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ness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful,” “ murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers.”* Only collect the crimes committed in the Assyrian and Persian courts, including the frequent murder of the nearest relations to open a way to the throne, and without looking further, this whole catalogue of charges stands supported. Sodom was but a specimen of the heathen world.
And if you turn from this wilderness to the vineyard on which all the culture of heaven was bestowed, you see little else than the grapes of Sodom and clusters of Gomorrah.t Under the glories of the burning mount, while the voice of God was still sounding in their ears, they constructed a molten calf, and stupidly cried, “ These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”Their unbelief and rebellion never ceased. From generation to generation their lust after other gods could scarcely be restrained by all the miracles wrought before their eyes,—by all the fervid expostulations of anxious prophets. Those prophets they slew, and at length filled up the measure of their iniquity by the murder of the Son of God.
+ Deut. xxxii. 32, 33. Isai.
* Rom. i. 22–32. 1 Tim. i. 9, 10. v. 1-7.
# Exod. xxxii. 1-6.
And what has the Christian world exhibited ? Must I retrace that apostacy which gave one half of the Church into the hands of the Saracens and Turks? Must I measure over those scenes of pride and pollution which laid the other half at the feet of the Man of Sin? Must I revisit the faggots of the martyrs, and wade through the seas of blood which have been shed by hands bearing the cross? Look where you will, and the deep depravity of man on every side appears. The history of the world is a history of crimes. The earth has been from the beginning a great Aceldama, a shambles of blood. And lest it should be thought that Christianity, and science, and modern refinement have tamed the natural heart, the most polished nation on earth, in the centre of the Christian world, has been selected to take the lead in that scene of atheism and violence reserved for the latter day, reserved to make a full developement of the human character, that the millennium might be introduced without a remaining doubt on earth of the total depravity of man.
This horrid scene, in the centre of the Christian Church, was foretold by astonished prophets. 66 This know,--that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof : from such turn away." “ And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for the plague thereof was exceeding great."*
Such is the history of man,--of man under every form of society, pagan, Jewish, and Christian. And it furnishes a fair illustration of what selfishness will do in spite of all the affections of nature, when divine restraints are taken off, and sufficient temptations occur. It may then be regarded as the history of every man left to himself. For “ as
6 in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man." The conduct of those wretches who are recorded as prodigies of iniquity is only an exemplification of selfishness, and a specimen of what every man would do if left of God. All doubt on this subject will be removed as soon as the wicked enter the eternal world and begin to exercise the rage of the damned. Hence in the descriptions of man which are drawn by the Holy Ghost, crimes, that have not been acted out by all, but by a part as a sample of the rest, are set down among the characteristicks of the whole human family.t
All this men will be slow to believe, because they are ignorant of themselves. No man knows what is in his heart further than he is tried; because no man knows what selfishness, restrained only by nature, is capable of doing. Hazael could say, “Is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing?" and yet he did it.* The Jews who crucified the Saviour of the world, thought that if they had lived in the days of their fathers they should not have slain the prophets.t And if any of you are dreaming, that, left to yourselves, you should not go the length of those whose history you have reviewed, let that dream end at this spot—66 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it ?"
2 Tim. iii. 1-9. Rev. xvi. 21.
| Rom. iü. 9–20.