Imatges de pàgina
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bestow great compliments upon him. This is to Serm." add fcorn to his ruin, and is only insulting over

III. the wretchedness and calamity of the man's condition. And yet this is the course of them that go about to persuade man, that although the cafe is thus with him, he can recover his own excellence that he hath loft; that he can anew create himself, or repair the ruins of his decayed and shattered state. This is the way to add incyrableness to his misery, by tempting him to neglect the only means of taking it off, and so make him miserable without remedy. But that persons out of a deep concern for the honour and glory of man as the top of the creation, should go

about to make him believe himself now in an honourable state, and that he can even now do great things ; how unsuitable and insignificant is this, as well as inconsistent with truth! And again we

3. INFER hence, that man is most especially prejudiced and impaired by his lapse or fall, in respect to his disposition and inclinations towards GOD. The wound is principally in his mind, and consists in the depression and enfeebling of its powers ; but the mind itself is most especially hurt and impaired in respect of those inclinations by which it should be guided towards God. For in the state in which he is at present he is indisposed to the love of God; and for this mean reason, because he cannot see him. And that he is not able to love what he cannot fee, Inews him to be a very mean abject creature,

and

the eye

VOL. and that his powers are mightily impaired. I. Surely the time was, that he could have loved

what he could not have seen with his bodily eye ; and how comes it to pass that because he cannoć see God, therefore he cannot love him? This shews that his mind is impaired, that he is hurt chiefly in what respects his Creator; and that his propensity, the bent and bias of his spirit towards GOD is lost.

This is the fad and disinal thing that is befallen the nature of man, because God is far beyond the reach of his sight, and he himself is sunk into Aesh, loft in earth, and always imposed upon by sense, he cannot see him, cannot lift up the dull heavy eye of his mind to his God, which is

he must be seen with by his creatures. So that, as the Apostle Paul expresses it, he is become alienated from the life of God, and without God in the world. And how much is this to be lamented, that man is so fallen off from God! that his original propensity to him is lost and dropped from his nature! If we had heard but of one inan since the creation of the world with whom this was the case, it would deserve to be very much lamented. But that this should come upon the whole kind, that it should be thus, as I may speak, with the whole race of men; methinks the sense of it should never wear off from our hearts. Strange! that it should be the course and fashion of this world all over the earth, to live in an oblivion of him that made us, and with hearts devoid of his love, and only

because % Eph, 11, 12

because he is so excellent as not to be seen by us SERM. with the bodily eye! It was reckoned a sad and

III. terrible day, when a tribe was cut off from Ifrael ; but if we consider what man was made for, what was the design and end of his creation, we see as it were a whole race of beings lost from the creation of God. For what can we think man was made for but to love, admire, triumph, and glory in his great Maker ? But to all this he is lost, and abstracting what is done in order to the recovering him again, it had been as well if there had been no men at all, and for themselves unspeakably better. How strange then is it, that such a matter as this is should ever escape our thoughts! If we speak of the corruption and depravedness of human nature, they are worus of course that drop from us now and then, and some Night notions of the matter hover in our minds; but how few are there to whom it is a familiar thing to roll themselves in the dust before the LORD, in the sense of that vile and abject state, which man in common now is in? How few lament that they are by the fall cut off from GOD; and spoiled as to all their capacities, whereby they were suited to the divine love, service, and communion! And yet the most tragical calamities that could possibly have fallen out in the world, or of which we could form any imagination, had been nothing in comparison of this. Nay if all mankind, as to shape, or impossibility of external injoyments, were the most monstrous and most miserable crea. tures living, it were nothing when compared to

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VOL. the mischief and misery, which are the fruits of 1.

man's apoftacy from his Maker.

4. We furtber infer hence, that man upon all these accounts, muft neceffarily be at a very great distance from true blessedness. Whoever understands, or considers the connexion between blesfedness and love will soon perceive the reasonableness of this inference. It is impossible to be blessed without love; and it is necessary to every one's fatisfaction, that it be a full and sufficient good that is the object of his love. If either of thefe be wanting, ic is impossible it fhould be satisfying, or a suitable good to me. Or if on the other hand, there be a good never so self-fufficient or all-fufficient, yet if I cannot love it, if my heart is averse to it, this also is a sufficient bar to my happiness. The things that are seen, though a man love them never so much, can never satisfy, because they are not sufficient. The infinite incomprehended good is all-sufficient, and fit for every purpose; but this cannot make him happy, because he doth not love it. In the creature therefore man cannot be happy, in God he will not. He cannot in the creature, because that hath not in it self to give ; in God he will not, because his heart is disinclined to him, and will not be brought to a closure with him by love.

Consider man according to this state of his case, and you must look upon him as one, who

very constitution and present temper of his -foul, is formed for misery;' I say so long as he continues in his present situation. His heart in

by his

clines him truly to visible things, and to love the Serm. objects of sense, which can never make him happy. : HII. The good that is unseen hath enough in it to make him blessed, but then he will not love it. He will not apply himself to love God, merely because he is out of sight. You must needs think then that it is a great thing that must work the cure of man, who is thus involved in so great an abyss of depravedness and misery. And therefore I must add,

5. That there is a very great necessity of much Gospel-preaching in order to persuade men to the love of God. For what is the design of the Gospel, but to render God amiable to men ? What is it but a method of rendering God lovely, and of restoring men's love to God? And since his loveliness is not the object of sight, there needs such a supplemental representation of himself, to supply the want of vision. And since the things that court our senses are obvious, and occur to us every day, yea every hour of the day, it is needful that we should be frequently put in mind of God; and that those discoveries of him which tend to beget the love of him in our hearts, should be very much urged and inculcated upon us. For otherwise what shall countervail sense, or what shall we set against the sight of our own eyes? No man bath feen God, at any time"; what is it then that must supply that defect, and be in the stead of the sight of God to us? Why, the only begotten Son of God, be bath declared him. So that we have now a revelation of God himself. And our Lord Jeliis Vol. I.

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Christ,
John 1. 18.

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