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A natural man hath no love of benevolence towards Christ. Notwithstanding all that is declared to him of the excellency of Christ, he has no good will towards Christ. He rejoices not in his glory and happiness; he would not care what became of Christ, if he could but escape hell. If Christ should be dethroned, or made miserable, or should cease to be, he has not so much good will to Christ, as would make him concern. ed about it. And if the kingdom and interest of Christ in the world should go to ruin, it would be no wise grievous to the unbeliever, provided his own interest could be secure.
So also an unbeliever has no love of complacency in Jesus Christ for his excellency. He takes no delight in the view or consideration of any of that glory and excellency of Christ of which he is told. He is told that it is exceedingly beauti. ful and glorious; but he sees nothing entertaining in it; he takes no pleasure in the view of any thing that he can see in Christ: The thoughts of the glory of Christ are nowise en. tertaining to him: He has no delight in the thoughts of it, or in any contemplations upon it. He takes delight in thinking of these and those earthly objects'; but when he comes to turn his mina upon Jesus Christ, if ever he so does, this is to him a dry and barren subject ; he finds nothing there to feed and delight his soul; no beauty or loveliness to please or grat
3. Unbelievers have no desires after the enjoyment of Christ. If they did set any thing by the glory and excellency of Christ, they would have some desires after him on account of that excellency; especially when he is offered to them, and is from time to time set forth as the proper object of their choice and desires. That which men prize, they are wont to desire, especially if it be represented to them as attainable, and as fit and suitable for them. But unbelievers have no de. sires after the enjoyment of Christ. They desire to be deliv. ered from hell, but they desire not to enjoy Christ.
They have no idea of any happiness to be had in the enjoyment of Christ: They cannot conceive what happiness
there can be in beholding Christ and being with him, in seeing his holiness, and contemplating his wonderful grace and divine glory. They have no relish for any such thing, nor appetite after it.
4. They show that they set nothing by the glory and excellency of Christ, in that they seek not at all a conformity to that glory and excellency. A natural man may seek to be holy, but it is not for holiness' sake, it is only that he may escape. wrath. He has no desires after holiness, nor is it indeed holiness that he seeks, because he is all the while an enemy to koliness. A natural man has no desires to have his soul conformed to the glorious beauty and excellency of Christ, nor to have his image upon him.
If he in any degree prized or delighted in the excellencies of Christ, he would necessarily desire to be like him so far as he could. This we see in ourselves and in all men : When we see any qualifications in others that are pleasing to us, and that we set by, it is natural for us to endeavor to imitate them, and to seek to be in those things conformed to those persons. Hence men are apt to learn of those of whom they have a great esteem ; they naturally fall into an imitation of their ways and manner of behavior. But natural men feel within themselves no disposition or inclination to learn of Christ, or to imitate him. Their tempers and dispositions remain quite contrary to Christ's, neither do they grow at all better or more conformed to Christ, but wax worse and worse. 2 Tim. ii. 13. « Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse."
I. This doctrine may teach us the heinousness of the sin of unbelief, as this sin sets all the glory and excellency of Christ at nought. It often appears strange to natural men, that unbelief should be spoken of as such a heinous and crying sin. They cannot see such evil in it. There are other sins which often trouble natural men's consciences, when this sin
of unbelief troubles them not at all, though it be that which brings far greater guilt upon them, than those sins about which they are more troubled.
This that has been now said may show why unbelief is spoken of as such a heinous sin, as it is, John iii, 18. and chap. xvi. 9. and 1 John v. 10. For thereby all the glory and excellency of Christ is set at nought, though it be so great, though it be infinite, though it be the glory of the godhead itself, and though it has been so gloriously manifested in what Christ has done and suffered. Natural men in their unbelief cast contempt on all this glory, and tread it under foot, as being nothing worth. Their unbelief treats the excellency of Christ as being of less value than the meanest earthly enjoyments.
II. This doctrine may convict natural men in four particulars.
1. Hereby you may be convinced of the greatness of your guilt. Consider how great and excellent that person is, whom you thus set at nought. Contempt of any person is heinous in proportion to the worthiness and dignity of the person contemned. Though we are but men, and worms of the dust, and very vile, sinful creatures ; yet we take it grievously when we are despised. Consider how you yourselves are ready to resent it, when any of your neighbors seem to slight you, and set light by what you say and do, and to make no account of it, but to treat you as if you were good for nothing, or not worth minding. Do you take this well of your neighbors and equals, when you observe any thing of this nature ? Are you not ready to look upon it with resentment, to think very ill of it, and to judge that you have great cause to be offended?
But if it be such a crime to despise you and set you at nought, what is it to set at nought the eternal, infinitely glorious Son of God, in comparison with whom you, and all nations, are nothing and less than nothing, and vanity? You dislike it much to be contemned by your equals ; but you would take it yet more grievously to be despised by your inferiors, by those whom on every account you much excel..... What a crime is
it then for a vile, sinful worm, to set at nought him who is the brightness of the glory of the King of kings!
It would be a crime inexpressibly heinous, to set little by the glory and excellency of such a person ; but it is more so, to set nothing at all by it, as you do. You have no value at all for it, as has been shown. And this is the more aggravated, as Christ is a person whom you so much need, and as he came into the world out of infinite grace to sinners, to lay down his life to deliver them from hell, and purchase for them eternal glory. How much has Christ done and suffered, that you might have opportunity to be saved ! Yet you set nothing by it all; you set nothing by the blood of Christ, even by that blood that was shed for such poor sinners as you are, and that is offered to you for your salvation. But you trample under foot the blood of the Son of God. If Christ had come into the world only to teach us, it would have been a heinous thing to trample under foot his word and instructions. But when he came to die for 'us, how much more heinous is it to trample under foot his blood !
Men take it hardly to have any of their qualifications or actions despised, which they esteem commendable. But especially do they highly resent it when others slight their kind
And above all when they have put themselves out of their
way, and have denied themselves, and suffered considerably to do others a kindness; then to have their kindness despised and set at nought, is what men would above all things resent. How heinous then is it, and how exceedingly provoking to God must it be, thus to set at nought so great kindness and love of Christ, when, from love to sinners, he suffered so much ?
Consider how highly the angels, who are so much above yoụ, do set by the glory and excellency of Christ, by whiclı you set nothing. They admire and adore the glory of Christ, and cease not day nor night to praise the same in the most exalted strains. Rev. v. 11. 12. “ And I beheid, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders : And the number of them was tea
thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." "The saints admire the excellency of Christ, and the glorious angels admire it, and every creature in heaven and earth, but only you unbelieving children of men,
Consider not only how much the angels set by the glory of Christ, but how much God himself sets by it; for he is the darling of Heaven, he was eternally God's delight; and because of his glory God hath thought him worthy to be appointed the heir of all things, and hath seen fit to ordain that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.....Is he thus worthy of the infinite esteem and love of God himself? And is he worthy of no esteem from you ?
2. Hereby you may be convinced of your danger. You must needs think that such guilt will bring great wrath : Doubtless God is dreadfully provoked by your thus despising Jesus Christ. Dreadful destruction is denounced in Scripture against those that despise only the disciples of Christ, Matth. xvii. 6. What destruction then will come on them that despise all the glorious excellenty of Christ himself!
Consider that you not only have no value for all the glory and excellency of Christ ; but you are enemies to him on that very account. The very ground of that enmity and opposition which there is between your hearts and Jesus Christ, is the glorious perfections and excellencies that there are in Jesus Christ. By being such an holy and excellent Saviour, he is contray to your lusts and corruptions : If there were a Saviour offered to you that was agreeable to your corrupt nature, such a Saviour you would fall in with the offer of ; such a Saviour you would accept. But, Christ being a Saviour of such purity, holiness, and divine perfection, this is the cause why you have no inclination to him, but are offended in him.
Instead of being a precious stone in your eyes, he is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to you. That he is a Saviour who hath manifested such divine perfections in what