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FALLEN NATURE OF MAN.
I seem to acquire little new knowledge on any subject, compared to that which I acquire concerning man. This subject is inexhaustible. I have lately read Colquhon's Treatise on the " Police of the Metropolis,” and Barruel's “ Memoirs of Jacobinism.”. When we preachers draw pictures of human nature in the pulpit, we are told that we calumniate it. Calumniate it! -Let such censurers read these writers, and confess that we are novices in painting the vices of the heart. All of us live to make discoveries of the evils of the heart--not of its virtues. All our new knowledge of human nature is occupied with its evil.
BARTHOLOMEW Fair is one of the most perfect exhibitions of unrestrained human nature in the whole world. The Monkey, the Tyger, the Wolf, the Hog, and the Goat, are not only to be found in their own, but in human form; with all their savágeness, brutality, and filthiness. It displays human nature in its most degraded, ridiculous, and absurd conditions. The tyger may be seen in a quiescent state, if we pass through Dyot Street: he couches there: he blinks. But, at Bartholomew Fair, he is rampant-vigorous fierce. Passing through a Fair in a country town, I witnessed a most instructive scene. Two withered, weather-beaten wretches were standing at the door of a show-cart, and receiving twopences from sweet, innocent, ruddy country girls, who paid their money, and dropped their curtsies; while these wretches smiled at their simplicity, and clapped them on the back as they entered the door. What a picture this of Satan! He sets off his shows, and draws in heedless creatures, and takes from them every thing they have good about them! There was a fellow dressed out as a zany, with a hump back and a hump belly, a lengthened nose, and a lengthened chin. To what a depth of degradation must human nature be sunk, to seek such resources !
I derived more instruction from this scene, than I could have done from many elaborate theological treatises.
View man on whatever side we can in his sensualities, or in his ferocities—in the sins of his flesh, or in the sins of his spirit:--catch him when and where you will-his condition is
deplorable. While he is sunk in the mass himself, he has no perception of his state: but, when he begins to emerge, he looks down with amazement. He sees but little, however, of its abomination; because he has still an affinity with the evil.
HUMAN nature is like the sea, which gains by the flow of the tide in one place, what it has lost by the ebb in another. A man may acquiesce in the method which God takes to mortify his pride; but he is in danger of growing proud of the mortification: and so in other cases.
NEED OF GRACE.
THERE is something so remarkable in the genius and spirit of the Gospel, that it is not to be understood by any force of speculation and investigation! Baxter attempted this method, and found it vain. The state of the heart has the chief influence, in the search after truth. Humility, contrition, simplicity, sanctity--these are the handmaids of the understanding in the investigation of religion.
How is it that some men labour in divine things night and day, but labour in vain? How is it that men can turn over the Bible from end to end, to support errors and heresies-absurdities and blasphemies? They take not the SPIRIT with the WORD. A spiritual understanding must be givena gracious perception—a right taste.
“ A very extraordinary thing." said one, " if I, who have read the Bible over and over in the original languages---have studied it day and night
and have written criticisms and comments on it: a very extraordinary thing that I should not be able to discover that meaning in the Scriptures, which is said to be so plain that a way-faring man though a fool shall not err in discovering it!” And so it is extraordinary till we open this Bible; and there we see the fact explained. The man who approaches the word of God in his own wisdom, shall not find what the fool shall discover under the teaching of divine wisdom: For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent
and God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
God, in his Providence, seems to make little account of the measures and contrivances of men, in accomplishing his designs. He will do the work, and his hand will be seen in the doing of it, We are obliged to wait for the tide. When that flows, and the wind sets in fair, let us hoist the sails. When the tide has left a ship on the beach, an army may attempt to move it in vain ; but, when she is' floated by the water, a small force moves her. We must wait for openings in Provi.