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time of the building of Babel, and the confusion of tongues, until the coming of Christ. The last verse of that chapter seems to be the finishing stroke—the last description the highest possible coloring that can be given to the depravity of the human heart. After the Apostle has enumerated a list of crimes, too black to be repeated, and finished his description of characters in language the most appalling, he adds one more trait in these words, than which the bottomless pit itself could scarcely furnish a deeper shade, “ Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which do such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
In this description the Apostle seems to say, that man is capable of sinning beyond the circle of his actual existence, for he not only commits such sins himself, but also takes pleasure in others that commit them. But the guilt of this mode of sinning is incalculable ; for when a man takes pleasure in the recollection of having committed sins which he is now no longer able to commit; when his powers, means, and opportunities of sinning have become superannuated by age, restricted by poverty, and limited by sickness, still for him to take pleasure in the remembrance of former crimes, in forming new plans of sinning, and in the sins of others, argues a depth of depravity almost beyond description, and an amount of guilt almost inconceivable. The propriety of these remarks will appear from the following considerations :
• 1. There is no natural motive to induce or tempt a man to this mode of sinning, as in the case
of other sins, and it is a most certain truth, that the less the temptation is, the greater the sin; for in every sin, by how much more free the will is in its choice, by so much more is the act more sinful. In the commission of other sins, there is always some strong inducement; thus the thief steals to satisfy his hunger, the drunkard to satisfy his thirst ;thus uncleanness is an unlawful gratification of another appetite, and covetousness a boundless pursuit of the principle of self-security. So that all other sins are founded in some natural desire, and therefore pleasing, and on that account capable of soliciting and enticing the will. In a word, there is hardly any one sin, of direct and personal commission, but what is an abuse of one of those two grand natural principles; either that which inclines a man to preserve himself, or to please himself.
“ But what natural principle can be gratified by another man's pursuit of vice ? for no man can feel by another man's senses, so that to take pleasure in other men's sins, is to take delight in vice for its own sake; it is an exemplification of the malice of that evil spirit, who delights in seeing those sins committed, of which the very condition of his nature renders him incapable. All that can be said in this case is, that violence is done to nature beyond the usual modes of sinning, and the devil and long custom have superinduced upon the soul new, unnatural, and absurd desires, which have no real object, which relish things not at all desirable, but feed only on filth and corruption, and give a man both the devil's nature and the devil's delight-who has no other happiness but to dishonor his Maker, and to destroy
his fellow creatures—to corrupt them here, and to destroy them hereafter. In fine, there is as much difference between the pleasure that a man takes in his own sins, and that which he takes in other men's, as there is between the wickedness of a man and the wickedness of a devil.
“ 2. A second reason why a conduct like this is attended with such enormous guilt, is the unlimited nature of this mode of sinning; for hereby a man contracts a kind of universal guilt, and, as it were, sins over the sins of all other men. So that while the act is exclusively theirs, the guilt is equally his. Consider any man as to his personal powers, and opportunities of sinning—at the greatest, they must still be limited by the measure of his actings, and the term of his duration. His active powers are but weak, and his continuance in the world but short; so that nature is not sufficient to keep pace with his corruptions, by answering his desire with proportionable practice. To instance only in those two grand extravagances of life-lust and drunkenness: let a man be never so general in his debaucheries, yet age will in time chill the heats of appetite, and the impure flame will either die of itself, or consume the body which harbors it. Let a man be never so insatiable in drinking, he cannot be always pouring in; but he will, in the compass of years, drown his health and strength, if not himself too, which will, sooner or later, put an end to the debauch.
“ But this collateral mode of sinning, which we have been attempting to delineate, is neither confined to place, nor weakened by age. The bed-ridden,
the gouty, the paralytic, all may, on this account, equal the activity of the strongest, and the speed of the most impetuous sinner. Such a one may act the murderer, even when he can neither lift a hand nor stir a foot; and may invade his neighbor's bed, even while weakness has tied him down to his own. He
may sin over all the adulteries and debaucheries, all the frauds and oppressions of the whole neighborhood, and break every command of God's law by proxy. And it would be well for him if he could be damned by proxy too.
“ In this sense a man may grasp in the sins of all countries and ages, and by an inward liking of them, participate in their guilt. He may take a range over the whole world, draw in that wide circumference of vice, and centre it in his own polluted breast. Hence we see the infinitely fruitful and productive power of this mode of sinning; how it can increase and multiply beyond all measure of actual commission ; how vastly it swells the sinner's account in an instant! So that a man shall, out of the various villanies acted round about him, extract one mighty aggregate of guilt, and adopt it for himself, and thus become chargeable before God, the Judge of hearts, and accountable for a world of sin, in his own person.”—(Coke on Rom. i. 32.)
That the Gentiles who were without the law, and without the knowledge of God, should be guilty of such enormities as above described, is not to be wondered at; but that the Jews, the chosen people of God, to whom were committed the "holy oracles,” should evince such depravity, is truly wonderful; but so it is, for the same Apostle, in a subsequent chapter, shows that they were no better than the Gentiles; for says he, “ Are we better than they? No, in no wise: as it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; 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 have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Such is the description of the moral character of the Jews, given by one who himself was a Jew, and knew well as to the truth of what he wrote. This description applies to them before the coming of the Messiah, and answers well to the period of the prophets Hosea and Ezekiel, whose writings have often been thought too indelicate to be read before a Christian assembly. But if the prophets were under the necessity of using such gross descriptions, how deeply fallen and greatly depraved must that people be who stood in need of such severe rebukes.
It has been the fond conceit of many, that if Christian teachers would only lay aside those terrific descriptions of the wrath of God which we find in the Scriptures, and cease to make use of “the terrors of the Lord,” in order to persuade men to be virtuous, and should go about to represent our Heavenly Father as all love and mercy, that every