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· Of his wisdom
[The devising of the plan of redemption was the greatest effort of divine wisdom
But this declares that the devising of it was superfluous, and that an attention to it is unnecessary-] Of his mercy
(God in infinite mercy offers us salvation through his Son
But this is a determinate refusal of his gracious offers-]
Such is the construction which God himself puts upon itsII. Wherefore they do so
This contempt of God is in the highest degree unreasonable
The question therefore must be considered in a way of exposiulation
i. What assurance has any man that God will not require sin?
[Supposing it possible or even probable, who can be certain of it?
What folly then must it be to continue in sin through hopes of impunity, when the mistake, if it be one, will be irrevocable, and the consequences of it irremediable?-
We are bound, in common prudence, to chuse the safe side-] 2. Has not God said that he will require sin?
[The testimonies to this effect are most indubitable Can we suppose that God will falsify his word?-]
3. Has not God already in many instances required sin?
(Have not individuals, companies, cities, the whole world, yea, man in Paradise, and angels in Heaven, been made monuments of divine vengeance:k
Why may he not manifest his indignation against US also? --]
4. Will not the account be dreadful if he should require sin?
(No heart can conceive the terrors of the final judgmentWho, in his right mind, would risk the loss of Heaven, and the suffering of Hell?-]
Isai. lv. 1, 2. bi Cor. vi. 9. John ü. 3.
Jude vi. 7.
& I Sam. ii. 30. Rom. ii. 4.
5. Can any power or policy of men prevent his requiring sin?
[Let us first avert death from our bodies, or provide an answer to Job's question:
Not earth and hell combined can prevent the punishment of one sinner-] APPLICATION
[Let us see how deeply we have been involved in this guilt
Let us consider to what an extent we may commit sin even by our thoughts
Let us flee for refuge to the hope set before us
If we believe in Christ, God will never require sin at our hands”
A believer may not only think this in his heart, but express it with his lips
Such expressions so far from pouring contempt on God will greatly honour him
God is not more honoured by any thing than by the humble confidence of a believero
Let us all therefore lay our sins on the head of the true scape-goat
So shall they never be required of us in the day of judgment
1 Job ix. 4.
m Prov. xi. 21.
"' Acts xiii. 39.
V. MAN'S ABUSE OF GOD'S PATIENCE.
Eccl. viii. 11. Because sentence against an evil work is not exe
cuted speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
SIN is in itself an evil of a crimson dye
Nevertheless its malignity may be greatly increased by the aggravations with which it is attended. One can scarcely conceive any thing that can enhance its guilt so much, as the committing of it in hopes that God's mercy will pardon it . Yet this is the very ground on which the world indulge themselves in the commission of it" Because,” &c. I. The extent of man's wickedness
That sin exists in the world is visible to all
But the degree in which it prevails is very little knownMen sin 1. Habitually
[All are not equally vicious in their lives But all forget God and neglect their own souls Successive years serve only to confirm this habit We may all adopt the confession of the church of olda-1 2. Deliberately
[It were well if we never sinned, but through ignorance or inadvertence
But what schemes have we formed for the accomplishment of sinful purposes!
How often have we seen the sinfulness of our desires, and yet gratified them!
The very bent and inclination of our souls has been towards wickedness-] 3. Without restraint.
[A regard to our reputation or interest may impose some restraint
A fear of hell may also prevent the gratification of some desires
But few are kept from evil like Joseph, by the fear of Godd
That is the only restraint which proves uniformly effectuale ] 4. Without remorse
[We must at times have felt some convictions of cona science
But we, for the most part, stifle them by company, amusements, &c.
Many attain to dreadful hardness of heart and impenitencef
The prophets description may well be applied to each of us ]
Thus are “men's hearts fully set in them to do evil”
[They walk after the imagination of their own heartsNeither mercies nor judgments can prevail with them to do otherwise-]
If their sins were followed by a visible and immediate punishment, men would not dare to live in this manner
But God defers the execution of his judgments
a Jer. iii. 25.
b Rom. i. 32.
© Job xv. 16.
II. The occasion of it
God is not an unconcerned spectator of sin He has appointed a day for the revelation of his righteous judgmentAt present he forbears to inflict vengeance
This very forbeurance emboldens men to sin—" because,'' “ therefore"
From the delay of punishment men think 1. That there is but little “evil' in sin
(God indeed calls sin “an evil work”But his forbearance towards sinners is thought to indicate indifference
This however is a fatal delusion-
[Men would gladly persuade themselves that they have, 110 cause to fear
The temptation whereby the serpent beguiled Eve, is cherished by them
But the wrath of God is indeed denounced against sin?
Every species and degree of sin renders us obnoxious to his displeasurem-]
3. That the sentence (if there be any) will never be "executed”
[Since God defers punishing, it seems possible that he may decline it altogether
The apparent disproportion between the offence and the punishment seems to countenance this idea
To confirm our hope we are apt to compare God with ourselves" But, however long God delay, he will surely strike at last°-]
Thus they take occasion from God's forbearance to persist in their evil ways
[David mentions this effect as arising from it in his day St. Peter foretells the prevalence of this iniquity in the last days!
Experience proves how universally it obtains at present-] INFER
1. How great the folly, as well as wickedness, of unregenerate men!
2 Pet. ï. 4-6. 1 Rom. ii. 8, 9.
• Eccl. viii. 12, 13. Vol. I.
i Eph. v. 6.
k Gen. iii. 4.
[If there were a bare possibility of eternal punishment, how mad were it to continue in sin!
But God has pledged himself that he will inflict it on the impenitent
Every moment's continuance in sin increases the condem. nations —
What extreme folly then is it so to abuse the forbearance of God!
May we be ashamed of ourselves, and repent in dust and ashes ]
2. What need have we to be cleansed by the blood and spirit of Christ!
[What but the blood of Christ can ever expiate the guilt we have contracted?
What but the spirit of Christ can ever deliver us from such habits?
That we can never renew our own souls is certain
3. How dreadful must be the state of those who con. tinue impenitent!
[There is a certain measure of iniquity which sinners are left to fill upy
When this is full, nothing can avert the divine ven. geance?—
Already are the arrows of divine Justice pointed at them? Eternity itself will be the duration of the punishment The time is coming when Jerusalem's state will be oursLet us then tremble lest we exhaust the divine patienced Let us diligently improve this day of salvatione-]
r Matt. xxv. 46. u Zech. xiii. 1. 21 Thess. ii. 16. c Luke xix. 42.
s Rom. ii. 4, 5.
+ Jer. xiii. 23.
Gen. xv. 16. b Mark ix. 43–48. e 2 Cor. vi. 2.
VI. THE IMPROVEMENT TO BE MADE OF THE DOC
TRINE OF A FUTURE JUDGMENT. 2 Cor. v. 10, 11. We must all appear before the judgment-seat of
Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.
TIME is generally thought to be of little use, except as it may be employed in amusements or in the prosecution of worldly business .