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present day. When we look back to the desolations of other years and of remote ages,-to the millions that the flood overwhelmed in a moment, to the multitudes whom the fire from heaven hastened to their eternal doom-to the successive and sweeping judgments of the Almighty over the face of an afflicted world,—to the dark and mysterious providences which marked the long and pre-eminent sufferings of his own servants,--to the vial of wrath poured on the chosen people, and which has rested upon them and upon their children in all the lands into which they have been carried captive ;—when I look back to the sufferings of apostles and of martyrs, who were made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men,-to the various forms of oppression, and want, and disease and death, in which human misery has been transmitted to us, to the storms and whirlwind of moral desolation with which the species has had to contend in surviving to our day ;-when I look at the great sum of wretchedness which exists in every large city, and in the metropolis of the most civilized and most truly christian country on earth ;-at the numerous diseases, bodily and mental, which no human skill can remove ;-when I think of the sufferings which no human eye has seen, of the cries of distress and anguish which no human ear has ever heard, and of the inexpressible agonies which no human tongue can ever tell ;-when I consider that amidst this tide of sin and of suffering there stands One pre-eminent in dignity and innocence, who stands pre-eminent and alone in the extent and bitterness of his sufferings, who though he traces his origin to heaven, and ex
ercises the power of the invisible God, appears despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and who because he became the substitute and representative of sinners, is treated as though he were guilty, and is oppressed and afflicted, and cut off out of the land of the living,when I consider all this, I see before me the most impressive and appalling evidence, that there exists a natural and necessary connexion between sin and suffering, and that the wages of sin is death.
The connexion which we thus see so fully established in the present state between sin and suffering, may convince us that the evil of sin is infinitely greater, and its desert more aggravated, than we are disposed to believe. If our fellow-creatures choose to call all that we tell them from the records of truth visionary, if they pronounce a state of future and endless misery to be irreconcilable with the divine goodness, they cannot deny that sin has already occasioned disease and remorse, and complicated miseries and death. It has torn away from us many of our nearest and dearest friends; it has already given us many an hour of anxiety and sorrow; and soon will it produce that entire dissolution of the frame, by which the body shall return to the dust whence it came, and the spirit to God who gave it. We think lightly of the evil and demerit of sin, only because our standard of judgment is defective or altogether erroneous; we know not the holiness and terrible greatness and awful majesty of the God whom we have offended; we think not aright of the authority and spirituality of that law which extends to every thought of the heart; we feel not the
obligations under which the very gift of being, not to speak of the blessings that have been so constantly heaped upon us, has placed us; we appreciate not the value of that remedy which is commensurate with the guilt and misery of man, and of the blood which was shed to procure remission; and we believe not that all the declarations of the Bible respecting the future and endless punishment of sin will be accomplished. We know not all the evil of sin, and all the danger arising from it ; but we may know from its effects, that it is inseparably connected with suffering,—that it leads to a state of endless seclusion from the fountain of life and blessedness, and that the misery in which it terminates, is indeed the second death. We are not only called to be the observers of sufferings, but to feel them in our persons and families: the health, the friends, the life which we now enjoy, will soon by sickness and death be taken away from us; we are in the midst of the dying and the dead, and the place which now knows us will know us no more for ever.
“ The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” If any
consideration could still farther deepen our convictions, that the connexion between sin and suffering is fixed and necessary, it would be that of the means that have been employed from the beginning, and employed with so little effect, for delivering man from the power and bondage of iniquity. What is the history of God's procedure and ways to our world,
but a history of the wondrous method devised for removing the guilt, and destroying the dominion, and freeing from the consequences of sin? The object of this gracious plan is not to interrupt or dissolve the connexion between sin and misery; for this is necessary, and fixed, and unalterable; so much so, that by no enactment, even of omnipotence, can it possibly be otherwise; so much so, that the very being of depravity, the very principle of rebellion, must be utterly exterminated from the nature, before a just liability to suffering and death can cease.
For the purpose of accomplishing this extermination, has God made known to us by a ministry of reconciliation, a new economy, which rests on the atonement and righteousness of Christ, through which mercy is conveyed to pardon, and grace to renew and to help us. He has sent his own Son that he might be the propitiation for our sins, and that by death he might procure redemption for them that obey him; he pours down his Spirit to apply this redemption to the soul, and to open the blind eyes, and to turn men from darkness to light, and from sin unto God; he has sent us the word of this salvation to persuade us by its testimony to flee to the refuge from the wrath to come; and to all the means of grace, he has added the dispensations of his Providence, to arouse us from the slumber and the stupor of sin, and to constrain us to embrace that only way under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
ON THE DUTIES WE OWE TO GOD.
ON THE DUTY-OF USING MEANS TO KNOW GOD-OF LOVING
HIM,-OF WORSHIPING HIM, OF OBEYING HIS WILL.
The being, perfections, moral government of God, and immortal destination of man, being clearly seen from the things that are made, and from the order of providence, we shall now inquire into the nature and extent of those duties which appear to be binding on man.
What are the grounds on which an intelligent and accountable being is bound to ove, reverence, and obey God? It is nearly a self-evident proposition, that a being of infinite perfection, who comprehends in him. self all possible excellency and goodness, is entitled to esteem, veneration, worship and obedience. These are rights which it is as impossible for him to alienate, or for us with impunity and blamelessly to violate, as it is for him to cease to be self-existent and infinite, or, for us to be dependent creatures.
I. On account of the excellencies and attributes of his nature. Necessarily existing from everlasting to everlasting, the King eternal, immortal, invisible, he is omnipotent, intelligent, holy and good, and is the only