Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

which man was never known to be capable;" or, “ leaving out all mention of others, of which he is known to have been guilty.”

For it were strange indeed, that an Omniscient Spirit should not know even the very inmost thoughts of his own creature, and raise the voice of prohibition and of warning against every sort of crime. Wherefore this fearful, naked, exposure of man's worst and most hidden vices, which holy Writ displays, becomes one of the most prevailing arguments, with an awakened conscience, to persuade to a like thought, concerning it, with that which the woman of Samaria had of Christ; Come, see a book, which tells Cf. John iv. me all things that ever I did : is not this the Lord's?

But the sequel of this thought, and the illustration, in detail, of our whole position, will be found in the two ensuing Lectures.

LECTURE V.

John ii. 25.

For he knew what was in man.

ma

[ocr errors]

W E paused in the last Lecture, in considering the volume of holy Scripture as a picture of human nature. The argument then maintained is now to be exemplified by a series of illustrative passages ; from which it may appear to every hearer's own judgment, how far the position taken is, or is not, supported by the appearances from which it is deduced.

It may be remembered, that the argument was rested upon the gloomier representations of Scripturé. That very picture of depravity which it exhibits, and which it is conceived) must form so strong a source of objection and dislike to the Old Testament, in the mind of 56 the natural man," was considered to be in itself a most convincing evidence of its divine authority and truth.

Nevertheless, though it was argued that Scripture presents the most humiliating portraiture of human nature, and that intentionally, to lead man into knowledge of himself, as the subject of

man

its operation ; it should be added, that the Bible does not exhibit an unmixed image of evil; because if it did, it would not be that exact resemblance which we maintain it is, of the character of man.

In subjoining which qualification, we do not feel the consciousness either of having carried the main proposition unreasonably far, to countenance a partial construction; or of having added any such inconsistent exception, as may neutralize or destroy its force.

The representation of evil was intended, and is

necessary, for the analysis of doctrine. We hold Art. ix. the opinion, that man is a being “ very far gone

“ from” an“ original righteousness,” in which he
was created. And it is maintained, that the
whole substance of Scripture so fully justifies
this doctrine, as to be utterly inexplicable, and
therefore as a record of divine wisdom inad-
missible, without it.
; It is, however, contended also, that with this
doctrine, found to be involved in the substance
of its histories, and to be in harmony with the
end of its great provisions, Scripture commends
itself in a peculiar manner to our belief and ac-
ceptation; as a record which, while it extends to
the very root of our disease, and so alone points
out the true method of recovery from it, falls in
thereby with the observations of our own personal
experience.

These two things then, which we have affirmed of holy Writ, namely, that it contains the most humiliating view of man, and yet not one of unmixed evil, are not only not inconsistent, but explanatory one of the other. For while it is necessary for us to trace our elementary principles up to their source, through the very worst symptoms of a moral disorder which man exhibits; (for how, except through scrutiny of deeds which man has done, can “ that which is in man” be fully developed, or rightly inferred ?) nevertheless, the aspect of embodied evil, as existing in real life, as displayed practically in its concrete form in the subject to whom it belongs, will differ materially from the cast of its own intrinsic quality, as seen uncovered and delineated in the abstract. The practical appearances of evil will show much gradation, and be found susceptible of many comparisons, according to the condition of different individuals. . The doctrinal statement concerning it will be but one; having for its purpose, to affirm the original unsoundness that lies in the constitution of human nature : not to fix the measure of this or that man's guilt, or to make comparisons of good and evil; but to pronounce a general judgment upon all,--the result of comparisons already made.

While, therefore, not to discover a full and intimate acquaintance with the quality and com

« ZurückWeiter »