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JONATHAN EDWARDS, A.M.
AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY,
REV. DAVID YOUNG,
W. F. WAKEMAN, AND WII. CURRY, AUN. & co. DUBLIN;
AND HURST, CHANCE, & CO. LONDON.
It is painfully instructive to reflect on the extent to which the depravity of man is at once indicated and aggravated, by the irreclaimable waywardness of his propensities and passions. By carrying this thought into the department of religion, we shall see the expounding principle of his depravity laid open to us; and, while there may still be a mystery over the origin of this principle, which remains to be cleared away by other evidence, yet we shall find it manifest, that man is the enemy of God by wicked works, by being previously his enemy in the spirit of his mind. But although we were to make a more confined use of the thought, and apply it only to those actions in which there is supposed to be no direct impiety, and which are interdicted by Christianity only in their excesses, or seasons, or circumstances, we shall still find an element working in the human mind-more mildly in some, and more fiercely in others,---which argues disease in its moral constitution. The creatures which are merely animal are guided by instinct, and they are guided securely by it-maintaining a perfect uniformity, exhibiting a thorough consistency in their likings and aversions, and prosecuting both with amazing steadiness, in subserviency to their real enjoyments : or, if there be an instance of deviation, to any observable extent, in any individual of any one of their species, that instance is marked, and wondered at, as a singularity; which shows at once how rarely it occurs, and how little power it has to shake our confidence in that, which with them is the ordinary course of nature.
With man, however, the case is vastly different. Not only is he led astray by that which ought to be the glory of his nature, but even the law of instinct is baffled and bewildered, enfeebled by resistance, or vitiated by perversity, till it is no longer capable of a right appropriation of terrestrial things. Viewing him simply as made for this world, and keeping the specialities of religion altogether out of the question, there is still room for the assertion, that he is unaccountably the creature of extremes; to be found in almost
any state of mind except that one which tends most directly to promote his comfort. But the spring of all this extravagance is the violence of undisciplined propensity. We see his tendency to excess unfolding itself, and involving him in manifold little perplexities, as he passes through the scenes of his early childhood; for, in no instance does he leave the nursery till, in despite of the wisest guardianship, he has betrayed the existence of partialities and dislikes, which tend to do him injury, and are sure to end in bitterness, unless they are counteracted. The degrees of such aberration may be greatly diversified, and the fondness of parental love may delude itself with imagined instances in which there is no such