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most noble part, he delighted himself in God alone, pleased himself in the contemplation of his God, in embracing his God, in the enjoyment of his God, and his divine communications; and in his inmost part, he found him worthy of an unspeakable adoration and admiration ; yet man enjoyed, as regards his soul and inward part, angelic blessedness and paradisaic delights in every way and manner. In a word, man was a lord and king over the whole creation; heaven and earth, and as far as the man's view extended, all things stood at his command, so that all creatures were subject to his behest. In all these respects was the divine image thus deeply impressed upon man.
But now, alas ! as is well known, man is fallen from such a noble state, having subjected his heart and his will to the Serpent; by which means, this primary uncreated image is extinguished in man, and the divine light, delight, and glory has withdrawn itself from the spirit and soul of man. Ву this fatal withdrawment from God, he has also become a gloomy creature as regards his interior, the divine image, the characteristic of God, and all his divine perfections have been entirely wasted, desolated, and eradicated; and not only so, but instead of the divine image, which man bore with respect to his creation, instead of the former divine and heavenly perfections and virtues, he obtained nothing but imperfections and vices, the image of the sinful Adam, the image of the earthy, the image of an entirely natural man; and not only so, but
man has received the image of the devil into his heart, his impress and impressions, so that man, in his natural state, bears the image of the devil.
After Adam was fallen, it is said in Gen. v.“ Adam begat a son in his own image.” This was, therefore, no longer the image of God, but it was that of an earthly natural man. But that man, in his unconverted natural state, bears the image of the devil upon him. Jesus himself tells us, when he said to the Pharisees, and the other obstinate Jews, “Abraham is not your father ; but ye are of your father the devil,' whose dispositions they really manifested.
Man bears indeed, even still, after the fall, the very same inextinguishable and boundless desires after a satisfying good, light, and life, in his interior, but much obscured, weakened, and defective, and in a very confused
and manner, so that the man really knows not where he ought to seek and find pleasure. Man has also, since the fall, still some capability (when God in Christ again grants grace), to know, love, and glorify his God, and be clothed with his virtues; but this is imperfect and defective in the highest degree; so that, instead of the former light, he possesses really nothing but darkness : instead of the former heavenly and divine inclinations, which he possessed in his state of innocence, he now cherishes, in his soul, no other than reprobate and highly sinful impulses and desires. What devilish inclinations impel the man to pride, lust, self-will, and every kind of resistance against God, the supreme good! His desires, which ought to be di
rected solely to God and to heavenly things, now, on the contrary, tend wholly to earthly and transitory things, nay, to such things, as in themselves, possess nothing substantial, nothing abiding, and nothing beatifying.
Since man, therefore, in his natural state, finds his heart filled with such evil inclinations, we bear, according to our birth from Adam, the image of an earthly and natural man. Yes, my dear friends ! you and I, and all of us, bear by nature, the image of Satan ; and therefore the infinite desire for rest, light, and pleasure, which has remained over to man, only serves as his hell and his torment, in so far as it is not rightly directed ; and because man, by sin, is entirely darkened, and cannot find the true source of light, rest, and life, he therefore falls from one vanity upon another; he seeks enjoyment first here, and then there ; at one time he thinks he finds it in money and wealth ; at another in honour and voluptuousness, and sensual delights, and therefore resorts, with his hungry desires, to these worthless things, like swine to the husks. He thinks to satiate and satisfy his soul with them; but this would never be the case to all eternity.
Now, in order that man may be replaced in his former blissful condition, he must receive help from above; for since he lies, in such a manner, in his misery and his mire ; as long as he is not really converted by the grace of God, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit, it fares with him, notwithstanding all his own efforts to help himself, as with a child which has
fallen into deep mire, that only seeks to catch hold of the mire, and struggles with its hands; but the more it involves itself in the dirt, the more filthy and weak does it become. And thus it is with all the exertions of a natural man. The more he seeks to pacify his soul with these vain and empty things, the more hungry, needy, and wretched does he feel; and the more he deprives it of the divine image, and impresses upon it an infernal form, so that there remains nothing more of the pure Spirit, which emanated from God, but only an abominable figure of the man's own hatefulness.
Now there was no other method for man's resto. ration than this, that the Son of God himself should come forth from the bosom of God. He, who was the express image of the essential being of God, was obliged to take our miserable image upon himself, and to descend into our wretched humanity, in order that, as Mediator, he might again reconcile us by himself, breathe into us his precious Holy Spirit, and again impress us with the impression of his Spirit, and with his seal upon our hearts, that from creatures of darkness, we might be made children of light, images of our God, and rendered happy.
Therefore, my dear friends! in order to be pious and blessed, it will not avail to do one thing and omit another; to assume an hypocritical appearance, dissemble, and imitate ; but we must be born again of the Spirit, renewed into the divine image, and made partakers of the divine nature ; even as our
dear Saviour says, “ Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John iii.) Observe! we have lost the Spirit by the fall; and we must again obtain the Spirit, in order to be saved. God, in the beginning, had impressed his Spirit upon us; but the devil's spirit has established its image in its place.
Now we must be born again. Even as a child, that is born of its natural parent, possesses the father's nature and properties; so must we be again entirely renewed. This takes place, when the Holy Spirit, in his primary operations, discovers to us our miserable disgrace, so that we perceive ourselves in our wretched and abominable condition, and how we are become such dreadful and hideous figures, in the sight of God, of his angels, and of enlightened men.
Now when this is properly made manifest to us, so that the individual begins to have a disgust at himself, and at his natural state, and to be terrified, shudder, and tremble at it, and thinks at the same time, it is scarcely possible that such a monster can dwell with so holy a God, in everlasting light, and that with regard to himself, after all his expedients, which he had sought in vanity, are cut off, he now feels like the prodigal son, when the husks of this world are no longer afforded him, and when he can relish them no more-I mean, when a man, after all his striving after honour, riches, lust, pleasure, and other vanities, can, nevertheless, find no rest nor satisfaction, and therefore perceives that these are not the things which can give his immortal