Thus far, we have seen Jonathan Edwards description of fallen men and their natural hatred for him. Indeed, fallen men are enemies of God. We have seen in what respects natural men are God’s enemies. We have examined the degree of men’s natural enmity to God. And we have seen on what account men are enemies to God. Note the fourth and fifth argument that Edwards provides:
4. The Objection, That Men Are Not Conscious of This Enmity, Answered
Edwards take a detour in the next two headings. He is concerned to answer objections; in specific, objections that have to do with the knowledge that natural men have about their hatred of God. He speaks directly to those who would object in a series of seven responses:
First, if you do but observe yourself, and search your own heart, unless you are strangely blinded, you may be sensible of those things, wherein enmity does fundamentally consist.
Second, one reason why you have not more sensibly felt the exercises of malice against God, is that your enmity is now exercised partly in your unbelief of God’s being; and this prevents its appearing in other ways.
Third, if you think there is a God, yet you do not realize it, that he is such a God as he really is.
Fourth, your having always been taught that God is infinitely above you, and out of your reach, has prevented your enmity being exercised in those ways, that otherwise it would have been.
Fifth, you have always been taught what a dreadful thing it is to hate God, and how terrible his displeasure; that God sees the heart and knows all the thoughts; and that you are in his hands, and he can make you as miserable as he pleases, and as soon as he pleases.
Sixth, one reason why you have not felt more sensible hatred to God may be, because you have not had much trial of what is in your heart.
Seven, actions are the best interpreters of the disposition: they show, better than any thing else, what the heart is. It must be because you do not observe your own behavior, that you question whether you are an enemy of God.
5. The Objections That They Show Respect to God, and Experience Some Religious Affections, Answered
Edwards labors to demonstrate that will the natural man may appear to show outward signs of respect as evidenced by prayers or acts of piety, these are at the end of the day mere acts of hypocrisy. And again, he addresses the natural man forcefully: “You only cover your enmity with a painted veil. You put on the disguise of a friend, but in your heart you are a mortal enemy. There is external honor, but inward contempt; there is a show of friendship and regard, but inward hatred.”
So Edwards lays the natural man bare. He calls his bluff and peels the works-based exterior, showing with stark clarity the wickedness that lies deep in the heart of the natural, unconverted man.