On this page
- Text (2)
Note: This text has been automatically extracted via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The text has not been manually corrected and should not be relied on to be an accurate representation of the item.
Additionally, when viewing full transcripts, extracted text may not be in the same order as the original document.
couid rta ^^ Jtitekded as a deaenjraon of th& th ^ i ^^ of ^ U maokiirf « ^«^ tinieiOT ^^ f ^ ydlsli ^ ri ^ tetti - 'ISfe maaneif iUi ? 'wMfch ^ Efsfcofr these characters is expressed , ^ tefere is none righteojig , * 1 ^ not rO ^ l ^ r&M hone that underetandeth and seeketh after
God / ' is at fipst view so general , that persons who i&ve adopted the worst opinion of human nature , and would represent it in its most depraved state , may from hence take occa ^ oa to say , that this is absolutely asserted to the full extent Qf the words , which are universal and without restriction .
But before such an opinion of the whole hum&n race , by nature , can be justly deduced from such a passage of Scripture , it should be considered , whether such general expressions are not frequently fcfund ymong all writers in a relaxed sense . Such there
certainly are , which we understand accordingly , without any difficulty . Is it not then possible this may be the case , nay , will it not be found the probable setise of this very passage ? The Psalmist does nat speak of human nature itself , or of all mankind as
naturally corrupt and utterly indisposed to all good , and continually inclined to evUj but of the habits of wickedness which men had contracted by their own evil-doings . This is not to be understood of every man then living , as if there were none righteous , no not a single individual . For hTthe
very Psalm from which these passages are taken , in which David , in such strong colours , describes the wickedness of some , he , at the same time , speaks of the good an $ l virtuous who were then iji the nation , in opposition to these vicious persons . " IThere
were they" ( the workera of iniquity ) " in great fear ; for God is in the generation of the righteous . " H ^ ere the ri g hteous are opposed to the wicked , which shews that there Were ? men at that time , and in that nation , tjd whom the latter character < Ud nfct belong . The next part of the description , ' ' There
is none thqfi understandeth , that seeketh after &o $ , " iftgthe saine manner dpes m $ imply auy iiore thl * n that there were but , qompanitively tew tfeat did sq . 1 ^ cannot lie supposed a umverspl character of all jnen , with--out exc ^ t ^ i ^ ^ h ^^^ fm ^ &mn *> emg hnyiiig revealed him ^ eAf t 6 the ' ' ews , that ipevefofiw , as w < $ l . *« * the
Works of God , <^ rt ^ nly ^ Mfe ^ di of them to ^ eekW m ^ mm ^^ m ^ slffchd his will . > Many also ^ no ^ ttfei Gentiles -were not % vitWut theiSmcpif idea after the Supreme < Muse and Sii « > perintending Power of the univei ^ e > And although they were not so successful in their researches ibto ihe
nature and perfections of the Efiyinfc Being , as to attain a true understanding and just conceptions ofNttf&i&dh the gjory due unto his name , ttrat idolatry and superstition in ;^ li * tiiei # forms " ^ rew to thei r greatest tex <^ e »^ and universally prevailed , y et ii ap ^ pears from the writings of their gredte ^ t and best men , that God was the
subject of their serious and diligent inquiries- and some of them had so far understood the subject as to speak of the Divine existence and character in the most just and sublime manner .
And , whieh is $ 9 their great honour , men of the most illustrious genius arid in the highest civil stations in Greece and Rome , when they retired from the forum to their beautiful villas ;
employed their time in rational and ingenious conversations upon this tojiic ; upon the nature , wdrks and ptfcftitteiSfce of God ; the laws of nature ; tfee du ^ y , destination and hope of man ; and the like important inquiries *
The next part of the sentence , € t They are all gone out of the woy ^ they are together become unprofitable / ' being not such absolute characters of evil as the otheV , need not lie »
taken notice of ; but what follows ia of the same exclusive nptilre of all degrees of good as the tw 6 first . Now * this expression , ** Theie is none that doeth g * ood , no not one , ** isnaotij I ap * prebend , intended to set forth the nature pf man as utterly averse to all
good , and destitute of all principle and disposition to do : good in any instance , nof to assert that pot ? one single person among the race < bf m £ & ? doeth good . The Scriptutte f &lfoiv
and suppose tliat there are-ipen who do good , who perform actariof kittdntess and beneficence , of vitoie » fiiSfl 3 ^ w ^ . ness , and that from gooxl iprili ^ iptes * aad dispositions . And expenende ^ will testify that it cajinot be said uuiver sally , " there is notie that doeth goodi ¦
no not one . 'U :- *• > ";• - ¦• • * ;*' ifryyi- "* r The trulh , therefore , appears to be ^ that this character , as ' Well aa tli ^ former , is not levelled at' hitina ^ ^ v
Mr . Manning on / e ^^< ia \ vlO-Mt 2 , ^^ s ^ Pmlm xiv . 1—3 , $ 1
you xvii . . c
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1822, page 9, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2508/page/9/