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cause it is an offence against him, but also because it makes his creatures miserable. Infinitely benevolent as he is, he desires the happiness of his creatures, and must therefore hate that which fills men with wo, the world with death, and hell with lost sinners.
2. How great the danger of continuing therein. You, my impenitent hearers, are those who are rejecting this happiness, and gathering this misery. O stop! turn to Christ, the Lamb of God, and you may be saved. Refuse, and you must be lost!
IT IS A LITTLE ONE.-Gen. xix, 20.
SUCH was the language of Lot as he left Sodom, and beheld Zoar. On account of its smallness, the latter was not, it would seem, in his view, so much corrupted. As ministers, we urge men to flee from sin as from a great evil. But many reply that sin is but a trifle. Others say so by their actions. Interfere with their rights, and it is a crime; interfere with God's, and it is a small matter! But sin is not a trifle, which will appear evident from several considerations.
I. It is the cause of human degradation.
That man is degraded none can deny who look upon society, its follies, pleasures, and vices. Whatever noble qualities we see are but broken pillars of a once beautiful fabric. From them we may infer man's original dignity. The Bible asserts that man is degraded-that his desires are sensualized-that his affections are vitiated by sin, and estranged from wisdom and holiness. Nor is this so in individual cases only; it is universal. Newly discovered nations are found to be degraded. The Bible asserts sin to be the cause. Is it a trifle, if it have such a cor
rupting influence? Must not the fountain be large from which so many streams have issued?
II. It is the cause of the Christian's warfare. His whole life is one of warfare. Thus it is always represented in the Bible. The patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, proved it so. It has been meliorated so far as it regards persecution, but the Christian must always fight. None can go smoothly to heaven. The flesh, the world, and the devil, are arrayed against him. They wage constant warfare against him, and there can be no truce, no release till death. What hath made all these his enemies? What saith the Bible? Sin! Is that a small thing which has caused the martyrdom of so many saints? which makes the Christian's conflict so hard that he needs divine assistance in order to overcome? which has so many champions, and so direful armour?
III. God hath manifested his disapprobation of it.
By necessity, infinite holiness must hate sin; if it be a small thing, the disapprobation would be correspondingly small. Does God manifest but little displeasure?
1. In his word he says, "O, do not this abominable thing that I hate." "The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord." What is the whole tenor of the Bible? Against sin. Why did God give it? To lead men from sin. Why has he affixed such penalties to sin? Why is he angry with sinners every day? Why does he threaten such wrath to come? Not because sin is a trifle !
2. In his works he exhibits the same strong disapprobation. He "spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell." He drove Adam and Eve from Eden -destroyed the world with a flood-Sodom with fire and brimstone-and visited the Jews with awful judgments. Why all this? Can sin be a trifle? God would not thus act for trifles! Sin is the same now; it has not changed
That it is no trifle is echoed in the sighs and groans of earth, and written in blood upon its hills and plains ;—that it is no trifle God has written in burning characters in a blazing world;—that it is no trifle he has fearfully depicted in the curling smoke which "ascendeth up for ever and ever!"
IV. It occasioned the sufferings and death of Christ.
Had not sin entered our world, there would have been no need of an atonement. As sin entered, there was need. "Without shedding of blood is no remission." The law could not be annulled, man could not obey it after the fall, nor atone for past transgression. Christ became an offering for sin (Isaiah liii :) "For he hath made him to be sin (a sin-offering) for us, who knew no sin." Would God have given his Son to remedy a small disorder? The greatness of the remedy shows the magnitude of the evil. Would the Son have humbled himself, suffered and died for a slight cause? Could a trifling evil have caused such acute suffering in the garden-on the cross? Would all the means of grace which have grown out of the atonement be used for a small purpose? Think not that all this expense is for naught. Thy God is not foolish in his schemes, nor prodigal of means. The sufferings of Christ were proportionate to the magnitude of sin!
God then says that sin is no trifle. You cannot convince him otherwise. Remember he is Judge, and will award the penalty. Sport not then with thine own deceivings. Such sporting will cost thee thy soul! And "what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
REMAINS OF REV. J. W. DOWNING.
HE THAT IS UNJUST, LET HIM BE UNJUST STILL.-Rev. xxii, 11.
THE revelator has just related, in graphic language, his vision of the judgment and heaven. The angel said unto him, "Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand." This may be said with propriety, since a thousand years in God's sight are as one day. The idea seems to me to be, that the effects of men's actions will soon overtake them, and prevent all change of character. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still." I shall therefore endeavour to show, that he who dies unjust will remain unjust for ever.
Let us examine two of the objections which have been urged against our position.
1. The view of the happiness of the righteous, it is said, may change the character of the wicked in eternity.
Men see this happiness in the present life, in the words of the righteous, in their lives, whether prosperous or adverse, and in their death. The last always affects men deeply. "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!" This happiness is, in its nature, the same on earth as in heaven, as its only source is the same-the favour, love, and service of God. But it never changes the heart, unless the Spirit use it as a means. It is not in the power of circumstances to effect this change in time; how then in eternity, since man will be the same, and the Spirit be withdrawn?
Men say that they do not see much of this happiness in this world, owing to the nature of society, the mixed dispensations of the present life, and the numerous instances of unhappy professors of religion. Can you prove that you will see more of it in the other world? You will be removed from it all. Dives saw it only at a distance.
But you see enough in this life to convince your understandings, and affect your sensibilities; and, as free agents, this is all you can expect. You do not comprehend how happiness can flow from the favour, love, and service of God. Why? "Because the carnal mind enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." But the same cause will operate in eternity more powerfully to produce the same effect.
The fruition of heaven and of Eden failed to preserve angels and Adam in innocence; how idle to think the mere view of heaven may restore lost souls to obedience! If it could have done so, would God have given his Son? Would it not have been cheaper even to open all heaven to view, than to send from it his Son? He gave his Son because nothing else would do!
2. Suffering, it is said, may produce this change.
It has been asserted that all suffering is designed by God to reform the individual on whom it falls. You do not always expect this effect from punishment in civil society; pain is not always corrective to society. The pains of infants are not, from the nature of the case, corrective to the sufferers. The sufferings of Adam, which were inflicted by divine justice, and which constituted the curse of the law he had broken, were not corrective; for had they been, whence the need of a Saviour? There. is, then, no certainty that the sufferings of the lost will produce a change of character.
We are daily called to much suffering in consequence of sin—as uneasiness, remorse, fear, &c,; but it does not lead us to break off our sins! How often are we visited with severe afflictions-loss of property, health, friends! We may feel deeply, as many do, but our characters remain the same. Many even grow worse-none better, unless led by the Spirit to some view of themselves. The cul