« AnteriorContinuar »
that there is more of value and worth in him than in all the creation besides. The sun itself, that enlightens the world, and scatters away all stench, putrefaction, and corruption; is yet but darkness, and a cloud in compare with the motion of mind and understanding, inquiring into and difcovering the reason of things. For the mind of man takes cognizance of God, receives from him, and returns to him ; and carries a continual fense of God within itself, whereas the fun can do none of thefe things, nor no creature in this visible world, besides man. Therefore it was wisely done of Plutarch, that he would not make so much the use of reason to be the formal character of man, to distinguish him from other creatures, as the use and exercise of relia gion. For as to the use of reason, they either have a participation or an imitation of us : but they make no returns unto God, nor have any principle of confcience within them, from a fense of the difference of things. Upon this account, our Saviour faith, what can be given in exchange for a man's foul? Matt. xvi. 26. and the pfalmift faith, the redemption of a foul is precious,and ceaseth for ever. Pfal. xlix. 8. And that is the third particular, this state represents a man in a condition of beggary, and dependency, being beholden to all other creatures, for relief of his necessities, for matters of convenience or defence ; whereas in reality, man is the glory of God's creation, and hath that in him, which is of more value and worth, than the whole world besides.
4. This state represents a man as worn out with sellicitude and care for himself, as being tormented
with fear and more to seek, than any other creature. He goes about the world as a wanderer and a vaga.. bond, always seeking, and complaining, as the psalmist speaks of the redeemed of the Lord, Pf. cvii. 4. 5. even they wandred in the wilderness in a solitary way, they found no city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their foul fainted in them. This is a true representation of man's restlessness, and uneasy condition in this world. And the preacher goes beyond all this, in representing the fickly and distempered condition of man in this world, Eccl. iv. 8. There is one alone, and there is not a second ; yea, he hath neither child nor brother : yet is there no end of all his labour, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither faith her for whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good ? It doth not so much as once come into his mind to say, why do I wear out myself, and deprive' myself of the comforts of life? this is also vanity, yea it is a fore travel. This state represents a man more sollicitous, and more inquisitive than any other creature, for they take little care, but depend upon common providence ; they enjoy themselves more freely in summer, and are not straitned in the winter. But yet in reality, man is God's peculiar care and charge : for Job. xxxv. ' 1. it is said, he teacheth us morethan the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the fowls of heaven ; which argues that man is under God's discipline. And the psalmist declares that there was more of curiosity in the creation of man than of other creatures. Pf. cxxxix. 14, 15. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wroughi in the Inwest parts of the earth ; which intimates the care of God in man's creation. And so it is represented in Genesis ; for when other things were created, it is only said, let them be : they were, accordingly: as let there be light, and there was light, Gen. i. 3. But when he came to make man, he said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Gen. i. 26. And for his provision, God intended, that the rich furniture of the sea, earth and air, should be for his use, hava ing put in subjection to him, all sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea, Psal. viii. 7,8. The providence of God is no where wanting, but most intensely visible in human affairs. And this our Saviour made an argument, why men should not doubt, but that God would provide for them because he fed the ravens, and took care for the smallest birds, and cloathed the lillies of the field (Luke xii. 24.) and therefore he would much less be wanting to those that were made after his own image. And for this reason, God faith he will require the life of man, at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man, at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man : Wholo feddeth mans blood, by man fhall his blood be shed : for in the image of God made he man. Gen. ix. 5, 6. And Satan acknowledgeth this, in the argument he useth to God Job. i. Doth Job fear God for nought ? ver. 10. Thou haft fet an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath. This is the fourth particulars
that the appearance of this world doth misrepresent the state of man. For man seems to be most expofed, and without defence ; whereas, in reality he is the peculiar care and charge of divine providence, and God; that is no where wanting to any of the works of his hands, doth more especially concern himself in his care and government of man, and doth severely challenge any one that shall offer him any harm.
The true Valuation of MAN.
i L UK E xvi. 25. But Abraham faid, fon, remember that thou in thy life.
time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Laza. rus evil things : but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
T His state represents man to be in danger 1 from him that is next him, and of his
own kind ; for so is the world through fin become degenerate, that one man, as it were, is become a wolf to another : and it is de facto true, that he who is born after the flesh, doth persecute him that is born after the spirit. The wars of several countries have given too much testimony to this matter, who have been the so highly applauded men in stoa. ry; but those great conquerours, the great self-defigners and troublers of mankind ? David complains both of friends, and enemies, Psal. xli. 5. Mine enemies speak evil of me ; when Mall be die, and his name perish, &c. v. 9. yea mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lift up his heel against me. Thus it is in this world, whereas God made the second in order to the first, as you find, Gen. ii. 18. It is not good that man should be alone : I will make him an help meet for him. This is so true, that Aristotle hath observed, that whosoever being a finite and limited creature can be alone, he had need be as good as God, or is as bad as the devil, or as dull as a beast. He that can be happy alone, either he is good, like to God, satisfying himself in the fulness of his own goodness ; or else is as bad as the devil, satiating himself, in his own malice ; or else as stupid as a beast, pleasing himself in his own dulness, taking no cognizance of things, but satisfying himself in eating, drinking, and sleeping in his own dullness. Solomon hath observed, Eccl. iv. 9. Two are better than one, and wo be to him that is alone. In converse men receive one from another, and communicate one to another with great delight and satisfaction. If men be of any improvement in their intellectuals, there is no part of a man's life more profitable, nor more satisfactory than rational and ingenuous converse. It is highly pleasing to a man to see the face of his friend; it doth often recover a man out of his dumps, and deliver him from melancholy. So it is, and so it would be if the intention of God in his creation of man, did at. tain its proper effect.