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very lhori; it is all comprehended in a word, And I did eat. How pointed and distinct is his apology, as if he was afraid his meaning should have been mittaken? ? he womun, says he, or that woman, as if be would have pointed the judge to his own work, of which we read, Gen. ii. 22. There wa: but one woman then in the world; so that one would think he needed not have been so nice and exact in pointing at her ; yet she is as care fully marked out in his defence, as if there had been ten thousard. The woman whom thou gavest me: here he speaks, as if he had been ruined with God's gifts. And to make the ihift look the blacker, it is added to all this, thou gavest to be with me, a constant companion, to stand by ine as a helper. This looks as F Adam would have fathered an ill defign upon the Lord, in giving him this gift. And after all, there is a new demonftrative here, before the sentence is compleat : he says not, The woman gave me, but the woman she gave me, emphatically, as if he had said, She, even She gave me of the tree. I his much for his apology. But his confellion is quickly over, in one werd, (as he spoke it) and I did eat. And there is nothing here to point to himself, and as little 10 fhew what he had eaten. How natural is the black art to Adam's posterity? , He that runs may read it. So universally does Solomon's observe hold true, Prov. xvii. 3. The foolishness of man per verteth his ways, and his heart fretteth against the Lord Let us then call fallen Adam, futher; let us not deny the relation, seeing we bear his image.
And now to shut up this point, lufficiently confirmed by concurring evidence from the Lord's word, our own experience and obfervation; let us be persuaded to believe the doctrine of the corruption of our
nature; and to look to the second Adam, the blessed JESUS, for the i application of his precious blood, to remove the guilt of this sin; and
for the efficacy of his holy Spirit, to make us new creatures, knowing I that except we be born again, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
of the Corruption of the Understanding 1. SECONDLY, I proceed to inquire into the corruption of nature, in
the several parts thereof. But who can comprehend it? Who can I take the exact dimension of it, in its breadth, length, height, and
cepih? The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked : s'ho can know it? Jer. xvii. 9. However, we may quickly perceive as much of it, as may be matter of deepest humiliation, and may disa
cover to us the absolute necessity of i'egeneration. Man in his nalu. iral state is altogether corrupt. Both foul and body are polluted, as
the apostle proves at large, Rom. iii10,-18. As for the soul, this natural corruption has spread itself through all the faculties thereof: and is to be found in the unde standing, the will, the affections, the conscience, and the memory.
J. The Understanding, that leading faculty, is despoiled of it's priinitive glory, and covered over with confusion. We have fallen
Lehenfiou her such an seeing
into the hands of our grand adversary, as Samson into the hands of the Philistines, and are deprived of our two eyes. There is none that understundeth, Rom. iii. II. Mind and conscience are defiled, Titi 15. The natural man's apprehension of divine things is corrupt, Pfal.1.21. Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyfelf. His judgment is corrupt, and cannot be otherways, seeing his eye is evil : anu therefore the scriptures, that shew that men did all wrong, says, Every one did that which was right in his orunt eyes, Judges xvil. 7. and xxi. 25. And his imaginations, or reasonings must be cast down, by
the power of the word, being of a piece with his judgment, 2 Cor., * X. 5. But to point out this corruption of the mind or understanding more particularly, let these following things be considered. :. First, There is a natural weakness in the minds of men, with respect to fpiritual things. The apostle determines concerning every one that is not endued with the graces of the Spirit, That he is blind, and cannot see ofar of}; 2 Pet, i.e. Hence the Spirit of God in the scrip. tires, clothes, as it were, divine truths with earthly figures, even as parents teach their chikiren, was limilitudes, Hof. xii. 10. Which, .. tho' it doth not cure, yer down evidence this natural weakness in the minds of men. But we want not plain proofs of it from experience. As, (1.) How hard a talk is it to teach many people the common principles of cur holy religion, and to make truths so plain as they may understand tliem? Here there nult be precept upon precept precepi upon precept: line upon line, line upon line, Isa. xxviii. 9. Try the lame persons in other things, they thall be found wifer in their generation than the children of light. They understand their work and business in the world, as well as their neighbours ; tho' they be very stupid and unteachable in the matters of Cod. Tell them how they may advance their worldly wealth, or how they may gratify their lufts, and they will quickly understand these things; tho'it is very hard to anake them hnow how their souls may be saved ; or how their hearts may find raft in Jelus Christ. (2.) Consider these who have many advantages, beyond the common gang of mankind; who have had the benefit of good education and inltruction; yea, and are blest with the hight of grace in that measure, wherein it is diitributed to the saints on earth yet how finall a portion have they of the knowledge of divine things! What ignorance and confufion do still reinain in their minds! How often are they mired, even in the matter of practical truths, and speak as a child in these things. It is a pitiful weakness that we cannot perceive the things which God has revealed to us : and it must needs be a sinful weakness, since the law of God requires us to know and believe them. (3.) What dangerous mistakes are to be found amonra inen, in their concerns of greatest weight! what woful delusions prevail over them! do we not often see ihose, who otherwise, are the wiselt of men, the most notcrious fools, with respect to their foul's interest, Matth. xi. 25. Thou bali hid there things from she wife and prudent. Many that are eagle-eyed in the
trifles of time, are like owls and bats in the light of life. Nay truly, the life of every natural man is but one continued dream and delusion; out of which he never awakes, till either by a new light darted from heaven into his soul, he come to himself, Luke xv. 17. or, in hell he lift up his eyes, chap. xvi. 24. And therefore in scripture account, be he never lo wise, he is a fool and a simple one.
Secondly, Man's understanding is naturally overwhelmed with gross . darkness in fpiritual things. Man, at the instigation of the devil, atteinpting to break out a new light in his mind, (Gen. iii, 5.) instead of that, broke up the doors of the bottomless pit: so, as by the smoak thereof, he was buried in darkness. When God at first had made man, his iind was a lamp of light: but now when he comes to make liim over again in regeneration, he finds it darkness, Eph. V. 8. re were fometimes darkness. Sin has closed the windows of the soul, darkness is over all that region. It is the land of darkness and shadow of death, where the light is as darkness. The prince of darkness reigns there, and nothing but the works of darknefs are framed there. We are born fpiritually blind, and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace. This is thy case, whosoever thou art, if thou art not born again. · And that you may be convinced in this matter, take chose following evidences of it. * Evidence 1. The darkness that was upon the face of the world, before, and at the time when Christ came, arising as the fun of righten ow/ness upon the earth. When Adam by his fin had lost that primitive light wherewith he was endued in his creation, it pleased God to make a graciots revelation of his mind and well to him, touching the way of falvation, Gen. ii. 15. This was handed down by him, and other godly fathers, before the flood: yet the natural darkness of the mind? of mån prevailed so far against that revelation, as to carry off all sense of true religion from the old world, except what remained in Noah's family, which was preserved in the ark. After the flood, as men multiplied on the earth, the natural darkness of mind prevails again, and the light decays, till it died out among the generality of mankind, and is preserved only among the posterity of Shem. And even with them it was weil near its setting, when God called Abraham from firving other gods, Joh. xxiv. 15. God gives Abrahom a more clear and full revelation, and he communicates the same to his family, Gen. xvii. 19. yet the natural darkness wears it out at length, save that it was preserved among the posterity of Jacob. They being carried down into Egypt, that darkness prevailed so, as to leave them very little sense of true religion : and a new revelation behoved to be made them in the wilderness. And many a cloud of darkuess ot above that, now and then, during the time from Mofes to CHRIST. When CHRIST came, the world was divided into Jews and Gentiles, The Jews, and the true light with thein, were within an inclosure, Plal cxlvii. 19, 20. Betwixt them and the Gentile world, there was a partition wall of God's making, namely, the ceremonial law; and
upon that there was reared up another of man's own making namely, a rooted enmity betwixt the parties, Eph ii. 14, 15. If we look abroad without the inclosure, and except those proselvies of the Gentiles, who, by means of some rays of light breaking forth unto them from withiņ the inclosure, having renounced idolatry, worshipped the true God, but did not conform to the Mofaical rites) we see nothing but dark places of the earth, full of the habitation's of cru lty, Plal. Ixxiv. 20. Giots darkness covered the face of the Gentile world ; and the way of salvation was utterly unknown among them. They were drowned in superstition and idolatry; and had multiplied their idols to such a vast number, that above ihirty thousand are reckoned to have been worshipped by those of Europe alone. Whatever wisdom. was among their Philosophers, the world by that wisdoni knew not God, 1 Cor.i. 21. and all their researches in religion were but groping in the dark, Aits xvii. 27.' If we look within the inclolure, and, except a few that were groaning and 'waiting for the Consolation of Ifrael, we will see a gross darkness on the face of that gene. ration. Tho' to them were committed the oracles of God; yet they were most corrupt in their doctrine. Their traditions were multiplied ; but the knowledge of these things wherein the life of re: ligion lies, was loft ; Masers of Israel knew not the nature and neceffity of regeneration, John iii. 10. Their religion was to build on their birth-privilege, as children of Abraham, Matth iï. 9. to glory in their circumcision, and other external ordinances, Philip. iii. 2, 3. And to rest in the law, (Rom. ii. 17.) after they had, by their false glosses, cụt it so llibrt, as they might go well near to the fulfilling of it, Matth. v.
Thus was darkness over the face of the world, when CHRIST the true Light came into it; and so is darkness over every soul, till he, as the Day-star, arise in the heart. The former is an evidence of the latter. What, but the natural darkness of men's minds, could still thus wear out the light of external revelation in a matter upon which eternal happiness did depend? Men did not forget the way of preserving their lives: but how quickly did they lose the knowledge of the way of salvation of their souls ; which are of infinite more weight and worth!' when patriarchs and prophets teaching was ineffectual," men behoved to be taught of God himself; who alone can open the eyes of the understanding. But, that it might appear, that the corruption of nian's mind lay deeper than to be cured by mere external revelation; there were but very few converted by Christ's preaching, who spoke as never man Spok., John xii. 37, 38. The great cure on the generation remained to be performed, by the Spirit accompanying the preaching of the apostles : who, according to the promise, (John xiv. 12.) were to do great works. And if we look to the miracles wrought by our blessed Lord, we will find, that by applying the remedy to the soul, for the cure of bodily distempers, (as in the case of
the knowled preserving appiness idf externas kune
the man fick of the palsy, Matth. ix. 2.) he plainly discovered, that it'" was his main errand into the world to cure the diseases of the soul. I find a miracle wrought upon one that was born blind, performed in such a way, as seems to have been designed to let the world see in it, as in a glass, their cafe and cure, John ix. 6. He made clay, and, anointed the eyes of the blind man, with the clay. What could more fitly represent the blindness of men's minds, than eyes closed up with earth? Isa vi. 1. J.but their eyes; shut them up by anointing or casting them with mortar, as the word would bear. And Chap. xliv. 18. he hath shut their eyes; the word properly signifies, he hath plaistered
their eyes; as the house in which the leprosy had been, was to be ! plaistered, Lev. xiv. 42. Thus the Lord's word discovers the design
of that strange work; and by it fhews is, that the eyes of our underitanding are naturally shut. Then the blind man must go and wallı off this clay in the pool of Siloam ; no other water will serve this ! purpose. If that pool had not represented him, whom the Father sent into the world, to open the blind eyes, (Isa. xlii. 7.) I think the Evangelist had not given us the interpretation of the name, which he fays, lignifies, fent, John ix. 7. And so we may con lude, that the natural darkness of our vinds is such, as there is no cure for ; but from the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ, whose eye-falve, only can make us fee, Rev. ii. 18.
Evid. 2. Every natural man's heart and life is a mass of darkness, diforder and confusion ; how refined soever he appear in the fight of men. For we our felves als), faith the apostle Paul, were sometimes foolish, disuhedient, deceived, serving divers lufts and pleasures, Tit.iii. z. and yet at that time, which this text looks to, he was blameless, touching the righteousness which is in the law, Phil, iii. 6. This is a plain evidence that the eye is er:il, the whole body being full of darkness, Mat. vi. 23. The unrenewed part of mankind is rambling through the world, like so many blind men ; who will neither take a guide, nor can guide themselves; and therefore are falling over this and the other precipice, into destruction. Some are running after their covet, ousness, till they be pierced through with many sorrows; some sticking in the mire of sensuality ; others dalhing themselves on the rock of pride and self-conceit ; every one stumbling on some one stone of fhumbling or other : all of them are running themselves upon the sword-point of justice, while they eagerly follow, whither their un.. mortified passions and affections lead them; and while some are lying alone in the way, others are coming up, and falling headlong over them. And therefore, Wo unto the (blind) 'world because of offences, Matth. xviii. 7. "Errors in judgment swarm in the world; because it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forrest do creep forth.' All the unregenerate are utterly mistaken in the point of true happiness; for tho’ Christianity hath fixed that matter in point of principle; vet nothing less than overcoming grace can fix it in the practical judgnent. All men agree in the desire to be happy : 'but arnongst un.