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Wherein are considered some Evidences of Origin.
al Sin from Facts and Events, as found by 0b. servation and Experience, together with Representations and Testimonies of Holy Scripture, and the Confession and Assertions of Opposers.
The Evidence of Original Sin from what appears
in Fact of the Sinfulness of Mankind.
All Mankind do constantly, in all Ages, without Fail in any one
Instance, run into that moral Evil, which is, in Effect, their own utter and eternal Perdition, in a total Privation of God's Favor, and Suffering of his Vengeance and Wrath.
Y Original Sin, as the phrase has been most commonly used by divines, is meant the innate, sinful depravity of the heart. But yet, when the doctrine of Original Sin is spoken of, it is vulgarly understood in that latitude, as to include
not only the depravity of nature, but the imputation of Adam's first Sin; or in other words, the liableness or exposedness of Adam's posterity, in the divine judgment, to partake of the punishment of that Sin. So far as I know, most of those who have held one of these, have maintained the other; and most of those who have opposed one, have opposed the other; bo h are opposed by the author chiefly attended to in the following discourse, in his book against Original Sin : And it may perhaps appear in our future consideration of the subject, that they are closely connected, and that the arguments which prove the one, establish the other, and that there are no more difficulties attending the allowing of one than the other.
I shall, in the first place, consider this doctrine more especially with regard to the corruption of nature ; and as we treat of this, the other will naturally come into consideration, in the prosecution of the discourse, as connected with it.
As all moral qualities, all principles either of virtue or vice, lie in the disposition of the heart, I shall consider whethér we have any evidence, that the heart of man is naturally of a corrupt and evil disposition. This is strenuously denied by many late writers, who are enemies to the doctrine of Original Sin ; and particularly by Dr. Taylor.
The way we come by the idea of any such thing as disposition or tendency, is by observing what is constant or general in event; especially under a great variety of circumstances; and above all, when the effect or event continues the same through great and various opposition, much and manifold force and means used to the contrary not prevailing to hinder the effect. I do not know, that such a prevalence of effects is denied to be an evidence of prevailing tendency in causes and agents; or that it is expressly denied by the opposers of the doctrine of Original Sin, that if, in the course of events, it universally or generally proves that mankind are actually corrupt, this would be an evidence of a prior, corrupt propensity in the world of mankind; whatever may be said by some, which, if taken with its plain consequences, may seem to imply a denial of this; which may be considered after. wards....But by inany the fact is denied ; that is, it is denieds
that corruption and moral evil are commonly prevalent in the world : On the contrary, it is insisted on, that good prepon. derates, and that virtue has the ascendant.
To this purpose Dr. Turnbull says“ With regard to the prevalence of vice in the world, men arę apt to let their imagination run out upon all the robberies, pyracies, murders, perjuries, frauds, massacres, assassinations they have either heard of, or read in history ; thence concluding all mankind to be very wicked. As if a court of justice was a proper place to make an estimate of the morals of mankind, or an hospital of the healthfulness of a climate. But ought they not to consider, that the number of honest citizens and farmers far surpasses that of all sorts of criminals in any state, and that the innocent and kind actions of even criminals themselves surpass their crimes in numbers ; that it is the rarity of crimes, in comparison of innocent or good actions, which engages our attention to them, and makes them to be recorded in history ; while honest, generous, domestic actions are overlooked, only because they are so common? As one great danger, or one month's sickness shall become a frequently repeated story during a long life of health and safety.... Let not the vices of mankind be multiplied or magnified. Let us make a fair estimate of human life, and set over against the shocking, the astonishing instances of barbarity and wicked ness that have been perpetrated in any age, not only the exceeding generous and brave actions with which history shines, but the prevailing innocency, good nature, industry, felicity, and cheerfulness of the greater part of mankind at all times ; and we shall not find reason to cry out, as objectors against providence do on this occasion, that all men are vastly corrupta and that there is hardly any such thing as virtue in the world. Upon a fair computation, the fact does indeed come out, that very great villanies have been very uncommon in all ages, and looked upon as monstrous ; so general is the sense and esteem of virtue.” It seems to be with a like view that Dr. Taylor says, “We must not take the measure of our health
Containing Observations on Rom. v. 12, to the end.
Observing the Evidence given us, relative to the Doctrine of
Original Sin, in what the Scriptures reveal concerning the
The Evidence of Original Sin from the Nature of Redemption, in the Pro.
curement of it: Which is superceded by Dr. Taylor's Scheme,
The Evidence of the Doctrine of Original Sin from what the Scripture teach
es concerning the Application of Redemption.
Containing Answers to Objections.
Concerning that Objection, That to suppose Men to be born in Sin, without
their Choice, or any previous act of their own, is to suppose what is inconsistent with the Nature of Sin. And reflections, shewing the incorsisterce of Dr. Taylor's Arguings from this Topic,
Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine of native Corruption, That to
suppose, Men receive their first Existence in Sin, is to make Him who is the Author of their Being, also the Author of their Depravity.
That great Objection against the Imputation of Adam's Sin to his Posterity con.
sidered, That such Imputation is unjust and unreasonable, inasmuch as Adam and his Posterity are not one and the same : With a brief Reflec
tion subjoined, on what some have supposed, of God's imputing the guilt of Adam's Sin to his Posterity, but in an infinitely less Degree than to Adam himself,
Wherein several other objections are considered.
Containing some brief Observations on certain artful Methods, used by Writ
ers who are Adversaries to this Doctrine, in order to prejudice their Readers against it.