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my conscience. It is a noble and a sure defiance of a great malice, backed with a great interest; which yet can have no advantage of a man, but from his own expectations of something that is without himself. But if I can make my duty my delight; if I can feast, and please, and caress my mind with the pleasures of worthy speculations or virtuous practices; let greatness and malice vex and abridge me if they can: my pleasures are as free as my will; no more to be controlled than my choice, or the unlimited range of my thoughts and my desires.
Nor is this kind of pleasure only out of the reach of any outward violence, but even those things also that make a much closer impression upon us, which are the irresistible decays of nature, have yet no influence at all upon this. For when age itself, which of all things in the world will not be baffled or defied, shall begin to arrest, seize, and remind us of our mortality, by pains, aches, deadness of limbs, and dulness of senses; yet then the pleasure of the mind shall be in its full youth, vigour, and freshness. A palsy may as well shake an oak, or a fever dry up a fountain, as either of them shake, dry up, or impair the delight of conscience. For it lies within, it centres in the heart, it grows into the very substance of the soul, so that it accompanies a man to his grave; he never outlives it, and that for this cause only, because he cannot outlive himself.
And thus I have endeavoured to describe
the excellency of that pleasure that is to be found in the ways of a religious wisdom, by those excellent properties that do attend it; which, whether they reach the description that has been given them, or no, every man may convince himself, by the best demonstrations, which is his own trial.
Now from all this discourse, this I am sure is a most natural and direct consequence, that if the ways of religion are ways of pleasantness, then such as are not ways of pleasantness are not truly and properly ways of religion. Upon which ground it is easy to see what judgment is to be passed upon all those affected, uncommanded, absurd austerities, so much prized and exercised by some of the Romish profession. Pilgrimages, going barefoot, hair-shirts, and whips, with other such gospel artillery, are their only helps to devotion things never enjoined, either by the prophets under the Jewish, or by the apostles under the Christian economy; who yet surely understood the proper and the most efficacious instruments of piety, as well as any confessor or friar of all the order of Saint Francis, or any casuist whatsoever.
It seems, that with them a man sometimes cannot be a penitent, unless he also turns vagabond, and foots it to Jerusalem; or wanders over this or that part of the world to visit the shrine of such or such a pretended saint:
though perhaps, in his life, ten times more ridiculous than themselves: thus, that which was Cain's curse is become their religion. He that thinks to expiate a sin, by going barefoot, does the penance of a goose, and only makes one folly the atonement for another. Paul, indeed, was scourged and beaten by the Jews, but we never read that he beat or scourged himself and if they think that his keeping under of his body imports so much, they must first prove that the body cannot be kept under by a virtuous mind, and that the mind cannot be made virtuous but by a scourge; and consequently, that thongs and whipcord are means of grace, and things necessary to salvation. The truth is, if men's religion lies no deeper than their skin, it is possible that they may scourge themselves into very great improvements.
But they will find that bodily exercise touches not the soul; and that neither pride, nor lust, nor covetousness, nor any other vice, was ever mortified by corporal disciplines: it is not the back, but the heart that must bleed for sin and consequently, that in this whole course they are like men out of their way; let them lash on never so fast, they are not at all the nearer to their journey's end and howsoever they deceive themselves and others, they may as well expect to bring a cart as a soul to heaven by such means. What arguments they have to beguile poor, simple, unstable souls with, I know not; but surely the practical, casuistical, that is, the principal, vital part of their religion, savours very little of spirituality.
And now, upon the result of all, I suppose, that to exhort men to be religious, is only in other words to exhort them to take their pleasure. A pleasure, high, rational, and angelical; a pleasure embased with no appendant sting, no consequent loathing, no remorses or bitter farewells: but such an one, as being honey in the mouth, never turns to gall or gravel in the belly. A pleasure made for the soul, and the soul for that; suitable to its spirituality, and equal to all its capacities. Such an one as grows fresher upon enjoyment, and though continually fed upon, yet is never devoured. A pleasure that a man may call as properly his own, as his soul and his conscience; neither liable to accident, nor exposed to injury. It is the foretaste of heaven, and the earnest of eternity. In a word, it is such an one, as being begun in grace, passes into glory, blessedness, and immortality, and those pleasures that "neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive."
To which God of his mercy vouchsafe to bring us all to whom be rendered and ascribed, as is most due, all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, both now and for evermore. Amen.
OF THE CREATION OF MAN IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE LORD MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF LONDON.
When I consider how impossible it is for a person of my condition to produce, and consequently how imprudent to attempt, any thing in proportion either to the ampleness of the body you represent, or of the places you bear, I should be kept from venturing so poor a piece, designed to live but an hour, in so lasting a publication; did not what your civility calls a request, your greatness render a command. The truth is, in things not unlawful, great persons cannot be properly said to request; because, all things considered, they must not be denied. To me it was honour enough to have your audience, enjoyment enough to behold your happy change, and to see the same city, the metropolis of loyalty and of the kingdom, to behold the glory of English churches reformed, that is, delivered from the reformers; and to find, at least, the service of the church repaired, though not the building; to see Saint Paul's delivered from beasts here, as well as Saint Paul at Ephesus; and to view the church thronged only with troops of auditors, not of horse. This I could fully have acquiesced in, and received a large personal reward in my particular share of the public joy; but since you are farther pleased, I will not say by your judgment to approve, but by your acceptance to encourage, the raw endeavours of a young divine, I shall take it for an opportunity, not as others in their sage prudence use to do, to quote three or four texts of Scripture, and to tell you how you are to rule the city out of a Concordance; no, I bring not instructions, but what much better befits both you and myself, your commendations. For I look upon your city as the great and magnificent stage of business, and by consequence the best place of improvement; for from the school we go to the university, but from the university to London. And, therefore, as in your city meetings you must be esteemed the most considerable body of the nation; so, met in the church, I look upon you as an auditory fit to be waited on, as you are, by both universities. And when I remember how instrumental you have been to recover this universal settlement, and to retrieve the old spirit of loyalty to kings, (as an ancient testimony of which you bear not the sword in vain ;) I seem in a manner deputed from Oxford, n t sɔ much a preacher to supply a course, as orator to present her thanks. As for the ensuing discourse, which (lest I chance to be traduced for a plagiary by him who has played the thief) I think fit to tell the world by the way, was one of those that by a worthy hand were stolen from me in the king's chapel, and are still detained; and to which now accidentally published by your honour's order, your patronage must give both value and protection. You will find me in it not to have pitched upon any subject, that men's guilt, and the consequent of guilt, their concernment, might render liable to exception; not to have rubbed up the memory of what some heretofore in the city did, which more and better now detest, and therefore expiate: but my subject is inoffensive, harmless, and innocent as the state of innocence itself, and, I hope, suitable to the present design and genius of this nation; which is, or should be, to return to that innocence, which it lost long since the Fall. Briefly, my business is, by describing what man was in his first estate, to upbraid him with what he is in his present: between whom, innocent and fallen, (that in a word I may suit the subject to the place of my discourse,) there is as great an unlikeness, as between Saint Paul's a cathedral, and Saint Paul's a stable. But I must not forestall myself, nor transcribe the work into the dedication. I shall now only desire you to accept the issue of your own requests; the gratification of which I have here consulted so much before my own reputation; while, like the poor widow, I endeavour to shew my officiousness by an offering, though I betray my poverty by the measure; not so much caring, though I appear neither preacher nor scholar, (which terms we have been taught upon good reason to distinguish,) so I may in this but shew myself your honour's very humble ervant,
WORCESTER Hovar, Nov. 24, 1662.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him."-GENESIS, i. 27.
How hard it is for natural reason to discover a creation before revealed, or being revealed to believe it, the strange opinions of the old philosophers, and the infidelity of modern atheists, is too sad a demonstration. To run the world back to its first original and infancy, and (as it were) to view nature in its cradle, and trace the outgoings of the Ancient of days in the first instance and specimen of his creative power, is a research too great for any mortal inquiry: and we might continue our scrutiny to the end of the world, before natural reason would be able to find out when it began. Epicurus's discourse concerning the original of the world is so fabulous and ridiculously merry, that we may well judge the design of his philosophy to have been pleasure, and not instruction.
Aristotle held, that it streamed by connatural result and emanation from God, the infinite and eternal mind, as the light issues from the sun; so that there was no instant of duration assignable of God's eternal existence, in which the world did not also coexist.
Others held a fortuitous concourse of atoms; but all seem jointly to explode a creation; still beating upon this ground, that to produce something out of nothing is impossible and incomprehensible: incomprehensible, indeed, I grant, but not therefore impossible. There is not the least transaction of sense and motion in the whole man, but philosophers are at a loss to comprehend; I am sure they are to explain it. Wherefore it is not always rational to measure the truth of an assertion by the standard of our apprehension.
But to bring things even to the bare perceptions of reason, I appeal to any one, who shal impartially reflect upon the ideas and conceptions of his own mind, whether he doth not
find it as easy and suitable to his natural notions, to conceive that an infinite almighty power might produce a thing out of nothing, and make that to exist de novo, which did not exist before; as to conceive the world to have had no beginning, but to have existed from eternity which, were it so proper for this place and exercise, I could easily demonstrate to be attended with no small train of absurdities. But then, besides that the acknowledging of a creation is safe, and the denial of it dangerous and irreligious, and yet not more (perhaps much less) demonstrable than the affirmative; so, over and above, it gives me this advantage, that, let it seem never so strange, uncouth, and impossible, the nonplus of my reason will yield a fairer opportunity to my faith.
In this chapter, we have God surveying the works of the creation, and leaving this general impress or character upon them, that they were exceeding good. What an omnipotence wrought, we have an omniscience to approve. But as it is reasonable to imagine that there is more of design, and consequently more of perfection in the last work, we have God here giving his last stroke, and summing up all into man, the whole into a part, the universe into an individual; so that, whereas in other creatures we have but the trace of his footsteps, in man we have the draught of his hand. In him were united all the scattered perfections of the creature; all the graces and ornaments, all the airs and features of being, were abridged into this small, yet full system of nature and divinity; as we might well imagine that the great artificer would be more than ordinarily exact in drawing his own picture.
did this image of God consist? Why, in that power and dominion that God gave Adain over the creatures in that he was vouched his immediate deputy upon earth, the viceroy of the creation, and lord-lieutenant of the world. But that this power and dominion is not adequately and formally the image of God, but only a part of it, is clear from hence; because then he that had most of this, would have most of God's image: and consequently Nimrod had more of it than Noah, Saul than Samuel, the persecutors than the martyrs, and Cæsar than Christ himself, which to assert is a
blasphemous paradox. And if the image of God is only grandeur, power, and sovereignty, certainly we have been hitherto much mistaken in our duty: and hereafter are by all means to beware of making ourselves unlike God, by too much self-denial and humility. I am not ignorant that some may distinguish between govoía and duvaus, between a lawful authority and actual power and affirm, that God's image consists only in the former; which wicked princes, such as Saul and Nimrod, have not, though they possess the latter. But to this I answer,
1. That the Scripture neither makes nor owns such a distinction; nor any where asserts, that when princes begin to be wicked, they cease of right to be governors. Add to this, that when God renewed this charter of man's sovereignty over the creatures to Noah and his family, we find no exception at all, but that Cham stood as fully invested with this right as any of his brethren.
2. But, secondly, this savours of something ranker than Socinianism, even the tenets of the fifth monarchy, and of sovereignty founded only upon saintship; and therefore fitter to be answered by the judge, than by the divine; and to receive its confutation at the bar of justice, than from the pulpit.
The work that I shall undertake from these words, shall be to shew what this image of God in man is, and wherein it doth consist. Which I shall do these two ways, -1. Negatively, by shewing wherein it does not consist. 2. Positively, by shewing wherein it does.
For the first of these, we are to remove the erroneous opinion of the Socinians. They deny that the image of God consisted in any habitual perfections that adorned the soul of Adam; but, as to his understanding, bring him in void of all notion, a rude unwritten blank; making him to be created as much an infant as others are born; sent into the world only to read and to spell out a God in the works of creation, to learn by degrees, till at length his understanding grew up to the stature of his body. Also without any inherent habits of virtue in his will; thus divesting him of all, and stripping him to his bare essence; so that all the perfection they allowed his understanding was aptness and docility; and all that they attributed to his will was a possibility to be virtuous.
But wherein, then, according to their opinion,
Having now made our way through this false opinion, we are in the next place to lay down positively what this image of God in man is. It is, in short, that universal rectitude of all the faculties of the soul, by which they stand apt and disposed to their respective offices and operations: which will be more fully set forth, by taking a distinct survey of it, in the several faculties belonging to the soul. I. In the understanding.
II. In the will.
III. In the passions or affections.
I. And first for its noblest faculty, the understanding: it was then sublime, clear, and aspiring, and, as it were, the soul's upper region, lofty and serene, free from the vapours and disturbances of the inferior affections. It was the leading, controlling faculty; all the passions wore the colours of reason; it did not so much persuade, as command; it was not consul, but dictator. Discourse was then almost as quick as intuition; it was
nimble in proposing, firm in concluding; it could sooner determine than now it can dispute. Like the sun, it had both light and agility; it knew no rest, but in motion; no quiet, but in activity. It did not so properly apprehend, as irradiate the object; not so much find, as make things intelligible. It did arbitrate upon the several reports of sense, and all the varieties of imagination; not like a drowsy judge, only hearing, but also directing their verdict. In sum, it was vegete, quick, and lively; open as the day, untainted as the morning, full of the innocence and sprightliness of youth; it gave the soul a bright and a full view into all things; and was not only a window, but itself the prospect. Briefly, there is as much difference between the clear representations of the understanding then, and the obscure discoveries that it makes now, as there is between the prospect of a casement and of a key-hole.
Now, as there are two great functions of the soul, contemplation and practice, according to that general division of objects, some of which only entertain our speculation, others also employ our actions; so the understanding with relation to these, not because of any distinction in the faculty itself, is accordingly divided into speculative and practick; in both of which the image of God was then apparent.
1. For the understanding speculative. There are some general maxims and notions in the mind of man, which are the rules of discourse and the basis of all philosophy. As, that the same thing cannot at the same time be, and not be; that the whole is bigger than a part; that two dimensions, severally equal to a third, must also be equal to one another. Aristotle, indeed, affirms the mind to be at first a mere rasa tabula; and that these notions are not ingenite, and imprinted by the finger of nature, but by the later.and more languid impressions of sense; being only the reports of observation, and the result of so many repeated experiments.
But to this I answer two things,(1.) That these notions are universal; and what is universal must needs proceed from some universal, constant principle, the same in all particulars, which here can be nothing else but human nature.
(2.) These cannot be infused by observation, because they are the rules by which men take their first apprehensions and observations of things, and therefore in order of nature must needs precede them: as the being of the rule must be before its application to the thing directed by it. From whence it follows, that these were notions, not descending from us, but born with us; not our offspring, but our brethren and (as I may so say) such as we were taught without the help of a teacher.
Now it was Adam's happiness in the state of innocence to have these clear and unsullied.
He came into the world a philosopher, which sufficiently appeared by his writing the nature of things upon their names; he could view essences in themselves, and read forms without the comment of their respective properties: he could see consequents yet dormant in their principles, and effects yet unborn, and in the womb of their causes: his understanding could almost pierce into future contingents, his conjectures improving even to prophecy, or the certainties of prediction; till his fall, he was ignorant of nothing but of sin; or at least it rested in the notion, without the smart of the experiment. Could any difficulty have been proposed, the resolution would have been as early as the proposal; it could not have had time to settle into doubt. Like a better Archimedes, the issue of all his inquiries was an exα, an
pnxa, the offspring of his brain without the sweat of his brow. Study was not then a duty, night-watchings were needless; the light of reason wanted not the assistance of a candle. This is the doom of fallen man, to labour in the fire, to seek truth in profundo, to exhaust his time and impair his health, and perhaps to spin out his days, and himself, into one pitiful, controverted conclusion. There was then no poring, no struggling with memory, no straining for invention; his faculties were quick and expedite; they answered without knocking, they were ready upon the first summons, there was freedom and firmness in all their operations. I confess, it is as difficult for us, who date our ignorance from our first being, and were still bred up with the same infirmities about us with which we were born, to raise our thoughts and imaginations to those intellectual perfections that attended our nature in the time of innocence, as it is for a peasant bred up in the obscurities of a cottage, to fancy in his mind the unseen splendours of a court. But by rating positives by their privatives, and other arts of reason, by which discourse supplies the want of the reports of sense, we may collect the excellency of the understanding then, by the glorious remainders of it now, and guess at the stateliness of the building, by the magnificence of its ruins. All those arts, rarities, and inventions, which vulgar minds gaze at, the ingenious pursue, and all admire, are but the reliques of an intellect defaced with sin and time. We admire it now, only as antiquaries do a piece of old coin, for the stamp it once bore, and not for those vanishing lineaments and disappearing draughts that remain upon it at present. And certainly that must needs have been very glorious, the decays of which are so admirable. He that is comely when old and decrepit, surely was very beautiful when he was young. An Aristotle was but the rubbish of an Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise.
2. The image of God was no less resplendent in that which we call man's practical
understanding; namely, that storehouse of the soul, in which are treasured up the rules of action and the seeds of morality. Where, we must observe, that many who deny all connate notions in the speculative intellect, do yet admit them in this. Now of this sort are these maxims; that God is to be worshipped; that parents are to be honoured; that a man's word is to be kept, and the like: which, being of universal influence as to the regulation of the behaviour and converse of mankind, are the ground of all virtue and civility, and the foundation of religion.
and advice, counsel and command, between a companion and a governor.
And thus much for the image of God, as it shone in man's understanding.
II. Let us in the next place take a view of it, as it was stamped upon the will. It is much disputed by divines concerning the power of man's will to good and evil in the state of innocence; and upon very nice and dangerous precipices stand their determinations on either side. Some hold, that God invested him with a power to stand, so that in the strength of that power received, he might, without the auxiliaries of any farther influence, have determined his will to a full choice of good. Others hold, that notwithstanding this power, yet it was impossible for him to exert it in any good action, without a superadded assistance of grace, actually determining that power to the certain production of such an act. So that, whereas some distinguish between sufficient and effectual grace; they order the matter, so as to acknowledge none sufficient, but what is indeed effectual, and actually productive of a good action. I shall not presume to interpose dogmatically in a controversy, which I look never to see decided. But concerning the latter of these opinions, I shall only give these two remarks,
1. That it seems contrary to the common and natural conceptions of all mankind, who acknowledge themselves able and sufficient to do many things, which actually they never do.
It was the privilege of Adam innocent, to have these notions also firm and untainted, to carry his monitor in his bosom, his law in his heart, and to have such a conscience as might be its own casuist and certainly those actions must needs be regular, where there is an identity between the rule and the faculty. His own mind taught him a due dependence upon God, and chalked out to him the just proportions and measures of behaviour to his fellow-creatures. He had no catechism but the creation, needed no study but reflection, read no book, but the volume of the world, and that, too, not for rules to work by, but for objects to work
principles. Reason was his tutor, and first
his magna moralia. The decalogue of Moses was but a transcript, not an original. All the laws of nations, and wise decrees of states, the statutes of Solon, and the twelve tables, were but a paraphrase upon this standing rectitude of nature, this fruitful principle of justice, that was ready to run out, and enlarge itself into suitable determinations, upon all emergent objects and occasions. Justice then was neither blind to discern, nor lame to execute. It was not subject to be imposed upon by a deluded fancy, nor yet to be bribed by a glozing appetite, for an utile or jucundum to turn the balance to a false or dishonest sentence. In all its directions of the inferior faculties, it conveyed its suggestions with clearness, and enjoined them with power; it had the passions in perfect subjection; and though its command over them was but suasive and political, yet it had the force of coaction, and despotical. It was not then, as it is now, where the conscience has only power to disapprove, and to protest against the exorbitances of the passions; and rather to wish, than make them otherwise. The voice of conscience now is low and weak, chastising the passions, as old Eli did his lustful domineering sons; "Not so, my sons, not so;" but the voice of conscience then was not, This should, or this ought to be done; but, This must, this shall be done. It spoke like a legislator; the thing spoke was a law; and the manner of speaking it a new obligation. In short, there was as great a disparity between the practical dictates of the understanding then and now, as there is between empire
2. That to assert, that God looked upon Adam's fall as a sin, and punished it as such, when, without any antecedent sin of his, he withdrew that actual grace from him, upon the withdrawing of which it was impossible for him not to fall, seems a thing that highly reproaches the essential equity and goodness of the divine nature.
Wherefore, doubtless the will of man in the state of innocence had an entire freedom, a perfect equipendency and indifference to either part of the contradiction, to stand, or not to stand; to accept, or not accept the temptation. I will grant the will of man now to be as much a slave as any one will have it, and be only free to sin; that is, instead of a liberty, to have only a licentiousness; yet certainly this is not nature, but chance. We were not born crooked; we learnt these windings and turnings of the serpent: and therefore it cannot but be a blasphemous piece of ingratitude to ascribe them to God, and to make the plague of our nature the condition of our creation.
The will was then ductile, and pliant to all the motions of right reason; it met the dictates of a clarified understanding half way. And the active informations of the intellect, filling the passive reception of the will, like form closing with matter, grew actuate into a