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DEATH, THE WAGES OF SIN.
ROM. VI. 23.
The wages of sin is death.
The Apostle Paul, while addressing the Christians at Rome, endeavoured to ima press upon them, a just sense of the obligations which they were under, and of the precious privileges to the enjoyment of which they were graciously invited. They professed to be the disciples of a crucified master, and they were, therefore, bound to die to the love and practice of sin, as He died to deliver them from its punishment ; and as he not only died ; but “ rose again “ for their justification,” so they were also bound to rise from the grave of corruption, and walk with him “ in newness of life.
“ Reckon ye yourselves,” says he,“ to be 6 dead indeed unto sin ; but alive unto “ God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let “ not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal
body, that ye should obey it in the lusts 66 thereof." What ? shall we sin be“ cause we are not under the law, but un“ der grace ?-God forbid !” Conduct like this, would not be more inconsistent with our Christian profession, than destructive of our “ blessed hope;" for let us attend to this solemn declaration of the Holy Spirit-66 The
of sin is death."
Were any one, to ask me, what is theworthiest object of our most ardent pursuit, and what we should give the greatest possible diligence to obtain ; I should answerholiness ; because it comprehends all that is great and good—its end is everlasting life.Were any one, again, to ask me, what should be our utmost dread, and what we should give the utmost diligence to avoid ; I should answer-sin; because it comprehends all that is base and wretched, and necessarily excludes us from everlasting life. To the same degree that holiness is beneficial and lovely, sin is pernicious and de
testable. It is of essential malignity and ill desert, and will, sooner or later, be seen by all, to be the greatest evil with which our nature can be afflicted. Other evils, such as disease and poverty ; losses and calumny, affect only what is external and foreign to us; but they need not disturb our minds, nor can they do the least injury to what is truly ourselves ; but sin pierces and wounds, and ravages ourselves. It hurts, not so much, the body, the reputation or fortune, as the man ; it plants anguish, desolation, and ruin, in the soul itself. Other evils may, in the end, prove useful to us, but this is eternally and unchangeably evil; the bane of every heart into which it enters, and the destruction of all those who are not rescued from its power, and delivered from its punishment." The wages of sin is 6 death."
All that I, at present, propose, is merely to consider the nature and extent of the punishment, which, under the government of God, sin is appointed to entail, and which is denominated death .-" The wages of sin «« is death."
Now, in the FIRST PLACE, this punishment evidently implies corporeal death. This death, which consists in the separation of the soul from the body, the heathens considered as the necessary result of the constitution of our frame. The Scriptures, however, teach us a very different doctrine. They inform us that man, though partly composed, indeed, of corruptible materials, and therefore capable of dissolution, was originally designed to be incorruptible ; to be a stranger to disease, and weakness, and decay, and to flourish in immortal youth and vigour. But this felicity he was to enjoy only upon condition of his continuing perfectly innocent, and yielding unreserved submission, and spotless obedience to the will of God. If the condition should, in the least, be broken, then instantly, this happy constitution of things was to be changed, and immortal man appointed to die. Alas! the condition was broken, and we all see and feel, and deplore, the calamity which has followed. The awful penalty has, ever since, been inflicted.--"By “one man, sin entered into the world, and “ death by sin ; so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned.”—The fa
tal sentence has gone forth, and none can elude its execution. “ The living know " that they shall die.”—Go to the house of mourning; there behold your fellow-creature extended in mortal agony; pale and ghastly, bidding the world adieu ! That same change, remember, must take place in you also.-Descend next into the chambers of the tomb,—there behold the putrefying flesh, and the mouldering bones, and there, remember, shall, one day, be your dreary dwelling.-" I know that thou wilt “ bring me to death, and to the house ap“ pointed for all living.”—And why is this rueful change decreed? Why is this terrifying punishment inflicted ?We have all sinned, and “ the wages of sin is death.” May we all be sensible of this before it be too late! Whenever we witness death, may we think of sin! There was no such thing as death in the world till sin made its entrance. Before this, there was no existing cause to produce death ; nothing by which the human frame could be disordered or impaired. Minute philosophers !-mean halfthinkers! Ye may repudiate and smile at this ; but still our faith shall stand ; for it rests on the sure basis of Scripture ; on the