the whole of the former part of the age of man, which commences from the beginning of life. The word, in its derivation, has reference to the birth or beginning of existence. It comes from Nagnar, which signifies to shake off, as a free shakes off its ripe fruit, or a plant its seed: The birth of children being commonly represented by a tree's yielding fruil, or a plant's yielding seed. So that the word here trans. lated youth, comprehends not only what we in English most commonly call the time of youth, but also childhood and infancy, and is very often used to signify these latier. A word of the same root is used to signify a young child, or a little child, in the following places ; i Sam. i. 24, 25, 27 ; 1 Kings iii. 7, and xi. 17; 2 Kings ii. 23 ; Job xxxiii. 25 ; Prov. xxii. 6, xxiii. 13, and xxix. 21; Isai. X. 19, xi. 6, and Ixv. 20; Hos. xi. 1. The same word is used to signify an infant, in Exod. ii. 6, and x. 9; Judg. xiii. 5, 7, 8, 24 ; 1 Sam. i. 22, and iv. 21; 2 Kings v. 14 ; Isai. vii. 16, and visi. 4.
Dr. Taylor says, p. 124, Note, that he “ conceives, from the youth, is a phrase signifying the greatness, or long duration of a thing." But is by long duration he means any thing else than what is literally expressed, viz. from the beginning of life, he has no reason to conceive so ; neither has what he offers, so much as the shadow of a reason for his conception. There is no appearance in the words of the two or three texts he mentions, of their meaning any thing else than what is most literally signified. And it is certain, that what he suggests is not the ordinary import of such a phrase among the Hebrews : But that thereby is meant from the beginning, or early time of life, or existence; as may be seen in the places following, where the same word in the Hebrew is used, as in this place in the 8th of Genesis. 1 Sam. xii. 2. “ I am old, and gray headed...and I have walked before you from my child. hood unto this day;" where the original word is the same. Psal. lxxi. 5, 6. “ Thou art my trust from my youth: By thee have I been holden up from the womb. Thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels." Ver. 17, 18. “ O God, thou hast taught me from my youth ; and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works : Now also, when I am old and gray headed, forsake me noi." Psal. cxxix. 1, 2. Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Isracl now say : Many a time have they afflicted me from mij youth ; yet have they not prevailed against me." Isai. xlvii. 12. “ Stand now with the multitude of thy sorcerics, wherein thou hast labored, from thy youth.” So ver. 15, and 2 Sam. xix, 7. " That will be worse unto thee, than all the evil that befel thee, from thy youth until now." Jer, üi. 24, 25, « Shame hath devoured the labor of our fathers, from our youth. We have sinned against the Lord our God from our youth, even to this day." So Gen. xlvi. 34 ; Job xxxi, 18; Jer, xxxij. 30, and xlviii. 11; Ezek, iv, 14 ; Zech, xiii. 5.
And it is to be observed, that according to the manner of the Hebrew language, when it is said, such a thing has been from youth, or the first part of existence, the phrase is to be understood as including that first time of existence. So, Josh. vi. 21. “ They utterly destroyed all, from the young to the old,” (so it is in the Hebrew) i. e. including both. So Gen. xix, 4, and Esther iii. 13.
And as mankind are represented in scripture, as being of a wicked heart from their youth, so in other places they are spoken of as being thus from the womb. Psal, lviii. 3. “ The wicked are estranged from the womb : They go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” It is observable, that the Psalmist mentions this as what belongs to the wicked, as the 80ns of men : For, these are the preceding words : “ Do ye judge uprightly, 0 ye sons of men ? Yea, in heart ye work wickedness.” (A phrase of the like import with that in Gen. viii. 21. The imagination, or operation, as it might have been rendered, of his heart is evil.) Then it follows, The wicked are estranged from the womb, &c. The next verse is, Their poison is like the poison of a serpent. It is so remarkably, as the very nature of a serpent is poison : Serpents are poisonous as soon as they come into the world: They derive a poisonous nature by their generation. Dr. Taylor, p. 134, 135, says, “ It is evident that this is a scriptural figurative way of aggravating wickedness on the one hand, and of signifying early and settled habits of virtue on the other, to speak of it as being from the womb." And as a probable instance of the latter, he cites that in Isai. xlix. 1. ^ The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother he made mention of my name." But I apprehend, that in order to seeing this to be either evident or probable, a man must have eyes peculiarly affected. I humbly conceive that such phrases as that in the 49th of Isaiah, of God's calling the prophet from the womb, are evidently not of the import which he sup