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cording to that strong and beautiful patage : “And the “ four and twenty elders which fat before God on their “ seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped Gol, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God almigiity, which art, " and wast, and art to come, because tlou halt taken to the " thy great power, and hast reigned."*

The other observation I am to make is, that a true penitent always acquires the deepest abhorrence of that atrocious, though prevailing fin, of profaning the name of God in common discourse. There are many persons, not otherwise the most abandoned, who have no juft sense of the heinousness of this fin: and as it is not directly level. led against the temporal intereit of our neighbors, it is far from being generally fo fcandalous and dishonorable as it ought to be. Such religion or virtue as is founded on worldly principles and views, may easily consist with its continuance; but he who is convinced of the evil of all sin, as rebellion against, and disobedience to God, will see the horrible guilt and impiety that attends this abominable practice. That religon which is the work of God's holy Spirit, and consists in the recovery of his lost image, will never be able to bear so direct a violation of his facred authority, so unprovoked an infult upon his honor and glory.

A fear of punishment then we have seen, without a sense of the evil of fin in itself, is not sufficient. Let me now add, that this discovery of the evil of fin in itself, muft increase our fear of punishinent, by shewing it to be just. A fear of punishment while alone, always tempts the finner to search about on all hands for arguments against that suffering, the justice of which he cannot perceive. Hence infidelity of heart and secret suggestions, that surely it cannot be that God will punish as he hath faid. Hence blatphemous impatience. Hence rising thoughts and rebellion against God, even while under his rod; such as are defcribed by the prophet Hofea : “ And they have not cried “ unto me with their heart when they howled upon their “ beds.”+ Nay, hence fometimes the bitterest profefied infidels among those, who have been brought up in the knowledge of the truths of the gospel, while they have never seen their beauty, or felt their power.

* Rev. xi. 16, 17,

+ Hosea vii. 14.

But so soon as there is a discovery of the glory of God. and the universal and perfect obedience due from all to him, this throws a new light on the tokens of a divine difpleasure against fin, in the works of creation and providence. This carries home, with irrefiftible force, all the threatenings of the wrath of God againft finners in his word. Their justice is then deeply and inwardly felt, and the finner begins to wonder at the patience of a long-suffering God, that has not long ere now made him a monument of vengeance.

The same view it is that not only begins, but carries on and compleats genuine convictions of fin, that silences all objections, and refutes the reasonings of the carnal mind. Every sincere convert will have, in a greater or lesser degree,

the evidence in himself, that his change is of sovereign grace. He will probably be able to recollect in how many instances his mind set itself to oppose, and was at pains as it were to collect and muster up every objection against the obligation and fanction of the law of God. The objections are raised, first, against the necessity er benefit of obedience, and then against suffering for disobedience, till all are borne down by the fame almighty power which fpake and it was done, and which can“ lead captivity cap“tive.” I cannot propose to enumerate all the objections, or rather, all the forms, in which objections may arise in the fimaer's mind, when struggling against conviction; but 1 ihall mention a few of them, and show what it is that must put them to filence.

1. Perhaps the finner will say, alas! why should the law be so extremely ricorous, as to insist upon absolute and finless obedience? Hard indeed, that it will admit not of any transgression, any omiilion, the least siip, or failing or frailty, but pronounccth fo levere a sentence, “ Curled is “ every one that continueth not in all things which are " written in the book of the law to do them."* fider, I pray you, what is the law, and who is the au.

But con

# Gal. iii. 10.

thor of the law. The sum of all the commandments of the law is, “ To love the Lord your God with all your “ heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with “ all your strength.” Is this unreasonable? or, is it too much? Is he not infinitely amiable, and absolutely perfect? Is he not the just and legitimate object of supreme love? Is not every defect of love to God essentially finful ? and can it be otherwise considered ? He is a God of truth, who will not, and who cannot lie. He must therefore affert his own majesty and right, and say, as in the prophet, “ Is there a God besides me ? yea, there is no God; I “ know not any."* A discovery of the glory of God at once silences this objection, and shows that he asks but his due; and as he is the unchangeable God, any abatement in the demands of the law not only would be unreasonable, but is in truth impossible.

2. Again the finner will perhaps say, “But why should « the sentence be so severe ? The law may be right in it“ felf, but it is hard, or even impoffible for me. I have “no strength : I cannot love the Lord with all my heart. “I am altogether infufficient for that which is good.” Oh that you would but consider what sort of inability you are under to keep the commandments of God! Is it natural, or is it moral ? Is it really want of ability, or is it only want of will ? Is it any thing more than the depravity and corruption of your hearts, which is itself criminal, and the source of all actual transgressions ? Have you not natural faculties, an understanding, will, and affections, a wonderful frame of body, and a variety of members ? What is it that hinders them all from being consecrated to God? Are they not as proper in every respect for his fervice, as for any baser purpose ? When you are commanded to love God with all your heart, this surely is not de. manding more than you can pay : for if you give it not to him, you will give it to something else, that is far from being so deserving of it.

The law then is not impossible, in a strict and proper sense, even to you. Let me next ask you, Is it unreason

* If. xliv, 8.

able? Does he ask any more than all your hearts and are they not his own? Has he not made them for himself? If not, let any rival rise up and plead his title to a share ? Does he alk any more than that you fiould love him fupremely ? and is he not every way worthy of your love? If he commanded vou to love what was not amiable, there would be reason for complaint. By tracing the matter thus to its fource, we see the righteousness and equity of the divine procedure, and that the law of God is eternal and immutable, as his own nature. Wherefore, “let God “ be true, and every man a liar.”. All the attempts to impeach his conduct as ferere, only tend to show the obliquity and perverleness of the depraved creature, and not to diminish the excellence of the all-glorious Creator.

While men continue slaves to sin, it isabfurd to suppose they should acquiefce in their Maker's authority : but fo foon as any person discovers the infinite amiableness of God, and his cbligation to love and serve him, his mouth will be immediately flopped, himself and every other finner brought in inexcuseably guilty. He will see that there is nothing to hinder his compliance with every part of his duty, but that inward aversion to God, which is the very esence of fin. It is of no consequence what your natural powers are, wicther those of an angel or a man, a philofopher or a clown, if foul and body, and such powers as you lave, arc but wholly devoted to God. Do jou say this is impoflible? where then lies the impollibility of it, but in your depraved inclinations?

But we have not yei done with the objections; the most formidable of all is behind. Perhaps the finner will say, How unfortunate focver this inclination may be, I brought it into the porld with me. I derived it from my parents; it is my very nature; I am not able to resist it. This brings in view a fubject far more extensive than to admit of being fully landled here. We may also easily allow, that there is something in it beyond the reach of our limited capacity : but whatever be the nature and effects, or manner of communicating original fin; whatever be the vse made of it, in accounting or events as a general cause; if any voluntary agent hath nothing to offer in opposition

to the strongest obligation, but that he finds himself utterly unwilling to obey, it seems to be an excuse of a very extraordinary kind. We are sure that no such excuse would be accepted by an earthly law-giver ; nor have we the least reason to think, any more regard will be paid to: it by him “ who judgeth righteously.”

In this, as in most other things, there is a wide difference between the sentiments of a hardened and a convin. ced sinner. The first, who hath no just view of the guilt of his actual tranfgreffions, is always prone to extenuate them, by introducing original fin as an excuse for his.con-. duct : but a sinner, truly convinced of the evil of his felt and experienced enmity against God, makes use of his early and original depravity for his further humiliation. Thus the psalmist David, when under the exercise of penitence for the complicated crimes of adultery and murder, expresses himself as follows : “ Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, " and in fin did my mother conceive me*.” In whate. ver way it was first introduced, it is certain that all averfion and opposition to God must be evil in itself, and the fource of misery to him in whom it dwells; for all that

are afar off from him” shall certainly perish; and all: that continue unlike to him muft depart from him. Without perplexing ourselves with debates about the propriety or meaning of the imputation of Adam's first fin, this we. may be sensible of, that the guilt of all inherent corruption must be personal, because it is voluntary and consented to. Of both these things, a discovery of the glory of God will: powerfully convince the sinner. When he seeth the infinite beauty of holiness, and the amiableness of the divine nature, he cannot forbear crying out of himself, “Woe is

me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean

lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean 46 lips; for mine eyes have feen the King, the Lord of

Hostst.” As the impurity of his heart, so the irregularities of his life, will stare him in the face : they never appear fo. hateful, as when brought into comparison with

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