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whom it is committed. It will shall we necessarily think of the generally be allowed, that an of. glorious God. But the time fence committed against a superi. never will, nor can come, when or is more criminal, than the same the divine character will cease to thing would have been, had it rise in the views of creatures ; been done against an equal; that it more especially, in the views of is more criminal, for instance, in those, who are monuments of his a child to insult his father, than saving mercy. Of course, the to insult one of his inferiors in time can never come, when all the same manner. There was a the evil and malignity of sin will greater degree of turpitude, in be discovered by creatures. As mocking the Lord Jesus and the whole worth of the divine spitting upon him, than there character can never be seen or would have been in doing the comprehended; no more will the same thing to one of his disci. whole demerit, the whole evil, and ples. So, also, it must be more turpitude of sin. When it is criminal to disobey God, than to said, that sin is an infinite evil, disobey the commands of civil what more can be meant, than rulers. On this principle, Peter that its evil is so great, that the and John, when forbidden by whole of it will never be seen the Jewish high priest and rulers and comprehended by creatures? to speak any more in the name And what impropriety can there of Jesus, replied, “Whether it be, in speaking of it as an infi. be right in the sight of God to nite evil, when it is "manifest, hearken unto you more than unto that no created mind can ever God, judge ye.” It must be arrive at a perfect knowledge more criminal for us to prize our and comprehension, of all the own honor and interest above evil there is in it? But, those of our Maker, than to 2. If we estimate the evil of prize them above the honor and sin by the natural evil it tends to interest of a fellow mortal.' produce, and which it would in These views of things naturally fact produce, were not its effects result from the apprehensions we restrained and overruled by a all have, of superiority in the superior power, we must un. divine Being to any and all crea. questionably consider it as an tures.
infinite evil. Sin, if not restrain, Hence it must follow, that the ed and overruled by a superior higher conceptions we have of power, would necessarily.disturb God, of the greatness of his be the peace, and destroy the com. ing, and the glory and worth of forts of creatures. Could it ap. his character, the greater evil pear there was no power to re. will there appear to be in sin. strain and prevent the natural
This being so, it must follow, effects of sin, all confidence in that, as our conceptions of the God must, at once, cease. If glory, the worth, and excellence the ground of confidence in him of the divine character, increase, be taken away, the foundation the evil of sin will, in our view, of all comfort is, also, taken also increase. And, as the pow. away. Restraints are taken off ers of our minds, and our knowl. from creatures and the right. edge increase, the more highly eous, so long as any such remain, will lie at the mercy of the wick. would fall to the ground; and ed. Thus manifest is it, that he would never see of the travail sin would put a final end to the of his soul and be satisfied. And happiness of creatures, were there all the felicity and joy, which not a Being, at the head of the will be the effect of his coming universe, of almighty power and and glorious work, would be infinite goodness to prevent it. eternally lost ; and, universal
We may observe, further, that disorder, confusion, and wretch. sin has as direct and strong a edness for ever prevail. tendency to destroy the happi. That which would naturally ness of God, as that of creatures: and necessarily produce all these and, nothing but his infinite pow. effects, if not restrained by al. er and wisdom prevent it. For, mighty power-That, the whole if the Deity could not govern his evil of which can never be seen own world according to his will, and comprehended by a finite and so as to subserve his own mind; may, with the utmost glorious purposes and desigas; propriety, be considered and if he could not cause the wrath spoken of as an infinite evil. of man to praise him, and the That, which is, in its nature, remainder thereof restrain, his subversive of infinite good, mast, happiness would immediately be of necessity, be infinitely evil. at an end. Christ's kingdom
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF RELIGION.
There are three things which, able offences ; and by the forefrom a regard to our own wel. boding fears with which the fare, we should labor to at. miods of sioners are haunted, tain :--An interest in the divine and the judgments which have favor, preparation for the heav. been executed upon the guilty, enly blessedness, and the present as well as by the express decla. enjoyment of the comforts of rations of his word, his purpose religion. All these things are of wrath is revealed from Heaven inseparably connected ; no one against all ungodliness and una of them can be possessed but in righteousness of men. Now, if conjunction with the others ; by God be our enemy, who can po man is any one of them truly shield us from the effects of his desired by whom either of the displeasure?-the mightiest crea. others is lightly esteemed.
tures must be instantly crushed An interest in the divine favor by his ponderous arm. We must may now be secured ; the glo. eternally sink miserable, help. rious and blessed God, in whose less, hopeless, under his ven. hand our breath is, and whose geance ; but God, though able are all our ways, has been pro. to destroy, is waiting to be gra. voked to anger by our innumer. cious! Much as we deserve to be made monuments of his wrath, delights, completely wretched. he is ready, through the media. But preparation for the heavenly tion of Jesus, to receive us into blessedness may now be obtain. the arms of his love !
ed ; the vilest sinner on earth A few moments may dissolve may hope to become, through our relation to this lower world. the power of divine grace, mete But what must thus become of to be a partaker of the inherit. our immortal souls ? Shall they ance of the saints in light. be received into the world of The human soul has capacities glory? or shall they be doomed of enjoyment which this world to the regions of woe ? shall will never be able to fill up. they become the companions of They who have possessed the holy angels, or the associates of most ample portion of worldly accursed fiends? If at death we good things, have been con. be found endowed with right. strained to acknowledge with eousness and true holiness, with Solomon, that all is vanity. faith unfeigned, with love un. Men are incessantly secking the dissembled, we shall be allowed possession of happiness; but immediately to pass into glory, happiness still eludes their grasp. and be received in heaven with They scek it in sensual gratif. universal plaudits ; but if, at cations, more gross, or more re. the termination of our earthly fined ; in the tender relations career, we be found destitute of and soothing intercourse of do. these excellent endowments, we mestic life, in the pursuits of must be thrust into the pit. For business, in the investigations of an upholy creature heaven would science; or by resorting to nu. be a most unsuitable abode ; the merous and mixed assemblies : introduction of an unholy crea. but how much soever their hopes ture into heaven would darken may be sometimes flushed, dis. its glory, would disturb its has appointment ultimately attends mony, would embitter its bliss. them in all their steps. There An unholy creature would be is still something better than all equally unfit for mingling in the that they have yet experienced, society, for engaging in the ex. for which they pant, but which ercises, and for partaking of the they never enjoy. The end of pleasures of the high and holy all their researches is invariably place. The glorious presence found to be labor and sorrow; of God and of the Lamb, would but there is a river of strong have no tendency to command consolation, the streams of which his esteen, to bend his stubborn make glad the city of God. Pure will, or to win his carnal heart. and undefiled religion is always The wonderous scene which accompanied, less or more, with would be unfolded to his view, solid peace, and with tranquil, if would only serve to irritate his not with rapturous joy. While corruptions, and increase his walking in the path of command. hatred. The presence of objects ed duty, God, in a gracious and so contrary to his inclinations, sensible manoer, draws near would raise such a tempest of to the souls of his people, and agonizing emotion in his soul, as admits them, in some measure vould render him, amid ineffable to enjoy the unspeakable endear.
ments of his love. He puts of their delight for peace with gladness into their hearts, more God and the joys of Heaven ! pure and more abundant than Resolved not to obey the gos. worldlings experience when their pel, they keep themselves at a barns are full, and their vats distance from those places, and overflow.
from that society in which its All who reflect on these three sound might be obtruded on their great objects of pursuit, must be ears. They studiously gather convinced of their immense im. objections to its heavenly origin, portance: and the more we con, but attend not to the accumu. template them, their immense im. mulated evidence by which its portance will become the more ap. truth is directly supported; and parent. Of all the other objects their endeavors to fortify them. that solicit our attention, which selves in infidelity, are often can be reasonably allowed to crowned with lamentable suce come into competition with them? cess! they become, through the If these be secured, we may ex. deceitfulness of sin, abundantly ult in the midst of all those evils confirmed, at least during the which are dreadful to flesh and continuance of health, in their blood, and in the face of Death, irreligious principles : they learn arrayed in all his terrors. If in to deride all attempts to con. these we be unable to claim an vince their understanding, to interest, we have reason of pers' awaken their hopes, or to alarm petual alarm, what advantages their fears! soever may otherwise promise to All who call themselves Chris. promote our joy. What is a tians, profess to be persuaded of man profited though he gain the the immense importance of these whole world, if he lose his soul; things ; and acknowledge that what a joyful reception there. they should chiefly fill their fore should the gospel universal. thoughts, eugross their affeca ly obtain! With what persever. tions, and employ their time. ing diligence should its ordi. But does the practice of the nances be improved !
greater number of them corres. But do all to whom the gos. pond to their professed persua. pel comes give it such a cordial sion? Do these things engage reception ? Would to God that and occupy their minds when this were indeed the case! Few, they sit in the house, and when when compared with the number they walk by the way, when of those who are otherwise mind. they lie down, and when they .ed, receive the truth in faith and rise up ? How shall the truth love. Many treat the gospel be declared ? Be astonished, ye with avowed insult ; they regard Heavens ! and tremble thou it with contemptuous indiffer. Earth, to behold the indignity ence, as a childish, or at best, a with which the gracious over. cunniogly devised fable! Their tures of the eternal God are minds, blinded by Satan, cannot treated by the worms of his foota admit the beams of that light stool !-they behave just as if which hath shined from above; they had been contriving how their hearts, wedded to vanity, they might most provokingly will not renounce these objects pour contempt upon the blessed VOL. II. New Series.
gospel and its glorious Author. those who know something of They hear the word of salvation their own imbecility, and of the with frigid indifference. Every bewitching allurements which thing besides, may in its turn menace their safety? And if engross their attention : religion these things be not found in us, alone, the one thing needful,' can we free ourselves from the is úniformly disregarded. charge of criminal negligence ?
Ye worse than triflers, what Is there an individual among us madness possesses you? Is sal all who can say, “I am guilt. vation the only thing which is less ?” Negligent indeed, we unworthy of your care ? Are may not all be to the same de. ye alike insensible to the allure. gree, but we may all be sensible ments of love, and to the terrors how deeply a tendency to spirit. of wrath divine ? Are the pleas. ual negligence is rooted in our ures of sin, which are but for a nature. Be ashamed, ye who season, the only objects worthy suffer yourselves to be overcome of regard ? Will ye continue to by spiritual negligence ! — be sport unconcerned in the beams grieved that your heaven.born of vanity, till the day of grace souls should be so prone to be past, and your souls irrecov. cleave to the dust ; labor to get erably perish? will ye not be your mind more deeply impress. wise in time? You are wasting ed with a sense of the incom. away with an inveterate distem. parable worth of spiritual and per, which threatens every mo. heavenly blessings. Call to mind ment to cut you off ; and will that ardent longing for God, you not apply to the great Phy- that holy carefulness to please sician, who is able to expel dis. him, that holy fear of offending ease from your frame, and to him, which you felt at an earlier impart to you that delightful period of your christian course. ease of heart, to which you now Was it not then better with you are strangers ? Behold, now is than now ? The peace of God the day of salvation !
which passes all understanding, Even among those who are in kept your hearts; your souls some measure impressed with a were cheered with the hope of sense of this importance of things immortality. But how is the divine, what criminal negligence gold become dim ! how is the prevails! What indolent desire most fine gold changed ! How and feeble endeavors after the different is the appearance which blessings of salvation ! how re you now exhibit to the eye of miss are they in their efforts to conscience and of God! Your enjoy an assured interest in the negligence has eclipsed the glory divine favor, obvious meteness of religion in your souls, and for the world'of perfection, and deprived you of all its joys! an abundant measure of religious How much do ye now suffer consolations! Where is that from the inroads of dissatisfac. complete engagedness of soul in tion, and anxiety, and fear! religion which might be expect. how often are you constrained ed in all its votaries ? Where is to cry out with Job, “Oh! that holy circumspectness of that I were as in months past !” conduct which should appear in Remember thereforefrom whence