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This was the second point.
And, upon this particular, I shall wish to drive you to the distress of Jonah's mariners; having raised a tempest about you, to leave you without any other hopes of safety than by "casting forth into the sea" your self-confidence. You may be apt to look for security and salvation, and healing the breach that sin hath made between God and you, by labour and repentance, purely your own. As the mariners did, you may be rowing hard to this land to save yourselves, unwilling to throw yourselves upon mercy as otherwise lost. But when you shall not be able; when you shall find that you cannot trust in any thing you can do, either to glorify God, to recover purity of heart, or to satisfy his justice; then with unwonted attention you shall consider that mighty Redeemer, who is come to restore the breach, and tenderly waits to hide, and cherish you under the covering of his healing wings.
I say, therefore, that having been found guilty of sin before the majesty of God, thereby you have dishonoured him; in such a manner alienated yourself from God, that you are unfit for his presence and glory, and have entailed an eternal curse upon you. But from these consequences you cannot rescue yourself.
I would engage you to observe the connexion there is between these consequences of sin. It is notorious, that the rebellion of man's will and way dishonours God as the Governor of the world. This rebellion hath destroyed all capacity of happiness in the creature with the Creator, though in him only it
is possible that a reasonable being can be blessed; while the glory of God, and the evil dispositions of man's rebellious nature, lead directly to a state of endless banishment from God's presence, and of avowed and most required punishment. Till God be glorified, till man be humbled, the separation between the Creator and creature remains; and the issue, on the one part and the other, must be man's ruin for ever. God remaining dishonoured, and man rebellious, the issue is enmity and death. If, therefore, you would compose the difference sin hath made between God and you, you must render back all the glory of which you have deprived God,―you must put on the disposition of a creature,—you must satisfy the demands of infinite justice. See now how incapable you are to effect either of these.
First, If you would remove the consequences of sin from you, you must render back the glory to God of which you have deprived him. I will suppose you sensible, that, by your sins and rebellion, you have dishonoured God your Maker and Governor, and that you are willing to do all in your power to render back that glory to him. I will suppose you too, with the utmost purity of heart and integrity of life, returned to your allegiance; and that, with such a simplicity in yourself, your constant earnest endeavour is to promote God's glory in the world, by all the influence you have upon others. But now, even in this case, you will not advance a step towards repairing the dishonour which your past sins have brought upon God. For what by such a conduct are you doing, more than your duty? or
was it not your duty to have been with God always, as suppose you now to be? It is true, by such an humble demeanour you do not increase the debt of dishonour you are charged with; but then neither do you lessen it. Doing now as you ought, you leave the state of your former sins just as they were; nor can you hereby remove one jot of that disgrace which they have brought upon God's government. Should subjects who had violently dethroned their king, afterwards, upon better conscience, set him up again; will any man say that such a monarch hath suffered no disgrace? or that his restoration made him ample amends? No, he should not be impeached of injustice, however he might be of want of clemency, should he exercise his restored power in the punishment of such rebels. Present obedience, then, however perfect, would in nowise heal the breaches which old rebellions have made upon God's glory. But farther,
Having been undutiful yourself, have you not also been the occasion of dishonouring God in the persons of others? Your evil example, vain conversation, light and negligent carriage, have they not hurt the glory of God, by the discountenance they have put upon religion, and the encouragement they have given to vice? Now, who or where are they, to whom you have been a snare in the days of your wanton forgetfulness of your Maker? know them not. They are even all that ever were acquainted with or saw you; at home, abroad, in all companies, you were ignorantly patronizing the cause of rebellion. At best, you can but recollect a few
upon whom you have done the majesty of God
signal disgrace. perate project!
Go then, bring these back: DesSome of them are nowhere to be found; some in distant parts of the earth; and others departed, dead, it may be in their sins, having left behind them a race of evil doers, and iniquity for "an inheritance to children's children." Thou canst not but tremble at the thought.
But at least re
cover those to God who are still alive and with thee. Entreat with them, by the glory of their God and thine, by the eternal worth of their souls and thy own: try upon them all the force of argument and Alas! some would mock, some would despise, and some would dissemble with thee. It would be no small conquest, shouldst thou gain so much as one.
Or consider yet again. Thou wast a living infection; thine acquaintance caught sin of thee, and they conveyed it to others. Say, how far will the plague even yet reach? When will it stop? Or what measures wilt thou take to prevent the contagion from going still farther? The reflection is
enough to make every heart fail, while he thus evidently sees the irreparable dishonour he hath brought upon God.
Speak now, what hope hast thou of doing God justice? Wilt thou venture thy soul upon it, that thou hast made no breach upon the glory of God, which thou hast not, or canst not sufficiently restore? Wilt thou be bold to rest the cause of thy eternal acceptance with God upon this plea? I will answer for thee, that thou darest not meet the righteous
God in judgment upon so lame a confidence. Already thou art crying for mercy: "The Lord pardon thy servant in this thing." But how would thy cry be increased, couldst thou see the dishonour which sin does to the Majesty of heaven, as thou wilt assuredly see it, when thou shalt stand with the assembled world before the Judge of quick and dead! When thou shalt behold God magnificently glorifying himself upon sinful men and devils, for the dishonour they have done him! Couldst thou know the hurt which thy sins have brought upon the glory of God, as thou shalt then know it, how would thy wounded soul cry out for mercy!
Putting the matter now upon the most favourable footing; supposing you absolutely and most entirely returned to your allegiance, you see how it must fare with you for the dishonour you have done God, how incapable you would be of rendering back the glory of which you had deprived him.
But can I make such a supposition concerning you? Can I address you as a person returned to God, as one framed again to the temper of a creature? I know not any power you have in yourself to become thus: I know your utter detestation of, This leads to
and aversion to it.
The second thing which you have to get over, in order to your settling the difference which sin hath made between God and you: You must put on the disposition of a creature; and this you cannot. Now, having gained this point with you already, that sin hath destroyed the image of God in your soul, by