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has succeeded another in every age, and that true religion has been generally, as it is still, in a struggling or perfecuted state, we ought to be humbled for the fin of our nature, and the share which each of us has contributed to the general guilt. Instead of finding fault with Providence for the permiffion of fin, we ought to be filled with a holy indignation 'against ourselves and others, for the perpetration of it. We ought to admire that wisdom and power by which the King of kings fets restraining bounds to the violence of men. Neither ought we to omit adoring his holiness in the awful vifitations with which he fometimes overtakes and overwhelms the wicked in their wickedness. When he sends out his fore judgements of war, famine, and pestilence; or when he looks to the earth, and it trembles, as unable to bear all the guilt that is laid upon it; when thunder, lightning, and tempeft, seem to threaten the immediate diffolution of the whole fabric; we ought to consider all these as the just punishment of fin, and look forward with fear to that time, when he shall render to every man according to his works, and deserved vengeance shall not be partial, but univerfal; when it shall not be occasional and temporary, but final, unchangeable, and eternal.
3. You may learn, from what has been said, the state and danger of those who are chargeable with fins of a heinous and aggravated nature. If all without exception are "under fin ; if every mouth must be stopped," doc. what shall be the condition of those who have the shameful pre-eminence of being finners of the first order, who have done more than others to provoke the Lord to anger ! If those who have lived to themselves, and not to God, shall not be able to ftand in the judgement; what shall become of those who have sold themselves to work iniquity, and' whofe abominable practices are a reproach toʻreafon, as well as a fcandal to religion? I may even fay further, in the words of the apostle Peter, “ If the righteous fearcely be faved, " where shall the ungodly and the finner ap.
pear ?" 1 Pet. iv. 18. I do the rather beg your attention to this, that we always find loose livers the warmeft advocates for liber. tine principles. It is the drunkard, the fwearer, the impure fornicator, who are so ready to produce in conversation their pretended arguments against the corruption of human nature. I speak to all such within hearing. What benefit will you reap by. denying original cor. ruption, when you are justly: chargeable with fo many actual transgressions? If there are, or ever were, any persons in the world without fin, surely you cannot pretend that you are fo yourfelves. You are ashamed to reveal your hidden fsenes to your fellow-finners, but how shall C 2
you conceal them from the searcher of all
forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and “ there be none to deliver.” May it please God effectually to convince you of your fin and danger, and to lead you to his mercy, as revealed in the gospel, for your forgiveness. Iconclude with the advice of the pfalmift, Psal. i. 12. “ Kiss the Son left he be angry, and ye
perish from the way, when his wrath is kin“ dled but a little : blessed are all they that
put their trust in him."
S E R M O N 11. .
The finner without excuse before God..
PSALM CXXX. 30
If thou, Lord, soouldst mark iniquitics, O Lord,',
who ball stand ?
Ustice and mercy are the perfections of the
divine nature, in which we as finners. have a peculiar concern. Our world is the great theatre, and the human race the great, or, so far as we know, the only objects of their u-nited exercise. Clear and just apprehensions, , therefore, of those attributes, muft lie at the foundation of all religion. It is easy to fee, . that a discovery, both of justice and mercy, is necessary to bring the finner to repente,
He must see the guilt and misery in : which he is involved, and the way by which . he may certainly, and by which he can only: obtain a recovery. The same views are equal.. ly necessary to every Christian, during liis continuance in this imperfect state. They are » necessary to that self-denial which ought to be his habitual character, and to that humiliation's C.3
and penitence which ought to be his frequent employment.
I must, however, obferve, that though there are few of the attributes of God more frequently spoken of, perhaps there are few lefs diftin&ly understood. Men have either an imperfect knowledge, or weak perfuafion. of the justice of God, and thence despise his mercy. On the other hand, they are apt to take presumptuous views of his general mercy, and thence despise his justice and severity. This is not peculiar to those, who, upon the whole, are under the dominion of fin. Even the children of God themselves are ready, either to lose their views of the majesty and holiness of God, which should incline them 10 serve him with reverence and godly fear ; or, on the other hand, by neglecting his mer.' cy, to fall into that state of flavish bondage and illiberal fear, which is equally injurious to the honour of God, and hurtful to their own peace.
On these accounts I have chofen toʻinsist a little on this passage of the pfalmift David, in which we have an united view of divine justice and mercy; “ If thou, Lord, shouldft "mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand ? “ But there is forgiveness with thee; that “ 'thou mayst be feared.” It is thought by some, that this psalm was composed in that memorable period of his life, when he was