« ZurückWeiter »
in this commandment. 1. Atheifm. 2. Profaneness. 3. Idolatry. · FIRST, Atheism is here forbidden. It is the denying of God, a fin that overturns all religion by the root, Prov. xxx. 9. It is twofold ; fpeculative in the judgement, and practical in the converfation. · Firit, There is a speculative Atheism, which has its seat in the corrupt mind of man. It is also two. told; one striking fimply at the being of a God, another at the being only of the true God manifested to us in his word. Both these are forbidden here; for the command says two things: 1. Thou shalt have a God. 2. Thou shalt have me for thy God. · I. Then there is absolute speculative Atheism, when mens hearts are so filled by Satan, that they do not believe there is a God at all, Pfal. xiv. 1. I do not think that any person can arrive at a constant, habia tual, uninterrupted Atheism of this fort, more than they can deftroy the being of their own fouls, God has fo interwoven the notion of his being with the very make of the soul. But such a conclusion they may come to lay down, and labour habitually to maintain it against themselves and others. This is consummate Atheism.
There is also an initial Atheism; that is, doubt. ing of the being of a God, the mind going from one fide to another, doubting whether there be a God or not. This arises from man's natural cor. ruption, and is often carried on by Satanical injections. We have all Atheistical thoughts. They may be found both in godly and wicked men. But in the godly especially, as they arise from Satan, they will be found exceeding heavy and tormenting. Men may reason against them, but the best cure is prayer, with God's manifefting himself to the foul.
Atheism, less or more, is a dreadful fin. 1. It is of a most malignant nature, striking at the very being of God, and so plucking up all religious worship and service to God by the roots : For be that cometh un.
k to God, must believe that he is, Heb. xi. 6. 2. It is
most contrary to the light of nature, and does vio. he lence even to a natural conscience. It is a flying in
the face of nature and revelation at once. 3. It is fer destructive to human fociety : for take away the no.
tion of a God from amongst men, there would be no Em, I living more than among wild beasts. Lastly, It is a E: si fin whereof devils are not guilty ; for however they go fofter it among men, they yet believe and tremble, te Jam. ii. 19. But if nothing else do, death and hell,
to where there are no Atheists nor Atheistical thoughts, bi will cure the disease.. Gol 2. There is a comparative speculative Atheism, when los men though they deny not the being of a God, yet do cht not believe the true God, as manifested in the fcrip. 2, 1; tures, is he. So they have not him for their God,
and therefore are Atheists in fcripture-style, Eph. ii. 12. Such are Heathens, Jews, Turks, Deifts, Soci. nians, and others, who do not believe one God in three persons, denying any of the three, I John ii. 23. Such receive an idol of their own fancy, but
deny the true God. This is condemned here, and so siis all doubting leading thereunto. And the least han
kering that makes men come short of a full perfuafion of what God is as he is revealed in his word and works, is a fin here prohibited."
There are two things which ye should take heed of as tending to Atheism. 1. The influence of prosperity
on a corrupt heart, which is like that of the sun on a ha dunghill, Prov. XXX. 9. and therefore often is that
added to threatenings, They Mall know that I am the Lord. This thould make afflictions welcome as anti
dotes against Atheism. 2. Doubting or denying of - providence, Mal. iii. 14. 15. Psal. lxxiii. 13. If men
once get God excluded from the earth, it is a great 1. Atep to the excluding him out of heaven too.
3. There is practical Atheism, which is a denying of God in our works, lit. i. 16. These have a language for or against God which he understands, yea Vol. II,
true Thee and any of
even men too sometimes, Pfal. xxxvi. 1. It is much alike what principles men have, when their practice is nothing but a contradiction to them, when the web of principles in their head is every day opened out by their conversation. This practical Atheism is opposite to that acknowledgement of God as the true God spoken of before. Accordingly it is twofold.
11, Practical heart-Atheism, which is when men entertain no frame of spirit suitable to what God has
revealed of himself in his word and works, Psal. xiv. · 1. 2. 3. And may not that be a confounding question
to us on that point, Mal. i. 6. If I be a father, where is mine honour ?, and if I be a master, where is 17 fear? saith the Lord of hosts. God is light, which discovers itself where ever it is; but if we look into our hearts, we will quickly find oft-times that he is not there, by, an absolute unsuitableness in them to his presence; that they are in no other case than if indeed there were no God; so that if de non apparentibus et non existentibus, eadem eft ratio, how oft and justly are we chargeable as Atheists?
To instance in a few things. God is a spirit; but how do we put him off with mere bodily service, as if we were serving an idol? If. xxix. 13. God is omnipresent; but though we should act as before him every where, yet it is scarcely done any where. How often does our heart find a great deal of finful liberty in one place which it has not in another; and to do that fcarlessly in secret, which men would be ashamed to do before a child ? He is omniscient: get what a deal of security do men seem to have from secrecy, while the thoughts of God abide within their own breaft, as if he no more saw our thoughts than men do? He is omnipotent; but how soon are we at giving up all for loft in difliculties to us inextricable and how lit; tle awe is there of God on our fpirits, when we are in ways wherein his power is engaged against us? What is all this but heart.Atheism originally? .i
If we consider how we handle his word heard or
read, his promises, threatenings, commands, and how little our hearts are influenced thereby, fuitably to what is read or heard, much heart-Atheism will apa pear; so that when we are closing the Bible, or going out of the church.door, the language of our hearts in effect would often be found, - The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil, for practically they seem to be but idle tales..
If we consider how little God's' works influence tus, much heart-Atheism will appear. I am sure, that
mens hearts often, when they behold the works of creation, could do no less than they do, if the world had been made by a fortuitous concourse of atoms,
that is, to pass them unregarded, And for his provi: idence under croffes, how often are men like the dog
that snarls at the stone, but looks not after the hand that threw it? and in mercies as the fed horse that greedily falls to his hay, but regards not him that laid it before him, but' to kick at him? And as to the work of redemption, it is not seen, believed, or laid stress upon by the most part of the world; and
those that do, how often do they lay their weight on in it but at a venture, as afraid it would break with
hrew it, the the bow
2dly, Practical life-Atheism, which is when men carry before the world as if there were no God, Pfal,
xxxvi. I. Such are, 23. (1.) The factors for Atheism in the world, who, by Bi their devilish reasonings, mockings, and cavils at re
ligion, do what they can to banish the notion of a : God out of the world, 2. (2.) Those who as they have no religion, make as
little profession of it. God indeed is not their God, and as little do they avouch him to be fo. . They are 'none of God's servants, and they will not wear his
. (3.) Those who whatever they profess, yet live as if there were no God, no heaven, no hell; but the Bible were a fable. There is a spice of this life. A.
theism in all the irregularities and disorders of bur lives, wherein our actions do contradict our principles of God.
(4.) Lastly, Thofe who having had a profeffion do at length quit it. Their leaf faileth and falleth. 1.)
There are some whose leaf fadeth, as the leaf of a tree in harveft, thro' want of fap from the stock, and so falls off. There are not a few at this day of that fort, who sometimes were blooming professors, but now they have loft leaf as well as fruit; and nothing ailed them to lose it, but just that the root of the matter was never in them. They have drawn back, and have not staid till they had been driven back. 2.) There are some whose leaf falleth like the leaf of a tree in summer by a stormy wind of perfe. cution. They would keep their leaf if it would alo ways abide calm ; but they cannot abide the shock of perfecution, and so rather than deny themselves they will deny Christ before men, Mark viii. ult.; and many such our times are likely to produce, because we have other gods before the Lord, · Go home then, and mourn over the sin that some of us have never been troubled about hitherto; that is, Atheism, which is not so rare in the world as is imagined. : Thy heart is too kindly a foil for the wordt of abominations, to miss any devilish corruption therein, that is going in the world, And apply to Chrift for his blood and Spirit, to remove the guilt of this fin, and destroy its power and influence in you.
SECONDLY, Another sin forbidden in this com. mandment is profaneness, which is the not worship. ping and glorifying the true God as God and our God, and much more the acting against his honour, quite contrary to those duties of worship and honour that we owe him. It will then be necessary that we look back to those duties of worship, which we meno toned to be those of the mind, will, affections, conicience, memory, and the whole soul with all 10