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stains in our nature, no clouds on our minds, no pollution in our hearts ! Had we never been in better case, the matter had been less; but they that were brought up in scarlet, do now embrace dunghills. Where is our primitive glory now? Once no darkness in the mind, no rebellion in the will, no disorder in the affections. But ah ! " How is the faithful city become an harlot? Righteousness lodgedinit; but now murderers. Our silver is become dross, our wine mixed with water.” That heart which was once the temple of God, is now turned into a den of thieves. Let our name be Ichabod, for the glory is departed. Happy wast thou, O man, who was like unto thee! No pain or sickness could affect thee, no death could approach thee, no sigh was heard from thee,till these bitter fruits were plucked off the forbidden tree. Heaven shone upon thee, and earth smiled : Thou wast the companion of angels, and the envy of devils. But how low is he now laid, who was created for dominion, and made lord of the world ! « The crown is fallen from our head : Wo unto us that we have sinned." The creatures that waited to do him service are now, since the fall, set in battle array against -him; and the least of them having commission proves too hard for him. Waters overflow the old world ; fire consumes Sodom ; the stars in their courses fight against Sisera; frogs, Alies, lice, &c. turn executioners to Pharaoh and his Egyptians ; worms eat up Herod : Yea, man needs a league with the beasts, yea with the very “ stones of the field,” Job v. 13. having reason to fear, that every one that findeth him will slay him. Alas! How are we fallen? How are we plunged into a gulf of misery! The sun has come down on us, death has come in at our windows; our enemies have put out our two eyes, and sport themselves with our miseries. Let us then lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us. Nevertheless, there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Come then, O sinner, look to Jesus Christ, the second Adam ; quit the first Adam ard his covenant ; come over to the Mediator and Surety of the new and better covenant : And let our hearts say, “ Be thou our ruler, and let this breach be under thy hand.” And let your « eye trickle down, and cease not without any intermission, till the Lord look down and behold from heaven;" Lam. iii. 49, 50.
THE STATE OF NATURE, OR OF ENTIRE DEPRAVA
THE SINFULNESS OF MAN'S NATURAL STATE.
GENESIS vi. 5.
And God saw that the wickedness of Man was great in the
earth, and that every Imagination of the thoughts of his Heart was only Evil continually.
E have seen what man was, as God made him, a
lovely and happy creature : Let us view him now as he hath unmade himself; and we shall see him a sinful and miserable creature. This is the sad state we were brought into by the fall; a state as black and doleful as the former was glorious, and this we commonly call, The state of nature,
or man's natural state ; according to that of the apostle, Eph. ii. 2. “ And were by nature the children of wrath even as others.” And herein two things are to be considered : 1st, The sinfulness; 2dly, The misery of this state, in which all the unregenerate do live. I begin with the sinfulness of man's natural state, whereof the text gives us a full, though short account ; “ And God saw that the wickedness of man was great," &c.
The scope and design of these words is, to clear God's justice, in bringing the flood on the old world. There are two particular causes of it taken notice of in the preceding verses. (1.) Mixed marriages, ver. 2. The sons of God, the posterity of Seth and Enos, professors of the true religion, married with the daughters of men, the profane,
cursed race of Cain. They did not carry the matter before the Lord, that he might chuse for them, Psal. xlviii. 14. But without any respect to the will of God they chose ; not according to the rules of their faith, but of their fancy : They saw that they were fair ; and their marriage with them occasioned their divorce from God. This was one of the causes of the deluge, which swept away the old world. Would to God all professors in our day could plead not guilty : But though that sin brought on the deluge, yet the deluge hath not swept away that sin; which, as of old, so in our day, may justly be looked upon as one of the causes of the decay of religion. It was an ordinary thing among the Pagans to change their gods, as they changed their condition into a married lot: And many sad instances the Christian world affords of the same, as if people were of Pharaoh's opinion, That religion is only for those that have no other care upon their heads, Exod. v. 17. (2.) Great oppression, ver. 4. “ There were giants in the earth in those days," men of great stature, great strength and monstrous wickedness, “ filling the earth with violence,” ver. 11. But neither their strength nor treasures of wickedness could profit them in the day of wrath. Yet the gain of oppression still
carries many over the terror of this dreadful example. Thus much for the connexion, and what particular crimes that generation was guilty of. But every person that was swept away with the flood could not be guilty of these things, and shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Therefore, in my text, there is a general indictment drawn up against them all, “ The wickedness of man was great in the earth," &c. And this is well instructed, for God saw it. Two things are laid to their charge here:
First, Corruption of life, wickedness, great wickedness. I understand this of the wickedness of their lives; for it is plainly distinguished from the wickedness of their hearts. The sins of their outward conversation were great in the nature of them, and greatly aggravated by their attending circumstances; and this not only among those of the race of cursed Çain, but those of holy Seth : The wicked ess of man was great. And then it is added, in the earth, (1.) To vindicate God's severity, in that he not only cut off sinners, but defaced the beauty of the earth; and swept
off the brute creatures from it by the deluge ; that as men had set the marks of their impiety, God might set the marks of his indignation on the earth. (2.) To shew the heinousness of their sin, in making the earth which God had so adorned for the use of man a sink of sin, and a stage whereon to act their wickedness, in defiance of heaven. God saw this corruption of life ; he not only knew it, and took notice of it, but he made them to know, that he did take notice of it'; and that he had not forsaken the earth, though they had forsaken heaven.
Secondly, Corruption of nature. “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." All their wicked practices are here traced to the fountain-head; a corrupt heart was the source of all. The soul, which was made upright in all its faculties, is now wholly disor dered. The heart, that was made according to God's own heart, is now the reverse of it, a forge of evil imaginations, a sink of inordinate affections, and a store-house of all impiety, Mark vii. 21, 22. Behold the heart of the natural man, as it is opened in our text. The mind is defiled; the thoughts of the heart are evil; the will and affections are defiled; the imagination of the thoughts of the heart, (i.e. whatsoever the heartframeth within itself by thinking, such as judgment, choice, purposes, devices, desires, every inward motion, or rather, the frame of thoughts of the heart (namely, the frame, make, or mould of these, i Chron. xxix. 18.) is evil. Yea, and every imagination, every frame of his thoughts is so. The heart is ever framing something; but never one right thing; the frame of thoughts, in the heart of man, is exceeding various; yet are they never cast into a right frame: But is there not, at least, a mixture of good in them? No; they are only evil; there is nothing in them truly good and acceptable to God; nor can any thing be so that comes out of that forge; where not the Spirit of God, but the prince of the power of the air worketh,” Eph. ii. 2. Whatever changes may be found in them, are only fromevilto evil; for the imagination of the heart or frame ofthoughts in naturalmen, is evil conti. nually,or every day; From the first day, to the last day in this state, they are in midnight darkness; there is not a glimmering of the light of holiness in them; not one holy thought can ever be produced by the unholy heart. O what a vile heart is this! O what a corrupt nature is this!
The tree that always brings forth fruit, but never good fruit, whatever soil it be set in, whatever pains be taken on it, must naturally be an evil tree: and what can that heart be, whereof every imagination, every set of thoughts, is only evil, and that continually ? Surely that corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk into the marrow of our souls; and will never be cured, but by a miracle of grace. Now such is man's heart, such is his nature, till reger.erating grace change it. God that searcheth the heart saw man's heart was so, he took special notice of it; and the faithful and true witness cannot mistake our case ; though we are most apt to mistake ourselves in this point, and generally do overlook it.
Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, What is that to us? Let that generation of whom the text speaks see to that. For the Lord has left the case of that generation on record, to be a looking-glass to all after-generations; wherein they may see their own corruption of heart, and what their lives would be too, if he restrained them not ; for was in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man," Prov. xxvii. 19. A. dam's fall has framed all men's hearts alike in this matter. Hence the apostle, Rom: ii. 10. proves the corruption of the nature, hearts, and lives of all men, from what the Psalmist
says of the wicked in his day, Psal. xiv. 1, 2, 3. Psal. v. 9. Psal. cxl. 3. Psal. x. 7. Psal. xxxvi. I. and from what Jeremiah saith of the wicked in his day, Jer. ix. 3. and from what Isaiah says of those that lived in his time, Isa. Ivii. 7, 8. and concludes with that, ver. 19. “Now we know, that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Had the history of the deluge been transmitted unto us, without the reason thereof in the text, we might thence have gathered the corruption and total depravation of man's nature ; for what other quarrel could a holy and just God have with the infants that were destroy. ed by the flood, seeing they had no actual sin ? If we saw a wise man, who having made a curious piece of work, and heartily approved of it when he gave it out of his hand, as fit for the use it was desigucd for, rise up in wrath and