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and the climes of bliss. In the intermediate state, they look up only to an incensed Judge, and have a fearful looking for of fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversary. What will be their doom, when their fleeping duft shall revive, and be re-united to the soul, its companion in sin, in order to be its companion in punishment? There will be a refurrection of the unjust. Therefore thofe who die in their fins will rise in a state of uncancelled guilt. The state of unembodied fpirits will not alter their character. And from the judgment seat, “ whosoever is not found written in the « book of life shall be cast into the lake where the “ worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. This " is the second death."
The fcriptures describe hell as a place of despair, not of hope-a place where they blaspheme God, because of their pains, and repent not of their deeds.Their punishment, far from having a tendency to leffen, to cure, their malignity and rage against the HIGHEST, doth but increase this spirit-a spirit which indicates utter despair. The opposition of fallen angels to his government has not, so far as we know, abated since they were cast down to hell. The church of God, under the old testament and new, have had a fevere conflict with the gates of hell. The Redeemer of mankind was every way tempted by the devil, who constantly tempts good men, and reigns in the hearts of the bad. Unwearied are his exertions to corrupt and obstruct the gospel, seduce its disciples to apoftatize, or to indulge a false hope. He goes about seeking whom he may devour. After he shall have been bound a thousand years, he will once more be loosed from his prison. His wrath will be great ; because he will know it to be his last effort against the kingdom of Christ, and that his time will be short. If abandoned finners of the human race will be doomed to associate with the devil and his angels, will they repent and give glory to God ? Must they not
rather, in such company, be strengthened and confirmed in their opposition to him? A profligatè youth would certainly proceed to greater excess, if turned over to the company of veterans in iniquity, in whom more evil spirits dwell than in himself. Would you go on in your trespasses, unawed by the anger of Almighty God? The mountains quake, the bills melt, and the earth is burnt at his presence. Who can
stand before his indignation ? and who can abide in the
fierceness of his anger ? If they escaped not who refused him that
spake on earth, much more
shall not we escape, if we turnaway from him that speaketh from heaven. The finally impenitent may well adopt the language, “ My punishment is greater than I can “ bear. From thy face shall I be hid. Let the day per“ith wherein I was born. Let it not be joined unto the “ days of the year.”
You object, that an interminable punishment exceeds all proportion for temporary crimes. Iam addressing those who believe that a submission to the terms of the gospel is the only way of deliverance from the ruins of the apostacy. What human ideas of the divine rectitude may be, is not the question ; but whether the gospel denounces a remediless punishment against those who die in their fins. That it doth, appears, I think, from what has been suggested. “ If any man shall add “ unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues " that are written in this book : And if any man “ shall take away from them, God shall take away “ his part out of the book of life.” You will allow that a civil government may cut off the traitor, robber and murderer—that the maintenance of order and peace, public and private security require the excision of such offenders—that a community must otherwise be brought to defolation. He who dies in fin under the gospel resembles the condemned malefactor, who should refuse a proffer of pardon, and treat with the highest indignity the messenger and purchaser of it. God may punish fin as well as pardon it.
He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, as well as rich in mercy. And certainly the contempt of mercy and forbearance calls for sorer punishment.
Sinners are much inclined to lefsen the heinousness of sin. It is against the supreme authority of heaven and earth, against the order and happiness of the universe. It is the cause of all other evils--of all the judg. ments fent upon the world. It should be viewed as the scriptures declare it to be in its nature and consequences—such an evil as it appears to be from the fa. crifice of the Prince of life to expiate it, from the bitter effects of it in this world, and from the punifhments threatened to it in the world to come. The intent of the gospel, and the business of its ministers, is, to persuade men to be reconciled to God in the present state. The language of such as go on in their trefpafl. es, is, “We will not have this man to reign over us.”
They say unto God, Depart from us.” If annihilation is to be the end of the unbelieving and impenitent, what must be the perversity of those who merit such a pun. ishment as this ? Formed to know, love and enjoy the greatest and best of Beings; and, when by disobedience become obnoxious to his judgment, provided with a ransom from fin, death and hell; yet so estranged from God !--such contemners of infinite mercy, that they must be blotted out of existence! I repeat, God who is rich in mercy can punish as well as pardon sin. Mercy slighted enhances guilt. Whatever the per. dition of those may be who finally neglect the great salvation, it is sufficiently terrible to persuade perithing finners to fly for refuge.
SECONDLY, Our subject points out the only way to escape the doom of those who die in their fins. This is FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.
The wages of sin is death. This punishment of it is reasonable, if the law of which it is the tranfgreflion is reafonable. Rather the unspeakable gift of God, is trampled upon by impenitent sinners. And is it not fit that such contempt should seal their condemnation?
Mercy interferes not with rectitude.; God will not deny himself. The way of pardon through the Mediator of his appointment can be doubted only on the ground of our unworthiness, and the mystery of God MANIFEST IN THE FLESH to take away our sins. Shall we, who infinitely need mercy, reject it on account of the mysterious way in which it is offered and dispensed? In appointing his own Son to be our ransom and advocate, the love of God is displayed to the admiration of angels. He will not pardon sin without a sacrifice. Shall finners reject the sacrifice he hath provided ? Shall traitors prescribe the way in which their lives, forfeited to public justice, may be spared ? All the promises of God to a guilty world are made through the atonement and intercession of his well-beloved Son. We must have an interest in Chrift, or die in our fins. He redeemeth from the curse of the law : The Spirit of life in him maketh free from sin. A ransom and a moral renovation are necessary to the restoration of apoftates. We s are bought with a price, even the
precious blood of Jesus, who knew no fin.” And the eternal Spirit of his purchase “purgeth the con« science from dead works to serve the living God. He
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from « all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, “ zealous of good works. To as many as receive him, “ to them he giveth power to become the fons of God, “even to them who believe on his name.” Having sent him to be a propitiation for our sins, God “may “ be just, and the justifier of believers in Jesus.” Gospel
aith purifies the heart, and worketh by love. In the subject of it the strong holds of fin are“ pulled down, “ and every thought is brought into captivity to the “ obedience of Christ.” The believer has no confidence in the flesh: His only reliance is on the mediatorial righteousness of Christ. He contemplates the purity and extent of the divine law, his own pollution, impotency and misery. He denies himself, takes
his cross, and follows Christ. He loathes sin, is vile in his
own eyes, and repents in dust and ashes. He discerns the beauty of holiness, and his conversation is as it becometh the gospel of Christ
. There is salvation in no other. No other bath the words of eternal life. The consequence of rejecting him must therefore be fatal. If ye believe not that I am he, ye fhall die in your sins. The words were addrefled to those who were invited to come to him for life-whom he would have gathered—whose obstinacy he thus lamented: “O that thou hadft known, in this thy day, “ the things of thy peace! If we fin wilfully, after that “ we have received the knowledge of the truth, there “ remaineth no more facrifice for fin; but a certain “ looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, « which shall devour the adversaries.”
It has been maintained, that men are neither to be commended for believing, nor blamed for disbelieving: The reason assigned is, that if such evidence is offered as convinces the mind, its assent cannot be withheld; and otherwise it cannot be given. Perhaps no sentiment is more fallacious, false, and dangerous. The reason given for it is as fallacious. The existence and perfecțions of an invisible Deity are evident from the frame of the visible world : Yet there have been and are those who say there is no God. Is atheism then no crime?. The atheist declares that the evidence for the first principle of religion affords not conviction to his mind. This, according to the above reasoning, is a full justification of his atheism. The theist, on the contrary, clearly sees a God in the works of nature, and is impressed with the belief that he governs the world, and is the rewarder of such as diligently seek him. Is it not indispensible to believe a God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being; and to glorify him accordingly? Is it for want of evidence that the atheist is not convinced? “ The licávens declare the “ glory of God, and the firmament fheweth forth his “ handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and
night'unto night iheweth fortli knowledge. God