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alleged against thee ten thousand ages hence, that thou didst sin against God, by this very forgetfulness and apostacy from him? That God created the heavens and the earth, is as true now, and will be so eternally, as it was on that glorious moment when "God spake the word, and they were made," when "he commanded, and they were created." Just so of thy sins; now, and eternally, they lie against thee, and evermore call for justice and vengeance. One of these two things remains, either to undo what thou hast done, or to fall under the hand of justice. And since thou canst not attempt the one, be assured the other waits for thee.
Nay, but for any thing thou canst do to the contrary, thou wilt always continue sinful; and therefore, not for thy past only, but for thy present iniquity, thou must be for ever the immediate object of justice and wrath. The sinfulness of Satan this moment, as much challenges the justice and indignation of God, as did his first war in heaven, when his place was not found any more there; and as long as he remains the evil spirit he is, which he will do for ever, the like continuation of justice and displeasure shall light upon him, as a present, as well as an old apostate.
See now the issue of the whole. God is ready to do himself justice upon you, and to vindicate his glory, in your eternal punishment. While you also, now and eternally unable to quit your sinfulness, are eternally unfit for his presence, and will eternally remain the object of his immediate justice and vengeance.
Say, then, vain man, where are thy hopes sunk? What is become of that confident boasting? which way canst thou save thyself? For ought thou canst do, thou hast no other expectation but "judgment, and fiery indignation." Would God thou wert well aware of this thy deplorable, helpless state! Then I should bring to thee glad tidings indeed, in the offers of mercy obtained for, and proposed to thee, in Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour.
And truly, as we are never so near glory and immortality, as when we are struggling with death, and sorely beset in the dark and melancholy passage of a departing hour; so it is an awful and importunate concern about the consequences of sin, which leads a man to the gate of mercy. And you may be sure you are never so near salvation, as when, through the grace of God, finding yourself lost and undone, you are well disposed to throw yourself
I must entreat, therefore, if you will be profited by the message of peace I have next to offer, that you will be at pains with yourself upon all the former particulars. Inquire into the reality of your sinfulness; and weigh attentively the consequences of sin, and cast in your mind how unable you are to rescue yourself out of them. All this, let conscience and reason speak; for I trust you have heard nothing which is not as consistent with reason as it is with Scripture.
And now I will draw this one conclusion, which I wish you to be deeply convinced of, from all that
hath been advanced; namely, that "sin is your greatest enemy." The consideration of which, possibly, may help you to greater seriousness in the inquiry I am recommending. For whilst I remark these three points, as evidently arising out of the subject, that sin (by which I would principally be understood to mean, man's erecting his will for his guide, instead of God's sovereign pleasure; this being truly the root of all other sin, and that which carries the highest measure of guilt in it,) dishonours God, as the excellent Governor of the world -defiles the soul of man-and brings misery with and after it; I shall hope that you will be led more solemnly to consider the consequences of sin, and the concern you have in them; and also that you are grown displeased and tired with it, and heartily willing to be rid of such a monster and
Sin is your greatest enemy.
1. Sin dishonours God, as the Governor of the world. We speak not of the glory which God hath in himself; of that essential honour which he possesses, as a most mighty, all-perfect, eternal, and independent Being; but we speak of the manifestation of this most respectable glory of the Godhead, through the submission of his creatures. When God is obeyed, and his will meets with no opposition or backwardness in the soul, but the creature flies with joy, to execute the Almighty command, knowing no other desire, nor wishing any other happiness, than this service of the Most High; when a race of beings, whom God hath
made, do thus wait upon his sovereign will with one universal, uninterrupted readiness of obedience, -then God is known among them to be what he is; then the Creator is glorified, and the creature is blessed. But when sin comes in, this beautiful and lovely order is disturbed. The things formed forget their station, will not, do not any more obey; they slight their Maker, and pass on with an insolent disregard of the divine will, to act as they please, and God in the mean time loses his domiThe glory which should accrue to him, from the obedience of his works, is gone; and, instead of one universal monarch, there are as many as there are of creatures, so many self-worshipping idols are set up in his place. Then confusion follows, and every evil work. Every one making his own will his God, will bear no control. And while from hence, envyings and resentments, and hatred and violence, grow and spread, the honour of God is deeply wounded, and his government suffers damage, even to desolation. In such circumstances, the glory of God is like the sun in the night it shines, indeed, with its proper and essential brightness; but then it is not seen; the face of the world is turned away from it. Though God ruleth the earth, his dominion is covered and unseen, through the darkness which sin hath brought upon it. And, I beseech you, how horrid a thing, that the creature, the subject, the dependant, should thus rob God of his glory! that the Maker should be rejected and disowned, by those very "works which his hands have made," and which he fails
not to preserve and bless! Great God! thou seest it; daily thou beholdest this ungodliness, and considerest the wrong we are doing thy awful Majesty thou seest thyself slighted, thy dread command unnoticed and disobeyed, thy glorious name forgotten! Almighty King! we are ashamed, yea, even distressed, for the disgrace which is brought upon thy glory. The remembrance of our rebellions pain us. O! when shall we be rid of this sin, the "enemy that hath done thee this dishonour!"
2. Sin defiles the soul of man. Was it not a desirable state, that of innocence and purity? Was not the soul of man a lovely being, when it was stored with those tempers which can alone endear it to its Creator? While humility, without the least motion to pride; trust, void of all fear; obedience, without the most secret murmuring; love, entire and unalloyed; while holiness, righteousness, truth, and goodness; while quietness and peace, all of them dwelt there together; while the soul of man was thus divinely arrayed, was it not lovely? Were we not glorious within? But sin hath effaced it all, scarcely left any ruins of so glorious a fabric. Sin hath made us proud and unbelieving, disobedient and unloving; hath stamped us with the likeness of the prince of darkness; hath drawn upon our souls too near a resemblance of his envy and hatred, his bitterness, and malice, and revenge; hath turned us after earthly loves, and brutal joy, with the whole bent of our inclinations. Sin hath done us this irreparable hurt; hath ruined what we were, and made