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That Man's Nature is corrupt, appears, in that by far the
greater Part of Mankind, in all Ages, have been wicked Men.
The depravity of man's nature appears, not only in its propensity to sin in some degree, which renders a man an evil or wicked man in the eye of the law, and strict justice, as was before shewn; but it is so corrupt, that its depravity either shews that men are, or tends to make them to be, of such an evil character as shall denominate them wicked men, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace.
This may be argued from several things which have been already observed: As from a tendency to continual sin; a tendency to much greater degrees of sin than righteousness, and from the general extreme stupidity of mankind. But yet the present state of man's nature, as implying or tending to a wicked character, may deserve to be more particularly considered and directly proved. And in general, this appears, in that there have been so very few in the world, from age to age, ever since the world has stood, that have been of any other character.
It is abundantly evident in scripture, and is what I suppose none that call themselves christians will deny, that the whole world is divided into good and bad, and that all mankind at the day of judgment will either be approved as righteous or condemned as wicked : either glorified as children of the king. dom, or cast into a furnace of fire as children of the wicked
I need not stand to shew what things belong to the character of such as shall hereafter be accepted as righteous, according to the word of God. It may be sufficient for my present purpose to observe what Dr. T. himself speaks of as belonging essentially to the character of such. In p. 203. he says, “ This is infallibly the character of true christians, and what is essential to such, that they have really mortified the flesh with its lusts;—they are dead to sin, and live no longer therein ; the old man is crucified, and the body of sin destroyed: They yield themselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and their members as instruments of righteousness to God and as servants of righteousness to holiness." There is more to the like purpose in the two next pages.
p. 228. he says, “Whatsoever is evil and corrupt in us we ought to condemn ; not so, as it shall still remain in us, that we may always be condemning it, but that we may speedily re
form, and be effectually delivered from it ; otherwise certainly we do not come up to the character of the true disciples of Christ.”
In p. 248. he says, “ Unless God's favour be preferred before all other enjoyments whatsoever, unless there be a delight in the worship of God, and in converse with him, unless every appetite be brought into subjection to reason and truth, and unless there be a kind and benevolent disposition towards our fellow-creatures, how can the mind be fit to dwell with God in his house and family, to do him service in his king, dom, and to promote the happiness of any part of his creation."-And in his Key, $ 286. p. 101, 102, &c. shewing there what it is to be a true christian, he says among other things, " That he is one who has such a sense and persuasion of the love of God in Christ, that he devotes his life to the honour and service of God, in hope of eternal glory. And that to the character of a true christian it is absolutely necessary, that he diligently study the things that are freely given him of God, viz. his election, regeneration, &c. that he may gain a just knowledge of those inestimable privileges, may taste that the Lord is gracious, and rejoice in the gospel salvation as his greatest happiness and glory. It is necessary that he work these blessings on his heart, till they become a vital principle, producing in him the love of God, engaging him to all cheerful obedience to his will, giving him a proper dignity and elevation of soul, raising him above the best and worst of this world, carrying his heart into heaven, and fixing his affections and regards upon his everlasting inheritance, and the crown of glory laid up for him there.-Thus he is armed against all the temptations and trials resulting from any pleasure or pain, hopes or fears, gain or loss, in the present world. None of these things move
him from a faithful discharge of any part of his duty, or from a firm attachment to truth and righteousness; neither counts he his very life dear to him, that he may do the will of God, and finish his course with joy. In a sense of the love of God in Christ, he maintains daily communion with God by reading and meditating on his word. In a sense of his own infirmity and the readiness of the divine favour to succour him, he daily addresses the throne of grace for the renewal of spiritual strength, in assurance of obtaining it through the one Mediator Christ Jesus. Inlightened and directed by the heavenly doctrine of the gospel, &c.*
Now I leave every one that has any degree of impartiality to judge, whether there be not sufficient grounds to think that it is but a very small part indeed of the many myri
* What Dr. TORNBULL says of the character of a good man, is also rorth: to be observed, Chris. Phil. p. 86, 258, 259, 288, 375, 376, 409, 410.
ads and millions which overspread this globe, who are of a character that in any wise answers these descriptions. However Dr. T. insists, that all nations, and every man on the face of the earth, have light and means sufficient to do the whole will of God, even they that live in the grossest darkness of paganism.
Dr. T. in answer to arguments of this kind, very impertinently from time to time objects, that we are no judges of the viciousness of men's characters, nor are able to decide in what degree they are virtuous or vicious. As though we could have no good grounds to judge, that any thing appertaining to the qualities or properties of the mind, which is invisible, is general or prevailing among a multitude or collective body, unless we can determine how it is with each individual. I think I have sufficient reason from what I know and have heard of the American Indians to judge, that there are not many good philosophers among them; though the thoughts of their hearts, and the ideas and knowledge they have in their minds, are things invisible; and though I have never seen so much as a thousandth part of the Indians; and with respect to most of them, should not be able to pronounce preremptorily concerning any one, that he was not very knowing in the nature of things, if all should singly pass before me. And Dr. T. himself seems to be sensible of the falseness of his own conclusions that he so often urges against others ; if we may judge by his practice, and the liberties he takes in judging of a multitude himself. He, it seems, is sensible that a man may have good grounds to judge that wickedness of character is general in a collective body, because he openly does it himself. (Key, p. 102.) After declaring the things which belong to the character of a true Christian, he judges of the generality of Christians, that they have cast off these things, that they are a people that do err in their hearts, and have not known God's ways, p. 259, he judges, that the generality of Christians are the most wicked of all mankind, when he thinks it will throw some disgrace on the opinion of such as he opposes.
The like we have from time to time in other places, (as p. 168, p. 258, Key, p. 127, 128.)
But if men are not sufficient judges whether there are few of the world of mankind but what are wicked, yet doubtless God is sufficient, and his judgment, often declared in his word, determines the matter. Matt. vii. 13, 14. Enter ye in at the strait gate: For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it. It is manifest, that here Christ is not only describing the state of things as it was at that day, and does not mention the comparative smallness of the
number of them that are saved as a consequence of the peculiar perverseness of that people and of that generation; but as a consequence of the general circumstances of the way to life and the way to destruction, the broadness of the one and the narrowness of the other.
In the straitness of the gate, &c. I suppose none will deny that Christ has respect to the strictness of those rules, which he had insisted on in the preceding sermon, and which render the way to life very difficult. But certainly these amiable rules would not be difficult, were they not contrary to the natural inclinations of men's hearts; and they would not be contrary to those inclinations, were these not depraved. Consequently the wideness of the gate, and broadness of the way, that leads to destruction, in consequence of which many go in thereat, must imply the agreeableness of this way to men's natural inclinations. The like reason is given by Christ, why few are saved. Luke xii. 23, 24. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few saved ? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate : For many I
say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. That there are generally but few good men in the world, even among them who have the most distinguishing and glorious advantages for it, is evident by that saying of our Lord, Many are called, but few are chosen. And if there are but few among these, how few, how very few indeed, must persons of this character be, compared with the whole world of mankind? The exceeding smallness of the number of the saints, compared with the whole world, appears by the representations often made of them as distinguished from the world; in which they are spoken of as called and chosen out of the world, redeemed from the earth, redeemed from among men; as being those that are of God, while the whole world lieth in wickedness, and the like.
And if we look into the Old Testament, we shall find the same testimony given. Prov. xx. 6. Most men will proclaim every man his own goodness : But a faithful man who can find? By the faithful man, as the phrase is used in scripture, is intended much the same as a sincere, upright, or truly good man; as in Psal. xii. 1, and xxxi. 23. and ci. 6. and other places. Again, Eccl. vii. 25—29. I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to find out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness : And I find more bitter than death, the woman whose heart is snares, fc. Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, lo find out the account, which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: One man among a thousand have I found: but a woman among all these have I not found. Lo, this only have I found, that God made man upright ; but they have sought out many inventions, Solomon here signifies, that when he set
himself diligently to find out the account or proportion of true wisdom, or thorough uprightness among men, the result was, that he found it to be but as one to a thousand, &c. Dr. T. on this place, p. 184. says, “The wise man in the context, is inquiring into the corruption and depravity of mankind, of the men and women THAT LIVED IN HIS TIME. As though what he said represented nothing of the state of things in the world in general, but only in his time. But does Dr. T. or any body else, suppose this only to be the design of that book, to represent the vanity and evil of the world in that time, and to shew that all was vanity and vexation of spirit in Solomon's day? That day truly, we have reason to think, was a day of the greatest smiles of heaven on that nation that ever had been on any nation from the foundation of the world. Not only does the subject and argument of the whole book shew it to be otherwise; but also the declared design of the book in the first chapter; where the world is represented as very much the same, as to its vanity and evil, from age to age. It makes little or no progress, after all its revolutions and restless motions, labours and pursuits; like the sea, that has all the rivers constantly emptying themselves into it, from age to age, and yet is never the fuller. As to that place, Prov. xx. 6. A faithful man who can find ? there is no more reason to suppose that the wise man has respect only to his time in these words, than in those immediately preceding, Counsel in the heart of a man is like deep waters; but a man of understanding will draw it out. Or in the words next following, The just man walketh in his integrity: His children are blessed after him. Or in any other proverb in the whole book. And if it were so that Solomon in these things meant only to describe his own times, it would not at all weaken the argument. For, if we observe the history of the Old Testament, there is reason to think there never was any time from Joshua to the captivity, wherein wickedness was more restrained, and virtue and religion more encouraged and promoted, than in David's and Solomon's times. And if there was so little true piety in that nation, the only people of God under heaven, even in their best times, what may we suppose concerning the world in general, take one time with another ?
Notwithstanding what some authors advance concerning the prevalence of virtue, honesty, good neighbourhood, chearfulness, &c. in the world; Solomon, whom we may justly esteem as wise and just an observer of human nature and the state of the world of mankind as most in these days (besides, Christians ought to remember, that he wrote by divine inspiration) judged the world to be so full of wickedness, that it was better never to be born, than to be born to live only in such a world. Eccl. iv. 1-3. So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are under the sun; and behold, the tears of such as