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bility of God’s glory, in being what he is, so invincible. He does not suit them ; he does not look upon things as they do; he is not disposed, nor does he act as they would have him, but all directly contrary; as contrary as light and darkness; as sin and holiness; as heaven and hell: therefore, the carnal mind is enmity against God. But, to return, From this same root; this disposition to love ourselves supremely, live to ourselves ultimately, and delight in that which is not God wholly, proceeds all our evil carriage towards our neighbour. Pride, selfishness, and worldliness, lay the foundation for all that cheating, lying, backbiting, quarrelling, there is among neighbours; and for all the feuds and bloody wars there ever have been among all the nations of the earth, from the beginning of the world. And pride, selfishness, and worldliness, together with that enmity against God and true religion, which is naturally concomitant, lay the foundation for all those bloody persecutions which have been, in the several ages of the world, against the church and people of God. If men were not proud nor selfish, they would have no inclination to injure their neighbours, in name or estate. If they took their supreme delight in God as the portion of their souls, they would not have any of their little petty idols to quarrel and contend about: If they loved their neighbours as themselves, there would never more be any thing like persecution; and all injuries and abuses would cease from the earth. So that, to conglude, as a disposition to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbours as ourselves, is an habitual conformity to the whole law, and lays a solid foundation for a right carriage towards God and our neighbour, in all things; so a disposition to love ourselves supremely, live to ourselves ultimately, and delight in that which is not God wholly, is an habitual contrariety to the whole law, and lays a sad foundation for all evil carriage towards God and our fellow men. And, as I said, this disposition is natural to us, and we are naturally entirely under the government of it : and so the seed and root of all sin is in us, even in the native temper of our hearts. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh. OB.J. But if mankind neither love God nor their neighbours . with a genuine love, such as the law requires, but naturally
have, and are entirely under the government of, a spirit of contrariety to the whole law, whence is it that all men do not blaspheme God, and do all the mischief they can, and, in practice as well as in nature, be as bad as devils & AN's Because of the restraints, which God, for wise ends and purposes, is pleased to lay upon them, whereby their nature is, indeed, not at all altered, but only, in a measure, kept from breaking out, as otherwise it would do. And these restraints, in ordinary, are such as arise from these things: (i.) From their animal constitution ; whereby many are inclined to be tender-hearted, compassionate, and kind, without any regard to God or duty, from a sort of natural instinct, much of the same nature to all appearance, as is to be found in many in the brutal world. (2.) Form natural affection ; whereby, partly from animal nature, and partly from self-love, and from being brought up together, relatives have a certain fondness for one another, and so are disposed to be kind to one another, and that without any regard to God or duty : much as it is with many in the brutal world. (3.) From a good education; whereby many are influenced to be civil in their behaviour, honest in their dealings, kind to the poor, and to pray in their families, and join with the church, &c. though destitute of grace in their hearts. (4.) From worldly considerations; whereby, from self-love, in order to avoid punishment from men, or from fear of disgrace and reproach, or to get the good-will of others, or promote some worldly interest, men are influenced, sometimes, to carry themselves externally very well. (5.) From religious considerations; whereby, from self-love, the fear of hell, and the hope of heaven, many are influenced to do much in religion. (6.) Want of speculative knowledge of God; ignorance of his resolution to punish sin, and of his anger against them, is also an occasion of their not blaspheming his name; as they will do, as soon as ever they come into eternity, and see how things really are; though then their nature will be exactly the same that it is now. God gives rain and fruitful seasons, and fills the hearts of all with food and gladness; he makes his sun rise, and rain fall upon the evil and unthankful, and offers salvation in case they repent and believe; whence men are ready to think that God loves
them, and this restrains them. These, and suchlike things, restrain men's corruptions; but for which, they would be as bad in this world as they will be in the next, when these restraints come to be taken off. To what has been said, may also be added, that God, by these three methods, does much to restrain many : (1.) By his providence ; whereby he many times brings remarkable judgments upon men for their sins; and remarkably prospers men, as to the things of this world, who are true to their word, and honest in their dealings: and hereby men are afraid to be and do as bad as otherwise they would, lest some judgment should come upon them ; and others are influenced to be honest, and to carry themselves, externally, well, in hopes of a worldly blessing. (2.) By his word, his written word, and his word preached; whereby men are made more sensible that there is a heaven and a hell; and so are the more restrained and kept in awe. (3.) By his spirit; whereby he does much to make many a man sensible of the evil of sin, the dreadfulness of damnation, and the glory of heaven, whom he never sanctifies: whereby they are not only restrained from vicious practices, but their corruptions also are greatly stunned, and they made zealous promoters of religion. (Heb. vi. 4.) And thus the supreme Governor of the world restrains men's corruptions, and maintains some degree of order among his rebellious subjects. But yet, all these restraints notwithstanding, there is, and always has been, abundance of wickedness committed in this apostate world. They have murdered God's servants, the prophets, whom the Lord has sent unto them, rising early and sending; and they have killed his Son, and his apostles, and shed the blood of thousands and millions of his saints. So great has been their aversion to God, and so great their cruelty And by the many wars there have been among the nations, from the beginning, the whole earth has been filled with blood. And by cheating, and lying, and backbiting, and contention, &c. hateful and hating one another, innumerable injuries have been done to, and unspeakable miseries brought upon, one another. And as soon as ever mankind have their restraints
taken off at death, without having any sin infused into their WOL. F. 28
nature, they will appear to be what they are; they will feel and act like very devils.
But in the mean while, by means of these restraints, many deceive themselves; for our corruptions being thus capable of being restrained, and, as it were, stunned, and our lives of being pretty well regulated, to appearance, while our nature remains the same, and we feeling ourselves able to do considerable towards this; hence many are deceived, and take this to be real religion, and think they did, and that others may convert themselves, with but comparatively little assistance from God's spirit. And truly so they might, if this was true religion, and conversion consisted in thus reforming our lives, and restraining our corruptions. But, in conversion, our very nature must be changed, (2 Cor. v. 17.) the native bent of our hearts must be turned, (Ezek. xxxvi. 26.) and from this we are naturally wholly averse. And hence arises the absolute necessity of a supernatural, irresistible grace, in order to our conversion ; of which more afterwards. But to return,
From what has been said, we see that we are natively disposed to love ourselves supremely: to live to ourselves ultimately, and delight in that which is not God, wholly; and that this disposition, by which we are naturally, entirely governed, in all things, and under all circumstances, is in direct contrariety to the holy law of God, and is exceedingly sinful, and is the root of all sin; of all our evil carriage towards God and man, in heart and life. So that, as to have a disposition to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbour as ourselves, is a radical conformity to the whole law; so this contrary disposition is a radical contrariety to the whole law. Well, therefore, may the holy scriptures speak of sinners as being dead in sin, and at enmity against God, and, by nature, children of wrath, and represent them so frequently as being enemies to God, (Eph. ii. 1. 3. Rom. viii. 7. and v. 10. 2 Cor. v. 18– 20.) since, by comparing ourselves with the holy law of God, we are found to be, in fact, natively so, in the temper of our minds. And it will be for ever in vain for mankind to plead not guilty, since the law of God is what it is, and we are what we are; for by the law, by which is the knowledge of sin, we evidently stand condemned.
... Here it may be objected, “That we are, natively, no otherwise than God makes us; and if, therefore, we are natively sinful, God made us so; and, by consequence, is the author of sin.” But this objection has been already obviated; for, as has been observed, God only creates the naked essence of our souls: our natural faculties: a power to think, and will, and to love and hate; and this evil bent of our hearts is not of his maKing, but is the spontaneous propensity of our own wills; for we, being born devoid of the divine image, ignorant of God, and insensible of his glory, do, of our own accord, turn to ourselves, and the things of time and sense, and to any thing that suits a graceless heart, and there all our affections centre; from whence we natively become averse to God, and to all that which is spiritually good, and inclined to all sin. So that the positive corruption of our nature is not anything created by God, but arises merely from a privative cause. Here it will be objected again, “That it is not consistent with the divine perfections to bring mankind into the world under such sad and unhappy circumstances.”—But who art thou, O man, that repliest against God? Shall the thing Jormed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou formed me thus 2 It is blasphemous to say, that it is not consistent with the divine perfections to do what God, 1 N FACT, does. It is a plain matter of fact, that we are born into the world devoid of the divine image, ignorant of God, insensible of his infinite glory. And it is a plain matter of fact, that, in consequence hereof, we are natively disposed to love ourselves supremely, live to ourselves ultimately, and delight in that which is not God, wholly. And it is plain to a demonstrar tion, that this temper is in direct contrariety to God's holy law; is exceedingly sinful, and is the root of all wickedness. Mow, to say it is not consistent with the divine perfections that mankind should be brought into the world, as, IN FAct, they are, is wickedly to fly in the face of our almighty Creator, and expressly charge him with unrighteousness; which, surely, does not become us. If we cannot see into this dispensation of divine providence, yet we ought to remember, that God is holy in all his aways, and righteous in all his works, and that the judge of all the earth always does right. I do not