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his mere benevolence to save them in the elev. enth and dying hour. This many appear to do, who are not Universalists in theory, or sentiment. And the reason is, that they view God's benevolence, as implying the love of complacence. They cannot think, that God who has treated them so benevolently all their life time, does really hate them, in their last and most distressing moments. But why do they form this idea of God's benevolence? It is because they love darkness rather than light; and error rather than truth. It is because they are totally depraved and their total depravity blinds their understanding and conscience. But see, ye blind ; and hear, ye deaf. That love of God, in which you trust, may and will sink you to the lowest hell, if you remain impenitent and unbelieving. The wrath of God now abides upon you and will abide upon you forever, except you repent.
This subject now calls upon all to inquire and determine, whether they are saints or sinners. The distinction is great and will draw after it, the most serious and important consequences. If you are saints God now loves you with both the love of benevolence and the love of complacence ; and will forever love you with both the love of benevolence and complacence. But if you are sinners, God's love of benevolence now disposes him to hate and punish you ; and he will continue to hate and punish you to all eternity if you continue impenitent. Are you ready to decide the important question ? If you delay to decide it, it will soon be decided for you. Though God can have no pleasure in your death yet he can take pleasure in rewarding you according to your works. And you will knowthat from his perfect and infinite benevolence, God will hate all workers of iniquity forever and ever.
THE VINDICTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD.
I. SAMUEL, xv. 33. —And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
Agag was king of the Amalekites, who were the natural enemies of the Israelites. Both nations sprang from the same original stock. The Israelites sprang from Jacob and the Amalekites sprang from Esau, the brother of Jacob. Esau's posterity imbibed the spirit of their father and harboured a mortal enmity to the posterity of Jacob. Accordingly, as soon as the Israelites left Egypt and set out upon their journey to Canaan, the Amalekites, without receiving any provocation from the Israelites, came out and fought against them at Rephidem. But at the prayer of Moses and by the arm of Joshua, God defeated them; and at the same time devoted the whole nation to utter ruin. 6 The Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua : for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi : For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn, that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”..God delayed, for more than an hundred years, to put this irreversible sentence into execution. But after the Israelites were established in the land of promise, and had a king set over them, God gave a commission to Saul, their
king, by the hand of Samuel, to go and extirpate the whole race of Amalek. “Samuel said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee king over
Israel : now therefore hearken unto the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not ; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” Saul immediately raised an army of more than two hundred thousand men and went and took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
But he spared Agag and the best of the sheep and oxen and all that was good. For this disobedience to the express command of God, Samuel, under a divine impulse, rebuk. ed him and brought him to confess his offence. And under the same impulse, Samuel said to Saul, “ Bring hither Agag the king of the Amalekites.
And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, as thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.” Though Agag had been an enemy to Saul and to his people and was still an enemy to both ; yet Saul was disposed to save him from punishment. But God, who viewed Agag as an enemy to himself and to his people, would not release him from the punishment he deserved ; but inspired Samuel to give him a just recompense of reward. This striking instance of the divine conduct teaches us,
That God is more disposed to punish his enemies, than sinners are to punish theirs. I shall,
I Show that sinners are disposed to punish their enemies ; And,
II, Show that God is still more disposed to punish his enemies, than they are to punish their enemies.
I. I am to show, that sinners are disposed to punish their enemies. This will appear both from their character and conduct.
1. It appears from their character, as drawn by the searcher of hearts. God perfectly knows their real feelings and has clearly described them in his word. And according to his infallible description, they are entirely selfish. They possess not the least spark of holy love, but are under the entire dominion of selfishness. They have not the love of God in them, but are emphatically lovers of their ownselves. Though their selfishness disposes them to love those, wbo love them ; yet it no less disposes them to hate those, who hate them, whether they are friendly, or unfriendly to God. Satan, who knew the nature of selfishness, told God that if he should only touch the interest of Job, he would curse him to his face; and had Job been the selfish person he represented him to be, his assertion would undoubtedly have been verified, when God stripped him of bis dearest interest. Esau hated Jacob, because Jacob had injured his interest ; and there was a time, when he would have wreaked his vengeance upon bim had it not been for a divine restraint. Sinners, who are under the reigning power of selfishness, are not only hateful, but they hate one another. " Their throat is an open sepulchre, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their ways and the way of peace they have not known.” They are always disposed to punish their enemies ; and nothing prevents them from doing it, but either interest, impotence, or fear. But,
2. It more clearly appears from their conduct, than from their charatcer, that they are disposed to punish their enemies. They have been in all ages embruing their hands in each other's blood. Nations have destroyed nations and filled the earth with viclence. Thousands of individuals have destroyed their supposed enemies by deeds and assassinations. Sinners are disposed not only to punish their enemies, but to punish them in the most cruel and barbarous man
No species of animals have ever been found, that are so cruel to one another, as men are to men.--
They have invented a thousand ways of putting one another to the most excruciating tortures, for the most trifiing offences. But it is needless to enlarge upon this part of the subject. I proceed therefore to the principal point proposed, which is to show,
II. That God is more disposed to punish his enemies, than sinners are to punish theirs.
God knows, that sinners are bis enemies and hate his existence, his perfections, his designs and his whole government. He knows, that they hate him without a cause, as he has altvays treated them perfectly right. He knows, that they are enernies to one another and to all intelligent creatures. He viewed Agag as an enemy to all righteousness; and he views all sinners in the same light. Hence he must be displeased with them ; and if displeased, disposed to express his displeasure towards them ; and if disposed to express his displeasure towards them, he must be disposed to punish them ; for nothing but punishment is a proper expression of his displeasure towards them. There is precisely the same reason to believe, that God is disposed to punish his enemies, that there is to believe, that he is really displeased with them for hating and opposing him, without a cause. And who can seriously think, that God is not displeased with his unholy, impenitent and incorrigible enemies ? But if this be true, must we not suppose, that he is as much disposed to punish them, as they are to punish their enemies? and indeed much more disposed to punish them? He
Не was more disposed to punish Agag than Saul was. As soon as he had gotten Agag in his power and was able to restrain him from doing any more mischief to himself and to his people, he was willing to pare his life. But God, who had been disposed to punish him and had devoted him to destruction, remained inflexibly disposed to give him his reward ; and by the sword of Samuel, made him an example of his amiable and awful justice. But still it may be inquired, why God was more disposed to punish Agag than Saul was? and why in all cases, he is more disposed to punish his