Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

hath devoured the labor of our fathers, from our youth. We have sinned against the Lord our God from our youth, even to this day.” So Gen. xlvi. 34 ; Job xxxi. 18; Jer, xxxii. 30, and xlviii. 11; Ezek. iv. 14 ; Zech, xii. 5.

And it is to be observed, that according to the manner of the Hebrew language, when it is said, such a thing has been from youth, or the first part of existence, the phrase is to be understood as including that first time of existence. So, Josh. vi. 21. “ They utterly destroyed all, from the young to the old," (so it is in the Hebrew) i. e. including both. So Gen. xix, 4, and Esther iji. 13.

And as mankind are represented in scripture, as being of a wicked heart from their youth, so in other places they are spoken of as being thus from the womb. Psal. lviii. 3. “The wicked are estranged from the womb : They go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." It is observable, that the Psalmist inentions this as what belongs to the wicked, as the 80N8 of men: For, these are the preceding words : “ Do ye judge uprightly, Oye sons of men ?. Yea, in heart ye work wickedness." (A phrase of the like import with that in Gen. viii. 21. The imagination, or operation, as it might have been rendered, of his heart is evil.) Then it follows, The wicked are estranged from the womb, &c. The next verse is, Their poison is like the poison of a serpent. It is so remarkably, as the very nature of a serpent is poison : Serpents are poisonous as soon as they come into the world : They derive a poi. sonous nature by their generation. Dr. Taylor, p. 134, 135, says, “ It is evident that this is a scriptural figurative way of aggravating wickedness on the one hand, and of signifying early and settled habits of virtue on the other, to speak of it as being from the womb." And as a probable instance of the latter, he cites that in Isai. xlix. 1. « The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother he made mention of my name." But I apprehend, that in order to seeing this to be either evident or probable, a man must have eyes peculiariy affected. I humbly conceive that such phrases as that in the 49th of Isaiah, of God's calling the prophet from the womb, are evidently not of the import which he supposes; but mean truly from the beginning of existence, and are manifestly of like signification with that which is said of the prophet Jeremiah, Jer. i. 5. “ Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee: Before thou camest out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Which surely means something else besides a high degree of virtue : It plainly signifies that he was, from his first existence, set apart by God for a prophet. And it would be as unreasonable to understand it otherwise, as to suppose the angel meant any other than that Samson was set apart to be a Nazarite from the beginning of his life, when he says to his mother, “Behold, thou shalt conceive and bear à son : And now drink no wine, nor strong drink, &c. For the child shall be a Nazarite to God, from the womb, to the day of his death.” By these instances it is plain, that the phrase, from the womb, as the other, from the youth, as used in scripture, properly signifies from the beginning of life.

Very remarkable is that place, Job xv. 14, 15, 16. “ What is man, that he should be clean ? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ? Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints: Yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight?

How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?" And no less remark. able is our author's method of managing it. The sixteenth verse expresses an exceeding degree of wickedness, in as plain and emphatical terms, almost, as can be invented ; every word representing this in the strongest manner : “ How much more abominable and filthy is man, that drinketh iniquity like water ?" I cannot now recollect where we have a sentence equal to it in the whole Bible, for an emphatical, lively and strong representation of great wickedness of heart. Any one of the words, as such words are used in scripture, would represent great wickedness : If it had been only said, “ How much more abominable is man ?" Or, « How much more filthy is man?" Or, “ Man that drinketh iniquity." But all these are accumulated with the addition of....like water ....the further to represent the boldness or greediness of men

[ocr errors]

men in wickedness; though iniquity be the most deadly poison, yet men drink it as boldly as they driok water, are as familiar with it as with their common drink, and drink it with like greediness, as he that is thirsty drinks water. That boldness and eagerness in persecuting the saints, by which the great degree of the depravity of man's heart often

appears, is represented thus, Psal. xiv. 4. “ Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread ?And the greatest eagerness of thirst is represented by thirsting as an animal thirsts after water, Psalm xlii. 1.

Now let us see the soft, easy, light manner, in which Dr. Taylor treats this place, p. 143. “ How much more abominable and filthy is man, in comparison of the divine purity, who drinketh iniquity like water? Who is attended with so many sensual appetites, and so apt to indulge them. You see the argument, man, in his present weak and fleshly state, cannot be clean before God. Why so ? Because he is conceived and born in sin, by reason of Adam's sin : No such thing. But because, if the purest creatures are not pure, in comparison of God, much less a being subject to so many infirmities, as a mortal man. Which is a demonstration to me, not only that Job and his friends did not intend to establish the doctrine we are now examining, but that they were wholly strangers to it.” Thus this author endeavors to reconcile this text with his doctrine of the perfect, native innocence of maykind; in which we have a notable specimen of his demonstrations, as well as of that great impartiality and fairness in examining and expounding the scripture, which he makes $0 often a profession of.

In this place we are not only told how wicked man's heart is, but also how men come by such wickedness ; even by being of the race of mankind, by ordinary generation. “ What is man, that he should be clean ? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ?” Our author, pages 141, 142, represents man's being born of a woman, as a periphrasis, to signify man ; and that there is no design in the words to give a reason, why man is not clean and righteous. But the case is most evidently otherwise, if we may interpret the Book of Job by itself : It is most plain, that man's being born of a woman is given as a reason of his not being clean, chap. xiv. 14. “ Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?” Job is speaking there expressly of man's being born of a woman, as appears in verse l. And here how plain is it, that this is given as a reason of man's not being clean ? Concerning this Dr. Taylor says, “ That this has no respect to any moral uncleanness, but only common frailty," &c. But how evidently is this also otherwise ? When that uncleanness, which a man has by being born of a woman, is expressly explained of unrighteousness, in the next chapter at verse 14. " What is man that he should be clean ? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ?" And also in chap. xxv. 4. “ How then can man be justified with God? And how can he be clean that is born of a woman ?”. It is a moral cleanness Bildad is speaking of, which a man needs in order to being justified. His design is, to convince Job of his moral impurity, and from thence of God's tighteousness in his severe judgments upon him ; and not of his natural' frailty.

And without doubt, David has respect to this same way of derivation of wickedness of heart, when he says, Psalm li. 5. “ Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” It alters not the case as to the argument we are upon, whether the word translated conceive; sigo nifies conceive, or nurse ; which latter our author takes so much pains to prove : For when he has done all, he speaks of it as a just translation of the words to render them thus : « I was born in iniquity, and in sin did my mother nurse me,” page 135. If it is owned that man is born in sin, it is not worth the while to dispute whether it is expressly asserted that he is conceived in sin. But Dr. Taylor after his manner insists, that such expressions, as being born in sin, being transgressors from the womb, and the like, are only phrases figuratively to denote aggravation and high degree of wickedness. But the contrary has been already demonstrated, from many plain scripture instances. Nor is one instance produced, in which there is any evidence that such a phrase is used in such a manner. A poetical sen. tence out of Virgil's Æneids, has here been produced, and made much of by some, as parallel with this, in what Dido says to Æntas in these lines :

Nec tibi diva parens, generis nec Dardanus auctor,
Perfide : Sed duris genuit te caucibus horrens
Caucasus, hyrcanæque admorunt ubera tygres,

In which she tells Æneas, that not a goddess was his mothers nor Anchises his father ; but that he had been brought forth by a horrid, rocky mountain, and’nursed at the dugs of tygers, to represent the greatness of his cruelty to her. But how unlike and unparallel is this ? Nothing could be more natural than for a woman, overpowered with the passion of love, and distracted with raging jealousy and disappointment, thinking herself treated with brutish perfidy and cruelty, by a lover, whose highest fame had been his being the son of a goddess, to aggravate his inhumanity and hardheartedness with this, that his behavior was not worthy the son of a goddess, nor becoming one whose father was an illustrious prince; and that he acted more as if he had been brought forth by hard, unrclenting rocks, and had sucked the dugs of tygers. But what is there in the case of David parallel, or at all in like manner leading him to speak of himself as born in sin, in any such sense ? He is not speaking himself, nor any one else speaking to him, of any excellent and divine father and mother, that he was born of; nor is there any appearance of his aggravating his sin by its being unworthy of his high birth. There is nothing else visible in David's case, to lead him to take notice of his being born in sin, but only his having such experience of the continuance and power of indwelling sin, after so long a time, and so many great means to engage him to holiness ; which shewed that sin was inbred, and in his very nature.

Dr. Taylor often objects to these and other texts, brought by divines to prove Original Sin, that there is no mention made in them of Adam, nor of his sin. He cries out, “ Here

« FöregåendeFortsätt »