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every good work reprobate." The Psalmist thus describes the natural man : “ The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” From this state of the heart flows a train of practical impieties; “Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none that doeth good.” Now the Psalmist here speaks of the whole race of Adam; and the Apostle to the Romans employs the passage above quoted to prove that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And, indeed, do we not all deny his sovereignty when we violate his laws ? When we commit sin, do we not deny and dishonour his holiness? Do we not disparage his wisdom, when we set up our own will as the guide of our actions? And do we not deny his all-sufficiency when we find more in sin or in the creature than in him ? In short, sin, one way or another, is a denial of all God's attributes, and therefore every sin has Atheism in it; and they who are most ready to question this truth are probably the most guilty.
Second. Every sin has idolatry in it. But you say you have never bowed down to an idol; you were better taught. But do you think that Pagan rites alone have idolatry in them? The prophet Ezekiel speaks of those who were as punctual as you are in attending upon the ex
ternal duties of religion; they were externally in covenant with God as well as you. Nor is it at all improbable that they abjured external idolatry; for the Jews after the Babylonish captivity, when Ezekiel lived, never followed idols as before. Yet hear the
of the Prophet to them: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and have put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their
Every one is an idolater who gives to any thing but God that place in his heart which belongs to God alone. Who is not guilty of this when he serves sin ? For by serving sin, he substitutes either himself or Satan in God's
Third. Sin has blasphemy in it. It reproaches God. They who “set their mouth against the heavens" are not the only blasphemers, but those also who reproach God in their actions. “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” God in his laws designed to manifest his wisdom as the Supreme Governor of the
world. But the sinner's conduct charges God with folly, inasmuch as he prefers his own will to the divine commands. Sin also reproaches God's goodness; for in refusing subjection to his laws, the sinner practically declares that these laws have not sufficient goodness in them to claim his obedience; that God by them has deprived him of that good which ought to have been conceded. And sin likewise reproaches the righteousness and holiness of God; for these attributes are stamped upon that law, which sinners reject and trample on. • He that believeth not God hath made him a liar," and to disbelieve God is to accuse him either of unrighteousness or folly. Now this part of the charge goes even beyond Atheism; for the Atheist entirely disowns God, and so entertains no such unsuitable thoughts of him as he who owns him, and yet by his practice accuses him of ignorance, unrighteousness or folly.
Fourth. Every sin has robbery in it. One part of God's glory, which he has said he will not give to another, is his absolute dominion. Now every sinner, so far as he disobeys God, endeavours to take from him the command and exercise it himself, or give it to another, than which there can be no greater robbery. He who obeys the command, gives God the glory
But ye say,
of his authority and owns him Governor of the world. And this is a part of God's property ; it is the revenue he requires of the world ; but the sinner, by every sin he commits, endeavours to rob him of this glory.
6 Will a man rob God ? yet ye have robbed me. Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings! Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.' So sinners now may ask, Wherein have we robbed God? We may reply, You have robbed him of that which is far more valuable than tithes and offerings. In every sin you rob him of that which is better to him than sacrifice. “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."
Fifth. Every sin has rebellion in it. The infamy of rebellion has often been put upon men for disobeying the unlawful and impious commands of their fellow-men, while disobedience to God has received a more mild and favourable
But if we call things by their right names, sin alone is rebellion, and of this crime every sinner is guilty. “If ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandments of the Lord, then shall the
hand of the Lord be against you.” Thus you see that God has declared disobedience and rebellion to be the same thing, and hence every sin is rebellion against God.
Sixth. Every sin has murder in it. If he that “ hateth his brother is a murderer,” certainly he who sins against his own soul is no
It is sin that destroys the soul; and he who practises sin does that which murders not the body only, but body and soul. The sinner is therefore a self-murderer. But again, if he who “ hateth his brother is a murderer," and if the carnal mind is enmity against God," is the latter offence deserving of a milder name than the former? Not that every one who hates his brother intends to murder him ; but that hatred to a brother, so far as it goes, tends that way; nor that every sinner intends to dethrone and destroy his Maker; but that sin, so far as it goes, tends that way. If enmity to God were acted out without limit, it would take away the divine sovereignty, and with it, the divine will and glory; and without these, God, as God, could not exist.
We have now seen, that in sinning you are guilty of atheism, idolatry, blasphemy, robbery, rebellion, and murder. But,
III. These offences, in themselves considered,