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mand him to build the Ark, one hundred and twenty years be: fore the flood, the world had long continued obstinate in great and general wickedness, and the disease was become inveterate. The expressions we have in the 3, 5, and 6 verses of that chapter suggest as much : “And the Lord said, my Spirit shall not always strive with man; and God saw, that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was evil, only evil continually; and it repented the Lord, that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” And by that time, all flesh had corrufited his way usion the earth, v. 12. And as Dr. Taylor himself observes, p. 122. “Mankind were universally debauched into lust, sensuality, rapine, and injustice.” And with respect to the period after the flood, to the calling of Abraham; Dr. Taylor says, as has been already observed, that in about four hundred years after the flood, the generality of mankind were fallen into idolatry; which was before the passing away of one generation; or before all they were dead, that came out of the Ark. And it cannot be thought, the world sunk into that so general and extreme degree of corruption, all at once ; but that they had been gradually growing more and more corrupt; though it is true, it must be by very swift degrees, (however soon we may suppose they began) to get to that pass in one age. And as to the period from the calling of Abraham to the coming of Christ, Dr. Taylor justly observes as follows : (Key, p. 133.) “If we reckon from the call of Abraham to the coming of Christ, the Jewish dispensation continued one thousand nine hundred and twentyone years; during which period, the other families and nations of the earth, not only lay out of God's peculiar kingdom, but also lived in idolatry, great ignorance, and wickedness.” And with regard to that one only exempt family or nation of the Israelites, it is evident that wickedness was the generally prevailing character among them, from age to age. If we consider how it was with Jacob's family, the behavior of Reuben with his father's concubine, the behavior of Judah with Tamar, the conduct of Jocob's sons in general (though Simeon and Levi were leading) towards the Shechemites, the behavior of Joseph's ten brethren in their cruel treatment of him ; we cannot think, that the character of true piety belonged to many of them, acaccording to Dr. Taylor's own notion of such a character; though it be true, they might afterwards repent. And with respect to the time the children of Israel were in Egypt; the scripture, speaking of them in general, or as a collective body, often represents them as complying with the abominable idolatries of the country.” And as to that generation which went out of Egypt, and wandered in the wilderness, they are abundantly represented as extremely and almost universally wicked, perverse, and children of divine wrath. And after Joshua’s death, the scripture is very express, that wickedness was the prevailing character in the nation, from age to age. So it was till Samuel's time. I Sam. viii. 7, 8. “They have rejected me, that I should not reign over them ; according to all their works which they have done, since the day that I brought them out of Egypt, unto this day.” Yea, so it was till Jeremiah and Ezekiel's time. Jer. xxxii. 30, 31. “For the children of Israel, and the children of Judah, have only done evil before me from their youth; for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the Lord : For this city hath been to me a provocation of mine anger, and of my fury, from the day they built it, even unto this day.” (Compare chap. v. 21, 23, and chap. vii. 25.27.) So Ezek. ii. 3, 4, “I scnd thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation, that hath rebelled against me, they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day : For they are impudent children, and stiffhearted.” And it appears by the discourse of Stephen (Acts vii.) that this was generally the case with that nation, from their first rise, even to the days of the apostles. After his summary rehearsal of the instances of their perverseness from the very time of their selling Joseph into Egypt, he concludes (Verse 51.53.) “Ye stiffnecked, and uncir
cumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Hol Ghost. As your Fathers did, so do ye. Which of the Prophets have not your Fathers persecuted 2 And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of that just one, of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers : Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.” Thus it appears, that wickedness was the generally prevailing character in all the nations of mankind, till Christ came. And so also it appears to have been since his coming to this day. So in the age of the apostles; though then, among those that were converted to christianity, were great numbers of persons eminent for picty; yet this was not the case with the greater part of the world, or the greater part of any one nation in it. There was a great number of persons of a truly pious character in the latter part of the apostolic age, when multitudes of converts had been made, and christjanity was as yet in its primitive purity. But what says the Apostle John of the church of God at that time, as compared with the rest of the world 1 John v. 19. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” And after christianity came to prevail, to that degree, that Christians had the upper hand in nations and civil communities, still the greater part of mankind remained in their old heathen state; which Dr. Taylor speaks of as a state of great ignorance and wickedness. And besides, this is noted in all ecclesiastical history, that as the Christians gained in power and secular advantages, true piety declined, and corruption and wickedness prevailed among them. And as to the state of the Christian world, since christianity began to be establiched by human laws, wickedness for the most part has greatly prevailed; as is very notorious, and is implied in what Dr. Taylor himself says: He, in giving an account how the doctrine of Original Sin came to prevail among Christians, says, p. 167. S. “That the Christian religion was very early and grievously corrupted, by dreaming, ignorant, superstitious monks.” In p. 259, he says, “ The generality of Christians have embraced this persuasion concerning original Sin;
and the consequence has been, that the generality of Christians have been the most wicked, lewd, bloody, and treacherous of all mankind.” Thus, a view of the several successive periods of the past duration of the world, from the beginning to this day, shews, that wickedness has ever been exceeding prevalent, and has had vastly the superiority in the world. And Dr. Taylor himself in effect owns that it has been so ever since Adam first turned into the way of transgression, p. 168. “It is certain (says he) the moral circumstances of mankind, since the time Adam first turned into the way of transgression, have been very different from a state of innocence. So far as we can judge from history, or what we know at present, the greatest part of mankind have been, and still are very corrupt, though not equally so in every age and place.” And lower in the same page, he speaks of Mdam's fosterity, as having sunk themselves into the most lamentable degrees of ignorance, sufferstition, idolatry, injustice, debauchery, &c. These things clearly determine the point, concerning the tendency of man's nature to wickedness, if we may be allowed to proceed according to such rules and methods of reasoning, as are universally made use of, and never denied, or doubted to be good and sure, in experimental philosophy;” or may reason from experience and facts, in that manner which common sense leads all mankind to in other cases. If experience and trial will evince any thing at all concerning the natural disposition of the hearts of mankind, one would think the experience of so many ages, as have elapsed since the beginning of the world, and the trial as it were made by hundreds of different nations together, for so long a time, should be sufficient to convince all, that wickedness is agreeable to the nature of mankind in its present state.
• Dr. Turnbull, though so great an enemy to the doctrine of the Depraviity of Nature, yet greatly insists upon it, that the experimental method of reasoning ought to be gone into in moral matters, and things pertaining to the human nature, and should chiefly be relied upon, in moral, as well as natural philosophy. Sec Introd, to Mor, Phil.
Here, to strengthen the argument, if therc were any need of it, I might observe some further evidences than those which have been already mentioned, not only of the extent and generality of the prevalence of wickedness in the world, but of the height to which it has risen, and the degree in which it has reigned. Among innumerable things which shew this, I shall now only observe this, viz. the degree in which mankind have from age to age been hurtful one too another. Many kinds of brute animals are esteemed very noxious and destructive, many of them very fierce, voracious, and many very poisonous, and the destroying of them has always been looked upon as a public benefit ; but have not mankind been a thousand times as hurtful and destructive as any one of them, yea, as all the noxious beasts, birds, fishes, and reptiles in the carth, air, and water, put together, at least of all kinds of animals that are visible : And no creature can be found any where so destructive of its own kind as mankind are. All others for the most part are harmless and peaceable, with regard to their own species. Where one wolf is destroyed by another wolf, one viper by another, probably a thousand of mankind are destroyed by those of their own species. Well, therefore, might our blessed Lord say, when sending forth his disciples into the world, Math. x. 16, 17, Behold, I send you forth as sheef in the midst of wolves ;....But BEwARE of MEN. As much as to say, I send you forth as sheep among wolves. But why do I say, wolves? I send you forth into the wide world of men, that are far more hurtful and pernicious, and that you had much more need to beware of, than wolves.
It would be strange indeed, that this should be the state of the world of mankind, the chief of the lower creation, distinguished above all by reason, to that end that they might be capable of religion, which summarily consists in love, if men, as they come into the world, are in their nature innocent and harmless, undepraved, and perfectly free from all evil propenSlties.