The title of Shedd’s fifth chapter really caught my attention; it’s the perfect title for a sermon based on Romans 1:24 – “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God.” Shedd: “Any erroneous or defective view of the Supreme Being will pervade the whole province of religion, and exert a most pernicious influence upon the entire character and conduct of men.” Indeed! We see the truth of this statement all around us. Man, looking into the night sky and at the myriads of stars, comes face to face with the unseen God and wonders. It has been so throughout history, and it is so across cultures. Granted, this image, provided by the creation, falls short of the clarity of the gospel; however, it is sufficient to tell us there is One greater and who is to be worshipped and obeyed. Knowing this and refusing to look for and to go to this One is a terrible failing bringing with it the most terrible consequences.
These sermons, being addressed to the natural man, always find Shedd coming back to the solution: “This is the condemnation under which man, and especially enlightened and cultivated man, rests, that while he knows God he neither glorifies Him nor enjoys Him. Our Redeemer saw this with all the clearness of the Divine Mind; and to deliver the creature from the dreadful guilt of his self-idolatry, of his disposition to worship and love the creature more than the Creator, He became incarnate, and suffered, and died.”
Nature with open volume stands
to spread her Maker’s praise abroad,
and every labour of his hands
shows something worthy of our God.
But in the grace that rescued man
his brightest form of glory shines;
here on the cross ‘tis fairest drawn
in precious blood and crimson lines. –Isaac Watts (18th century)