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anger for ever; "* who, in forgetfulness of man's unnumbered provocations, has sent His only son to rescue and restore a ruined world? Truly in offending Him, we are guilty of more than rebellion, of more than folly, of more than a baseness for which no punishment can be too great. Besides all these condemnations, every offence we commit is branded with the revolting charge of unnatural ingratitude, and a gross insensibility to mercy and love. Our every act of covetousness or of carnal-mindedness involves, as the apostle declares,t a transfer of the affections from their lawful object to the worship of a favourite idol. Our sensuality and intemperance are a perversity of moral taste, which “takes bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter," I and which makes us love what is not lovely, and find pleasure in that in which man was not intended to rejoice. Our sabbathbreaking is the proceed of a heartless indifference to the claims upon our regard of that almighty and all-merciful Parent in whose presence and society we ought mostly to delight. And all our envy, our hatred, and our malice are a deadness on our parts to the force of those kindly and social charities by which, in one large band of brotherhood, true Christians should be united together. * Psalm ciii. 9. † Colos. iii. 5. $ Isaiah v. 20. Oh! that men, therefore, would reflect, when temptation besets their path, with what a variety of aggravating circumstances, abborrent to our very nature, and revolting to humanity, sin becomes, in this view, encompassed! That they would ask themselves the question, “How can I do this wickedness and sin against God?"How shall the favoured and adopted child repay all a Father's mercies with ingratitude and scorn ? How shall the creature presume to mock his Creator, and raise the puny hand, and move the tongue, and exert the all-insufficient mind, which He has made, and endowed with the powers they possess, in defiance of Him wbo at that very moment is preserving them with His sustaining energy, and is bending on them still a glance of infinite mercy ? Or how shall we refuse to dedicate to Him, insignificant as they may be, the first fruits of those affections and sensibilities of the heart the seeds of which His own band had implanted there, and which, but for the culture and support of His providential care, could never - bave ripened into maturity ?
In the former part of this discourse it was attempted to shew, that sig, in all the shapes which it has assumed in the history of man, has ever implied—besides its many other and more serious aggravationsma deficiency in that common sensibility and tenderness of feeling which nature itself, taken at its ordinary standard, seems to dictate in the various relations of this life. We bave now to mention a few other illustrations of the same position, and then proced to examine the second part of the question proposed for enquiry, viz: in what manner this grossness of heart is affected by the influences of religion.
And here we must not omit to observe-- with especial reference to the more open violators of the principles, or even, what may be termed, the decencies of Christian society -- how greatly their guilt is augmented in addition to the other considerations mentioned above) by their forgetfulness of the crowd of temporal evils which they inflict on others, and which invariably follow, in some form or other, on the minutest deviation from the path of rectitude and piety. And is it no aggravation, we may ask, of the guilt of such an one, that he is reckless of the earthly troubles that he is bringing on those who are near and dear to him, or of the long train of calamities which, to some part or other of the social system, must inevitably ensue on his every departure from the law of God? Oh! consider, ye who, day by day, and night by night, perseveringly and unrepentingly provoke the divine displeasure, -Oh! consider, if raise your thoughts so high as to reflect on the wrath ye are kindling against you in heaven, what ruin and desolation ye are working on earth. Think of the retribution, slow but sure, that unavoidably attends on guilt. Think of the wretchedness it introduces, under a multitude of your homes.
Picture to your
forms, into the world at large. Think of the miseries and sorrows, the unfailing offspring of sin, which you are heaping upon yourselves, your kindred, and selves the pain and grief that he is certain to inflict on all around whose heart is not right with God; the uncharitableness, the peevishness, the violence, the caprice, which must embitter the domestic circle in which he moves; the sufferings which they must endure who are made the victims of his sensuality or his injustice; the peace
of families which he violates and destroys ; the disease and penury that follow on excess ; the distress he brings on those who are interested in his welfare, and who are compelled to share the consequences of his guilt; the tears of agony, --the unavailing regrets,—the bitterness of shame and disappointment to those about him,--the grey hairs that his folly must bring down with sorrow to the grave. Oh! think of all these things, and if one ray of generous emotion yet lingers in your breasts,-one spark of tenderness for the feelings and the happiness of those who are most dearly attached to you, let nature herself awake to vindicate the broken laws of God, and the common affections of humanity arise to teach you,
in part at least, some lessons of the loving kindness, and gratitude, and charity, and self