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fiot only so, but every faculty is entirely and perfectly subdued under it, and enslaved to it. This enmity against God has the absolute possession of the man. The Apostle Paul, speaking of what he was naturally, says, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” Rom. vii. 14. The understanding is under the reigning power of this enmity against God, so that it is entirely darkened and blinded with regard to the glory and excellency of God. The will is wholly under the reigning power of it. All the affections are governed by enmity against God: There is not one affection, her one desire, that a natural man has, or that he is ever stirred up to act from, but what contains in it enmity against God. A natural man is as full of enmity against God, as any viper, or any venomous beast, is full of poison. 3. The power of the enmity of natural men against God, is so great, that it is insuperable by any finite power. It has too great and strong a possession of the heart, to be overcome by any created pewer. Natural men cannot overcome their own enmity, let them strive never so much with their own hearts. Indeed, a natural man never sincerely strives to root out his enmity against God; his endeavors are hypocritical : He desights in his enmity, and chooses it. Neither can ethers do it, though they sincerely, and to their utmost, endeavor to overcome this enmity. If godly friends and neighbors labor to persuade them to cast away their enmity, and become friends to God, they cannot persuade them to it. Though ministers use never so many arguments and entreaties, and set forth the loveliness of God, and tell them of the goodness of God to them, and hold forth to them God's own gracious invitations, and intreat them never so earnestly to cast off their opposition and enmity, and to be reconciled, and become friends, yet they cannot overcome it: Still they will be as bad enemies to God as ever they were. The tongue of men or of angels cannot persuade them to relinquish their op- position to God. Miracles will not do it. How many miracles did the children of Israel see in the wilderness Yet their enmity against God remained, as appeared by their often murmuring. And how often did Christ use miracles to this end without effect? But the Jews yet obstinately stood out. “ o' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” Matth. xxiii. 37. And how great did the enmity of these people appear to be after all ; how spiteful and venomous were their hearts towards Christ, as appears to be after all; how spiteful and venomous were their hearts towards Christ, as appears by their cruel treatment of him in his last sufferings | They are mortal enemies to God, i. e. They have that enmity in their hearts, that strikes at the life of God. A man may be no friend to another, and may have an ill spirit towards him, and yet not be his mortal enemy : His enmity will be satisfied and glutted with something short of the death of the person. But it is not so with natural men with respect to God, they are mortal enemies. Indeed natural men cannot kill God, They have no hope of it, and so make no attempts. It has ever been looked upon so much above their power, that, it may be, it is not thought of. But this is no argument that this is not the tendency of the principle. Natural men are enemies to the dominion of God; and their nature shows their good will to pull him down out of heaven, and dethrone him if they could ! Yea, they are enemies to the being of God, and would be glad if there was no God, and therefore it necessarily follows, that they would kill him, and cause that there should be none, if they could, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God,” Psal. xiv. 1. This saying in his heart, there is no God, implies in it, not only an aptness to question the being of God, but it implies that he inclines it should be so. His heart says, i.e., his inclination says. The words in the original are thus: “The fool hath said in his heart, no God.” The words, there is, are in the original, but were put in by the translators. Now, if we read the words so, “The fool hath said in his heart, no God,” they will perhaps show the Psalmist's meaning more fully than as they are now translated. “The fool hath said in his heart, no God,” That is, I would have none, I do not
desire any, I wish there was none ; that would suit my inclination best. That is the language of the inclinations of a natural man ; no Cod. Let there be no food for me, let me have no God ; let the world be emptied of a God, he stands in my way. And hence he is an Atheist in his heart, he is ready to think there is none ; and that also is ready to be the language of his heart, “There is no Cod.”
The viper's poison is deadly poison ; and when he bites, he seeks the precious life. And men are in this respect a generation of vipers. Their poison, which is enmity against God, seeks the life of God. “O generation of vipers.” Matth. iii. 7. “The wicked are estranged from the womb..... Their poison is like the poison of a serpent.” Psal. lviii. 3, 4. “For their vine is the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah ; their grapes are the grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps,” Deut. xxxii. 32, 33.
The divine nature being inmortal, and infinitely out of our reach, there is no other trial possible, whether the enmity that is naturally in the heart against God, be mortal or no, but only for God to take on, him the human nature and become man, so as to come within man’s reach, that they should be capable of killing him. There can be no other experiment but this. And this trial there has been. And what has been the event 2 Why, when once God became man, and came down to dwell here among such vipers as fallen men, they hated him and persecuted him ; and never left him till they had imbrued their hands in his blood. There was a multitude of them that appeared combined in this design. Nothing would do, but he must be put to death. All cry out, “Crucify him, crucify him. Away with him.” They had rather Barabbas, who greatly deserved death, should live, than he should not die. Nothing would restrain them from it ; even all his preaching, and all his miracles ; but they would kill him. And it was not the ordinary kind of execution that would satisfy them ; but it must be the most cruel, and most ignominious they possibly could invent. And they, in the time of it added to it, and aggravated it as much as ever
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they could, by mocking him, and spitting on him, and scourging him. This shows what the nature and tendency of man’s onmity against God is ; here it appeared in its true colors.
5. Natural men are greater enemies to God than they are: to any other being whatsoever. Natural men may be very great enemies to their fellow creatures, but not so great as they are to God. There is no other being that so much stands in sinners way, in those things that they chiefly set their hearts upon, as God. Men are wont to hate their enemies in proportion to two things, viz. their opposition to what they look upon to be their interest, and their power and ability. One that is looked upon a great and powerful enemy, will be more hated than one that is weak and impotent. But none of their enemies are so powerful as God.
Man’s enmity to other enemies may be got over: Time may wear it out, and they may be reconciled and be friends. But natural men, without a mighty work of God to change their hearts, will never get over their enmity against God. They are greater enemies to God than they are to the devil, Yea, they treat the devil as their friend and master, and join in with him against God. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do : He was a murderer from the beginning,” John viii. 44.
I now proceed,
III. To show why, or on what account they are enemies to God,
The general reason is, That God is opposite to them in the worship of their idols. The apostacy of man does summarily consist in departing from the true God to idols ; forsaking his Creator, and setting up other things in his room.
When God at first created man, he was united to his Creator ; the God that made him was his God. The true God was the object of his highest respect, and had the possession of his heart. Love to God was the principle in his heart, that ruled over all other principles; and every thing in the soul was wholly in subjection to it. But when man fell, he departed from the true God, and the union that was between
his heart and his Creator was broken : He wholly lost the principle of love he had to God. And henceforward man clave to other gods. He gave that respect to the creature which is due to the Creator. When God ceased to be the •bject of his supreme love and respect, other things of course became the objects of it. Man will necessarily have something that he respects as his God. If man does not give his highest respect to the God that made him, there will be something else that has the possession of it. Men will either worship the true God, or some idol : It is impossible it should be otherwise ; something will have the heart of man. And that which a man gives his heart to, may be called his god ; and therefore, when man by the fall extinguished all love to the true God, The set up the creature in his room. And so man came to be at enmity against the true God. For having lost his esteem and love of the true God, and set up other gods in his room, and in opposition to him ; and God still demanding their worship, and opposing them in their worship of those false gods ; and man continuing still to worship idols, enmity necessarily follows. That which a man chooses for his god, he sets his heart mainly upon. And nothing will so soon excite enmity as opposition in that which is dearest. A man will be the greatest enemy to him who opposes him in what he chooses for his god : He will look on none as standing so much in his way, as he that would deprive him of his god. “Ye have taken away my gods; and what have I more ?” Judg. xviii. 24. A man in this respect cannot serve two masters that stand in competition for his service. And not only if he serves one, he cannot serve the other, but if he cleaves to one he will necessarily hate the other. “No man can serve two masters : For either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” Matth. vi. 24. And this is the very reason that men hate God. In this case it is as when two kings set up in one kingdom in opposition one to the other ; and they both challenge the same throne, and are competitors for the