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tongue, which was once tuned only to the accent and language of love, has in a moment learned to reproach and upbraid ; where innocence sat enthroned, there fell despair broods over her own stinging reflections and torinenting fears ; above, the throne of an angry God; beneath, a fathomlessgulph kin.dled by the breath of the Almighty; within, a troubled conscience like the raging sea incapable of taking rest; the glory is departed, the gold is become dim, the most fine gold changed." Jehovah turns away disgusted, disappointed from the workmanship of his hand; he “ repents that he had made man upon the earth, he is grieved at his heart."
2. Endeavor to be deeply convinced of the alarming truth that all “ have sinned and have come short of the glory of God.” Unless the understanding is really and thoroughly convinced of this truth, there is little prospect that it will prove effectual, either for alarming the conscience or humbling the heart; there can be little prospect that it will succeed in producing those fruits of contrition, of humiliation, which issue in glory to God or saving advantage to ourselves. We must believe that we have really dishonored God, before we can be cordial in lamenting that dishonor; we must be convinced that we are involved in guilt and pollution, before we can be really earnest in desiring the pardon of the one, or the purification of the other. Now, brethren, I
would solemnly appeal to your own candor, and ask, is there a doctrine in all the oracles of the living God more clearly revealed, or more frequently repeated than the doctrine of universal corruption ? Is it more plainly taught that there is one God, than it is taught, that “ by the offence of one judgment has passed upon all men to condemnation ; that death has passed upon all men, because all have sinned ?” Is it more positively expressed, “there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus ; that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” than it is expressed,
" that all flesh have corrupted their ways ; that every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is only evil continually ?" May we not therefore, with equal propriety, deny the existence of God, the unity of the divine essence, the incarnation of the Eternal Son, as deny the universal apostacy and ruin of mankind ? They are revealed in the same volume, taught with the same clearness, and enstamped with the same high authority, a thus saith the Lord. It becomes us therefore, to exclaim in the language of the church -“We appear before thee in our trespasses; we have sinned, and have committed iniquities and have done wickedly, and rebelled even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments; O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee; to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes and to our fathers, because we have sin
ped against thee ?” thou, Jehovah, art just in all the judgments which thou hast poured upon our world, in all that vanity which thou art causing us to experience in every enjoyment of life, in all that disease of body and disquietude of mind to which we are exposed, “ because we have sinned against thee."
3. Aim at realizing the certain and awful consequences of transgression. It really exposes to the curse of Almighty God; it renders us obnoxious to all misery, both here and hereafter. -“ The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” Art thou persuaded that every transgression binds thee over to the curse, and does thy conscience tremble under the persuasion? A cold, speculative belief, that all have sinned, that the whole world is become guilty before God, is unprofitable ; each individual ought particularly to apply the doctrine to himself, “I ain the man; I have sinned, what shall I do unto thee, O thou Preserver of men ?-Behold! I was shapen in iniquity, and I am therefore by nature a child of wrath even as others.' It is truly affecting that thousands entertain some general notions about their original and actual sin, without giving themselves any more con
cern; they will not be at the trouble of reflecting on its consequences; this consideration, although infinitely awful, rarely produces an uneasy emotion in their hearts, an anxious cry from their lips, or a penitential tear from their eyes; they can lie down in the evening and rise up in the morning; they can proceed to their ordinary employments, and retire from these employments when the wrath of God is hanging over them, and the sword of justice is unsheathed for their blood, with incomparably less anxiety than that of a child or servant when threatened by a parent or master. Endeavour, therefore, to be affected with the dangerous and damning consequences of sin. What avails it for a man merely to know he is diseased? he will not determine on consulting or employing a physician until he is alarmed with the probably fatal issue of his disease. What avails it for the criminal to know he has broken the law of his country, and that his sovereign is offended ? he will not think of acknowledging his crime or asking forgiveness, until he apprehends the actual punishment of his offence; neither will the sinner be truly earnest about fleeing from the wrath to come, unless he be fully convinced that he is exposed to wrath; that he is liable to the damnation of hell. How cheerful have been the most perfect of the saints in the confession of their sins; how contrite their spirits under a consciousness of their imperfections; how ardent in imploring the exer
cise of mercy ? “If I justify myself, mine own mouth would condemn me; if I say I am perfect, I shall prove myself perverse : I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth: Enter not into judgement with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”
I shall now conclude this discourse with a single inference to the ungodly, and to the righteous.
1. To the ungodly, who are yet in their sins, who have not fled for refuge to the everlasting Surety, nor improved his great salvation, heavy tidings must be uttered from the Lord of hosts. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked, and therefore none to thee in thy present condition. “ The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men,' and is therefore revealed against thee. Art thou, thoughtless sinner, art thou in childhood, remember that thou art called a transgressor from the womb, and a child of wrath : Behold! thou wast shapen in iniquity, and in sin did thy molher conceive thee. Thy parents may perhaps flatter thee, but the living God is thine adversary whilst thou art unreconciled by the blood of Jesus: Health may bloom in thy cheek, joy may suffuse thy heart, and the world present its gilded charms before thine eyes, but the wrath of almighty God hangs over thy head, and the