Secondly, Sin is more opposite to the Good of man than Afflictions, because most opposite to the Image of God in man: three Particulars instanced, and a Questi∣on resolved.
SEecondly, This will come more close, and particularly to demonstrate it more plain∣ly to you, how that Sin is more against the good of a man, than ever Afflictions and troubles can be; Because sin is most against the Image of God in man, most opposite unto the Image of God in man, it defaceth that Image: therefore it must Page 146 needs be a greater evil than Afflictions: For Brethren, of all Creatures in the world that God made, Angels and Men were the only Creatures that God stamped his Image upon; for as it is with Princes, they use not to stamp their Image (if they be glorious magnificent Princes they use not to stamp their Image) upon Brass, or Copper, or Leather, upon base Mettals, but up∣on pure Mettals, Gold or Silver; and it is a sign the State grows low, when the Kings Image must be stamped upon lower Mettals: So here, God would have his Image stamped upon some of his Creatures; now he would not take the lowest meanest Creatures, but God takes the most excellent Creatures, as I may so say, Gold and Silver; the Angels I may compare to Gold, and the Children of Men to Silver; and God makes the same Image (as the same Image that is upon the Gold, is upon the Silver) God makes the same upon Man that is upon the Angels: the same Image of God that makes the Angels glorious Creatures, doth make Man kind to be glorious too in the same Image; and our Na∣tures be capable of the very same Image of God that the Angels themselves have; and this is the excellency of Man-kind. Now it is need∣ful to shew the excellency of Gods Image in man, that so I may shew you the evil of Sin; in that it defaceth such an excellency of man, and therfore it is more against the good of man than any affliction can be.
1 Now the Image of God in Man is a glorious excellency, for it is that whereby men come to Page 147 resemble God in his highest excellency; it is not a likeness unto God in some inferior thing; for though it be true, all in God is alike glorious, yet to our apprehensions some things appear more glorious than other: now the Image of God in Man, is that whereby Man resembles God in that which doth appear to be the highest Ex∣cellency in God himself. For as in an Image or Picture of a Man; when I draw the Image of a Man, I draw not the resemblance of a Man in in some inferior thing, but I labor to draw the lively countenance; in that is the greatest ex∣cellency of a man. And so in the Image of God, now the Image of God is the Holiness of God, and so in mans soul the impression of Gods own Holiness, that is the Image of God in man; and by that, man comes to resemble God in the top of his glory and excellency. Now this must needs be glorious for the Creature to come so neer unto God as is possible for the Creature; for there is no excellency any Creature is capa∣ble of, higher than the Image of God, only that Hypostatical union of the two Natures.
2 Upon this God must needs take an infinite delight in looking upon the souls of the Chil∣dren of men; as you know a man takes delight in looking upon his own Image where ever he seeth it: so God takes delight in looking upon his own Image; there is nothing in all the world can take the Eye of God so much as loo∣king upon Angels and the Souls of men, and God sees the very same thing in the souls of men as he did in his Angels. The most glorious Page 148 object God hath to behold, is to behold himself in the Creature; the more God seeth of himself in any Creature, the more delight must he needs take in viewing and looking upon that Creature. Now no Creature in this inferior world had so much of Gods work in it as Man-kind had, ha∣ving the Image of God.
3 Hence it follows, That all the Creatures in the world were brought under the Dominion of Man to be serviceable unto Man; why? Be∣cause he had so much of the Image of God in him: upon that all Creatures in the world were to lie under his feet, to be perfectly subject to the Dominion of Man. Now if the Image of God be such a glorious thing as it is, then what would you say of that which doth deface this I∣mage? that must needs be an evil thing, and do much to the hurt of man that shall deface such an ezcellency as this is. Now certainly sin doth so; sin doth cast dirt into this Image of God, and doth deface it: and therefore in the 3. Col 10. the Apostle there speaking of renewing grace, sanctifying grace, it is said, by it we come to have the Image of God renewed: by grace; then it is apparent, by sin the Image of God is defa∣ced. Now Prethren, if a man did take delight in a curious piece, as there be some men that will give five hundred pounds, a thousand pounds for some curious thing drawn with Art: suppose such a one that prizeth such a piece, and there should come one and quite deface it; would he not account this a great evil, and his heart rise against him? Thus it is in this case, Page 149 the Image of God in the soul of man, is the curi∣ousest piece that ever was drawn in the world by the finger of Gods Spirit; all Creatures in Heaven and Earth could never draw such a piece, but sin defaceth it; nay, such is the evil of sin, that one sin is enough quite to deface, and take away the Image of God: As we know in Adam, that was made according to the Image of God, one sin quite defaced the Image of God: As we account a House quite defaced and de∣molished, though here and there a little rubbish and stones remain: as in your Monasteries or Abbies that are demolished, though there be a few stones and rubbish left, yet the House is de∣molished. So all that is left in Man of Gods I∣mage, is but as the little rubbish of such a house left after its demolishing; yea, that which is left, according to the Opinion of many of the Learned, is not a remainder of the Image of God in man that he had at first Creation; but rather a smal pittance of some common gifts of Gods Spirit: For many wise and godly men hold that the remainders of that which we usually con∣ceive to be the ruines and remainders of Gods Image since the Fall, is not the remainders of what is left, but that which God (for socie∣tie sake in the world, and that he may have a Church in the world) was pleased by some gi∣vings out of his Spirit to renew somwhat in those that shall not be saved; and so they come to have some light of knowledg even by Jesus Christ himself, Christ enlightens every man that comes▪ into the world, saith the Scripture; that is, Page 150 if a man have common light, Christ enlightens that man; if a man have saving light, Christ en∣lightens that man with saving light: so that the Image of God was quite defaced by one sin. Oh the evil and venom of sin, that one sin quite takes away the Image of God.
Quest. But you will say, Why is it not so now, for in the Regenerate, there is the Image of God in part renewed in them, and yet they commit many sins? how comes it to pass sin quite defaceth not the Image of God in those Regenerate, that have it not perfectly, as well as the Image of God in man that had it perfectly at first?
Answ. To this I answer: This is not from a any reason of want of malignity in sin, for sin would do it; but because of the strength that is in the Covenant of Grace, that God hath made in Christ, hence God preserveth his Image in those that be Regenerate, notwithstanding they commit many sins: and it is a demonstration of the infinite power of God, that notwithstanding there is so many sins in those Regenerate, that yet there should be preserved the Image of God in man, which was not in Adam: Because God entred not into such a gracious Covenant with Adam to preserve him, therefore God lea∣ving Adam to a common course of Providence, and had to do with him in a Covenant of works, therfore God leavs that for sin to do in him, that it should not in us. But now there is more strength in the Covenant of Grace, and there∣fore it is, that 'tis not every sin we commit that doth deface the Image of God: but this is no Page 151 thank to sin, nor doth it argue the less evil in sin. But be it known unto you that be sanctified, when you give liberty to sin, there is this in it, that in its own Nature it would quite take away all the Image of God renewed in you: And certainly thofe that understand what a blessing there is in this, to have Gods Image renewed in them, cannot but see that there is greater evil in sin than in any thing in the world; that I should commit that which in its own Nature would quite deface the whol Image of God in me. And this is the second Argument to de∣clare the evil of sin against mans good.