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took upon him the punishment and iniquities of us all, that all who repent and believe might be redeemed from the curse due to fin. From the exceeding great evil of fin and the unchange able constitution of the divine law to punith it, made it neceffary that the captain of our falvation should become perfect through sufferings.
Hence it is of the highest importance, that we should per. ceive and feel some degree of the odiousness of fin, from which all genuine humiliation, contrition and repentance originate. in proportion to the sense we have of the vileness and turpitude of iniquity will be the meltings, forrow and brokenness of heart for the fame. If this sensible feeling of the evil of fin be wanting, we remain destitute of every meetness for the friendship of God, according to the gospel. If this be present, it breaks the proudest and most unrelenting heart into the tenderness of con trition, and inspires it with the love of God and Christ Jesus.
Secondly, from hence we infer that the eternal punishment of finally impenitent finners is absolutely certain. The text and whole doctrine irrefragibly confirm this inference. The punishment of finners is not an arbitrary ad, but arises from the holiness of the divine nature, the perfection of the law, the intrinsic demerit of fin, and the nature and reason of things. If the infliction of misery was an arbitrary or capricicus act, there might be hope of an escape, for caprice is always a changing and unsteady principle, and there is no such thing with God.
This should awaken all to flee from the wrath to come. Let all who are at ease in Zion consider the horror of their fituation, while impenitent and unbelieving. You must afturedly perish without a saving closure with Jesus of Nazareth. How inconceivable and indescribable the nature of fin, which rendersit necessary, that the God of compassion and love should hate and punish us forever. He has no pleasure in this une happy business, objeâively considered; he cannot afflict wiltingly, but it arises from the holy propriety and beauty of vindicating the luftre of his character, magnifying the excellen. cy of his law, and rendering it honorable in the view of all intelligences.
Thirdly, it appears from this subject that God is tranfcendantly amiable, not only in himself, but in all the branches of his administration. “He is righteous in all his ways and holy « in all his works.” He is as equally lovely in the pain and affli&ion of transgreflórs, as in the dispensations of his mercy and goodness. His present conduct toward the disorderly in. habitants of this world, in all the calamities retailed upon them, is no diminution of his loveliness in itself, nor in the view of faints or holy beings. Sinners, it is true, form a different opinion, as their whole minds and condu& are perverse, and they declare that their distresses are arguments of rigour and severity ; this boils up the enmity of their hearts, and they can. not think with patience of a God of punitive justice. But could they see their own hearts, they would rise as much against the sweet and amiable parts of the divine character as ang other, for the whole of God, his laws and government, are the objects of their hatred. Not fo with holy beings; all that is in God is lovely in their eyes, his judgments, wrath and vengeance, as well as his compassion, mercy and love. Al heaven above and faints below unite, saying, “ Righteous art thou, O “ Lord, and upright are thy judgments. The Lord is good “and he doth good continually.:)
Fourthly, we infer, there can be no ground for murmuring and repining against God. All these heart burnings, heart risings, and hard thoughts, are perfectly unreasonable and unjust. However common they were with Ifrael of old, and till are with us, and however prevalent in all ages, they are entirely unfounded. There is no cause for them either in the nature or perfections of God, but all these base exercises arise from the blindness, wickedness, and perversion of our own fouls. We have none to blame but ourfelves. Hence the heart of man is desperately wicked. If we could once be reduced to acquit and vindicate God and take all blame upon ourselves, this would shed around us gleams of hope.
Wherefore from the forbearance, patience and unwillingness of God to affli&t or grieve the children of men, let us from these strong arguments be induced to humble ourselves, re. pent and turn from all our iniquities. Let us be exhorted to fly into the arms of a bleeding Saviour. Let us not tarry a moment in the tents of fin, left the everlasting doors should de fute
The Preciousness of the Soul.
Plalms, xlix. 8.
For the Redemption of their Soul is Precious,
and it ceaseth forever.
OUR existence is not confined to this state, neither our happiness or misery. We are all capable of, and formed for an eternal duration. And this interminable duration will be filled up with perfect felicity or perfect misery. When death shall have performed his office and put a period to our present existence, we will have a full experience of this most folemn truth. Whatever may be our condition at this concluded moment of the present existence, that will be our condition throughout eternity. All change and deliverance after this event, has impoflibility sealed upon it. This is ordained in the eternal nature of things, and in the immutable decrees of heaven. “ As the tree falls so it must lie. There is no work, “ labour, wisdom, or device in the grave whereunto we are “haltening." A short time, and we shall all know, and saints and finners will prove, the truth of the account of the eternal world. We must quickly pass into, and feel in our souls the joys of Paradise, or torments of the infernal regions. One or the other of these conditions await each of us, we draw neare we hasten towards them as fast as moments fly. The last mo. ment will soon be here, and when it comes, we must pass into eternity prepared or unprepared. No circumstances can pro. cure us a moments stay. We may plead the dreadfulness of our condition, and cry for a suspension of the stroke of death. We may groan with the most dolorous importunity, for the mercy of another day or hour; but in vain. We must pass to be swallowed up immediately and forever in the felicities of Seraphs or forrows of the damned.
In what a folemn point of view does this doctrine set the eternal world ? How precious and invaluable does it render our present time, as the only season of preparation for it? What high conviction does it afford of the wisdom, importance and neceflity of seeking the salvation of our immortal fouls ? And how clearly does it show the extreme folly and madness of hesitating, or being unwilling to submit to any labour or self denial, that may be requisite to obtain the redemption of them from everlasting misery?
This is the doctrine on which the discourse of the Pfalmist in our text is founded. He is showing the vanity of all worldly things as a ground of confidence and trust in the day of death. Wealth of riches cannot support a man at that tremendous period. They cannot purchase or effect the continuance of his life. They can give him no relief, nor afford him deliverance. “They that trust in their wealth, or boast them. «s felves in the multitude of their riches, none of them by, ang * means can redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom u for him, that he fould still live forever, and not fee corrup6 tion.” The special reason is assigned in our text, why riches cannot purchase life or redeem from death, • For the re. " demption of the soul is precious, and it ceafeth forever."