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and righteous as God is righteous, cordially approve of his righteousness in the punishment of the sinful and impenitent spirits in prison. They say, “Amen, Alleluia,” when they see the tokens of their endless punishment. And it is difficult to conceive, how any can hope and expect to go to heaven and to be happy there, who do not approve and love God, for punishing his incorrigible 'enemies, whether their nearest and dearest friends shall be found among those enemies, or not.
5. If God is more disposed to punish his enemies, than sinners are to punish theirs ; then sinners must have a new heart, in order to enter into and enjoy the kingdom of heaven. They are naturally unwilling, that their own enemies, or the enemies of God, should be punished either in this world, or in the world to come, according to their desert. Saul, who we have reason to fear was an unholy and unrenewed man, was not willing, that Agag, an enemy to him and to the people of God, should be punished as he deserved and as God punished him. He probably felt an indignation, when he saw Samuel, in obedience to the divine command, hew him in pieces. And probably he never has approved and never will approve of either the temporal or eternal punishments, which God has inflicted, or ever will inflict upon any of his sinful and ill deserving creatures. This is also true of all men in a state of nature, which is a state of sin. They do not hate sin in themselves, or others, on its own account ; and therefore cannot approve of its being punished according to its desert. But they must be brought to hate sin, on its account, in themselves and others and to be willing, that it should be punished according to its deserts, in order to go to heaven and be happy there. Hence they must have a new heart and a new spirit, in order to be prepared for the future and everlasting enjoyment of God. It is as true now, as it ever was, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ;” and, “without holiness, no man can see the Lord.” Holiness, and nothing but holi
ness hates sin, as sin, or on account of its intrinsic moral evil. Supposing the pit of destruction were opened to the view of any unrenewed sinner, he would in his heart, take part with the miserable against God and condemn him, rather than those, whom he has condemned to endless destruction. But would Samuel have done so in this world? or will he ever do so in heaven? No, by no means; he and all holy creatures will justify God and condemn his enemies, as he condemns them. And what was and is Samuel's duty, is now and always will be the duty of every sinner. But no sinner will ever do this, without a new and better heart than he has at present. He must make him a new heart and a new spirit, or he must eternally die.
6. If God is more disposed to punish his enemies, than sinners are to punish theirs ; then sinners have no ground to depend upon the patience of God. Sinners are extremely apt to depend upon the patience of God, supposing that he does and will wait upon them, because he pities them and is unwilling to punish them. Agag depended upon the patience of Saul and because he delayed to punish him, expected he never would pun. ish him ; therefore he said to himself, “the bitterness of death is past.” Just so sinners feel towards God, because he delays to punish them, they imagine he never will punish them. But their dependance upon the patience of God is daring presumption. God does not wait upon them, because he pities them and is not disposed to punish them ; but because he has some important end to answer, by waiting upon them. He often waits upon them, as he waited upon the Amorites, that they may fill up the measure of their iniquites, which he knows they will be disposed to do. “Beciuse sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” You may think, the bitterness of death is past, because you are in health, or because you have escaped great and imminent dangers, or because you have been suffered to trifle on the Sabbaths
and days of humiliation, fasting and prayer, or because you have been indulged in walking in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes ; but his spirit will not always strive with man, nor his patience always continue. God is angry with you every day. If you turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow and made it ready. He hath prepared for him the instruments of death ; and he will hew you in pieces.---Let not the old man say, "the bitterness of death is past,” because he has been preserved so long, for death may be near. Let not the strong man say, “ the bitterness of death is past,” because he is strong ; for death may be near. Let not the young man say, “the bitterness of death is past,” because he is young; fordeath may be near. Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation. Therefore, “as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” And in order to be reconciled to God, you must condemn yourselves and justify God in your condemnation to everlasting punishment.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.
II. CORINTHIANS, xu. 14.--The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you, all. Amen.
This apostolic benediction has been more constantly and universally used by Christians in their public worship, than any other passage in the New Testament, for nearly two thousand years. And they have used it,not to express their belief, that there are three Gods, but that there are three distinct divine persons in the one living and true God. This common practice of Christians is a presumptive evidence of their common belief of the doctrine of the sacred Trinity; and of its practical importance to promote true devotion and vital piely. Admitting this to be true, there is no occasion, perhaps on which it is more proper to illustrate the truth and importance of this doctrine, than on a day of communion at the table of Christ, when his cordial friends unite to celebrate the memorials of his death. In treating upon this mysterious doctrine, in the present occasional discourse, I shall not attempt to discuss it fully, but only endeavor to set it in a plain, scriptural, useful light. Accordingly, I propose agreeably to the language of the text,
1. To show, that there is not merely a nominal, but a personal distinction in the one living and true God; And,
II. To show that Christians ought to exercise affections towards God, corresponding to this personal distinction in the divine essence.
I. I am to show, that there is not merely a nom-' inal, but a personal distinction in the Godhead.
Though all denominations of Christians profess to believe, that there is one only living and true God, yet they do not all profess to believe that he exists a Trinity in Unity ; or, that there is something in his essence which lays a foundation for three equally distinct and divine persons. The Sabellians suppose, that God is one person acting in three distinct offices ; and for that reason is called Father, Son and Holy Ghost ; which is only a nominal distinction of persons. The Arians suppose that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons, but that the Son derives his existence from the Father and the Holy Ghost derives his existence from the Father and the Son. And the Socinians, who are more appropriately called Unitarians, suppose, that God exists in but one person ; and that the Son is a mere man and the Holy Ghost is no person at all, bút a mere divine energy, or influence. Those, therefore, who are called Trinitarians are the only denomination of Christians, who profess to believe that there is a real and not merely a nominal distinction in the divine essence ; and that there are three equally distinct and divine persons in the Godhead, who, on account of the different parts they act in the work of redemption, are called Father, Son and Holy Ghost.But though these three divine persons are distinct, yet they are not separate. Things may be distinct, which are not separate. The soul and body of a living man are distinct, but not separate. The powers and faculties of the human mind are distinct, but not separate. So the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons in the Codhead, but not separate, because they are inseparably united in the divine essence. And in this union of three distinct persons in the one living and true. God, consists the mystery of the sacred Trinity. It is universally acknowledged by those, who maintain this doctrine, that it is a profound mystery, which cannot be explained.. But though we cannot explain how three distinct persons exist in the Godhead; yet we can state the scripture evidence, that there is a real per