Sin makes us smaller. Grace makes us bigger. Sin leads to selfishness which shrinks us from what we were created to be. Grace leads to love which grows us into what we were created to be.
This is the sermon introduction to a sermon preached by Jonathan Edwards on 1 Corinthians 13:5 “love does not seek its own.”
Here he says, in his own way, that sin shrinks us small and grace grows us big again.
Immediately upon the fall, the mind of man shrank from its primitive greatness and expandedness, to an exceeding smallness and contractedness.
Before the fall, his soul was under the government of that noble principle of divine love, whereby it was enlarged to the comprehension of all his fellow creatures and their welfare.
But so soon as he had transgressed against God, these noble principles were immediately lost, and all this excellent enlargedness of man’s soul was gone; and thenceforward he himself shrank, as it were, into a little space, circumscribed and closely shut up within itself to the exclusion of all things else.
Sin, like some powerful astringent, contracted his soul to the very small dimensions of selfishness.
But God, in mercy to miserable man, entered on the work of redemption, and, by the glorious gospel of his Son, began the work of bringing the soul of man out of its confinement and contractedness, and back again to those noble and divine principles by which it was animated and governed at first. And so Christianity restores an excellent enlargement, and extensiveness, and liberality to the soul.