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pressions entering from opposite avenues at the same time should mingle so harmoniously in one common stream of pleasure, to fall upon the soul, as it were, at once, and set it in delightful motion: as every motion must be a matter of delight for one who, like our example, is come to the enjoyment of his natural qualifications before he has begun to abuse them. For with such a one every passion and affection will be of the agreeable cast: there is no revenge, sorrow, nor repentance; no malice, distrust, nor unbelief-for him: but all is gratitude and peace, and sterling self-applause; with sterling faith, and hope, and charity, and every property genuine that can be desired for the beautifying and adorning of the inner man. And this also,-this microcosm, as it is sometimes called, may afford in its turn another and a nobler prospect of the Creator in his operation.
2. The advantages and endowments of man are such as to surpass even his own apprehension: we will say nothing of those which he possesses in common with other animals, though, as I signified before, generally in an equal degree with them at least; to avoid prolixity, let us say no more of his outward advantages, whether for action or enjoyment; and come immediately to those within him, to the riches of the inner man. And this is, indeed, like a new survey of nature; the intellectual and corporeal systems being so very distinct. Nevertheless, as our design in attending to both the systems is the same, namely, to find out the Author of good by his works, now that we have sought him in the world without us, it seems agreeable to follow him a few paces farther likewise among the wonders of the world within.
This is the home or higher sphere of divine agency: the earth we know, is the Lord's, " and his kingdom ruleth over all" (Ps. ciii. 19 :) but man is his earthly metropolis, and the heart of man his Zion: "God is well known in her palaces as a sure refuge." (Ib. xlviii. 2.) Here is the principal sphere of the knowledge of the Most High, as
well in point of observation, as of objects or documents. By how many happy and endearing qualities is the Author of good here revealed to us! Indeed, it is only in this inner sphere, that we can properly be said to apprehend him in the healthy state of our corporeal frame we have some faint perceptions of the divine Presence, so as to find out its Author in respect of locality; but in the frame of an healthy soul we have some sense of his character, and can enjoy the divine perfections so far as we are able to imitate them: as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him but God hath revealed them unto us BY HIS SPIRIT." (Cor. I. ii. 9, 10.) And hence the knowledge of God is properly not far to seek; as the great Lawgiver says of it in that form, namely, of the law, or old dispensation: "It is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldst say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldst say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, THAT THOU MAYEST DO IT." (Deut. xxx. 11, &c.)
The vestiges or evidence of the Author of both dispensations, the Law and the Gospel, may be perceived in the natural spheres before mentioned; in the earth as well as in the heaven and over sea; but most sensibly and decidedly in the human heart; though not always agreeably as before described, nor ever by good unmixed, or divine goodness unopposed, but much otherwise: and that is a mode, that has not yet been mentioned or alluded to. Therefore, to apprehend the Deity as far, as he is to be apprehended, in this quarter, it will be necessary also 3, to consider the subject, or inquirer himself in three several states, phases, or positions; as we have considered him in his external and internal constitution: for the sake of a
fuller evidence. These three States are 1, the standing; 2, the fallen; 3, the rising. And
1, The Standing: which may seem a paradox to those who are in the habit of considering only the fluctuation of a human existence, or the human existence only as in a constant fluctuation: but considering likewise, 1, how every man is fallen by nature and lies bound in sin subject to such consequences as are denoted by the wrath of God; 2, how every man is taken up by baptism, and placed on his legs again in a position again to fall-they may have an idea of his standing, if it be but for a moment. Therefore by this first state, which I call the Standing or upright, must be understood simply a man's restoration to the Kingdom of God in righteousness by the merits and in consideration of the atonement of our Lord, Jesus Christ, transferred to him in the solemn rite of baptism; though his standing hereupon be about the same as a shipwrecked mariner's whom the sea has cast upon a rock, which will be a standing for him then if he be cast back again the next moment. But there he is however for once,-once more in a standing state, thank God! and in a rising also, if, to continue the allusion, he can but crawl at the expense of some falls and bruises out of the reach of the greedy waves.
2, Should a man after baptism, either through his own insuperable perverseness, or the neglect of his sponsors, or the mere formality of the service from beginning to end,happen to relapse into the same kind of life, or rather death, the fallen state, from which he was rescued by that sacred ordinance, he would then be in the condition of some hapless wretch who has been tossed on shore by one wave, only to be taken back again by another; his new life is like a meteor, shining one moment and extinct the next; or like a beacon on a rock, which was no sooner lighted than surmounted by the raging deep. And so; while this divine ordinance is naturally effectual unto salvation, as every divine ordinance must be in itself, its benefit shall be lost or
thrown away upon the receiver through the circumstances before mentioned. This is such a state as, judging superficially after an assertion of St. Paul's, some may be inclined to think desperate: for he says, "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,-if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6.) But, to make a relapse so desperate, there must be two or three desperate circumstances, and one especially, attending it. "For in many things we offend all," (Jam. iii. 2,) baptized as well as unbaptized; but not all, I hope, so desperately. There is a sin of that abominable quality that St. John would not even expect one to pray for its subject, though he does not forbid such prayer, and Abraham ventured to try it, we know, though ineffectually, (Gen. xviii. 23, &c.); as he did not know what mitigating circumstances there might be in the case. "There is a sin unto death: (says St. John) I do not say ye shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." (John I. v. 16, 17). So that there may be still
3, A rising state for those who have not receded too far from their baptismal engagement, or "sinned a sin unto death." And as we are not FORBIDDEN to pray for them, there can be no harm, if there be no good in trying it. We read of "Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being fast bound in misery and iron; because they rebelled against the words of the Lord, and lightly regarded the counsel of the Highest:-he also brought down their heart through heaviness: they fell down, and there was none to help them. So when they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, he delivered them out of their distress. For he brought them out of darkness, and out of the shadow of death; and brake their
bonds in sunder." (Ps. cvii. 10, &c.) We read also of a prodigal son; who, "when he came to himself” in the last extremity, determined to go to his father and say unto him, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee; and am no more worthy to be called thy son:" (Luke xv. 18, 19:)-also, of a certain publican venturing into the temple, when he had gained sufficient resolution: where "standing afar off (from the righteous throng, we may suppose) he would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven; but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner:" (Ib. xviii. 13:) also, of "a woman in the city which was a sinner: who, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment; and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment:" (Ib. vii. 37, 38:) and how all these, with others that might be mentioned, were happy enough to find acceptance through Christ for their faith, their humility, and tears; being consequently translated, if not simultaneously, into the third or rising state. And if others be not forbidden to pray for any in the state from which they were translated, much less are any in that state forbidden to pray for themselves. This may be worth remembering: also, that there is no absolute room for despair except to those who choose it rather than repentance; who are gone so far from God that they are not allowed to return, and have not God in all their thoughts; or if they ever think of him, think only to defy him: "Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." (Rom. i. 32.) For men who are fallen so far from God, and have set their faces so decidedly against him, there is nothing to be hoped, nor even prayed. One would not affront the divine Majesty