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Hence, as to a natural capacity, all mankind are capable of a perfect conformity to this law; for the law requires of no man any more than to love God with all his heart. The sinning angels have the same natural capacities now, as they had before they fell ; they have the same faculties, called the understanding and will they are still the same beings, as to their natural pow
Once they loved God with all their hearts ; and now they hate him with all their hearts : Once they had a great degree of love ; now they have as great a degree of hatred ;--so that they have the same natural capacities now as ever. Their temper, indeed, is different; but their capacity is the same ; and, therefore, as to a natural capacity, they are as capable of a perfect conformity to the law of their Creator as ever they were. So, Adam, after his fall, had the same soul that he had before, as to its natural capacities, though of a very different temper ; and, therefore, in that respect, was as capable of a perfect conformity to this law, as ever. And it is plainly the case, that all mankind, as to their natural capacities, are capable of a perfect conformity to the law, from this, that when sinners are converted they have no new natural faculties, though they have a new temper : and when they come to love God with all their hearts in heaven, still they will have the same hearts, as to their natural faculties, and may, in this respect, be justly looked upon as the very same beings. In this sense, Paul was the same man when he hated and persecuted Christ, as when he loved him and died for him: and that same heart that was once so full of malice, is now as full of love : So that, as to his natural capacities, he was as capable of a perfect conformity to this law, when he was a persecutor, as he is now in heaven. When, therefore, men cry out against the holy law of God, which requires us only to love him with all our hearts, and say, “ It is not just for God " to require more than we can do, and then threaten to damn sus for not doing,” they ought to stay a while, and consider what they say, and tell what they mean by their CAN DO ; for it is plain, that the law is exactly upon a level with our natural capacities, and that, in this respect, we are fully capable of a per
fect conformity thereto: And it will be impossible for us to excuse ourselves by an inability arising from my sther quarter ; as will presently appear: For, to return,
From what has been said, we may learn, that there can be nothing to render it, in any measure, a hard and dficult thing, to love God with all our hearts, but our being destitute of a right temper of mind, and having a temper that is wrong: and that, therefore, we are perfectly inexcusable, and aitogether and wholly to blame, that we do not.
Obj. But I do not know God; kow, therefore, can I love him ?
Ass. Were you of a right temper, it would be your nature, above all things, to attend to those discoveries which he has made of himself in his works and in his word; you would search for the knowledge of him, as men search for silver, and as they dig for hidden treasure : and, were you of a right temper, it would be natural to take in that very representation which God has made of himself: And now, was it but your nature to attend, with all your heart, to the discoveries which God has made of himself...and your nature to take in right notions of him, it would be impossible but that you should know what God is ; because he has acted out all his perfections so much to the life, and exhibited such an exact image of himself. The works of crea. tion and redemption, and all his conduct as moral Governor of the world, shew just what kind of Being he is : He has discov. ered his infinite understanding and almighty power, and he has shown the temper of his heart; and all in so plain a manner, that, were it your nature to attend and consider, and take in right notions, it is quite impossible but that you should know and see plainly what God is.
OBJ. But if I have right notions of what God is, yet I cannot see his glory and beauty in being such; how, therefore, can I love him?
Ans. Were you of a right temper, it would be your nature to account him infinitely glorious in being what he is. As it is the nature of an ambitious man to see a glory in applause, and of a worldly man to see a glory in the things of the world, so it
would be your nature to see a glory in God ; for what suits our hearts, naturally appears excellent in oureyes. (John viii. 42,47.)
OBJ. But I feel that I cannot love him ; how, therefore, am I wholly to blame?
Ans. The fault is in him, or in you: Either he is not love. ly, or else you are of a very bad temper : but he is infinitely lovely; and therefore it is only owing to the bad temper of your heart, and to your being destitute of a right temper, that you cannot love him; and you, therefore, are wholly to blame : Incould not but love him, were you not a very
Obj. But to love God, or to have any dispositon to love him, is a thing suPERNATURAL, clean beyond the powers of nature, improoed to the utmost : how can I, therefore, be wholly to blame ?
Ans. It is a thing supernatural you say ; i. e. in other words, you have no heart to it, nor the least inclination that way ; nor is there any thing in your temper to work upon by motives to bring you to it; and now, because you are so very bad a creature, therefore you are not at all to blame : This is your argument: But can you think that there is any force in it? What! are moral agents the less to blame the worse they grow? And are God's laws no longer binding, than while his subjects are disposed to obey them? · Obj. But, after all, I must needs reply, as Nicodemus in another case, How can these things be?
Ans. Why did not the Jews love their prophets, and love Christ and his apotles? What was it owing to? And where did the blame lie ? They were acquainted with them....heard them talk and preach, and saw their conduct, and could not but plainly perceive their temper, and know what sort of disposition they were of, and what sort of men they were ; and yet they did not like them ; but they hated them they belied them, slandered and reproached them, and put them to death : And now what was the matter? What was the cause of all this? Were not their prophets, and Christ and his apostles indeed lovely, and worthy of their hearty esteem? Did not all that they said and did
manifest them to be so? Why, then, did they not love them? -Was it not wholly owing to their not having a right temper of mind, and to their being of so bad a disposition ? And were they not wholly to blame? They might say of Christ, That they could see no form nor comeliness in him, wherefore they shuld desire him ; and where no beauty is seen, it is impossible there should be any love : But why did not he appear most amiable in their eyes ? And why were their hearts not ravished with his beauty ?--His disciples loved him, and Martha and Mary and Luzarus loved him; and why did not the Scribes and Pharisees love him as much?_Why, because his person and doctrines did not suit them, and were not agreeable to the temper of their hearts. The bad temper of their hearts made him appear odious in their eyes, and was the cause of all their illwill towards him : And now, were they not to blame for this bad temper, and for all their bad feelings, and bad carriage towards Christ, thence arising ? Yes, surely, if ever any men were to blame for any thing. And now, if God, the father, had been in the same circumstances as God, the son, was then in, he would not have been loved a jot more, or treated a whit better than he was : Indeed it was that image and resemblance of the infinitely glorious and blessed God, which was to be seen in their prophets in Christ and his apostles, which was the very thing they hated him for: Therefore Christ says, He that ha- o teth hateth
my Father also....But now have they both seen and hated, both me and my Father.... John xv. 23, 24. And Christ attributes it entirely to their want of a right temper, and to the bad disposition of their hearts, that they did not love him, and love his doctrines. If God were your father, you would love me.... John viii. 42. He that is of God (of a God-like temper) hear. eth God's words : ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God, (Ver. 47.) In truth, the bottom of all your enmity is, that you are of your father, the devil, i.e. of just such a temper as he, (Ver. 44.) And now, what think you, when Christ comes in flaming fire, to take vengeance on an ungodly world? Will he blame the Scribes and Pharisees for not loying him with all their
say, on their
hearts, or no ? Or will he excuse the matter, and behalf, They could see no form nor comeliness in me.... I appear. ed very odious to them....they could not love me....they could not but hate me, and no man is to blame for not doing more than he CAN?
From the whole, it is plain that mankind are to blame, whol. ly to blame, and perfectly inexcusable, for their not having right apprehensions of God, and for their not having a sense of his glory in being what he is, and for their not loving him with all their heart; because all is owing merely to their want of a right temper, and to the bad disposition of their hearts.
Indeed, if we were altogether of such a temper, frame, and disposition of heart as we ought to be, it would be altogether as easy and natural to love God with all our hearts, as it is for the most dutiful child to love a tender and valuable parent : For God is really infinitely amiable ; and were we of such a temper, he would appear so in our eyes ; and did he appear so in our eyes, we could not but love him with all our hearts, and delight in him with all our souls ; and it would be most easy and natų, ral so to do ; for no man ever found any difficulty in loving that which appears very amiable in his eyes : For the proof of which I appeal to the experience of all mankind. And now, why does not God appear infinitely amiable in our eyes? Is it because he has not clearly revealed what he is, in his works and in his word ? Surely no ; for the revelation is plain enough. Is it because he is not infinitely amiable in being what he is ? Surely no ; for all heaven are ravished with his infinite beauty, What is it, then, that makes us blind to the infịnite excellency of the divine nature? Why, it can be owing to nothing but a bad tem, per of mind in us, and to our not being of such a temper as we ought to be. For I appeal to the experience of all mankind, whether those persons and things which suit the temper of their hearts, do not naturally appear amiable in their eyes : And certainly, if God does not suịt the temper of our hearts, it is not owing to any fault in him, but the fault must be wholly in ourselves. If the temper and disposition of God (i. e, his mor