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der to them that are contentious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.'
The profane scoffer may walk after his own -lusts, and insultingly ask, in the language of similar characters of old, 'Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation Let him make speed, and hasten his work that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! But the Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness he will be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy, sanctified in righteousness.' Whatever the incorrigible sinner may think, his damnation slumbereth not-the day of his calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon him make haste. Divine justice is not asleep, but watchful. The Lord is, a God of know, ledge, and by him actions are weighed. His
eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good ; Whence it is evident, that God not only can know, if he will, but likewise that he actually wills to know all that we do.' He is a Judge' infinitely wise, and infinitely powerful ; whom the sinner can neither deceive, escape, nor resist.? Not a word, not a thought eludes his notice. All deviations are faithfully recorded ; and a tribunal erected where, as one expresses it, the proofs for conviction are ready to produce, the evidence unexceptionable, and the awards of justice exactly proportioned to the guilt. Though the adulterer wait for the twilight, and disguise himself, yet shall he not avoid detection : "the hidden things of darkness shall be brought to light: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Whatsoever has been spoken-in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which has been spoken in the ear, in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the house tops. . ,
* That dreadful evil, which, with equal force and propriety, is called the second death, should not; surely, be disregarded, merely because it has been long impending; and as there is no equivalent for which a man, can reasonably determine to suffer, it cannot be considered as the object of courage. How it may be born should not be the inquiry ; but how it may be shunned. And if, in this daring age it is impossible to prepare for eternity, without giving up the character of a hero, no reasonable being, surely, will be deterred by this consideration from the attempt; for who but an infant, or an idiot, would give up his * paternal inheritance for a feather, or renounce the acclamations of a triumph for the tinkling of a rattle?!'
! The truth is, all men by nature possess a radical aversion to the government of God. They practically say concerning him, as the Jewish nation did of Christ, We will not have this man to reign over us : and the reason is obvious : his word, like that of the prophet to the king of Israel, never speaks good to them, but always evil. There is, therefore, a perpetual contest between him and them for sove
reign dominion ; or, as Charnock expresses it, • Whose will, and whose authority shall stand.' As rector of the world, he has enacted a law worthy of infinite wisdom, and of infinite benevolence ; that is adapted to promote the divine glory and the happiness of man. But this law, since the fall, though supremely excellent in itself, is so repugnant to the propensities of depraved nature, that it is constantly opposed ; is represented as rigorous and cruel; as not suited to man in his present circumstances; and, therefore, incompatible with the benignity of God. The heavenly statute is treated as an obsolete rule, and the will of perverse mortals set up as the standard of duty; or at least the authority of the divine Legislator in the law, is trampled on without regret, and the vilest atrocities frequently committed without remorse and without shame.
Let it, however, be remembered, that one grand end of the incarnation, the sufferings, and the death of Christ, was to honour the divine government. The objects whom he came to redeem, were violators of the law of God, and subject to its curse. As delinquents, it had a legal claim upon them; which claim was a bar to bestowment of happiness. In order, therefore, to remove this impediment, he, as their surety, conformed to all its precepts in his life, and suffered its penalty in being made sin and a curse for them in his death. Now Christ, in bearing this curse, practically declared, both to angels and to men, that the law which denounced it is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good ; that the persons for whom he died, deserved to suffer its penalty; and that they could not, consistently with the honour of the divine government, possess the kingdom
prepared for them till this curse was entirely · removed.
If the purity and perfection of the law of God be not fully admitted ; if the curse it pronounceth on the sinner be not strictly equitar, ble, the death of Christ, as an expiatory sacrifice, was the most unjust, and the most cruel event that heaven or earth ever witnessed! What need was there for such an expiation, if man could have been saved without