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solve the difficult question, How the world could be made out of nothing ? to say, it came into being out of nothing, without any cause ; as has been already observed. And if we should allow that that could be, that the first evil evolution should arise by perfect accident, without any cause; it would relieve no difficulty, about God's laying the blame of it to man. For how was man to blame for perfect accident, which had no cause, and which therefore, he (to be sure) was not the cause of, any more than if it came by some external cause? - Such solutions are no better, than if some person, going about to solve some of the strange mathematical paradoxes, about infinitely great and small quantities; as, that some infinitely great quantities are infinitely greater than some other infinitely great quantities; and also that some infinitely small quantities, are infinitely less than others, which are yet infinitely little ; in order to a solution, should say, that mankind have been under a mistake, in supposing a greater quantity to exceed a smaller; and that a hundred, multiplied by ten, makes but a single unit.
[A Careful and Strict Inquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions of that Freedom of the Will, which is supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency, Virtue and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame; part iv, section 10. 1754.]
NATURAL MEN ARE GOD'S ENEMIES
I. I am to show, in what respects they are enemies to God.
1. Their enmity appears in their judgments; in the judgment and esteem they have of God. They have a very mean esteem of God. Men are ready to entertain a good esteem of those with whom they are friends: they are apt to think highly of their qualities, to give them their due praises ; and if there be defects, to cover them. But those to whom they are enemies, they are disposed to have mean thoughts of; they are apt to entertain a dishonorable opinion of them; they will be ready to look contemptibly upon anything that is praiseworthy in them.
So it is with natural men towards God. They entertain very low and contemptible thoughts of God. Whatever honor and respect they may pretend and make a show of towards God, if
their practice be examined, it will show, that they do certainly look upon him to be a Being, that is but little to be regarded. They think him one that is worthy of very little honor and respect, not worthy to be much taken notice of.
The language of their heart is, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice ?” Exoil. v. 2. “ What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have if we pray unto him?” Job xxi. 15. They count him worthy neither to be loved nor feared. They dare not behave with that slight and disregard towards one of their fellow creatures, when a little raised above them in power and authority, as they dare and do towards God. They value one of their equals much more than God, and are ten times more afraid of offending such a one, than of displeasing the God that made them. They cast such exceeding contempt on God, as to prefer every vile lust before him. And every worldly enjoyment is set higher in their esteem than God. A morsel of meat, or a few pence of worldly gain, is preferred before him. God is set last and lowest in the esteem of natural men.
3. Their wills are contrary to his will. God's will and theirs are exceeding cross the one to the other. God wills those things that they hate, and are most averse to; and they will those things that God hates. Hence they oppose God in their wills: they set up their wills against the will of God. There is a dreadful, violent, and obstinate opposition of the will of natural men to the will of God.
They are very opposite to the commands of God. It is from the enmity of the will, that “ the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Rom. vii. 7. Hence natural men are enemies to God's government. They are not loyal subjects, but enemies to God, considered as Lord of the world. They are entire enemies to God's authority.
4. They are enemies to God in their affections. There is in every natural man a seed of malice against God: yea, there is such a seed of this rooted in the heart of man naturally. And it does often dreadfully break forth and appear. Though it may in a great measure lie hid in secure times, when God lets men alone, and they meet with no great disturbance of body or mind; yet if
God but does touch men a little in their consciences, by manifesting to them a little of his wrath for their sins, this oftentimes brings out the principle of malice against God, which is exercised in dreadful heart-risings, inward wranglings and quarrelings, and blasphemous thoughts; wherein the heart is like a viper, hissing, and spitting poison at God. There is abundance of such a principle in the heart And however free from it the heart may seem to be when let alone and secure, yet a very little thing will set it in a rage. Temptation will show what is in the heart. The alteration of a man's circumstances will often discover the heart : a change of circumstance will bring that out which was hid before. Pharaoh had no more natural enmity against God than other men; and if other natural men had been in Pharaoh's circumstances, the same corruptions would have put forth themselves in as dreadful a manner. The Scribes and Pharisees had naturally no more of a principle of malice in their hearts against Christ than other men; and other natural men would, in their case, and having as little restraint, exercise as much malice against Christ as they did. When wicked men come to be cast into hell, then their malice against God will appear. Then it will appear what dreadful malice they have in their hearts. Then their hearts will appear as full of malice as hell is full of fire. But when wicked men come to be in hell, there will be no new corruptions put into their hearts; but only old ones will break forth without restraint. That is all the difference between a wicked man on earth and a wicked man in hell, that in hell there will be more to stir up the exercise of corruption, and less to restrain it than on earth ; but there will
new corruption put in. A wicked man will have no principle of corruption in hell, but what he carried to hell with him. There are now the seeds of all the malice that will be exercised then. The malice of damned spirits is but a branch of the root, that is in the hearts of natural men now. A natural man has a heart like the heart of a devil ; but only as corruption is more under restraint in man than in devils.
5. They are enemies in their practice. “They walk contrary to him," Lev. xxvi. 21. Their enmity against God does not lie still, but they are exceeding active in it. They are engaged in a war against God. Indeed they cannot hurt God, he is so much
above them ; but yet they do what they can. They oppose themselves to his honor and glory: they oppose themselves to the interest of his kingdom in the world : they oppose themselves to the will and command of God; and oppose him in his government. They oppose God in his works, and in his declared designs; while God is doing one work, they are doing the contrary, and as much as in them lies, counter-working ; God seeks one thing, and they seek directly the contrary. They list under Satan's banner, and are his willing soldiers in his opposing the kingdom of God.
[From sermon three : Men Naturally God's Enemies. Works, vol. iv, pp. 37-40.]
THE LEGACY OF CHRIST
This legacy of Christ to his true disciples is very diverse from all that the men of this world ever leave to their children when they die. The men of this world, many of them, when they come to die, have great estates to bequeath to their children, an abundance of the good things of this world, large tracts of ground, perhaps in a fruitful soil, covered with flocks and herds. They sometimes leave to their children stately mansions, and vast treasures of silver, gold, jewels, and precious things, fetched from both the Indies, and from every side of the globe of the earth. They leave them wherewith to live in much state and magnificence, and make a great show among men, to fare very sumptuously; and swim in worldly pleasures. Some have crowns, sceptres, and palaces, and great monarchies to leave to their heirs. But none of these things are to be compared to that blessed peace of Christ which he has bequeathed to his true followers. These things are such as God commonly, in his providence, gives his worst enemies, those whom he hates and despises most. But Christ's peace is a precious benefit, which he reserves for his peculiar favorites. These worldly things, even the best of them, that the men and princes of the world leave for their children, are things which God in his providence throws out to those whom he looks on as dogs ; but Christ's peace is the bread of his children. All these earthly things are but empty shadows, which, however men set their
hearts upon them, are not bread, and can never satisfy their souls; but this peace of Christ is a truly substantial, satisfying food, Isai.
None of those things if men have them to the best advantage, and in ever so great abundance, can give true peace and rest to the soul, as is abundantly manifest not only in reason, but experience; it being found in all ages, that those who have the most of them, have commonly the least quietness of mind. It is true, there may be a kind of quietness, a false peace they may have in their enjoyment of worldly things; men may bless their souls, and think themselves the only happy persons, and despise others; may say to their souls, as the rich man did, Luke xii. 19, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” But Christ's peace, which he gives to his true disciples, vastly differs from this peace that men may have in the enjoyments of the world, in the following respects :
1. Christ's peace is a reasonable peace and rest of soul; it is what has its foundation in light and knowledge, in the proper exercises of reason, and a right view of things ; whereas the peace of the world is founded in blindness and delusion. The peace that the people of Christ have, arises from their having their eyes open, and seeing things as they be. The more they consider, and the more they know of the truth and reality of things, the more they know what is true concerning themselves, the state and condition they are in; the more they know of God, and the more certain they are that there is a God, and the more they know what manner of being he is, the more certain they are of another world and future judgment, and of the truth of God's threatenings and promises; the more their consciences are awakened and enlightened, and the brighter and the more searching the light is that they see things in, the more is their peace established: whereas, on the contrary, the peace that the men of the world have in their worldly enjoyments can subsist no otherwise than by their being kept in ignorance. They must be blindfolded and deceived, otherwise they can have no peace : do but let light in upon their consciences, so that they may look about them and see what they are, and what circumstances they are in, and it will at once destroy all their quietness and comfort. Their peace can live nowhere but in the dark. Light