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Yet, clear as the doctrine of the universaldepravity of our nature is, it does not appear so. evident, when we come to look into the various characters of men-I mean of those who are, decidedly and avowedly, not under the influences of religion—it does not, I say, after such an examination, clearly appear, in what this depravity consists. If we say, that none but truly pious men, have any kindly, amiable, or honourable feeling; facts will at once disprove it. If we say, that the whole of society, who are regardless of religion, are one uniform mass of moral deformity, and that there is no distinction between man and man, except that of religious and irreligious; we take a ground, which it is impossible for us to maintain. Every one's experience can contradict us. I have myself known some, who laugh at all spiritual religion, and yet upon whose word I would, in any honourable transaction, place a strong reliance :- -men who are of bland tempers in domestic life; who would scorn to take a paltry advantage; and who can shed the tears of tender sympathy, at a tale of misery. And are these exactly on a par, as to their moral level, with the selfish, hard, and brutish natures, who can yield no milk of human kindness, who grind the faces of the poor, who are without natural affection, and if a son ask bread, give him a stone, or if he ask
a fish, a serpent? No. You might as well, and even better, include all the inferior animals, in the same sweeping clause of condemnation; and put no difference between the fidelity of the dog, and the treachery of the tiger; between the cunning of the serpent, and the harmless simplicity of the dove.
If, then, plain facts and experience prove, that such vast varieties are to be found, in unregenerate men; and if the Scriptures, at the same time, describe them, as all the children of wrath, and included under sin; in what does that sin consist? What is that defect, or principle of corruption, or character of evil, or by whatever name we describe that root of bitterness, which constitutes man by nature-whatever modifications and shades that nature may be capable of-which constitutes him a sinner before God?
This question can be answered at once: for the master-mind of Chalmers has already set the whole at rest, in one word. It is ungodliness. It is separation, in heart and mind, from the Author of his being, and the principle of his spiritual life. It is living without God in the world.
Now, however worldly men may differ from each other, in a thousand various ways; they all agree in this, that they withhold from God, the things
that are God's. As different in mind, as in the outward expression of their faces, yet here they are all united. Against God's claims, they are firmly leagued, and of one heart and soul. As the Psalmist describes the nations who conspired against Israel; "They have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee the tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines, with the inhabitants of Tyre. Assur also is joined with them they have holpen the children of Lot." (Ps. lxxxiii. 5-8.) It is not (need I say?) that God is formally denied in name. No: but what I do most soberly mean, is, that God is acknowledged, by the world at large, in name alone. He is denied that place in men's habits of thinking, and feeling, and living, which is due to him, as God. And, consequently, all such are, virtually, and to every real purpose, and in the estimation of Heaven, Atheists. They may, perhaps, come to Church, and prayers, and sacraments,-nay, and sometimes, from a double delusion, think they are doing all this from the purest motives—when their hearts are as much steeled against God, and they are as fully determined that no argument shall persuade them to come nearer to God, than the world around them do,-as much determined
on this, as the holy angels are, on serving God with all their power, and all their strength. And in this league against God's high supremacy, and all his tender claims upon the heart, I do say, that many are engaged, who live to the full satisfaction, and with the full approbation, of their acquaintances and friends. Many is the man, who rises every morning, and betakes himself diligently to his worldly calling; who pays his debts, and never falsifies his word in business, at least to any disreputable extent; who loves his family, and is kind to his neighbours; who, in short, has all the ingredients of a valued member of society; of whom, nevertheless, it may be said, that "all his works he does, for to be seen of men." It is not, that he is, and knows himself to be, what is commonly termed, a hypocrite. But it is, that, without knowing it, he lives altogether to man, and not to God. He respects every thing, in proportion as man is the object of it; and despises every thing, exactly in proportion as it has regard or reference to God. He, consequently, knows what you mean, when you talk of justice, generosity, and liberal dealing: because these things promote the accommodations of society. But he does not know what you mean, if you speak of inward purity, or of the present salvation of the soul, or of faith in Christ, or love to God. Be
cause these things bear upon a higher system, which he is as dead, and as insensible, as the clod is, on which he now treads, and under which his body will shortly lie, there to await a fearful resurrection. This man, I say, goes through the business of the day, and lays himself down to sleep at night, and breathes God's air, and lives on God's bounty, and is preserved by him in every danger, and all his provocations are passed over, with a patience, which might, one would suppose, soften a rock of flint: and yet he lives, and moves, and has his being, with as little sense of God-that is, of God in his true nature, and in the fulness of his just claims upon the heart— as the beast that roams his pasture, and then perishes.
It may be said, that an honest person, though not religious, cannot act merely to be seen of men; because that often he will disdain to cheat, where there is no chance of his being detected. This is certainly true. But, still, I am convinced that all this honesty may have man, alone, for its object. If there were no future life at all, men might have such a sense of the necessity of fair dealing, to carry on the business of society, and such a conviction that honesty is the best policy; and might be so tremblingly alive to character; and feel such an indescribable horror of detection;-and this