Page images

as well as poverty and vexation, originally come from the same source. The world is full of disorder, and trouble, and commotions; which had no existence, till sin deluged it with evils.

[ocr errors]

2. If we wish to survey the more immediate effects of sin, let us walk to our prisons, and see our fellow-creatures loaded with chains, anxiously awaiting the hour of trial, when the sentence passed on their crimes will probably consign many of them to an ignominious death. Their untimely fate is the fruit of transgression.

3. Go to our infirmaries and hospitals, and witness the agonies, and hear the groans which proceed from those unhappy persons who are labouring under inveterate and incurable maladies. Some of the Halquies, patients confined within their wards are sick; others are smitten by the touch of Death; and some are already dead, and their spirits have fled either to abodes of bliss or wretchedness.

4. If we walk into our churchyards, the common receptacles for the deceased, we are at once reminded of the bitter consequences of sin. There we see young and old, the infant and its mother, the son and his father, laid prostrate by the hand of Death. Some of them died in old age; but others were cut off in the vigour of life, at a time when they were likely to have lived to an advanced age.

5. Again: Let us go from house to house, and see if we cannot trace evident marks of the ravages which sin has made. Both in the stately mansion and in the humble cottage, Death, sickness, and trouble, reign with uncontrolled sway. None are exempted from sharing in these evils; because every one of us, being a sinner, is doomed by the justice of God to suffering and mortality! " By one man sin

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned"."

6. Further: Mark the effects of transgression on the minds of the human species. It is here that its mischiefs are most to be deplored. Sin has robbed us of the lovely image of God our Maker: it has totally perverted all the faculties of our souls, and prostituted them to the basest purposes; so that we are utterly disqualified for rendering the obedience we owe to God, without his grace assisting, and enabling us to serve him. The understanding, the will, the affections, and the conscience, have been so entirely impaired by sin, that they cannot discharge their proper functions, until they are rectified by the grace of the Holy Spirit. In support of this statement, we may cite the words of the Tenth Article: "The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will."

7. Contemplate the enormous evil of sin, from those terrible displays of vengeance which God has made against it. Consider the awful fate of the old world, which was destroyed for its iniquities, by a general deluge; from which only Noah, and seven other persons, escaped". Bear in mind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Cities of the Plain, "which are set forth for an example to all succeeding ages, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire": The judgments inflicted on the Jews, who were once #2 Pet. ii. 47. * Jude, ver. 7.

'Rom. v. 12.

the highly-favoured people of God, afford a striking comment on the guilt of transgression. Because they rebelled against the Lord; rejected, and at last crucified, the Messiah; God permitted the Romans to destroy their city, Jerusalem; in the siege and cap-¡ ture of which, about twelve hundred thousand of the people perished. Afterwards, they were scattered abroad throughout the face of the earth, and became a bye-word and reproach amongst the Heathen. To this day, they live dispersed throughout the habitable. globe; existing as a distinct people, and yet living. in subjection to the laws of those kingdoms in which they reside. We see them a persecuted people; insomuch that the very name of Jew, in the common acceptation of the term, is used as a word expressive of reproach and contempt.-Now, if God has thus punished a whole nation on account of its wickedness, let not impenitent trangressors flatter themselves with impunity, because the judgments of God are not speedily executed against them: for it is nothing but his unexampled forbearance that keeps off the impending blow. "O consider this, ye that forget God! lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you"."

8. We may see the malignity of sin portrayed, in awful colours, in the exquisite tortures of the damned. See "the smoke of their torment, which ascendeth up for ever and ever!" Hear the doleful lamentations which fill the infernal regions with horror! And then ask, if sin, which is the procuring cause of such misery, be not an evil of the most aggravated nature.

9. Review the sufferings of the Son of God. How agonizing, how pungent, his pain and sorrow on the cross! There He was insulted by the spectators,

h Psalm 1. 22.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

buffeted by evil spirits, and deserted by his Father. The bitter sufferings of Jesus more forcibly preach the heinousness and desert of sin, than all the torments experienced by the damned in hell;-for it was not possible for God to make a louder protest against iniquity, than that which he made by the blood and groans and death of the benevolent Jesus!

10. Sin is most ruinous in its consequences; because it totally unfits a man for the enjoyment of heaven, which a person living in the allowed practice of iniquity cannot relish. The reason is plain : heaven is a holy and spiritual place; and, consequently, all who possess the inheritance of the saints in light must be meetened for it by purity of heart. "There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the Lamb's book of life."

11. If sin, then, be an evil of such magnitude, it ought to be an object of universal dread and detestation. Every one should fly from its approach, as they would from the face of a serpent. This, however, is not the case: there always have been, and now are, many who make light of it; as if it were incapable of doing them any injury. These persons Solomon stigmatizes with the epithet of "fools, who make a mock of sin "." Let us endeavour to escape the punishment of such men, by treating sin as it deserves. Never give it the least sanction, by a smile, or any other token of approbation. Do not encourage sin by conniving at it in others; for this would be to make yourselves partakers of their guilt. Neither endeavour to palliate iniquity, by giving it soft names, with a view to do away its criminality, if i Rev. xxi. 27. ii Prov. xiv. 9.

not its existence.
clothed with specious names, to cover their native
deformity; but strip off the false guises which are
put on them, in order that they may appear in their
true colours.

Let not the blackest vices be

12. Consider sin as the most serious evil. When you reflect on the mischiefs it has done to the human kind, in despoiling them of their original righteousness, in darkening and corrupting their minds, in injuring their bodies, and in filling the world with misery that touches all our souls, surely you cannot but regard it as the most accursed thing which could visit our race!

13. Let this just view of iniquity lead us to deplore it. Can we refrain from shedding tears, when we see to what a degraded state sin has reduced mankind!? Can we behold so many millions of intelligent creatures suffering under the curse of sin, unmoved, and without uttering the wish, "that. God's ways may be known upon earth, his saving health among all nations"? But, as sinners, who have broken the Divine law, ought we not to humble ourselves before His footstool, for our personal transgressions; .confessing, that the least of our trespasses deserves eternal death, and that it is of the Lord's mercy we have been spared to this moment? A true and sincere repentance, consisting in confession of our sins, and sorrow on account of them, is the best proof we can give of a right knowledge and feeling of the demerit of sin. Until we thus repent of iniquity, and the na tive depravity of our hearts, we are in a state of condemnation, and, of course, are liable, every moment, to feel the severity of Divine justice. "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish

* Luke xiii. 3.

k "

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »