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"without form, and void, and the heavens, and they "had no light," Jer. iv. 23.
The glory of that light which God has fent into the world, is fully anfwerable to the groffnefs of that darknefs which filled the world. For Chrift who came to enlighten us, is truth and light itself, and the fountainof all light. "He is the light, and in him is no dark"nefs at all," 1 John i. 5.
IV. Hence we may learn, what must be the thing. that will bring to pafs thofe glorious days of light, which are fpoken of in God's word.
Though mankind be fallen into.fuch darkness, and the world is moftly in the kingdom of darknefs ;-yet the fcripture often fpeaks of a glorious day, wherein light fhall fill the earth." For behold the darkness fhall cover the earth, and grofs darkness the people; "but the Lord fhall arife upon thee, and his glory fhall "be feen upon thee. And the Gentiles fhall come to. thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rifing,' Ifa. lx. 2, 3. "And he will deftroy in this mountain, "the face of the covering caft over all people, and the "vail that is fpread over all nations,!' Ifa. xXV. 1.. "The knowledge of God fhall fill the earth, as the. waters cover the feas," Ifa.. xi. 9.
By what we have heard, we may on good grounds. conclude, that whenever this is accomplished, it will not be effected by human learning, or by the fkill or wifdom of great mén. What has been before observed of this learned age, is an evidence of this; whereinpiritual dark nefs does fo increafe with the increase of learning. God will again make foolish the wifdom of this world; and will, as it were, fay in his providence, Where is the wife! where is the fcribe! where is the difputer of this world!"
When this fhall be accomplished, it will be by are markable pouring out of God's own Spirit, with the plain preaching of the gofpel of his Son; the preaching of the fpiritual, myfterious doctrines of Christ crucifi ed, which to the learned men of this world are foolish
nefs. By the Spirit of God accompanying the preaching of thofe doctrines, which are the ftumbling-blocks of this learned age. "Not by might, nor power, but "by my Spirit, faith the Lord of Hofts." "It will notbe by the enticing words of man's wifdom; but by the demonftration of the Spirit, and of power. Not by the wisdom of this world, nor the princes of this world, that comes to nought; but by the gofpel, that contains the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wifdom, which none of the princes of this world, who have nothing to enlighten them but their own learning know any thing of.
The Spirit of God, who fearches all things, even the deep things of God, muít reveal it; for let natural men be never fo worldly wife and learned, they receive not the things of the Spirit: they are foolishnefs to them; nor can they know them, because they are spiritually difcerned.
This great effect, when it is accomplished, will be a glorious effect indeed: and it will be accomplished in fuch a manner, as most remarkably to fhow it to be the work of God, and his only. It will be a more glorious work of God than that which we read of in the beginning of Genefis. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of "the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the "face of the waters and God faid, Let there be light, "and there was light," Gen. i. 2, 3.
V. Hence we may learn the misery of all fuch fons as are under the power of the darkness which naturally poffeffes their hearts. There are two degrees of this mifery.
1. That which all that are in a natural condition are the fubjects of. The doctrine flows, that all fuch as are in a natural condition, are in a miferable condition; for they are in an extremely dark and blind condition. It is uncomfortable living in outward darknefs. What a forrowful state would we all be in, if the fun should no more rife upon us, and the moon were to withdraw T 2
her flining, and the ftars to be put out, and we were to spend the reft of our time in darknefs? The world would foon perifh in fuch dark nefs. It was a great plague in Egypt, when they had a total darkness for three days. Outward blindness is juflly looked upon as a great calamity. They who are deprived of fight, are deprived of the moft noble of the fenfes: they have no benefit of external light. one of the most excellent and needful of the things which God has made in the vifible creation. But they who are without fpiritual fight and light, are deftitute of that which is far more excellent and neceffary.
That natural men are not fenfible of their blindness, and mifery they are under by reason of it, is no argument that they are not miferable; for it is very much. the nature of this calamity to be hid from itfelf, or from. those who are under it. Fools are not fenfible of their folly. Solomon fays, "The fool is wifer in his own. conceit, than feven men that can render a reason." Prov. xxvi. 16. The moft barbarous and brutish Heathens are not fenfible of their own darkness; are not fenfible but that they enjoy as great light, and have as good understanding of things, as the most enlightened, nations in the world.
2. Another degree of this mifery, is of those who are judicially given up of God to the blindness of their own minds. The fcripture teaches us that there are fome fuch. "What then; Ifrael hath not obtained that which he feeketh for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded," Rom. xi. 7. But their minds were blinded for until this day re"maineth the fame vail untaken away," 2 Cor. iii. 14. "And he faid, go and tell this people, hear ye indeed,
but understand not; and fee ye indeed, but perceive "not. Make the heart of this people fat, and their "ears heavy, and fhut their eyes; left they fee with "their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand "with their hearts, and convert and be healed," Ifa. vi. 6,-10. This judgment, when it is inflicted on
men, is commonly for the contempt and abufe of light which has been offered them, for the commiflion of prefumptuous fins, and being obilinate in fin, and refifting the Holy Ghost, after many, gracious calls and counfels, warnings, and reproofs.
Who the particular perfons are that are thus judicially given up of God to the blindness of their minds, is not known to men. But we have no reason to fuppofe that there are not multitudes of them; and most in placesof the greatest light. There is no manner of reason.to fuppofe, that this judgment which is fpoken of in fcripture, is, in a great meafure, peculiar to thofe old times. As there were many that fell under it in the times of the prophets of old, and of Chrift and his apoftles, fo doubtlefs there are now a days too. And though the perfons are not known, yet doubtlefs there may be more reafon to fear it concerning fome than others.. All that are under the power of the blindness of their own minds, are miferable; but fuch as are given up to this blindnefs, are efpecially miferable; for they are. reserved, and fealed over to the blackness of darkness forever.
And the confideration of what has been faid of the defperate blindness which poffeffes the hearts of all naturally, may well be terrifying to fuch as are yet in a Chriftless condition in this place of light, where the gofpel has been fo long enjoyed, and where God has, in times paft, fo wonderfully poured out his Spirit.
And let fuch perfons, for their awakening, confider the following things:
1. That they are blinded by the god of this world. Their blindnels is from hell. This darknefs which natural men are under, is from the prince of darkness. This the Apofle fays exprefsly of thofe who remain in unbelief and blindnefs under the gofpel. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid from them that are loft ; "in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds "of them that believe not," 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. They belong to the kingdom of darknefs. In that darknefs
which reigns in their fouls, the devil reigns, and holds his dominion there.
2. Confider how God in his word manifefts his abhorrence and wrath towards thofe who remain fo fottifhly blind and ignorant in the midit of light. How does God fpeak of them! "Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?" Pfal. xiv. 4. "Forty "years long was I grieved with this generation, and "faid, it is a people that do err in their heart, and they "have not known my ways. Unto whom I fware in
my wrath, that they should not enter into my reft," Pfal. xcv. 10, 11. "The ox knoweth his owner, and "the afs his master's crib: but Ifrael doth not know, my people doth not confider. Ah, finful nation !"they have provoked the Holy One of Ifrael unto "anger," Ifa. i. 3, 4. "It is a people of no understanding; therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favour," Ifa. xxvii. 10. "My people is "foolish, they have not known me, they are fottifh "children, and they have no understanding: they are "wife to do evil, but to do good they have no knowl "edge," Jer. iv. 22. "Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publifh it in the houfe of Judah, faying, "hear now this, O foolifh people, and without under"ftanding, which have eyes and fee not, which have "ears and hear not. Fear ye not ME faith the Lord: "will ye not tremble at MY prefence," Jer. v. 20,
3. Confider how much wilfulness there is in your ignorance. Sinners are ready wholly to excufe them felves in their blindness, and fay
Whereas, as has been obferved already, the blindness that naturally poffeffes the hearts of men, is not a merely negative thing; but they are blinded by "the deceitfulness of fin," Heb. iii. 13. There is a perverfeness in their blindness. There is not a mere ab. fence of light, but a malignant oppofition to the light : as God fays, "They know not, neither will they "understand,