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As for his
As for his
says he, "I do not like it, and will not obey it. authority, I do not own it, and will not regard it. universal government and glorious kingdom, it is not to my mind; I revolt; I will not have him to reign over meTM. I - can prescribe better rules to live by. I will not be dependent on him, nor in subjection to him." Thus the sinner revolts from his government, casts off his authority, breaks his law, and in the language of Scripture, rebels against the Lord. For, in Scripture, THIS is always considered as GOD'S WORLD; He our rightful LORD and KING; and all our duty is enjoined, and all sin is forbidden, by his AUTHORITY; and therefore every act of sin is considered as an act of rebellion against the Lord, and sinners have the character of rebels".
Now, inasmuch as God stands ready, at the head of the universe, to employ his infinite wisdom and almighty power, to discountenance all rebellions, and suppress and crush all obstinate rebels, and maintain good government throughout his dominions; so that, things being thus, there is no way for the obstinate rebel to escape an eternal overthrow, and everlasting shame and contempt: it is therefore in his heart, to wish the ALMIGHTY dethroned, his whole government overturned, and the sword of justice wrested from him. And had he sufficient power on his side, the latent temper of his heart would soon form into the terrible resolution; nor would he delay venturing on the dreadful attempt. Thus, sin is against the law, authority, and universal government of almighty God. Hence, God esteems the sinner as his enemy: and accordingly, sinners are called enemies to God in ScripAnd are said to be even enmity against him. And
m Luke xix. 14.
n Deut. ix. 24. Ezek. xx. 8. 13. 21. o Rom. v. 10. Col. i. 21.p Rom. viii. 7, The carnal mind is enmity against God. N. B. The apostle means here to give the character of every Christless sinner. For to be carnally minded, and to be in the flesh, is one and the same thing, in the language of the apostle; as is evident from ver. 8. But he looks upon all as being in the flesh, who have not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them; as is plain from ver. 9. And those who have not the Spirit of Christ, are none of his, ver. 9. Every Christless sinner is therefore in the flesh, and at enmity against God. This is the doctrine of St. Paul. And just thus God looks upon every unregenerate sinner; however they look upon themselves. And no wonder; for let subjects conduct so towards an earthly prince, as all unregenerate sinners VOL. III.
they are not, says the apostle, subject to the divine law, neither indeed can be.
And this leads me to add, that,
3. Sin is against the Being of God. For, since God is at the head of the universe, (as was before said,) and unchangeably determined to maintain good government throughout all his dominions, and possessed of an almighty, irresistible power; there is no hope that the obstinate rebel should escape punishment so long as God lives: for so long as God lives, God will reign: and so long as God reigns supreme, obstinate rebels cannot escape: for God's determination to punish sin is immutable as his very being and therefore, if
But those who
God lives, the impenitent sinner must die. are enemies to God, had rather there should be no God, than that themselves should be punished.
When once a creature has become so vile and impious, as to revolt from the government of the MOST HIGH, and begin rebellion, and enter the lists against the ALMIGHTY; if left to himself, without any restraint, or hope of mercy, (and we know God was not obliged to open a door of hope to any rebel in his dominions,) and if armed with sufficient power to bear down all before him, we may easily guess to what length he would carry things. The same disposition which moved him to begin rebellion, would naturally excite him to go on. By his first act of rebellion, his life and soul are for ever forfeited, according to law, and might justly have remained so. To repent, and undo what he had done, and humble himself, and sue for mercy, is what a sinner, in such a case, would never do. And as to the threatened punishment, he could never think of bearing that. He would venture upon the boldest and the most DREADFUL deeds, but that he would carry his point: deeds almost too dreadful to think of, and hardly fit to hint at. Whosoever hateth his brother, is a murderer, as it is written; and would therefore murder his brother, if left to his own heart, without any restraint, and having sufficient ability and opportunity in his
do towards God, and their prince would look upon them as enemies. Read Luke xix. 14. 27.
q 1 John fi. 15.
hands: what then would the wretch do, who hates his Maker, is an enemy to his God, and even enmity against him! We see how a guilty world has treated the Son of God; we see how they have treated the prophets and apostles". And we may easily guess what dreadful work there would be, were the sinner an over-match for OMNIPOTENCY. Such is the
inexpressible malignity of sin.
4. Sin is against the honour of God. It is even a despising the Lord, and a treating the MOST HIGH with contempt. All his perfections are despised; and considered as our Creator, Preserver, Governor, Redeemer, and the fountain of all good, he is despised by sin.
Hear the contemptuous language of the sinner's conduct: "God sees you, O sinner! and will you dare to transgress?" Yes, his all-seeing eye shall not terrify me. "God is near at hand! you are in his very presence! O sinner, will you venture to offend?" Yes, God's presence shall not restrain me : I do not regard him so much." But he is girt with strength, and hath an almighty arm; and you are but a worm, without strength, and can make no resistance! will you dare to provoke him to jealousy?" Yes, I will do as I please, let him do his worst. "But remember, he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity! Oh, therefore do not that abominable thing, which his soul hates!"" I care not what he loves, nor what he hates: I will please myself, let him take it as he will." "But consider, he is unchangeably determined to render to every one according to their deeds, to him that doeth evil, tribulation and wrath! and who can stand before him, when once he is angry! for our God is a consuming fire! Therefore, O sinner, forbear!" No, I will not be restrained: I will gratify my lusts, at all adventures; for I regard not his threats." "But he is a Being of infinite goodness and mercy, patience and forbearance; and this should lead you to a better mind, O sinner!" "No, no, I despise his goodness, long-suffering, and forbearance; and I can be hard-hearted enough to go on, in spite of all his tender mercies." "But, O sinner, infinite wisdom pronounces, that this your way is your folly! and cries, Turn, O turn at my reproof! lest other
r Matt. xxi. 33-39. Matt. xxiii, 29-37.
wise, ere long, I laugh at your calamity, and mock when fear comes! and will you not be dictated by the infinitely wise God?" "No, no, I know what is best for myself, and that better than he does; and I choose to be my own director, and to walk in my own ways." "But is he not the God that made you? Have not his hands formed you? Are you then your own? Are you not the Lord's? And ought you not therefore to be for him?" "I renounce the God that made me: I disown his right to me: I will not be for him, but for myself; for I will please myself, although he is grieved." "But consider, he has nourished and brought you up tenderly, as his own child; and fed and clothed you all your life long! and will you be more sottish than the ox and the ass?" "Yes, yes, after all, I will rebel against him."— "But how can you answer it? for he is your sovereign LORD and KING, you are under his authority, bound by his law, and accountable at his tribunal: and you know what threatenings he has given out. And now, And now, if you have any regard for him, in any respect, how dare you go on?" "These
things move me not. I will walk in the ways of my own heart nor will I be controlled. I know not the Lord, nor will I obey him. And in the midst of all his thunders, I can be at ease in Zion, and chant to the sound of the viol." "But if you go on thus to despise the Lord, and to despise his law, authority, and government; what will be your end, O sinner! will not his wrath wax hot, and smoke against you, and consume you? Consider, therefore, how that after all this wickedness he offers to be reconciled through Jesus Christ; and invites you to repentance! TURN YE, TURN YE, WHY WILL YE DIE! and offers to be your God, and Father, and portion. And now, what answer do you make, O sinner!" "Why, look on us, and observe our conduct, and you and all the world may see, that we make light of it, and go our ways one to his farm, and another to his merchandize: whereby we plainly declare, that we despise the grace of the Gospel, and had rather have the world for our portion than God himself." Thus God, in every point of light, is disesteemed, disrespected, despised, and even treated with contempt in the common conduct of the sinner.
Any vile lust is preferred before all the fulness of God. Those things and ways which please the devil, God's inveterate enemy, and the most malicious and hateful being in the universe, are chosen, before those things and ways which please Jehovah, the greatest and best of Beings. His authority is trampled on, at whose presence the mountains.melt, and the earth trembles. A worm of the dust sets up himself above the most high Gov, and his will above God's, and his interest above God's glory. If God offers heaven, sin despises it: if he threatens hell, sin disregards it: if he pleads the dying love of his Son, and the riches of his grace, and beseeches the sinner to be reconciled, sin slights it all: or if he commands men to do their duty to one another, sin regards it not: and that notwithstanding his right to us as his creatures, and authority over us as his subjects, and our obli gations to him as the LORD OUR GOD. And thus the MOST HIGH is by worms of the dust treated with disrespect and contempt, and that to his face, and in the sight of the sun, in his own world, before his creatures, before his friends and enemies; tending to bring a public odium upon him and his ways, and to countenance and encourage rebellion throughout all his dominions, and sink him and his government into universal discredit, and bring an everlasting reproach upon his great name. Thus sin is against the honour of God.-And upon this view of things, may it not, in the
5th, and last place, justly be inquired, whether sin be not against the happiness of GOD, and whether it does not open such a scene to his view, as naturally tends to grieve and distress such a Being as God is?
To look down from heaven, the throne of his holiness and glory, upon this world, which he has made for himself; and survey all mankind, by nature his creatures, by right his subjects, designed to show forth his praise; and behold and see how they are revolted from his government, turned enemies to his majesty, and combined together in rebellion against his crown and dignity. They are set in a way which is not good, a way most contrary to his heart, full of impiety towards God, and injustice and cruelty towards one another. They disregard his laws, trample under foot his authority, despise