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ously within him? And if his sin remains, his mis. ery must continue.
This is then the situation, in which we are placed. Made for immortality, endued with reason and moral agency, and fully instructed in our duty, we stand accountable to the great Creator. Happiness and misery are set before us—the terms of happiness are stated, with every motive to urge our compliance—the path which tends to misery is strongly marked, with every warning to avoid it—all necessary helps are offered us in the pursuit of glory -and awful guards are placed against our entrance on the path of destruction; or, when we have madly entered, the most importunate calls pursue us to remand us back. What would we more ? Our choice must decide our fate. If we choose the way of death, we destroy ourselves, and our mouths will be stopped. To us, with peculiar force, may be applied the words of Moses to the people of Israel, “ I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing ; therefore choose life.”
V. Our text plainly instructs us, that the saints in heaven will glorify God for the eternal punishment of the wicked. They said, Allelujah ; and her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
This voice of jubilation springs not from joy in the misery of the wicked, absolutely considered; but from a view of the rectitude of the divine
gov. ernment displayed in their punishment, and a view of the important ends which it will promote. There is no malevolence in heaven; none of the upbraidings of malice, the insults of pride, or triumphs of revenge ; but there is a perfect approbation of the ways of God, and joy in the glorious consequenees which follow from his righteous judgments. Particularly,
1. The blest above glorify the holiness, truth and justice of God, manifested in the punishment of irreclaimable sinners. They say— Praise God, for true and righteous are his judgments.
The day of God's wrath on the children of disobedience, is called a day of the revelation of his righteous judgment. Saints and angels adore his justice in the destruction of the ungodly, as well as admire his mercy in the salvation of believers. They see it to be a righteous thing with him to recompense tribulation to the former, and rest and peace to the latter. He will then be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them who believe. The saints will judge the world-approve the judgment of God against a guilty world. They will say, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, and glorify thy name ? for thou art holy."
2. The punishment of the wicked gives the saints occasion to admire God's grace in their own salvation. They sing—Salvation and glory to God; for true and righteous are his judgments. They ascribe their salvation to God; not to themselves. They take not the glory into their own hands, but render it to him. When they behold sinners in the regions of misery, and see the smoke of their torment arising, they offer the incense of praise to the Saviour, who has redeemed them by his blood out of every people and nation, and has made them kings and pricsts unto God. Their salvation appears more glorious, when they behold it in contrast with the misery of the guilty ; as, on the other hand, the misery of the latter is augmented, in seeing the righteous afar off in the kingdom of God, and themselves thrust out.
3. They glorify God for the great and important ends, which are answered by the punishment of the wicked.
We are not to conceive that the merciful God punishes sinners from a delight in their misery. He has declared the contrary.--I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his way and live. Punishment in the hands of God is always just, and always designed for a reasonable end. The judgments, which he executes on sinners in this world, are not merely because their sins deserve them, but because the wise and benevolent purposes of his government require them. And we may rationallv suppose, that there will always be, in the divine government, some great ends to be promoted in this way, We are not to imagine, that when our globe shall be dispeopled, God's moral government will be finished. There are other worlds, and, for aught we know, other probationary beings. We know not how wide the intel. ligence of the dreadful doom of guilty men may spread through the creation of God, nor how far it may be made a warning to other moral beings. The apostacy and punishment of the angels who kept not their first state are communicated to us, and applied for our warning; and perhaps, in distant periods of duration, the apostacy of the human race, and the punishment of those who refused the salvation offered them, may be communicated to other beings, and applied for their warning. We know not how far the general happiness may be advanced by the exemplary punishment of the impenitent part of our race. There can be no doubt, that the uses and ends of their awful doom are better known in heaven, than they can be known on carth. Saints and angels certainly see reason to glorify God for his righteous judgments on the guilty. The glorious way of salvation, and the tremendous consequences of neglecting it, are enough for us to know at present. So much we are taught. Let us be wise and improve the instruction.
God glorified in the Punishment of Sinnens.
REVELATION xix. 1, 4, 3.
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven,
saying, Allelujeh, salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. For enue and righteous are Bris judgments, for he hath judged the great whore, which did.cor. rupi the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his serdanis at her hand. And again they said, Allelujah, and her smoke rose up forever and eder.
This is a Hymn of praise, sung by the church in heaven, on occasion of the downfall of that idolatrous and persecuting power, which had long corrupted the earth, and oppressed the servants of God.
In our meditations on this hymn, we have obsery- . ed;
That there is much people in heaven.
That the people there are employed in praising God.
That one grand theme of their songs, is God's judgments in this world.
That they glorify God, not only for his judgments in this world, but also for the punishment of sinners in the future world.
A state of future punishment for the impenitent is here plainly supposed, and the eternal duration of it strongly expressed. And when the smoke of their torment arises, the saints and angels are represented as saying-Hallelujah ; salvation and glo. ry to the Lord our God. We must not conceive them as rejoicing in the misery of others from malice or revenge ; there are no such passions in heav. en. They rejoice not in the punishment of the ungodly, considered simply as misery : But they adore the holiness, truth and justice of God displayed in their sufferings. The sight of this awful scene raises their admiration of, and gratitude for, the galvation bestowed on themselves. And as the punishment of the wicked must be supposed to answer some great purposes in God's moral government, so these purposes are better understood in heaven, than they can be here on earth.
On these thoughts, we enlarged in a former discourse. It is proper that we now attend to the
prac: tical and instructive uses of a subject so solemn and interesting.
1. It appears that the happiness of the saints in glory will suffer no interruption from a sight of those in misery, who were once dear to them on earth. They justify God in the punishment of these, as well as of others.
In the present life there is a natural, and a civil connexion between saints and sinners. They dwell together in the same society-in the same vicinity - and often too in the same family. They are united in their worldly interests, and in their natural, or contracted relations.
Children are dependent on the parent, and he, in his turn, may be dependent on them. The husband and the wife, have a common concern in the family, and there usually is, and always
there ought to be, a strict union between them. The brethren of the VOL. I.