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we, who have the lovely Jesus for our Saviour!
To conclude: Let us learn to rejoice in the prosperity of other men, and to crush the spirit of envy in the bud.
in the bud. Let us rejoice in the presence of God. It is no matter where we pitch our tents, whether in Canaan, in Egypt, or in the wilderness, if God be with us. There is a gracious God who overrules bad purposes for good ends. Those who are near to us may design our ruin; but all the designs of God are to bless and save our souls. Innocency and uprightness shall finally triumph; and sin, however artfully concealed, will be brought to light, and in the end, without repentance, will disgrace and destroy the sinner. God still governs the world. Jesus still cares for men. The Jews sought to destroy Jesus ; but God highly exalted him at his own right hand, where he ever lives to bless his people. “When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; and what he saith to you, do. Let us go to the blessed Jesus, and what he saith unto us let us do with cheerfulness. Then, being fed with that bread which came down from heaven, we shall live for ever!
Sin Punished with Death. .
Rom. vi. 23. For the wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God
is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
NOTHING is more certain than that man's ruin is of himself; but that his recovery is of the Lord. The prophet Hosea bears ample testimony to this important truth; “ O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help.” Our text teaches the same truth. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Here are two things : first, the wages of sin is death : secondly, the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I. THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH.
1. Sin is the transgression of a law. A law may be either human or divine. When we transgress a human law, we sin against man; when we transgress a divine law,
we sin against God. A law may be transgressed either by doing what is expressly forbidden, or by neglecting to do what is plainly commanded. Hence the common distinction between sins of commission and sins of omission appears to be very proper. Understanding sin in either sense, it deserves death; in either sense, death is its proper wages.
2. Death may be considered either as the loss of the life of God in the soul, as the separation of soul and body, or as the final separation of soul and body from God in a future world. When man sinned against God, in the Garden of Eden, he was punished with spiritual death. His soul was cut off from God : his understanding became dark, his will rebellious, his affections carnal, and his whole soul polluted. This was not all: his body became mortal, having received that death-wound which could not be cured by any means which he could use. All his posterity are born into the world in the same state: dead to God in their souls, and in their bodies subject to death. Living and dying in this state, all sinners will be cut off from God for ever. They will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death,
3. How aroful, then, it is to sin against God! We may view sin as a trifling thing; but in reality, it is an evil of the greatest magnitude. It is clear that no man who wilfully transgresses the divine law, can be in a state of union with God; and it is equally clear, that where there is no union with God, there. can be no spiritual life. Separate a branch from a tree, and it dies: separate a tree from the earth, and it dies: separate a limb from the body, and it dies. How then can the spirit live in a separation from God? It must necessarily die.
4. How needful, then, it must appear for a wicked man to turn from his wickedness that he may live! Let us now cease to do evil, and learn to do well. Let us now forsake every sin. Henceforth let us dread sin more than the face of a serpent-more than a devouring beast-more than a raging 'flame! These can only kill the body, which is already dying; but sin may destroy the soul for ever and ever!
5. To see the sad effects of sin, view all the misery of man in his fallen state. View him in deep afflictions: view him in the pains and agonies of death : view him in the dreadful torments of hell, without hope, and lost to all eternity! Then let thy soul tremble lest sin should prove thy ruin. It has ruined thousands and millions; and it will ruin all who live and die under its baneful influence,
II. The GIFT OF GOD ETERNAL LIFE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
1. The phrase, eternal life, implies both a life of grace on earth, and a life of glory in heaven. John the baptist refers to a state of grace in the soul, where he says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” The apostle Paul refers to a future state of glory, where he says, “He that soweth to the spirit shall reap life everlasting.” We need not wonder that the same expression is applied to both these states, because they are so much alike, and stand so closely connected. Grace in the soul is glory in its beginning : glory in heaven is
in perfection. A believer hath everlasting life now, both by a clear title, and a sweet foretaste.. A measure of heavenly joy is brought down into his soul, and he looks forward with pleasing hope to the full enjoyment.
Let us often look forward to eternal life in heaven; and let us examine both the nature and the duration of that life. It is called life, bécause the soul will live in a happy union with God: it will live in an enjoyment of God: it will live in the company and society of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect : it will live a life of spotless purity, a life of exalted glory. That