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made him upright: His Creator set him up, but he threw himself down. Was the Lord's directing and inclining him to good the reason of his woful choice? Ordid heaven deal so sparingly with him, that his pressing wants sent him to hell to seek supply? Nay, man was, and is▸ the cause of his own ruin. (2.) God may most justly require of men perfect obedience to his law, and condemn them for their not obeying it perfectly, though now they have no ability to keep it. In so doing, he gathers but where he has strawed. He gave man ability to keep the whole law; man has lost it by his own fault; but his sin could never take away that right which God had to exact perfect obedience of his creature, and to punish in case of disobedience. (3.) Behold here the infinite obligation we lie under to Jesus Christ the second Adam; who with his own precious blood has bought our escheate, and freely makes offer of it again to us. Hos. xiii. 9. and that with the advantage of everlasting security, that it can never be altogether lost any more, John x. 28, 29. Free grace will fix those whom free will shook down into a gulf of misery.
USE II. This teacheth a reproof to three sorts of persons. (1.) To those who hate religion in the power of it, wherever it appears; and can take pleasure in nothing but in the world and their lusts. Surely those men are far from righteousness; they are haters of God, Rom. i. 30. for they are haters of his image. Upright Adam in Paradise would have been a great eye-core to all such persons, as he was to the serpent, whose seed they prove themselves to be, by their malignity. (2.) It reproves those who put religion to shame, and those who are ashamed of religion before a graceless world. There is a generation who make so bold with the God that made them, and can in a moment crush them, that they ridicule piety, and make a mock of seriousness. "Against whom do ye sport yourselves? Against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue ?" Isa. lvii. 4. Is it not against God himself, whose image, in some measure repaired on some of his creatures, makes them fools in your eyes? But "be ye not mockers, lest your hands be made strong," Isa. xxviij. 22. Holiness was the glory God put on man, when he made him: But now sons of men turn that glory into shame, because they themselves glory in their shame.
There are others that secretly approve of religion, and in religious company will profess it; who at other times, to be neighbour-like, are ashamed to own it; so weak are they, that they are blown over with the wind of the wicked's mouth. A broad laughter, an impious jest, a silly gibe out of a profane mouth, is to many an unanswerable argument against religion and seriousness; for in the cause of religion, they are as silly doves without heart. O that such would consider that weighty word! Mark viii. 38. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (3.) It reproves the proud self-conceited professor, who admires himself in a garment he hath patched together of rags. There are many, who, when once they have gathered some scraps of knowledge of religion, and have attained to some reformation of life, do swell big with conceit of themselves; a sad sign that the effects of the fall lie so heavy upon them, that they have not as yet come to themselves, Luke xv.17. They have eyes behind to see their attainments; but no eyes within, no eyes before, to see their wants, which would surely humble them; fortrue knowledge makes men to see, both what once they were, and what they are at present; and so is humbling, and will not suffer them to be content with any measure of grace attained; but puts them on to press forward," forgetting the things that are behind," Phil, iii. 13, 14. But those men are such a spectacle of commiseration, as one would be, that had set his palace on fire, and were glorying in a cottage he had built for himself out of the rubbish, though so very weak, that it could not stand against a storm.
USE III. Of lamentation. Here was a stately building, man, carved like a fair palace, but now lying in ashes let us stand and look on the ruins, and drop a tear. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation. Could we chuse but to weep, if we saw our country ruined, and turned by the enemy into a wilderness? If we saw our houses on fire,and our households perishing in the flames? But all this comes far short of the dismal sight, man fallen as a star from heaven. Ah! may not we now say, O that we were as in months past, when there were no
stains in our nature, no clouds on our minds, no pollution in our hearts! Had we never been in better case, the matter had been less; but they that were brought up in scarlet, do now embrace dunghills. Where is our primitive glory now? Once no darkness in the mind, no rebellion in the will, no disorder in the affections. But ah! "How is the faithful city become an harlot? Righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Our silver is become dross, our wine mixed with water." That heart which was once the temple of God, is now turned into a den of thieves. Let our name be Ichabod, for the glory is departed. Happy wast thou, O man, who was like unto thee! No pain or sickness could affect thee, no death could approach thee, no sigh was heard from thee, till these bitter fruits were plucked off the forbidden tree. Heaven shone upon thee, and earth smiled : Thou wast the companion of angels, and the envy of devils. But how low is he now laid, who was created for dominion, and made lord of the world! "The crown is fallen from our head: Wo unto us that we have sinned." The creatures that waited to do him service are now, since the fall, set in battle array against him; and the least of them having commission proves too hard for him. Waters overflow the old world; fire consumes Sodom; the stars in their courses fight against Sisera; frogs, flies, lice, &c. turn executioners to Pharaoh and his Egyptians; worms eat up Herod: Yea, man needs a league with the beasts, yea with the very "stones of the field," Job v. 13. having reason to fear, that every one that findeth him will slay him. Alas! How are we fallen? How are we plunged into a gulf of misery! The sun has come down on us, death has come in at our windows; our enemies have put out our two eyes, and sport themselves with our miseries. Let us then lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us. Nevertheless, there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Come then, O sinner, look to Jesus Christ, the second Adam; quit the first Adam and his covenant; come over to the Mediator and Surety of the new and better covenant: And let our hearts say, "Be thou our ruler, and let this breach be under thy hand." And let your eye trickle down, and cease not without any intermission, till the Lord look down and be hold from heaven," Lam. iii. 49, 50.
THE STATE OF NATURE, OR OF ENTIRE DEPRAVA
THE SINFULNESS OF MAN'S NATURAL STATE.
GENESIS vi. 5.
And God saw that the wickedness of Man was great in the earth, and that every Imagination of the thoughts of his Heart was only Evil continually.
E have seen what man was, as God made him, a lovely and happy creature: Let us view him now as he hath unmade himself; and we shall see him a sinful and miserable creature. This is the sad state we were brought into by the fall; a state as black and doleful as the former was glorious; and this we commonly call, The state of nature, or man's natural state; according to that of the apostle, Eph. ii. 2. “And were by nature the children of wrath even as others." And herein two things are to be considered: 1st, The sinfulness; 2dly, The misery of this state, in which all the unregenerate do live. I begin with the sinfulness of man's natural state, whereof the text gives us a full, though short account; " And God saw that the wickedness of man was great," &c.
The scope and design of these words is, to clear God's justice, in bringing the flood on the old world. There are two particular causes of it taken notice of in the preceding verses. (1.) Mixed marriages, ver. 2. The sons of God, the posterity of Seth and Enos, professors of the true religion, married with the daughters of men, the profane,
cursed race of Cain. They did not carry the matter before the Lord, that he might chuse for them, Psal. xlviii. 14. But without any respect to the will of God they chose; not according to the rules of their faith, but of their fancy : They saw that they were fair; and their marriage with them occasioned their divorce from God. This was one of the causes of the deluge, which swept away the old world. Would to God all professors in our day could plead not guilty: But though that sin brought on the deluge, yet the deluge hath not swept away that sin; which, as of old, so in our day, may justly be looked upon as one of the causes of the decay of religion. It was an ordinary thing among the Pagans to change their gods, as they changed their condition into a married lot: And many sad instances the Christian world affords of the same, as if people were of Pharaoh's opinion, That religion is only for those that have no other care upon their heads, Exod. v. 17. (2.) Great oppression, ver. 4. «There were giants in the earth in those days," men of great stature, great strength and monstrous wickedness, "filling the earth with violence," ver. 11. But neither their strength nor treasures of wickedness could profit them in the day of wrath. Yet the gain of oppression still carries many over the terror of this dreadful example. Thus much for the connexion, and what particular crimes that generation was guilty of. But every person that was swept away with the Blood could not be guilty of these things, and shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Therefore, in my text, there is a general indictment drawn up against them all, "The wickedness of man was great in the earth," &c. And this is well instructed, for God saw it. Two things are laid to their charge here:
First, Corruption of life, wickedness, great wickedness. I understand this of the wickedness of their lives; for it is plainly distinguished from the wickedness of their hearts. The sins of their outward conversation were great in the nature of them, and greatly aggravated by their attending circumstances; and this not only among those of the race of cursed Cain, but those of holy Seth: The wickedness of man was great. And then it is added, in the earth, (1.) To vindicate God's severity, in that he not only cut off sinners, but defaced the beauty of the earth; and swept