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God; while we cry aloud, and exhort and entreat you to turn unto God, and while we endeavour to remind you of how “ the invisible things of Him, from the creation of the world, are CLEARLY seen, being understood by the things that are made-even his eternal Power and Godhead:"_Let it not be imagined by any man, that we would dare to imply, that any one branch of knowledge, more than another, was ever prosecuted by carelessness, or attained unto by sloth ;-Or, that things were ever CLEARLY seen by those who did not wish to see them, or understood by those who endeavoured not to understand them.
The things of God are not clearly seen by the careless: nor are they understood by those who blind themselves against them.
Light has no fellowship with darkness. And there are works of light, and works of darkness. And men, if they wish to see, will come to the light; if not, they enter the darkness, where they cannot see.
They “ KNOW”* that there is light; but some love the darkness rather than the light! +
“ The light of the body is the eye: if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If; therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness !”*
* See Sermon I. p. 8. * See John iii. 19.
MATTHEW XXVI. 41.
“ The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
1...As the existence of God is the foundation of all Religious Truth, the history of religion may be said to commence with our first parents' transgression, when “ by one man sin entered into the world:"*—when man, by his transgression, incurring the vengeance of God, fell from his original state of unsullied happiness and peace ;—when the Lord “ looked, and wondered that there was no intercessor, and, therefore, his arm brought salvation:"f when the mysterious proclamation came forth, which declared that the “ seed of the woman” should “ bruise the serpents head.” I
* Rom. v. 12. See Appendix E. + Isaiah lix. 16.
I Gen. iii. 15.
II...No one, we presume, will attempt to deny the imperfection and depravity of human nature: although we must expect that there ever will be those who will make it their business to speculate on the origin of that imperfection, and endeavour to believe, or to persuade others that they do believe, that it needs no remedy or support :-“ Filthy dreamers,”. clouds they are without water, carried about of winds :-trees whose fruit withereth!Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever! *
Man has always been conscious of his fallen state, to whatever origin he has sought to ascribe this degeneracy, at different periods, and under the different circumstances in which he has been placed.
III... If you had leisure and opportunity, devote your attention to the examination of the most ancient traditions and beliefs which exist in the history of the world : you would find constant reference made, to a time previous to that in which the penal suffering of our degraded nature was experienced—a time when man was free from care, from labour, and from sorrow; when old age was unknown, when man's limbs were braced with perpetual vigour, and disease was unfelt; when the fruits of the earth sprang up spontaneously and abundantly :* before man's deeds had brought on man the curse, under which he eats of the fruits of the earth in sorrow, while thorns and thistles are brought forth to him, and in the sweat of his face he eats his bread.
The thoughtful of past times distinctly perceived the impurity and weakness of human nature, although they were not able to explain the cause of this corruption. And while some approached the truth, yet the truth was concealed, and none could assign the true origin of what each was conscious of in himself – viz. the depravity of human nature.
IV...If we wished to hold forth to view the nature, and possible extent, of any physical disorder, we should, perhaps, select from the writings of those who had taken upon themselves to describe that disorder, as many different cases of it as possible, whereby to enable ourselves to form an idea of it in its
* See Appendix E.