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"Solomon seems to be much of this mind, when after a survey of the whole scheme of human life, in its variety of scenes, (without the views of hereafter) he declares, “I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who were yet alive.' And indeed it appears, that the miseries of life are so numerous as to overbalance all its real comforts, and sufficiently to shew, that mankind now lie under evident marks of their Maker's displeasure as being degenerated from that state of innocence, wherein they were at first created. (p. 380.)
"But it is objected If human life in general is miser"able, how is it, that all men are so unwilling to die ?” (p. 381, 383.)
"I answer, 1. Because they fear to meet with more misery in another life than they feel in this. See our Poet: "The weariest and most loathed worldly life,
That pain, age, penury, and imprisonment
To what we fear of death."
And in another place,
"If by the sleep of death we could but end
That flesh is heir to, 'twere a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. O who would bear
The oppressor's wrongs, the poor man's contumely,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would bear such burdens,
And groan and sweat under a weary life,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others which are all unknown."
"If you say, 'But the Heathens knew nothing of a future life and yet they too, in all their generations have been unwilling to die. Nor would they put an end to their own life were it ever so miserable.' (p. 384.) I answer, Most of the ancient (as well as the modern) Heathens, had some notions of an after-state, and some fears of punishment in another life, for sins committed in this. And in the politer nations they generally supposed self-murderers in particular would be punished after death.
Proxima deinde tenent masti loca, qui sibi lethum
The next in place and punishment are they
The bodies they forsook, and wish to live:
To view the light of heav'n, and breathe the vital air.
And with nine circling streams the captive souls inclose. "I answer, 2. Suppose this love of life and aversion to death are found, even where there is no regard to a future state, this will not prove that mankind is happy; but only that the God of nature hath wrought this principle into the souls of all men, in order to preserve the work of his own hands. So that reluctance against dying is owing to the
natural principle of self-preservation, without any formed and sedate judgment, whether it is best to continue in this life or not, or whether life has more happiness or misery. (p. 386.)
"It may be objected, secondly, If brutes suffer nearly the same miseries with mankind, and yet have not sinned, how can these miseries prove that man is an apostate being? (p. 389.)
"I answer, it is by reason of man's apostacy, that even brute animals suffer. The whole creation groaneth together' on his account, and travaileth together in pain to this day. For the brute creation was made subject to vanity,' to abuse, pain, corruption, death, not willingly,' not by any act of its own, but by reason of him that subjected it :' of God who in consequence of Adam's sin, whom he had appointed Lord of the whole lower world, for his sake pronounced this curse (not only on the ground, but) on all which was before under his dominion.
"The misery, therefore, of the brute creation, is so far from being an objection to the apostasy of man, that it is a visible standing demonstration thereof. If beasts suffer, then man is fallen.
The Apostacy of Man proved by Scripture and Reason.
"But whether or not the miseries of mankind alone will prove their apostasy from God, it is certain these together with the sins of men are an abundant proof, that we are fallen creatures. And this I shall now endeavour to shew, both from the express testimony of Scripture, from the necessity of renewing grace, and from a survey of the Heathen world." (p. 409, 410.)
"First, The Scripture testifies, that an universal degeneracy and corruption, is come upon all the sons and daugh
ters of Adam. (p. 410.) Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of man is only evil continually,' (Gen. vi. 5:) yea 'evil from his youth,' (Ch. viii. 21.) 'The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. They are gone out of the way; there is none that doth good, no not one,' (Psm. xiv. 2.) There is not a just man upon earth, who doth good and sinneth not,' (Eccl. vii. 20.) All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way:' (Isa. liii. 6.) different wanderings, but all wanderers. "There is none righteous, no not one: there is none that doth good, no not one. Every mouth is stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. All are fallen short of the glory of God, because all have sinned,' (Rom. iii. 10, 12, 19, 23.) 'If one died for all, then were all dead;' that is, spiritually dead, 'dead in trespasses and sins,' (2 Cor. v. 14.)
"Now can we suppose, that all God's creatures would universally break his law, run into sin and death, defile and destroy themselves, and that without any one exception, if it had not arisen from some root of bitterness, some original iniquity which was diffused through them all, from their very entrance into the world? It is utterly incredible, that every single person, among the millions of mankind should be born pure and innocent, and yet should all, by free and voluntary choice, every one for himself, for near six thousand years together, rebel against him that made them, if there were not some original contagion spread through them all at their entrance into life!
"Secondly, The same thing appears from the scriptural doctrine of our recovery by divine grace. Let us consider in what manner the Scripture represents that great change which must be wrought in our souls, in order to our obtaining the favour and image of God, and future happiness. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," (John iii, 3, 6, 8.) In other scriptures it is represented, that they must be born of the
Spirit;' they must be born of God.' They must be, 'created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works,' (Eph. ii. 10.) They must be quickened,' or raised again from their ' death in trespasses and sins,' (ver. 5.) They must be 'renewed in their spirit,' or 'created after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness.' They must be 'reconciled to God by Jesus Christ' they must be washed from their sins in his blood. Since all have sinned and come. short of the glory of God,' therefore if ever they are saved, they must be justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Now can any one suppose God to have made so many millions of creatures, as have come into the world from Adam till now, which have all entered the world, innocent and holy, and yet not one of them should retain his image in holiness, or be fit for his favour, without being born again, created anew, raised from the dead, redeemed, not with corruptible things, but with the blood of his own Son?' Do not all these representations prove, that every man is born with some original contagion, and under some criminal imputation in the sight of God? Else would not one among all these millions be fit to be made a partaker of his favour, without such amazing purifications as require the blood of the Son of God, and the almighty operation of his Spirit? Do not all these things shew, that mankind in their present generations, are not such creatures as God at first made them? (p. 414.)
"The same great truth we may learn, thirdly, from even a slight survey of the Heathen nations. A few days ago I was viewing, in the map of the world, the vast Asiatic empires of Tartary and China, and a great part of the kingdom of the Mogul, with the multitude of islands in the East-Indies. I went on to survey all the southern part of Africa, with the savage nations of America. I observed the thousands, or rather millions who dwell on this globe, and walk, and trifle, and live and die there, under the heaviest cloud of ignorance and darkness, not knowing God, nor the way to his favour: who are drenched in gross