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SEĆ T. II. There must be a discovery of the infinite glory of Gode
IN the second place, As there must be a disco* very of the real nature, so also of the infinite glory of God. He must not only be seen to be just such a Being as he really is, but there must be a sense of the infinite worth, beauty, and perfection of his character. These two things, though intimately connected, are yet so distinct from one another, as to deserve to be separately considered. The first is necessary, but it is not fufficient alone, or by itself. There can be no true religion, unless there be a difcovery of the real nature of God. But though there be a knowledge of what God is, unless there be also a discovery of the excellence and glory of this nature, he can never be the object of esteem and love. It is one thing to know, and another to approve; and, whilst this last is not the case, whatever we may know or affirm, or be persuaded of, with relation to the Supreme Being, we do not know him to be God, nor can possibly glorify him as God. This momentous truth we may surely comprehend, by what is analogousto it in our experience, between created natures. Speculative knowledge and love are by no means infeparable. Men may truly know many things
which they fincerely hate; they may hate them even because they know them: and, when this is the case, the more they know them they will hate them with the greater virulence and rancour. This not only may, but always must take place, when natures are opposite one to another, the one sinful, for example, and the other holy. The more they are known, the more is their mutual hatred stirred up, and their perfect opposition to each other becomes, if not more violent, at least more sensible..
We have little reason to doubt that the fallen angels, those apoftate spirits, have a great degree of speculative knowledge. I would not, indeed, take upon me to affirm that they are free from error and mistake of every kind, yet it seems highly probable that they have a clear, though, at the same time, a terrible apprehension of “ what” God is; for they have not the same opportunities, or the same means of deceiving themselves, that we have in the present state. But do they love him, or see his excellence and glory? Very far from it. They believe and tremble ; they know God, and blaspheme. The more they know of him the more they hate him ; that is to say, their inward, native, habitual hatred is the more strongly excited, and the more fenfibly felta
The : The cafe is much the same with fome finners, when first awakened, and it continues to be the fame so long as they are kept in bondage and term ror. They have an awful view of the holiness of God's nature, of the strictness of his law, and the greatness of his power. This is directly levelled against their own corrupt inclinations, and carries nothing with it but a sentence of condem nation against them: “ Cursed is every one that " continueth not in all things which are written 166 in the book of the law, to do them *." This
brings forth their enmity, which before, perhaps, -Jay hid. It is remarkable, that some persons of joose and disorderly lives, will fometimes maintain, at stated feasons, a profeffion of piety. So long as they can keep their consciences still and quiet by general indiftinct notions of God, as very caly and gentle, no'way inclined to punish, they think of him without aversion, nay, will go through some outward forms with apparent satisfaction and delight. Their notion of divine mercy is not a readinefs to pardon the greatest finner on repentance, but a dispofition to indulge the finner, and wink at his continuance in transgreffion. No sooner are fuch persons brought to a discovery of the real character of a holy God, than their thoughts of him are entirely changed. They have gloomy views of bis.
* Gal. išil. 20.
nature, and harsh thoughts of his providence ; they fret at the strictness of his law, and, as far as they dare, complain of the tyranny of his government. Their sentiments are the same with those expressed by the men of Bethshemesh : os Who is able to stand before this holy Lord “ God, and to whom shall he go up from “6 us *.”
I cannot help observing, that here we are, if I may speak so, at the very fountain-head of error. What is it else that makes many frame to themselves new and Aattering schemes of religion, that makes them imagine a God so extremely different from that holy Being he is represented in his own word? When men will not conform their practice to the principles of pure and undefiled religion, they scarce ever fail to endeavour to accommodate religion to their own practice. Are there not many who cannot endure the representation of God as holy and jealous, which is given us in scripture? With what violence do they oppose themselves to it by carnal reasonings, and give it the most odious and abominable names? The reason is plain. Such a view of God sets the opposition of their own hearts to him in the strongest light. Two things oppolite in their nature cannot be approved at once, and, therefore, the consequence is, Gad or themselves
• 1 Sam. vii 20,
must be held in abhorrence. But we have rea-
* Rom. viii. 7