« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
are not all; they are attended with many fearful aggravations, which, as it were, are so many ciphers put after the figures, that, though in themselves nothing, when put after, swell the number to a prodigious amount.
First. You have sinned in the face of all the Divine threatenings. When the torments of hell have been before you, you have still dared to provoke the Most High; thus despising these evidences of his anger. Who, in some remarkable instance or other, has not seen the judgments of God against sinners? And yet you go on in sin. You sin against glorious Gospel ordinances, all of which are designed to prevent or destroy sin. You have sinned against the strivings of the Holy Spirit, which are given in mercy to lead you to repentance. And you have sinned against Jesus Christ, who has died for the sins of men. The God who has provided all these helps against sin, is the God against whom you have rebelled in all these fearful violations of his law.
Second. You have sinned against God, notwithstanding all the favours with which he has loaded you. Sad requital for all his lovingkindness; “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken: I have nou
rished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me."
Thousands of the Divine favours are shown you every day. God loads you with his benefits, while you load yourselves with sins against him. You make these very mercies, as it were, weapons of unrighteousness to fight against him. Whatever good you see around you,
whatever you enjoy, you have from him. In him you live, and move, and have your being. Therefore your sins are all acts of great ingratitude; and in this respect man is worse than the beasts of the field. 6. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib.” The dullest beast knows who treats him kindly, and gives indications of gratitude for the kindness; but sinners rebel against the God of their mercies, and thus are guilty of the grossest ingratitude. Reader, will you continue thus to requite the Lord ?
Third. All this wickedness is without any provocation. When subjects rebel against their rulers, they will plead some excuse for their rebellion. But what can you say to justify rebellion against God? What fault have you found in him that
? “Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the king of Jacob." He made the universe, and placed
you upon the earth. He sustains you by his power, and every hour gives you the tokens of his kindness. By his wisdom he guides the affairs of earth and heaven, and provides for your every want, and there is none like him to be his competitor. Who then can dispute his claim to the sovereignty of the world? Who
of his laws are unjust ? - Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Who will dare to plead that any of the Divine laws are too strict in their demands? For who cannot see that society is prosperous and happy, just in proportion as men yield to the wisdom of the Divine laws? And thus
sin without the least prospect of advantage. You “spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not.” Could you plead the possibility of advantage, or were you overcome by temptation which there were no means of avoiding or resisting, your case would be otherwise; but this you dare not plead, you can plead nothing but that you are guilty.
This is the charge against you; what have you to answer to it? You must say with Job; “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me; if I say
I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.” If you acknowledge your
guilt, as certainly you must, what means your indifference? Why are you not alarmed for your soul? Do you not believe that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God ?” Is the punishment of iniquity nothing to be dreaded? Plead not, reader, that your. conscience has never accused you of the sins which have now been charged upon you.
You may have laboured to keep the eyes of your conscience closed, lest it should reprove you, and give you pain; or your sins may have lulled it to sleep, so that, if it speak at all, its voice is too feeble to rouse you from difference. And if the frequency of your sins has rendered you insensible to their malignity, you cannot plead that you are the less guilty. If God has declared your sins to be what they have now been represented, beware that you be not found disputing and fighting against God.
SECTION II. Witnesses produced to prove the charge.First. God is witness against you, as he was against his people of old. - Even I know, and am a witness, saith the Lord.” 6 And if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." Such are the words of the just Judge of all the
earth; and therefore there can be no malice or injustice in your condemnation. 6. As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” Certainly it could be no pleasure to him to ruin the work of his own hands. You cannot then question the validity of this witness.
Second. Jesus Christ, the Amen and Faithful Witness, gives evidence against you. He came to bear witness of the truth. “ He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." The very name of Christ is a witness. He is called Jesus, because “he shall save his people from their sins." This implies that they are all sinners.
Third. The Holy Spirit is a witness. is one of the offices of the Spirit to convince of sin. " And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin.” And if this witness should speak to your heart and conscience, as he sometimes speaks, you would need no more witnesses. Thus, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bear record, and set their seal to this truth. Now the testimony of two men of veracity is sufficient to prove a man guilty, however