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SERMON XXIII.

THE FATE OF THE IMPENITENT SINNER.

"And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not?" HEB. iii. 18.

THE RELIGION of the Lord Jesus Christ, as a DIVINE SCIENCE, is based on the immutable principles of TRUTH. And the great truth of the Gospel of Christ, is, that “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," and that only, maketh men "free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. viii. 2.) For "the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law." (1 Cor. xv. 56.) Therefore, the sting, or sin, perpetuates death, as cause produces effect; until "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," shall "make the sinner free from the law of sin and death." Here are cause and effect; and the Gospel of Christ enforces these momentous truths, by affirmations and illustrations, that cannot be mistaken when the mind is enlightened from above, to see the truth as it is in Jesus. Keeping these truths in view, let us proceed, reader, and examine our text.

The passage I have selected from Paul's epistle to the Hebrews, in its primary signification, has an exclusive reference to the rest of the people Israel, after their wandering in the desert, in the promised land of Canaan or Palestine. The people, notwithstanding the evidence they possessed of God's faithfulness, in their deliverance from their bondage in Egypt and slavery to cruel taskmasters, by God's chosen servants, Moses and Aaron, were guilty of unbelief in the promises of God; they manifested their ingratitude and infidelity, by murmuring against Moses and Aaron, God's chosen ministers, and by the most unjustifiable idolatrous practices. Therefore, JEHOVAH Swore in His wrath, that these unbelieving, unfaithful Israelites, who had, in defiance of their Deliver's commands, chosen to themselves other gods beside the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, should not enter into the promised land, but should die in the wilderness.

Paul, in the epistle where my text is recorded, addresses the Hebrews, or descendants of these idolatrous and unfaithful Israelites, and refers them to the fate of their ancestors, as evidence of the certainty of God's cognition of sin and transgression; and also, as a solemn warning to them, that if they should persist in following the wicked example of their unbelieving progenitors, they might expect the signal judgment of offended Heaven. And as the deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, was typical of the deliverance of mankind from the bondage of corruption, in the earthly image, and the rest promised in the land of Caanan, to the rest of believers in Jesus Christ, in his kingdom, there was a singular propriety in Paul's reference to those events, in illustration of the truths of the Gospel of Christ; and especially to the Jews, were those events applicable, as they were the chosen people of God, through whom, in a peculiar manner, should the Gospel of God's salvation be extended to the Gentile nations. But, notwithstanding God's final purposes of mercy, the Israelites, as God's chosen people, were under the old ban or denunciation, as affirmed by the prophet: See Lev. xxvi. 21-39. We read (Num. xiv.) of the congregation, as the ancient people Israel were called previously to their occupancy of the promised land, "I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me; in this wilderness they shall be consumed; and there they shall die." And they were also told, "But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised." Of all the adult males that came out from Egypt, only "Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, the son of Nun," obtained the promised land. The people, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, despised the promised land. In their rebellion against God, they went even so far in asserting their unbelief of his promises, as to accuse Him of an intention to sacrifice their children or little ones, by permitting them to perish in the wilderness. Hence the pith of our text"To whom sware He that they should NOT enter into His rest, but to them that believed not ???*

*

Precisely, in effect, as Calvinism, and Hopkinsianism, which now are convertible terms for Presbyterianism, (save, and except the Calvinistic Baptists,) accuse a God of Love of an intention, (eternal purpose,)

Paul's admonition has a special reference, in its application, to the Jews or Israelites of his day, who despised the Gospel of Christ, and the rest of believers in Christ's Gospel, in the Mediatorial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, And as the fathers of the Israelites perished in the wil derness, in consequence of their unbelief in God's promises, so the Jews of Paul's day were threatened with destruction, if they should persist in their unbelief of God's promises in Christ, their despised and rejected Messiah, Paul, in reference to the cause of the ancient Israelites not entering into the promised land, says, "So we see that they could not enter because of unbelief." And Paul adds, (Heb. iv. 1-3,) "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we who have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest; although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."

In order to a correct understanding of this important subject, it must be taken into consideration, that the imagery of the prophet and the apostle, limits the understanding of the subject to the relation that exists, between the subject and the patient. What is the subject, in the first instance? Ans. The promised land, viz: the land of Palestine, and the rest that the people, the patients, should enjoy in the promised land. What is the subject in the second instance? Ans. The blessings promised to believers, in the present tense, of rest in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and men; consequently, Paul affirms of the patients, "We who have believed do [in the present tense,] enter into rest.' The land of Canaan or Palestine, is not a future Heaven-neither is the rest of believers in their faith in Jesus Christ, their Divine Head and Redeemer, future immortality, incorruption, and glory in the heavenly image.

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It should be remembered, that as typical imagery, the rest of God's chosen people in the promised land of Palestine, was typical of the rest of believers in Christ's

to sacrifice the souls of non-elect infants; the little ones of unbelieving parents! Don't add falsehood to your infamous creed, by denying this!

Gospel, in his kingdom; so this rest of believers in Christ's kingdom, is typical of the future, endless, and glorious rest from the bondage of corruption, of all God's offspring, the whole family of man, in the Heavenly image; when they shall be raised incorruptible and immortal, being the children of God, because they shall be the children or sons of a glorious resurrection. And this grand consummation of God's counsel, will, good pleas ure and purpose, are "the works" that Paul affirms “ were finished [made certain by God's decree,] from the foundation of the world."

Keeping this divine imagery of truth in view, let us inquire, What was the fate of the rebellious Israelites, whom Paul refers to in my text, whose impenitence was final, even to the last event? The answer must be, that they died in the wilderness, as a consequence of their unbelief in God's promises. What, then, according to the imagery, the doctrine affirmed, and the facts stated, will be the fate of sinners, who shall be guilty of the sin of unbelief of God's promises of salvation in Jesus Christ His Son, and shall despise the rest of the Mediator's kingdom? The answer must be, that they will die in their sins; in their unbelief of the truth. I request the reader to consider the following facts:

First-The unbelieving Israelites, who died in the wilderness, died in unbelief of the truth, viz: That there was such a place as the promised land, or land of Canaan, etc., existing as represented by JEHOVAH to Moses.

Second-Impenitent sinners, who die in unbelief of Christ's Gospel, die in unbelief of the blessings promised and contained in this Gospel. In both cases, that which the unbelievers do not believe, is true, and deserving their belief; and they are fools and madmen not to believe the truth!

But there are consequences resulting from these premises, that are serious to unbelievers, who reject the truth, although the unbelief of the sinners cannot affect the truth that they reject.

First-In the case of the Israelites, who died in the wilderness, as predicted, because of their unbelief, they were, as a consequence of dying in the wilderness, prevented from having any participation whatever in the rest, that those who entered the promised land enjoyed. Therefore,

Second-It must follow as a consequence, that all imVol. II.-39

penitent sinners, who die in unbelief and rejection of the truth, as a consequence of dying in this state of impenitence, will not participate in, nor possess, nor in any manner enjoy, the rest, or the blessings that fall to the lot of the believer in Christ's Gospel.

But, remember, that, negatively, it did not follow as a consequence, that the unbelieving Israelites, who died in the wilderness, suffered any other penalty, than the loss of the promised land! Therefore, in the case of the impenitent sinner, who dies in a state of unbelief and rejection of the truth of Christ's Gospel, the Loss, or death, is the punishment; because it holds him fast in its embrace, to the destruction of his being, in such a manner, and to such an extent, as to time, as to deprive him of all participation in the life that is the consequence of faith; and the blessings that accompany the possession of that life, in, and during the continuance of, the Mediatorial kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at the cause of this

How significant is the reason assigned by Paul, of cause and effect! It is "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, that maketh the sinner free from the law of sin and death." But the impenitent, unbelieving sinner, is subject to "the law of sin and death"-to him, the sting of death, sin, is mortal-to him, death is unto death. But the believer, he whom "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made FREE from the law of sin and death," experiences, that this Spirit of life, is unto life: Death has no more dominion over him: He realizes the truth of the declaration of his Lord and Saviour; "He that liveth and believeth in me, shall NEVER DIE!" The phrase, "on such the second death [the death of mortality, or of the body,] hath no power," is very sig nificant.

First-It implies, necessarily, that those on whom the second death hath no power, are exposed to it, in a certain, and qualified sense, as much as those on whom it exer cises full power.

Second-The passing through the ordeal of the second death, and coming off victorious, is a consequence of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus, being communicated to the believer, and making him free from the law of sin and death.

Third-Those on whom the second death hath power, it is by virtue of "the law of sin and death," that is in full

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