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were different: but God has now declared it to you. Brethren, if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indig. nation which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy, under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
VI. Many important remarks might be made on the subject we have been considering, if time would permit us to enlarge; but we can only just observe, how irresistible are the evidences, not of Christianity only, to the confusion of infidelity, but of that real and scriptural account of it, by which it appears to be the developing of a plan of salvation in the way of atonement. And since we have been tracing the works of God in this affair from the beginning of things to this day, it is natural to look forward to consider its probable effects on the world to the end of time. Surely when it is. fairly unfolded to the blind votaries of superstition, amongst whom there are many, no doubt, in sincerity groping for the true way, and are practising austerities on their bodies, and undergoing sufferings for salvation, which the Son of God has borne on his own body,
furious with anger is never easy, nor seems to have expressed the feelings of his heart, till he has brought on something about God, his soul, and the word which is used to denote its everlasting misery. Flinging about firebrands and death, he seems during the existence of the paroxysm, to be endued with supernatural strength. He is like those furious spirits, of whom it is feigned, that they plucked up mountains by the roots, and hurled them at each other. It appears then, that strong feelings and vivid conceptions, are generally efforts to reach beyond created being and finite duration. It is natural therefore, conversely, that the same emotions should in their turn be excited by the mention of all the great things that belong to religion. We make these observations that our minds may be duly prepared for the consideration of this text; which besides the important matter contained in it, is remarkable for bringing into notice such persons and things only, as are in their nature at the very summit of being and of thought. The
introduced are God, and Christ, and the whole world, and none else -the subjects treated about, are endless happiness and misery, and nothing less.
I. The first word that meets us as we approach the text is God! The name of God is heard by different men differently. The heathen hears, it without any emotion at all; he has been accustomed to attach the idea to some inferior being, who surpasses him in power, not in purity—to one who can sport, and play, and sin. He has been used to listen to songs in which the praises of his god, and all manner of obscenity are mixed up togetherat least transitions are made from one to another so readily, that the poor
idolater cannot suppose that they are very unsuitable to each other. Of such a being's future judgment for sin he cannot be afraid, nor feel more at hearing his name, than at hearing of any other unimportant thing
Not so the man brought up in a Christian land. He may be a profane man, and call upon the Almighty as often as he is surprised, without thinking of God at all; he may hear others do the same with equal indifference, but at the serious mention of the sacred name, some awful thoughts will come over his mind, and he will think of a mighty Being who cro ated him, and can destroy him. His thoughts though indistinct, as they ever must be in all, will correspond to the accounts which the Scriptures give of his majesty, as being the first and the last--the only self-existent Creator and Governor of all--dwelling in inaccessible light, yet present every where, and knowing every thing Conceptions of a being of this kind, allow nothing light and trifling to be connected with them. Moreover, the most thoughtless amongst us cannot help believing God to be a holy being; they know also that there is a judgment to come, and conscience tells them they are not prepared for it. Hence,
the mention of his name makes them uneasy, and they will compose their minds and give attention when something is said about God, but they are prepared to hear something which is sure to be disagreeable. Disagreeable or not, it cannot be unimportant. The sentence therefore, having begun with the name of God, let us go on to see what else may be said in it. God so loved: Love! Does God love? can God love? This soft affection is found among creatures; and in exact proportion to its extent and power, does peace and harmony prevail. When we love, and are loved, we are ourselves happy and make others so. But can it be said of God that he loves? of him, whom you represent as a jealous God--a great and dreadful God, who cast down the angels, and reserves them in everlasting chains unto the judgment of the great day, and will turn the nations into hell if they forget him? Yes, though he has done these ihings, and must do them again, yet he loves. You will wender bow such opposite attributes, as love and unbending justice, can consist together; or else will begin to suspect that the love of God, of which we are speaking, is only the love which he feels for those who are worthy of it. Let us adyance a step farther in the text, and see: God so loved the world--the world of which St. John saith, that it lieth in wickedness. No sign of worthiness appears here-We were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another; that is, detestable ourselves, and detesting one another. Nothing amiable appears yet: But perhaps they still retained some respect for God, though they were so full of hatred to one another. But the Lord looked down from heaven, and behold, there was none doing good, no not one--all the imaginations of the heart were only evil continually. It was not the mere infirmity of nature that led men into such an extent of depravity, but radical enmity in the heart. The heart in its natural state is not merely an enemy to religion, but enmity itself against God, being made
of malice and ill will, and spiteful opposition to God for imposing the restraints of his laws upon us, and preparing a place of punishment. We accounted him unjust and tyrannical—we had rather he were less holy, and still more that he did not exist at all. Now God, we are sure, must have been privy to these thoughts. Had we attempted it, we could not have concealed them. His eye is fixed on the heart; he knows, and ever has known, all that is passing there; is fully acquainted with the malignity of every thought. But perhaps God thinks more lightly of these things than we would haye it understood that he does; and if he had punished them, the punishment would not have been very terrible: but you will notice one expression of our text, that they should not perish. · The idea of perish ing leaves no room for that of recovery. Absolute ruin then would have been the conse