Imatges de pàgina
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* that impression is vanished and gone.” And Se RM. divers others have complained of that great dark. II. ness and ignorance, which was in them; and of the bonds and chains that held their souls faft, so that they could not tell how to exercise the powers of them towards invisible things. It cannot be then, but the matter must be resolved into this ; that if our not seeing God is the reason why he is so little loved, it is because our nature is

grown

fo corrupt and degenerate, that , what we see, takes with us moft. And again,

6. We may add hereupon, that this degeneracy of the nature of man must needs stand very much in the depression of the mind, or intellectual powers, and the exaltation of sense. For the mind and the understanding, by the light which God had placed there, were to guide and govern the man ; instead of which sense usurped the throne, and took the government of him into its own hands. During the distraction and interruption of that order, which God had originally set between the superior and inferior powers of man's soul, sense, 'I say, ufurped the throne, and took the government into its own hands, and i man has ever since bafely yielded, and subjected himself to its dominion, so that nothing moves him now but what is sensible. In this therefore the degeneracy of man very much consists, that sense dictates, and is become the governing principle of his life. And,

7. We add further, for of this more will be said when we come to the use or application, that

the'

VOL, the not seeing of God can be only a temporary 1. cause of our not loving him; inasmuch as it is

only a cause, with the intervention or concurrence of another cause, I mean, the disturbance of that primitive order, which God had settled between one faculty and another, belonging to the nature of man. Our not seeing God could never have prevented us from loving him, if things had not been so deplorably out of course with us, or this confusion of order had never been brought in among us. Therefore this cause is only temporary, that is, so long as this great depravation of our nature doth prevail. But there are those, with whom it either doth not, or shall not prevail always. There are fome, blessed be God, in whom this distemper and disorder of the soul of man is cured. For God hath sent his Son, the Redeemer into the world, on purpose to undertake this cure, and to rectify and set things right in men's spirits. And Christ gave himself for us that be might redeem us from all iniquity', and therefore furely from this monstrous kind of iniquity, the most horrid of all the rest, to wit, that moft unrighteous unequal thing, that man should not love his own original, and the author of his life and being. Therefore it was the resolution of the Redeemer, “ I will die, but I will remedy “ this matter. I will give myself, I will facrifice «s all that I have, but I will bring this matter to “ rights again.” I say then it is only a temporary cause, which has been affigned of men's

not

Pi Tit. 11. 14.

not loving God, subsisting only so long as man's SERM. nature continues depraved : which is not only II. curable, but in part is actually cured, when the work of regeneration is fer on foot, and the spirit of the Redeemer has begun to obtain in the foul ; and it is completely cured, when the new creature becomes mature, and is risen up to its full growth and perfection. But in the mean time, so long as this distemper in the nature of man continues, our not seeing God is one great reason why we love him not. For that

way

of apprehending GOD, which should be the fame with respect to invisible objects, that sight is with respect to those which are visible, is wanting. And this apprehension will still be wanting, that must fupply the room of sight, so long as this degeneracy remains in us. While it is thus with us, that we are subject to the power of sense which has usurped the throne, the foul is deftitute of those clear conceptions, those lively and vivid apprehenfions, that iffue in love to God. And so the great neglects of God, and the intolerable difrefpect and affronts that are put upon him in the world, are, in a great measure, according to the i present degenerate state of man, to be resolved into this cause, namely, that HE IS NOT SEEN. Hence it is, that fo many persons neither love, nor regard him at all.

HAVING thus explained the point we are upon, I now proceed to evince this truth, that one great reason, why men are not so apt to love God as they are one another, is because he is not

thc

VOL. the object of sight as we are. And this I shall I. do from the following considerations, namely,

that the object is such as would certainly command our love, if it could be apprehended aright; and if it is not so, it must proceed from some defect in ourselves.

1. That the object is such as would certainly command our love, if it were rightly apprehended. For he is most amiable in himself; and has infinitely more obliged man, than they can ever oblige one another.

God, I say, is most amiable in himself, who is chiefly to be loved by all, though he is not actually so ; as he is confessed to be the supreme object of our understanding, while in reality he is least known. God is light, says the Apostle, in one place of this Epistle ; and God is love", as he affirms in two others. A Being of pure light, and glorious love. Would he not be loved therefore, if apprehended aright? Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the Gods ! as we find Moses speaking with admiration, Who is like thee, glorious in boliness, fearful in praises, doing won. ders? God is a being wherein the most perfect wisdom, goodness, power, truth and righteousness, make so admirable a temperature, that it is not possible he should not be loved, if he were but known.

Besides, he has infinitely more obliged men, than they ever have or can oblige one another.

Take * 1 John 1. 5.

b iv. 16. . Exod. xv. 11.

Take any man whatsoever, whose foul you may SERM. suppose to be utterly destitute of the love of II. GOD, how low and abject foever be his state, yet you may fay, “ Thou impious wretch ! " thou hast not the love of God in thee ; “ though he hath done more for thee; than all w the men in the world whatever could do, even

though they should all join together to oblige “ thee. For is he not the author of thy life, “ and being ? Could the invention of all the « men in the world have formed such a creature “ as thou art out of nothing? Is he not a con“ tinual spring of life to thee? Thou livest and “ movest, and hast thy being in him every mo

ment. And it is with this design, that God só doth continue to thee thy breath and being, " that thou mightest feel after him, though thou “ canft not see him, and also labour to find him,

though he be not far from every one of us. “ Thou art his offspring as even Heathen poets “ tell us, No creature could ever have made “ thee. No man is always doing thee good

every moment, and at all times ; but thou art “ continually sustained by the divine hand. The

great God who made thee, feeds thee with “ breath from moment to moment, and is always s exercising towards thee sparing and sustaining

mercy; for his patience and bounty, always “ concur together, in every moment's addition “ to thy breath.” It were altogether impossible then but that God should be loved, more than

all See Acts Xvik, 27, 28.

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