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us what we are-earthly, sensual, devilish, averse from God, unfit for him and happiness: all that is within us, since sin entered, proclaims the melancholy truth. Our souls were as the “ garden of Eden” before it; and lo, it hath left us " a desolate wilderness.” And what! shall we stand upon any terms of friendship with such an enemy? Though it look pleasing, and flatter, and smile upon us, and would betray us with kisses, shall we not hate the traitor, and hold it off with abhorrence, as the very bane of our souls ?
3. Sin brings misery with, and after it. You have heard how God threatens; you may feel, if you will, how he now punishes it. Consider, I pray you, if sin hath not cursed the ground under us, and turned the heavens, one while into brass, and another into a deluge over our heads; if it hath not armed the sky with thunder, and the bowels of the earth with convulsions; if it hath not destroyed all joy, and chased happiness out of the world; if it hath not brought on us vexation and sickness, and crosses and care, making us very slaves to keep ourselves alive, and then consigning this lordly body of ours to the worms and dust. I speak not of unknown things: I speak what we feel and struggle with, till we can hold life no longer, and depart to the 6 place appointed for all living.” But after death comes the misery indeed, known now only in apprehension, but so felt even in the expectation, as to make all present woe of no account, when compared with it. Launch your thoughts into eternal misery, and you shall think of man's momentary wretchedness, with that littleness of apprehension
wherewith a person sailing upon the vast ocean reflects upon the river, which appeared great while he was passing out of it. And what is there that can be called misery, which you do not see before you, as the eternal issue and wages of sin? To think of the body's dwelling in flames! Should you be invited, by strange curiosity, to see a criminal burnt at the stake, your soul would be moved within you, though a few minutes would put an end to his tortures. But should you see him burning, and not yet dead, after a whole day; and should that day be lengthened to a week, a month, a year, to a thousand ages, to forever! Intolerable even to think of it; how then to behold it? but how most intolerable to suffer it! And this but the half, perhaps but the lesser half of man's eternal misery! For to think of the sufferings of the soul, consummate in all wickedness to the fullest measure, desperately hating God, and yet lying instantly under the frowns of his irreconcilably enraged majesty; how shall conscience · sting it, rage gnaw it, and revenge consume it! How shall hopeless grief, impotent malice, and utter despair, burst forth into strange complainings, distressing groans, woful curses, and blasphemous insults, the language of hell; making the voice of the damned terrible, and filling their dark chambers with horror! And all this with tormenting devils, the outcasts of heaven, wreaking their insatiable malice upon them! O what a society, płace, punishment, is here! And yet all this “ the wages of sin.” See then, what an enemy this sin is to us, here and forever!
To conclude, I shall hope that such reflections upon the dishonour sin doth to God, upon the defilement it brings upon the soul, and the misery which comes with and after it, may, by the divine grace, engage your heart to some dislike of it: so that while you are searching after this most important concern, the reality, the consequences of your sins, and your insufficiency to succour yourself, you may be disengaged from that bias, which the convenience of sin and self-flattery are too apt to give to the soul; and, in the issue, may find yourself as carnest to be rid of sin, as from the deplorable events it hath produced. Thus disposed, you will be ready to hear the good news of salvation, in the ability and willingness the Redeemer hath to help you; and will discover a becoming forwardness in laying hold of his most gracious offers. May God both prevent and assist you herein, for the sake of the same Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour!
THE POWER AND LOVE OF CHRIST.
Isaiah lxiii. 5.
Therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me."
WHEN a nụmerous host of angels declared the appearance of our Redeemer, their song was “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men." But what songs are those which we send forth upon the remembrance of that glorious manifestation? What suitable rejoicing do we show at this season.* Is the voice heard among us of those who rejoice for hell shut and heaven opened, for peace and glory promulged to a lost world? The days now before us were separated by the piety of our ancestors for holy joy; were separated that, with humble thankful hearts, we might give ourselves up to mutual congratulation, to speak one to another of the great things which the Redeemer hath done. But to think, how the approaching holy-days will be spent in this land; how the body of this people, as it were set loose and casting off all restraint, are going with a determined resoluteness into all manner of debauchery and riot, as if a license to sin upon this occasion had been issued from heaven; how doth it pierce every faithful heart with sorrow, and cover the loyal countenance with sadness! My brethren, what little spot will be undefiled? What corner of the land where God will not be peculiarly dishopoured, Christ trampled upon with a more than double portion of insolence, and vice wallow in mad lawlessness? Horrid expectation! But shall not we escape? Shall I not hope, that this seasonable word will check the sallies of intemperate mirth among you; and direct your joy into a better channel than that of drunken carousals and abused feasts? Your hearts must be hard and savage, if what you have heard already, and what is now to be advanced, do not gain so much as this with you, to be sober and considerate a few days. But to come nearer to the subject: If I have thus får prevailed; if conscience pronounces you guilty; and, from a deliberate attention to the consequences of sin, vengeance dismays you as a dishonourer of God's universal government, and as defiled and unfit for his presence, having found that no other way remains on your part to glorify God, than by the eternal suffering of his just indignation; and also that your rebellious spirit hath taken to it such dark and malignant dispositions, as, when filled to the full measure, (which they would necessarily grow up to, for any inclination or power you have to restrain them,) would leave you only a meet companion for the accursed outcasts of
* The substance of this Sermon was preached the Sunday before Christmas-day.