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his god. If man do 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, be set up the creature in his room. For having lost bis 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, enmity necessarily follows.
That wbich 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. Judg. xviii. 24. Ye have taken away my gods; and what have I more? 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. Matt. vi. 24. “ 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. 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 same crown: they who are loyal, hearty subjects to the one, will necessarily be enemies to the other. As that which is a man's god, is the object of his highest love; so that God who chiefly opposes him in it, must be the object of his greatest batred.
The gods which a natural man worships, instead of the God that made him, are himself and the world. He has withdrawn his esteem and honour from God, and proudly exalts himself. As Satan was not willing to be in subjection, and therefore rebelled, and set up himself; so a natural man, in the proud and high thoughts he has of himself, sets up himself upon God's throne. He gives his heart to the world, worldly riches, worldly pleasures, and worldly honours; they have the possession of that regard which is due to God. The apostle sums up all the idolatry of wicked men in their love of the world. 1 John, ii. 15, 16. “ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesb, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” And the apostle James observes, that a man must necessarily be
the enemy of the true God, if he be a friend of the world. “ Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.” Jam, iv. 4.
All the sin that men commit, is what they do in the service of their idols; there is no one act of sin, but what is an act of service to some false god. And therefore wherein soever God opposes sin in them, he is opposite to their worship of their idols : on which account they are his enemies. God opposes them in their service of their idols, in tlie following respects.
1. He manifests his utter abhorrence of their attachment to their idols. Their idols are what they love above all things: they would by no means part with them. This wickedness is sweet unto them, Job. xx. 12. 'If you take them away, what have they more? If they lose their idols, they lose their all. To rend away their idols from them, would be more grievous to them, than to rend body and soul asunder; it is like rending their heart in twain. They love their idolatry: but God does not approve of it, but exceedingly hates it: he will by no means be reconciled to it; and therefore they hate him. God declares an infinite hatred of every act they do in the service of their false gods. He declares himself to be a holy and a jealous God; à God who is very jealous of his own honour, and that greatly abhors giving that honour to another.
2. He utterly forbids their cleaving to those idols, and all the service that they do them. He not only shews that he dislikes it, but he utterly forbids it; and demands that they should worship bim; srve him only, and give their hearts wholly to him; without tolerating any competitor. He allows them to serve their idols in no degree; but requires them to cast them away utterly, and pay no more worsbip to them, at any time. He requires a final parting with their idols. Not only that they should refrain from them for awhile, but cast them away for ever; and never gratity their idolatrous respect to them any more. This is so exceeding contrary to them, and what they are so averse to, that they are enemies to God for it. They cannot endure God's commands, because they forbid all that in which their hearts are so engaged. And as they hate God's commands, so they hate bim whose commands they are.
3. He threatens them with everlasting damnation for their service of their idols. He threatens them for their past idolatry. He threatens them with his eternal wrath, for their having departed from bim, and their having chosen to themselves other gods. He threatens them for that disposition they have in their hearts to cleave to other gods : he threatens the least degrees of that respect which they have in their hearts to
their idols. He manifests that he will not tolerate any regard to them, but has fixed eternal deatb as the wages of every degree of it. And he will not release them from their guilt; he holds them to their obligations; and he will accept of no atonement that they can make. He will not forgive them for whatever they do in religion; wbatever pains they take; whatever tears they shed. He will accept of no money or price that they have to offer.
And he threatens every future act of their idolatry. He not only forbids them ever to be guilty of the least act, but forbids them on pain of eternal damnation. So strictly does God prohibit them from the service of their beloved idols ! He threatens them with everlasting wrath for all exercises of inordinate love of worldly profit ; for all manifestations of inordinate regard to worldly pleasures, or worldly honours. He threatens them with everlasting torments for their selfexaltation. He requires them to deny and renounce themselves, and to abase themselves at his feet, on pain of bearing his wrath to all eternity.
The strictness of God's law is a principal cause of man's enmity against God, If God were one that did not so much hate sin; if he would allow them in the gratification of their lusts, in some degree; and bis threatenings were not so awful against all criminal indulgence; if his threatenings were not so absolute; if his displeasure could be appeased by a few tears, a little reformation, or the like; they would not be so great enemies, nor bate him so much as they do. But God shews himself to be an implacable enemy to their idols, and has threatened everlasting wrath, infinite calamity, for all that they do in the service of their lusts; and this makes them irre. 'concileable enemies to him.
For this reason, the scribes and Pharisees were such bitter enemies to Christ; because he shewed himself to be such an enemy to their pride, conceit of their own wisdom, self-righteousness, and inordinate affection of their own honour, which was their god. Natural men are enemies to God, because he is so opposite to them, in that in which they place their all. If you go to take away that which is very dear to a man, nothing will provoke him more. God is infinitely opposite to that in which natural men place all their delight, and all their happiness. He is an enemy to that which natural men value as their greatest honour and highest dignity; and to which they wholly trust, viz. their own righteousness.
Hence natural men are greater enemies to God, than they are to any other being. Some of their fellow-creatures may stand very much in their way, with regard to some things on which they set their hearts; but God opposes them with respect to all their idols, and his opposition to them is infi
nitely great. None of our fellow-creatures ever oppose us in any of our interests so much as God opposes wicked men in their idolatry. His infinite opposition is manifested by bis threatening an infinite punishment, viz. bis dreadful wrath to all eternity, misery without end. Hence we need not wonder that natural men are enemies to God.
The Objection, that Men are not conscious of this Enmity,
NATURAL men do not generally conceive themselves to be so bad: they have not this notion of themselves, that they are enemies to God. And therefore, when thy hear such doctrine as this taught them, they stand ready to make objections. Some may be ready to say, "I do not know, I am not
, sensible, that I hate God, and have a mortal enmity against bim. I feel no such thing in myself, and if I have such enmity, why do not I feel it? If I am a mortal enemy, why should not I know it better than any body else? How can others see what is in my heart, better than I myself? If I hate one of my fellow-creatures, I can feel it inwardly working." To such an objection I would answer,
1. If you do but observe yourself, and search your own beart, unless you are strangely blinded, you may be sensible of those things, wherein enmity does fundamentally consist. Particularly, you may be sensible that you have at least had a low and contemptible estimation of God; and thit, in your esteem, you set the trifles and vanities of this world far above him ; so as to regard the enjoyment of these things far above the enjoyment of God, and to value these things better than his love. And you may be sensible that you despise the authority of God, and value bis commands and bis honour but very little. Or if by some means you have blindeıl your. self, so as to think you do regard them now, doubtless you can look back and see that you have not regarded them. You may be sensible that you have had a disrelish and aversion towards God; an opposition to thinking of himn; so that it would have been a very uncomfortable task to have been confined to that exercise for any time. The vanities of the world, at the same time, have been very pleasing to you; and you have been all swallowed up in them, while you have been averse to the things of religion. If you look into your heart, it is there plain to be seen, that there is an enmity in your will, that it is contrary to God's will, for you have been opposing the will of God all your life long.–These things are
plain; it is nothing but some great delusion that can hide them from you. These are the foundation of all enmity; and if these things be in you, all the rest that we have spoken of will follow of course.
2. One reason why you have not more sensibly felt the exercises of malice against God, is, that your enmity is now exercised partly in your unbelief of God's being; and this prevents its appearing in other ways. . Man has naturally a principle of Atheism in him: an indisposition to realize God's being, and a disposition to doubt of it. The being of God does not ordinarily seem real to natural men. All the discoveries that there are of God's being in his works, will not overcome the principle of Atheism in the heart. And though they seem in some measure to be rationally convinced, yet it does not appear real; the conviction is faint, there is no strong conviction impressed on the mind, that there is a God: and oftentimes they are ready to think that there is none. Now this will prevent the exercise of this enmity, which otherwise would be felt; particularly, it may be an occasion of there not being sensible exercises of hatred.
may in some measure be thus illustrated: If you had a rooted malice against another man, a principle that had been long established there, and if you should hear that he was dead, the sensible workings of your malice would not be felt, as when you realized it that he was alive. But if you should afterwards hear the news contradicted, and perceive that your enemy was still alive; you would feel the same workings of hatred that you did before. And thus your not realizing the fact, that God has a being, may prevent those sensible workings of hatred, that otherwise you would have. If wicked men in this world were sensible of the reality of God's being, as the wicked are in another, they would feel more of that hatred, which men in another world do. The exercise of corruption in one way, may, and often does prevent it working in other ways. As covetousness may prevent the exercise of pride, so Atheism may prevent malice; and yet it may be no argument of there being any less enmity in the heart; for it is the same enmity, working in another way. The same enmity that in this world works by Atheism, will in another world, where there will be no room for Atheism, work by malice and blasphemy. The same mortal enmity wbicb, if you saw there was a God, might make you to wish there were none, may now dispose and incline you to think there is none. Men are very often apt to think things are, as they would have them to be. The same principle disposes you to think God has no existence, which, if you knew he had, would dispose you, if it were possible, to dispossess him of it.
3. If you think that there is a God, yet you do not realize