Изображения страниц

That we

same household, mutually related, and growing up in familiarity, strongly feel for each other. Neighbours and friends, by long acquaintance, free conversation, and reciprocal kindness, form a nearness little inferiour to brotherhood. In the present state, it is necessary it should be so. No man can subsist alone. None of our designs can be carried into effect without the concurrence of others. In the feeble state of infancy, the impotence of sickness, and the decripitude of age, we must soon perish, without the support of those around us. may, with greater facility and promptitude, perform all necessary offices to each other, the author of our nature has either implanted in us an affection for our relatives and dependents; or so framed us, that we naturally acquire an affection for those, who are cast on our care, and to whom we daily minister.

It is painful to us to behold a child, a brother, or friend in danger and distress; and we hasten to his relief. It gives great anxiety to the godly, when they see one, for whom they have an immediate care, pursuing a course which leads to misery; and they wish to reclaim him. While we live together in the present connexion and dependence, this reciprocal affection is of great utility. Without it we could not subsist. But in the heavenly world, it will be otherwise. Society subsists there; but subsists in a state of perfection. They neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God. They neither hunger nor thirst any more—are no more subject to pain or danger--and no more need those kinds of service which are so necessary here. There is no more to be done for those in a state of misery; for their state is eternally fixed by God's immutable justice. There is therefore no more use for our partial regards to particular relatives and friends. We shall there subsist in a manner quite different from the present—not by families and separate connexions, but in one grand and glorious community, through which is diffused a universal love. Natural and partial affections are swallowed up in benev. olence to all holy beings, and in supreme love to God, the most glorious of all beings. The sight then of a child, a brother, or companion, under punishment, will give no more anguish to the saint in glory, than if the former relation had never subsisted. They are now no nearer to him than others of the human race. And he has such clear views of God's wisdom, truth, and justice, displayed in the punishment of the obstinate, that he feels a perfect approbation of it. His benevolence is not confined to those, whom once he called by the endearing name of friends—it extends to all the virtuous and gond—to all whom he sees to be the objects of God’s benevolence. Though he rejoices not in the misery of the wicked, considered simply as misery, yet he rejoices in the great ends for which this misery is intended; to display the glory of God, and promote the happiness of the moral creation. It gives him no disturbance to see the glory of God advanced in those who once were his relatives, more than in others. He is fully convinced that God has laid upon them no more than is right—that the con. stitution of his government is wise and good—that the world is judged in righteousness, and the most glorious purposes are carrying on in all the divine works. He joins in this song, The Lord reignsLet us rejoice and give honour to him. 2. It appears from our subject, that God will

get glory to his name from all his creatures. Even sinners, however useless they may be in their life, will be made useful in their death.

God is glorified in the irrational and inanimate parts of the creation. The heavens declare his glory; the firmament sheweth his handy work-the earth is full of his riches-all his works praise him in the display of his wisdom, goodness and power. Rational creatures are to glorify him, not merely as the irrational, by the silent display of his perfections in their wonderful frame; but by contemplating him in his works-entertaining exalted thoughts of him, and pious affections to him-employing their intellectual powers in his service-proclaiming his praise with their tongues--and by imitating his character in works of righteousness and beneficence to one another. It is in this manner, that they are to glorify him.

But, How great a part of the rational creation deny him this tribute of glory ? Vast numbers of the angelick host have revolted from his government, and are pursuing a rebellion against it. The human race have apostatized too. And though he has sent a divine Saviour to recover them, How many refuse to return ! How many live without regard to God in the world, insult his authority, and profane his name! How many neglect the great salvation, which is offered them, and trample on the precious blood, by which it was purchased! How many disbelieve, or disregard the gospel of God, spurn his invitations, mock his warnings, abuse his patience, and grieve his Spirit !

If the heathens, who are vain in their imaginations, and change the glory of God into an image made like to corruptible man, glorify him not as God ; much more do they, who know his will and yet despise it, through breaking the commandment, dishonour him. The wicked lives of sinners are an insult on the Divine Majesty. If they profess to know him, yet in works they deny him. They were made to do good; but the imagination of their * hearts, and the course of their lives is evil continu. ally. Instead of promoting virtue and happiness, they are spreading vice and misery. It is said in

our text, concerning Babylon-She corrupted the earth with her fornication. Every man, who openly avows errour, and boldly practises vice, is cor, rupting the earth. By one root of bitterness many are defiled.

Sinners are now called to repent and give glory to God. If they despise the call of God's grace, his justice will exact glory from them in their punishment. If they will not serve the interest of his kingdom by a voluntary obedience, they will be made subservient to it by involuntary sufferings. If they will not hear, nor lay it to heart, to give glo. ry to his name, he will send a curse upon them, that the world may discern between the righteous and the wicked.

Rational beings must be useful in some way or other. They must answer some end in God's extensive government. If they refuse to honour him, and to promote the interest of those around them, in their probationary state, he will, in the state of final retribution, so dispose of them, that honour will result from them to his great and dreadful name, and important ends will be answered in them by his awful power. When they shall be set forth as an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, a voice of much people will sound through heaven, True and righteous are thy judgments, 0 Lord, for thou hast judged them who did corrupt the earth.

This thought should deeply impress every heart. Our existence is not an indifferent and trifling matter. It will certainly answer some great purpose in the grand scheme of God's government. The Cre. ator allows us the opportunity and means of mak. ing it forever happy. He assigns us a part to act in the world. In acting this part, we give glory to him, and contribute to the happiness of his creatures. If we rebel against his authority, we must abide the consequence. God will maintain his government, and accomplish the purposes of his wisdom. Though men disobey his laws, he will be glorious in his perfections, and appear righteous in his works.

3. How inconsolable will be the condition of sinners in the future world! They will be exclud. ed from all relief—from all compassion.

Their punishment will appear to all virtuous beings to be entirely just; and the wisdom, righteousness, and truth of God, manifested in it, win be a subject of the songs of heaven.

Many of the troubles of the present life would be insupportable, if they were not alleviated by the compassion and succour of our friends. Their condolenceand pitty afford us some refreshment under afflictions which they cannot remove.

But this small consolation will never reach those who are confined in the regions of darkness. They are suffering under an immutable sentence, and though they call, there will be none to answer.

God will shew them no favour. He is a being of infinite goodness, slow to anger-rich in mercy -waiting to be gracious—forward to forgive. But when justice shall take the place of goodness and patience, he will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy. His anger will smoke against them, and he will separate them unto all evil.

Jesus Christ will no more appear as their intercessor. The

ace of the Redeemer brought him down from heaven to die for guilty mortals. He has suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring them to God. He now offers them his salvation with affectionate tenderness, and urges their acceptance of it with an importunity that would take no denial. But when the day of their probation shall expire, the overtures of his love will cease.


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »