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on the cross. Holy angels love and hate unholy men. Holy men love and hate unholy men. Holy friends love and hate unholy friends. And holy parents love and hate their unholy, impenitent children. But God loves and hates impenitent sinners, more than the man Christ Jesus loved and hated them; more than holy angels love and hate them; more than holy friends love and hate them ; more than holy parents love and hate them. His love of benevolence bears proportion to all his great and essential attributes. His love of benevolence to impenitent sinners is infinitely strong and tender. He loves every sinful human soul, more than any other being loves it. And as his hatred of impenitent sinners flows from his infinitely strong and tender benevolence towards them ; so his hatred of them is unspeakably greater than the hatred of any other being. And it always appears so to impenitent sinners themselves, when they are awakened to realize his infinite hatred. They had rather that the united hatred of all created beings should be pointed against them, and fall upon them, than that his holy wrath should be pointed against them, and fall upon them. The scripture speaks of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God; but these strong expressions but faintly represent the greatness of that wrath of God which abides upon impenitent sinners every day, notwithstanding all the displays of benevolence towards them in the course of his providence. Indeed, all the indications of his benevolence are equal indications of his wrath and displeasure towards them; because his wrath flows from, and is equal to his infinite benevolence.
3. If impenitent sinners themselves are as much the objects of God's hatred, as of his love, then it is very important that they should be made sensible of it. They are willing to believe that God loves them; and they love to hear of the astonishing love of benevolence towards them, displayed in sending his Son to die for them, and in lavishing upon them the blessings of providence. But they are not so willing to believe that God hates them as much as he loves them; and they are as unwilling to hear this disagrecable truth inculcated upon them. Hence they love to hear ministers preach upon the marvellous love of God towards them; but cannot bear to hear ministers preach upon God's holy and just displeasure, and wrath against them. They can bear to hear that God hates depravity, selfishness, impenitence, unbelief, disobedience and rebellion in the abstract. But it is not true that God hates these sins in the abstract, and as separate from sinners themselves. He hates sinners themselves, who are depraved, who are selfish, who are impenitent, who are unbelieving, who are disobedient, and who are rebellious. Christ did not preach about sin in the abstract, as being an object of God's displeasure; but about sinners themselves being the objects of God's displeasure. He told them that they were of their father the devil, and felt and acted as he did ; that they had both seen and hated both him and his Father; and that they were serpents and a generation of vipers, who deserved the damnation of hell. This they disliked, and said that he reproached them. Sinners now dislike to hear that God hates all workers of iniquity, and that his wrath is pointed against them, and constantly abides upon them. I know that it is much more pleasing to sinners to preach the love than the hatred of God towards them; but it is not much more safe. They are ready enough to believe that God loves them, but they are slow of heart to believe that God hates them, as vile and odious creatures, even as vile and odious as those in a state of irrecoverable misery. Paul had zeal and fidelity enough to inculcate this truth upon the heart and conscience of a sinner, with plainness and pungency. He said, “O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord ?” Paul knew that this was the true character of Elymas the sorcerer, and of himself, before his heart was changed. Nor was this character peculiar to them, but is common to the most amiable impenitent sinners in the world. They are perfectly sinful, and consequently perfectly hateful, in the sight of a heart searching God. This truth ought to be plainly and forcibly inculcated upon the hearts and consciences of sinners, to prepare them to see and feel the necessity of embracing the mercy of God offered to them in the gospel.
4. If it be consistent with the benevolence of God towards sinners to hate them, then it is consistent with his benevolence to express his hatred towards them. The only reason why some suppose it is inconsistent with God's love to sinners to punish them, is because it is inconsistent with his benevolence to hate them. But we have shown that it is consistent with God's love of benevolence, to hate unholy, selfish, malevolent sinners. The consequence is undeniable, that it is consistent with his benevolence to punish those whom he hates, and whom his very benevolence disposes him to hate. Punishment is the expression, and the only proper expression of hatred. The infliction of pain, or natural evil, is no punishment, when it is not designed to express hatred towards the subject of it. The surgeon, in the amputation of a limb, often inflicts great pain upon the patient, but he expresses love and not hatred ; and therefore the pain he inflicts is no punishment. But it is the sole design of punishment, to express hatred towards the punished. And if the punished deserve to be hated, they equally deserve to be punished, which is the proper and just expression of hatred. If God's benevolence disposes God to hate sinners as long as they remain impenitent, then it must equally dispose him to express his hatred towards them, by punishing them as long as they remain impenitent. And his punishing them will have no tendency to diminish or take away his hatred of them. If his hatred of them arose from selfishness, and was of the nature of revenge, it is true, his punishing them might gradually diminish and finally take away his hatred of sinners. Sinners often punish one another in revenge to such a degree, as to soften and turn their own malignant hearts into compassion towards the objects of their hatred. But as God does not hate sinners from selfishness, so he will never punish them in malevolence and revenge, but only from benevolence, which necessarily disposes him to hate them, because they are really hateful. If we can only see that it is consistent with the benevolence of God towards impenitent sinners to hate them, then we can as clearly see that it is consistent with his benevolence to punish them; and to punish them as long as they remain sinners, and the proper objects of God's just displeasure and hatred. We have no evidence from scripture that God's hatred of the fallen angels has abated, or ever will abate. And we have no evidence in scripture that God's hatred of Judas, and of the human spirits in the regions of darkness, has ever abated, or ever will abate. Of course we have no evidence from scripture that the punishment of any impenitent sinners will ever abate, or cease. So long as they remain impenitent, they will remain hateful; and so long as they rernain hateful, it is consistent with his benevolence towards them to express his displeasure and his wrath, by punishing them. That benevolence of God towards impenitent sinners which disposes him to hate them, will always dispose him to express his hatred, by giving them a just recompense of reward.
5. If God's hatred of impenitent sinners flows from his benevolence, then his punishing them must flow from his benevolence. He can be, and will be as benevolent in punishing, as in hating sinners. And this will give a peculiar weight and pungency to the punishment of the finally impenitent. They will know that God loves them, while he actually punishes them. A disobedient child cares but little about the punishment which his parent inflicts upon him in revenge ; but he is obliged to stoop, when his parent corrects in love. The finally miserable will be as capable of seeing the benevolence of God towards them in another world, as they were capable of seeing it in this world, while God was pouring down upon them the blessings of his providence in a rich and astonishing profusion. And this incontestable evidence of his benevolence
will never be erased from their minds. So Christ says in the parable of Dives and Lazarus. When the rich man begged to have Lazarus sent to alleviate his torments, the request was denied on the ground of God's benevolence to him. “ Son, remember, that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." The benevolence of God carried conviction to his conscience that he did not punish him from malevolence, but from that goodness which disposed him both to hate and punish him. All the finally miserable will have the same conviction that God always did, and always will love them with benevolence, while he hates and punishes them for ever. How insupportable must that eternal punishment be, which flows from infinite and eternal benevolence!
6. If it be the benevolence of God that disposes him to hate and punish impenitent sinners for ever, then it is extremely absurd and dangerous for sinners to rely upon his mere benevolence to save them in the eleventh 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
ever, 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 for ever 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 know that, from his perfect and infinite benevolence, God will hate all workers of iniquity for ever and ever.
THE REWARD OF MOSES.
For he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
- HEBREWS, xi 20
The apostle employs the principal part of this chapter, in drawing the beautiful and amiable characters of the pious patriarchs. He represents them as having true love to God, and living in the habitual exercise of faith in future and eternal realities. Though they lived in this evil world yet they lived above it. Though they were deeply concerned in the public and private affairs of this life, yet their eyes and hearts were steadily fixed upon the invisible objects of the invisible world. They exercised that faith, without which it is impossible to please God; and that faith, by which both their persons and services met with the divine approbation. But it appears that these illustrious saints were influenced, in the general course of their conduct, by the promises of God, and had regard to their future and eternal happiness. They beheld the promises asar off, and embraced them; and though they gave up their eartbly good, yet they steadily sought a heavenly inheritance. This is more expressly said of Moses, one of the brightest characters in this constellation of worthies. “By faith, Moses, when he
. was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches, than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." Here some may be ready to ask, Was not Moses mercenary and selfish in all his conduct, while he acted with a view to a future reward ? To solve this question it is proposed to show,