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tvere thankful; that is, they did not ac- their light, and doing that which nature's knowledge his providence in ruling and light might have taught them, viz. to disposing all events; nor his bounty in give God his own glory, in thought, word, belowing good things, even his common and deed, as the only one God, eternal, mercies, upon them ; but ascribed all omnipotent, omniscient, just, holy, and things to chance and fortune. 3. They merciful ; that, upon the contrary, they became vain in their imaginations ; they gave it unto creatures; and vainly reasonran out in imagining strange things of this ed away God's glory unto images of men, God, and drew false conclusions and de- birds, and beasts: and therefore they can ductions from the principles, and so ima pretend no excuse. gined a multitude of gods, and many vain OBSERVE, conceits

. 4. Their foolish heart was dark- 1. As nature's light, and that light ned; they, reasoning after this foolish, which may be had from the works of vain manner, ran themselves blind, and creation, will teach folk that there is a bewildered themselves that they knew not God, so will it teach folk also, that this where they were; and set up their idola- God should be reverently and highly try, which even nature's light would have esteemed of; and that we should walk in condemned, had they not put much of reference to him, as only all-sufficient, that our.

5. Professing themselves to be eternal, only wise, just, and merciful : wise, they became fools ; in following this was the Heathens fin in not glorifythese inclinations, they imagined they ing God after this manner. were attaining to more perfection in II. As it is a heinous and heathenilla knowledge, and so gloried in themselves, iniquity to refuse to acknowledge God in as if they were only wise in so reasoning; his attributes, and to walk answerable yet in following their own darkned brains thereunto; so it is a violent imprisoning they became fools, in imagining a God of the knowledge of God that nature's according to their own fancies, and de- light will afford, and will be sufficient, luded minds. And, 6. They changed the tho' there were no more, to render men glory of the incorruptible God, into an image without excuse in the day of reckoning : made like to corruptible man, and to birds, for hereby he proveth, that these Genand fourfooted beasts, and creeping things, tiles detained the knowledge of God in After they had taken up God in their unrighteousness; they did not glorify God, own carnal and sensual manner, and feign- even though they knew him. ed him to be such a one as they imagined, III. Let men be at never so much pains they invented many representations of and trouble about worshipping of God, and God, and erected statues like men, birds, invent never so many ways, and such ways beasts, and creeping things, and gave that as are most specious to carnal hearts, homage and worship that was due to God whereby to worship him; yet the Lord only, who is incorruptible and unchange- will not account that a glorifying of him, able, unto those creatures who are cor- it not being according to his own way. ruptible; and thus changed his glory. which he hath manifested in his word, or

We may look upon these verses also, written, tho’ dimly in small characters, as holding forth a proof of that which on the hearts of men and women by nathe apostle had said last, viz. That their cure : for notwithstanding of all the pains mouths were stopped, and they had no these Heathens were at, in inventing and excuse for themselves : As if he had said, following several ways of worship, yet all They were so far from walking up to was in vain, it was not a glorifying of God as God; according to that manner which as God: Hof. ii. 5. For their mother hath their nátural knowiedge, if well improven, played the barlot: Ime that conceived them would have caught them.

hash done famefully : for she faid, I will IV. The best way to improve the know- go after my lovers, that give me my bread ledge of God which we have, is to be and my water, my wool and my flax, mine laying out ourselves every way to the glo- oil and my drink. Ty of God; to be carrying along with us IX. It is neither safe nor found for reverend, high, humble, and holy appre folks to truit to their corrupt hearis, henfions of the almighty, eternal, most and carnal sense, in diving in to the just, and gracious God, and walking uo- knowlege of God: their vain hearts led der the lively apprehensions of his divine them to strange reasonings about God, and Majesty, and to be worshipping him in fo they erred, and became vain in their {pirit and truth, according to his own ap- imaginations. pointment: for thus should these Hea- X. Superstition and idolatry are not the thens have glorified God, and vepted their result of the true and practical knowknowledge of hin.

lege of God, but of folks giving way unV. Our knowledge of God, how great to vain empty speculations, and imaginafoerer it be, will not avail us in the day tions, of a carnal, sensual brain: for they of judgment, if it hath not had influence worshipped not God aright; and how fo? on our practice, but will tend to the They became (it is faid) vain in their imaaggravating of our guilt : for their know-ginations. ing of God did not avail them, but tend- XI. When the knowledge of God ed rather to the stopping of their mouths, which we have, is not practical

, and leadand making them without excuse, because ing us to glorify him aright; ordinarily they did not glorify him aright, when we trust to our own brains, and fall they knew him.

upon diverse and finful speculations, and VI. So bountiful and gracious is the empty imaginations, and run Lord, the fountain and spring of all good-foolish ratiocinations, discovering the ness, and so liberal, that of his goodness, emptiness and vanity of our understand. good and bad, and all, are receiving, fo ings: those Gentiles did not giorify God as all, even the worst, are drownd in as God; and what came of it? They behis debt : for fo were these Heathens, as came vain in their own imaginations. is intended, in that their guilt is said to be XII. However carnal sensual wits may ingratitude.

applaud the Belves in their profound reaVII. It is a heinous guilt, and such a sonings about God and his attributes, fin as the very light of nature will con- and imagine fome felicity and satisfacdemn, to be unthankful, in not acknow. tion to themselves in that course (tho' ledging the most ordinary and common their knowledge be not practical); yet in mercies which we receive, as coming from the end their courses shall prove vain, God, but from chance and fortune, or the and all their profit and advantage shall like; in not seeing the hand of God in be meer vanity : for it is said, They bethem, nor looking upon them as strong came vain in their imaginations. obligations to obedience : for thus were XIII. However men may think them. they guilty.

selves able enough, by their own carnal VIII. Idolatry and fuperftition are or- and vain wit, to find out and accquire the dinarily attended with unthankfulness and right and acceptable way of worshipping ingratitude; for this lin of ingratitude is and glorifying of God, beside the right joined with idolatry, in not glorifying God ) and only rule; yet in the end they prove

themselves

out on

themselves but ignorant, foolish, and with for, in profefling themselves wise, after such out understanding : therefore their hearts

a manner, they became fools. are said to be foolish.

XVII. It is the fruit of abused light, XIV. The more pains men take, and and of a darkned understanding, to have the farther they go on, in following their carnal apprehensions of the great God, own carnal, foolith, and vain hearts and and to take him up, in our fancies and imaginations, milkening the right rule | imaginations, under any fimilitude and bowhereby to attain unto the right know- dily representation whatsoever; for these ledge, and the right manner of worshiping Heathens blindfolded themselves, and and glorifying God, the more they lose then took up God, in a carnal manner, their labour, and blindfold and insnare under this or that notion or similitude themselves; the more we pry into this of man or beast. mystery in an unlawful way, the more we XVIII. However foolish man imagine put out our own eyes, and the more blind that it is a setting forth of God's glory and ignorant we are. They left God's the more, -to worship him under the fiway in searching him out, and the way militude of images, and after that manof his worship, and took themselves to ner; yet God looketh upon such a way their vain, fantastical, brain-fick imagina- of worship as a robbing him of bis glory tions; they put out the little dim know- and majesty, in giving what is his due ledge they had, and their foolish hearts unto thcie, or such like, bare creatures; were darkned; they obscured their very as here we see, they changed the glory of natural season.

God into an image made like unto mon, by XV. It is ordinary to see such who, imagining God to be like such or such a leaving the allowed way of acquiring the thing, and so worshiping that which did knowledge of God, and following the (as they thought) represent God, or diétaies of their own foolish imaginations, God under it

. and vain hearis, think to acquire some

XIX. When men once give way to knowledge of God, become proud and con- themselves, and loose the reins, and folceiiy: And whatever knowledge we have, low their own fancies and deluded underif it work not kindly upon our practice, 1tandings, they will run on, ere they rest, and have some influence there, it will to aboininable courses, as mad-men; for ordinarily puff up, and make us think fo they here ran from ill to worse, until at much of ourselves; for the knowledge of length they came to this, to worship creaGod that these Heathens attained to was sures, or God under the fimilitude of the not practical, and what they hunted for baseft creatures, that is, of fourfisted beasis, was by unlawful means; and so they pro- and creeping things. feled themselves to be wise ; they grew preud XX. Let men imagine and take up God and conceity, and gave cut themselves to be under what notions and reprefentations the only wise folks, and made great often- of what corruprible things ibry please, tation of iheir reasonings.

in following the wild, fantastic conceits XVI. Whoever followeth an untrod- of their foolish, darkned hearts and brains, en path in finding cut the lawful and ac- he remains still the same unchangeable God, ceptable käy of worshiping of God, and for when they have thought all they can, useth their own fancies and foolide ima- he is the same incorruptible God, without girations, out of an intention to acquire alteration, or shadow of change, being the tome vain glory and applause, are so far Jame yellerday, to-day, and for ever. from true glory, that they bewray their XXI. A right consideration of God, foliy, and so thoot short of their delign; ! and bis nature and majesty, and of the

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baseness and naughtiness of the creature, working that which is unseemly, and reas it will discover the folly and madness of ceiving in themselves thai recompence of such as, from any superstitious fancy, or tijeir error which was meet. corrupt principle, ascribe and perform And even as they did not like to retain God that unto the creature, or to that which in their knowledge, God gave them ever is but a similitude of the creature, which to a reprobate mind, to do those things is proper and peculiar to the only ever which are not convenient. belied God; so will it aggravate their guilt, and serve to demonstrate the justice N the 18th verse (as we fewed) the cf God so much the more, in taking apostle began to speak of a second arcourse with such abominations: for lo gument, whereby he would prove, that We find it here recorded of them as their we are not justified by works before God, great fin, and evidence of folly, and as which he hath prosecuted at large hitherthat which cleared God's justice in that to, and forward; and this argument had fure stroke that followeth, that they wo branches, the first whereof, viz. changed the glory of God, who was incor- That the Gentiles are not justified by ruptible, into an image, and an image of works, he hath been speaking unto, and. one who was but corruptible

, and to four- farther prosecuteth until the 17th verse. footebeats, &c.

of chapter fecond. Now, when we beXXII. Man at his best, and in his prime gan to speak of this part of the argument, and flower, is but corruptible fading no we shewed it lay thus : If to be the wrath thing, carrying a body about with him that of God be revealed from heaven against is daily posting to corruption.

the Gentiles for their fins, then they XXIII. In whatever respects man is to cannot be justified by their works : But be preferred to brutes and creeping things, the former is true; Ergo, &c. Now, in yet in respect of sharing of any thing confirming the second proposition there was which is God's due, he is to be put in two things to do;: First, It was to be the same category and rank with the basest cleared, that they were înful : And, creeping things; for no more should they fecondly, That because of these their fins have changed the glory of God inta an God's wrath was revealed from heaven inage made like corruptible man, than of against them. And these two he fully teats, or creeping things.

cleareth in this chapter. And in the

verses preceding this 24th verse, he hath VERSES 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. Wherefore cleared what their fin was: and in the verGod also gave them up to uncleanness

, ses following the 28th he doth the fame. thro't beluits of their own hearts, to disho- | And here he fleweth how the wrath of mour their own bodies between themselves : God came upon then, and what way it Who changed the truth of God into a lie, was that God did manifest his displeasure

and worshipped and served the creature against their ungodliness; and withal to more than the Creator, who is blessed for clear the equity of God's procedure, and Amen.

his wisdom in punishing them so and so, For this caufe God gave them up unto vile he rehearseth some of their fountain

affections : For even their women did evils and heinous transgressions, and shewchange the natural use into that which eth how in punishing them the Lord did is against nature :

them no wrong, but gave them a just And likewise also the men, leaving the meeting and recompence, and fent luch

natural use of the women, burned in their judgments on them, as had their fins enluit one toward another, men with men, graven upon them in legible characters.

The

tver.

The apostle in fumming up these spiri- | ror, which was meet; thae seeing they tual plagues wherewith he punished che ran mad on spiritual fornication and filHeathens, he parcels them in three parts, thiness

, they ihould be judicially punishor heads, and cleareth God's equity in ed, by being given up to bodily filihinefs. each of them, by shewing how they were The third is, verse 28th; where also their the just desert of their abominations. sin is set down, to clear the equity and And the first is, verse 24th; which hath suitableness of the stroke: They liked rict reference to the verses preceding, where to retain God in their knowledge; they laid their fin is laid open. Their fin was grofs afide all thought of God, and the small idolatry, in setting up images of creatures, portion of knowledge which they had, and giving unto these that which was they trampled upon, and wilfully thoc God's due : now the punishment that out their own light, and therefore God came upon them because of this gross gave them their will, and their fill of iniquity was this; God did, as a just | blindness; for he gave them up to a darkJudge, judicially deliver them up to the ned judgnent, and a mind void of all unswing of their own carnal and filthy derstanding; even in matters touching hearts; to be acted and led away by the their neighbours, they were so judicially lusts of their vile hearts, that as they had blinded, that they saw not the very prinno regard to the honour and glory of ciples of equiry, which should have directGod, so they should have no respect unto ed them in their duties one towards anthe honour of their own bodies, but other. might basely prostitute them, and rob

OBSERVE, them of that honour which was their 1. As it is blasphemy, upon the one due. The second is, verses 26th and 27th, hand, to say that God is the author of which hath reference to verse 25th, where | fin, so it is impious, and derogateth from their sin is set down; which was this: his power and wisdom, who is the fuThey ascribed the attributes of God, preme and absolute Governor and Ruler which are his peculiarly, and do belong of heaven and earth, to run to the other to him truly, unto an image, which is a extreme, and say, that God useth a bare mere lying thing; and not only fo, but permission, and connivance anent the existgave

that homage unto those creatures ing of sin in the world; as if fin fell out of their own making, which is due only beyond his decree and will, seeing he to the ever-blessed God, who only Mould willeth and decreeth that fin shall exist be acknowledged to be such, and will be and have a being; he permitting it, tho' fuch for ever, as all christian hearts should not effecting it for here we see there wish that he may be blessed for ever. must be a positive act of his will anent the Now, for this cause the Lord did judici- existing of it, seeing it is a judicial act of ally deliver them up unto their vile af- his just sovereign power, as righteous fections, as their tormentor, and his execu- Judge, to deliver finners up unto uncleantioner. And what followed? They be- nefs, to debase their own bodies, and to came brutishly vile, and committed such vile affections, and to a reprobate mind, or lewdness as very beasts would abhor; and blinded understanding. all sexes among them became horribly II. Tho'God doth decree and purpose, guilty of Sodomy, and such filthiness as for wise and holy ends, that sin shall be very nature would account abominable committed by wicked men, he permitting and unseemly: and thus the Lord did and wisely ordering the fame; yet he is pay them home in their own bosom, and not to be looked on as the culpable cause; gaye them a just recompence of their er- but the foul spring, and finful rise of

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