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came not to call the righteous, but on thy name;" “Where there is no sinners to repentence ?"

vision, the people perish.” People are In the case that is stated, I concieve, said to perish for lack of knowledge.that the once benighted, but now en Paul states it as a maxim, that “The lightened pagan must acknowledge, wages of sin is death ;” aud he considthat he has been an unholy and inex-jers sin as co-extensive with death.-cusable creature. Nor does he finds" By one man sin entered into the that his sin consists in, or necessarily world, and death by sin ; and so death implies the abuse of light; for, by the passed upon all med, for that all have supposition, he had no light. He had, sinned.To prove, by the reign of indeed, rational faculties, and a con- death, that all, from the least to the science, if rightly informed, capable of greatest are sinners; it is said, “ Death feeling the force of truth, and moral reigned from Adam to Moses, even obligations. But his conscience was over them that had not sinned after the not rightly informed, nor were his ra- similitude of Adam's transgression ;'** tional faculties brought into exercise i. e. had not siuned against a known on moral and religious subjects. On law. Iufants, for instance, are utterly what then does this new convert pre- incapable of the least knowledge of dicate his past criminality ? On the the law. And yet there is this infallisimple consideration, that his heart, hia ble testimony of their sinfulness, that disposition, and his moral exercises, they are subject to death. There is a and consequently, his conduct, had yet plainer testimony. Ps. 58, “The been wrong. In this view, he feels self wicked are estranged from the womb: condemnation, even antecedent to the They go astray as soon as they are enquiry, how he came to be so. Heborn, speaking lies; Their poison is the views selfishness, as abhorrent in its na- poison of a serpent. i. e. They possess ture, and inexcusable in every possible the same odious character, notwith

He considers it as inexcụsable standing their total ignorance of the in infancy, in childhood, in idiotism, in law, which their parents possess. Acinental derangement, and in every in- cordingly, it is strongly affirmed by stance that is conceivable.

way of interrogation, that he cannot be Moral good and evil, as well as na-clean that is born of a woman. Thai tural good and evil, consist in the na- the most ignorant of all the human race ture and qualities of the things them- is sinful, and condemned, is evident selves, and not in any antecedent from the doctrine, that salvation is by cause, or occasion, or circumstances Christ alone; and yet Christ saves none, of the things so denominated. A be- but sinners. The ordinance of circumnevolent man is morally amiable, by cision, anciently, and the ordinance of whatever means he became benevo-baptism subsequently, teach the moral lent; and whether he has any knowl-! depravity of infants, who are destitute edge of the law or not; and a selfish of the knowledge of the law. man is morally odious, by whatever Further evidence of the sinfulness of means he became selfish ; and wheth- those who are ignorant of the law er he has any knowledge of the law or which they violate, is derived from the not.

sacrifices and expiations instituted in The answer that is here stated to the the law of Moses for sins committed question before us, I conceive to be through ignorance. The process of saconfirmed by the boly scriptures. in crifices to make an atonement for sins relation to the strong case of the be- of ignoran

ance was much the same as nighted pagan, how abundant are the was required from sins in general. denunciations of the heathen, in the On the whole, it is clear, that a knowsacred scriptures! “Pour out thy fury | ledge of the law is not essential to the upon the heathen who know thee not, existence of sin. The nature of the and upon the families that call not up-| disposition and exercises of the hcart,


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depends not on knowledge nor igno- reason to think, that the views of the rance; but exists antecedently to the saints in heaven, and of the reprobates knowledge of the law. Accordingly in hell, with respect to the ruinous nain the case of Saul of Tarsus, it is evi- ture of sin, will be forever increasing dent, that his chief sin was sin of igno- and brightening. How incompetent, rance. But when he came to the therefore, are we in this life, to neasknowledge of the law, he was self con-ure the length and breadili, the height demned. "I was alive," said he, and depth of the evils which inay re"witlrout the law once, but when the sult from a life of sin, or even to escommandment came, sin revived, and timate the awful consequences of one I died.” His sin was, indeed, the less wicked action. aggravated, on account of his igno- Viewing ourselves, as we are, memrance. Accordingly, after stating, thatbers of the great family of man, and he had been a persecutor, a blasphemer fellow-travellers with others to the and injurious, he adds; “ But I obtaio- eternal world, i deeply concerns us to ed mercy, because I did it ignorantly watch every step we take ; for those in unbelief.” But he adds, that the deviations from the path of rectitude, grace of God was, in his case, exceed- which we may deem trivial, may be ingly abundant ; and that, in him, God followed by a train of consequences, did shew forth all long suffering.

that may be unhappy beyond all presFinally; if a knowledge of the law ent calculation. While in this probawere necessary to the existence of sin, tionary state, we are not only forming there would be, comparatively, but lit-for ourselves, characters, with wirich tle sin in the world. A great part of we shall enter the eternal World ; but, the sin of the world is, as the apostle as far as our influence extends, we says, “ Through the ignorance that is are aiding others in doing the same. in mea because of the blindness,” or The reinark has often been made, callousness of their hearts." But this and very justly too,“ that a man may blindness of heart is the very root and do more hurt in an hour, than he can essence of sin. This the law condemns | repair in an age.” Sin is a baneful ---this the Lord Jesus condemns. “He plant, diffusing its poison all around, looked round about with anger, be- and is mighty to corrupt and destroy: ing grieved for the hardness of their One sinner destroyeth much good. hearts." “Ye fools and blind,” said In illustrating this portion of divine he, to his wicked opposers. The Lord truth, it is proposed, of glory was crucified through great

1. To define sin. ignorance. But yet, his crucifixion was II. To point out the great evil of a most flagrant act of wickedness.-- sin, particularly by showing how one Probably more than half of the sin of sinner destroyeth much good. the most enlightened class of men in

In defining sin, we may say, in genchristendom is through ignorance of eral terms, it is the opposite of holithe law. But let the law be applied dess, and in its nature, is as deformed to the conscience, and by it sin revives, and hateful, as holiness is beautiful and and the transgressors are condemned. lovely. We cannot even conceive of


sin, or moral evil, without the existence of moral beings nor without voluntary exercise. The same may be

affirmed of holiness. In this respect ECCLESIASTES ix. 18.

they do not differ; but in their nature, One sinner destroyeth much good. they are directly opposite. Holiness Sin is an evil so odious in its na-is obedience to the divine law-sin ture, and so distructive in its conse- is transgression of the same law.quences, that it will take an eternity to There are innumerable ways for sin ad out its true demerit. We have to be manifested or expressed in words




and actions ; but it consists wholly is in a state of nature. The testimony in voluntary exercise. It is an affec of the apostle, therefore, fully accords tion, or exercise of mind, which under with the definition of sin which has values and discards the general good. now been given. To speak in language, which cannot II. The great evil of sin is now to be misapprehended, even by children, be pointed out, particularly by showit is loving the creature more than the sing how one, sinner destroyeth much Creator.

good. All sin may be comprised in selfish- We are, doubtless, to estimate the ness, a term often used by Divines, demerit of sin, by the natural evils, in opposition to benevolence. A self- which it tends to produce, and which ish affection is inimical to the universe, it would inevitably produce, if not preand involves in it, every thing which vented by a Power superior to it. is vile. It is, in its nature, unreasona- That God, by his power and grace, ble, unjust, and contrary to the fitness frequently prevents sin from producof things. Does it not appear to be ing its natural effects, is readily acunreasonable and unjust for one man knowledged; but on this account, sin to set up himself, as the supreme ob- is not less sinful. The present subject ject of his affections, and to pursue leads us to meditate on the awful terhis own private interest, in opposition dency of sin, and what would appear, to the welfare of a whole town? Let from fact, to be its tendency, if it were such a disposition be clearly manifes- unrestrained. The divine declaration ted, and all will unite in condemning in the text is, One sinner destroyeth it, as being very odious. This is sin, wuch good. This may be made to apor selfishness. And this selfish dispo- | pear from various considerations. sition has no more regard to the good The sinner destroys all his hapof the universe, than it has to the wel. || piness in this world. fare of a single town. It sacrifices the The happiness, which one singer as kingdom of Christ, and the honoura rational creature, and as a creature and glory of God, as really and as de capable of knowing God, might eidedly, as it does the happiness of an enjoy in this world, is unspeakably individual person. It gives up every great. But his sinful heart destroys thing which comes in competition with it all. He is blind to the richest and its own supposed interest.

most glorious displys of God's goodOn attending to this brief descrip-ness, and is an enemy to his own peace. tion of sin, some readers may be led He goes about in this world, a restless, to pause, and ask, “ Can it be, that guilty, condemned creature; because guch exercises as have been describ- he is a sinner, and possesses a heart, ed, exereises so perfectly unreasona- | which rejects God, and from which ble and vile, exist in the hearts of men?" issues nothing but transgression. The If they wish for light on this subject prophet Isaiah, describing the awfully they are humbly intreated to consult wretched state of those, who are unthe word of God, where they will der the dominion of sin, says, They find that such exercises not only exist 'he troubled sea, when it canin the depraved heart, but are the na


nast up mire and ural fruit of it. Let them candi


saith my God and seriously weigh th wing


e constitution timony of the apostle

; and, generBecause the carne


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in the paths of sin. In fulfilment of acters for eternity. His stupid life. this declaration, he so orders, in his and irreligious walk have a direct tenholy Providence, that “ evil pursueth dency to destroy the precious souls of them.” They are unhappy and wretch- all his children; and this awful conseed. It hence appears, that one sinner quence will follow, if sovereign grace destroys much good, because he do not prevent. And we ought not throws away all the hopes of happiness to stop at the destruction of the souls he might enjoy in this life.

of his own children; for, in the Prov2. He destroyeth his own soul. idence of God, they may have poster

Great as is the happiness which one ity, and the example, transmitted by sinner might enjoy in this life, it ap- him, may be copied from generation pears like nothing, in comparison with to generation, until hundreds, if not that which he might enjoy in eternity. thousands of souls may trace back What an unreasonable and foolish part their ruin to the ungodly life of this the sinner is acting! For the momen- one simer. Here, is presented to us tary and unsatisfying pleasures of sin, a striking, though comparatively faint he is bartering away all prospects of view of the natural tendency of sin.--happiness beyond the grave or in How evident it is, therefore, that one other words, he is throwing away his sinner destroyeth much good. immortal soul. Surely one sinner, But the turpitude and baseness of employed in such a work as this, may sin, and the destructive tendency of be said to destroy much good! God it, by all which has yet been said, have hath given us assurance, in his word,|| not been made fully to appear; for it that" the wages of sin is death,mea-may be observed, ning, undoubtedly, eternal death. 4. En defining sin, we found it to be What a loss this must be! Who can opposition to the universe. estimate the worth of even one soul ? Sirr is rebellion against the glorious ** What shall it profit a man,” said, King of Heaven. This thought leads our Saviour,“ if he gain the whole our minds to a view of the evil of sin, world, and lose his own soul ? But pre- which far exceeds all the views we cious and invaluable as the soul is, sin have yet taken of it. The question has a direct tendency to destroy it.— may be pertinently asked, what if Divine power and grace may indeed there were no one at the head of the interpose and prevent the evil; but if system, sufficiently powerful and inthis should be the case, no thanks will clined to restrain wickedness, and to be due to the sinner. Nor would this punish the rebellious? What if God lessen the demerit of sin.

could not prevent the natural tenden3. One sinner may be instrumentalla

cy of sin ? The consequence would of destroying thre souls of many oth-be this; every creature would be inseers.

cure under the divine government.. If in tracing the evil consequences The happiness of the whole moral sysof sin, we proceed no farther than the tem would be at an end. Only let sin destruction of that soul who commits have its natural course, or only let one it, we stop far short of its pernicious sinner have his own way, unrestraintendency. The sinner may be instru- ed, and the government of God would mental of bringing eternal ruin on ma- be set at nought. There would be ny others, whose souls are as precious nothing to secure the happiness of the as his own. View him in his various Saints on earth, nor of the Angels in relative stations; view him, particu- Heaven. This would be the natural larly, as standing at the head of a fam-fruit and consequence of rebellion aily. Whať awful consequences may gainst God, if he did not possess both follow his ungodly life ! A number of power and will sufficient to restrain souls, under the influence of his exam- wickedness, and to secure the systemy

e and instructions, are forming char against the fatal effects of it.



seared as with a hot iron," this subject 1. We need not hesitate to speak must appear weighty and important; of sin, as an infinite evil.

particularly to those, who stand at the The drift of this discourse has been head of families, and under the imme. to show, that sin is a great evil, and diate influence of whose example a what has been advanced to illustrate number.of immortal souls are formthis idea sufficiently proves, that it is ing characters for the retributions of an infinite evil. Many are backward the greal day. The force of early to admit this, because sinis.committed education we know is great and deby a mere creature, limited in all his signed to be so, by the Author of our powers. The question is sometimes being; and if Parents train up children asked, how can a finite being commit in the way they should not go the blood an infinide evil? But, if the sinner de- of their souls will be found in their stroys all his own happiness in this skirls. Ungodly Parents are not only life--if he destroys his own soul, trilling with their own best interests; which is capable ofendless happiness--- but, if sovereign grace do not prevent, if one sinner may be instrumental of they will go down to destruction, foldestroying the souls of many others; lowed by their children, and their chilif every sin is committed directly a- dren's children, gainst an infinitely holy God, is op- 3. When we reflect on the greater position to the universe, and tends to vil of sin, how thankful ought we to be destroy the happiness of all holy be- that there is one who has power to ings, we surely are warranted in de- check its natural course,

God is in nominating sin not only a great evil, finitely superior to the wickedness of but an infinite evil. It is an evil infi. men. He is able and disposed to prenitely dreadful in its consequences.

vent the reign of sin, and the triumph 2. It is a most solemn and interest- of satan. He has set bounds to the ing thing, to spend a state of proba- powers of darkness; and though sin tion with those, who are candidates, has taken place under his government, with us for eternity.

he will not suffer it to terminate in the All persons, in their various relations, disgrace of his reign. He will cause are instrumental in forming each oth- “ the wrath of man to praise him, and er's character. By their example, the remainder of it he will restrainthey are constantly aiding each other, We have great cause of thankfulness, either in the destruction or salvation that there is such a þeing at the helm, of their souls. The more influence that we may repose entire confidence they possess in society, the greater in him, and may rest assured, that he must be the consequence of their ex- will take care of his own glorious king. ample. Since one sinner destroyeth dom. The Lord reigneth, let the much good, since he may be instru- earth rejoice !" mental of ruining many souls, it is tru- 4. This subject teaches the necess ly an awful thing to live in society, as ty of an infinite atonement. a sinner. There is no estirpating the Nothing short of the mediation and mischief, wbich one person may do, death of the Son of God could open in a neighborhood or town, who drops the door, and prepare the way for the observations, which are calculated to salvation of sinners. The infinite evil weaken or destroy a belief in the au- of sin rendered it necessary, that an thenticity of the holy Scriptures, and infinite atonement should be bring into disrepute the sabbath, To all, therefore, who have a sight of and experimental religion. Suc's a their lost state, and the plague of their person is engaged in a most nefarious own hearts, the advent and work of work, the destruction of souls, on a re- Christ must appearto be the wisdom view of which he will one day tremble. l'of God, and the power of God.. To all, whose“ consciences are nat) What could express the demerit of sin

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