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knowledge of the law, and partial keeping of the law, render it better that we had never been born. Let us love and obey wholly
that God, who hath entirely loved and redeemed us; and let us not add the bitter aggravation of knowledge, to the sad and fatal choice of a partial obedience.
THE UNPROFITABLENESS OF SIN.
JOB, CHAPTER 33, VERSE 27.
"I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it
profited me not."
THESE were the words of one who seems rightly to have understood the unprofitables ness of sin. They were used by Elihu, one of Job's friends, in his endeavour to reason with that afflicted servant of God, and to shew him that a sinner, repenting of his sins, would belforgivenelli vented 250
en Much need not be said to convince us who profess to believe in the Gospel that sin is unprofitable, though it be our duty to urge the conviction home to our own hearts as a practical truth. 916 oss it io abello e: T
9:02 Acknowledging the truth of the Word of God, we there read that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment that the expeć, tation of the wicked shall perish" and a question was put by our Lord Himself, which
ought to sound an eternal alarm in the ears of every determined sinner: " what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul."*
That this manifest truth may be as plainly illustrated as the importance of it requires, let us endeavour to view it in its application to our own hearts, under two heads: First, as teaching us that sin never can be profitable, inasmuch as it ever brings with it the present ills of life, and will most surely be followed by future punishment, Secondly, as leading us to consider why men will be so led to commit wilful sin unprofitable as it is.
That sin, generally speaking, brings along with it present ill, may be seen by a very slight examination of its usual and visible consequences. For better illustration of this general truth, take any of those common sins which arise from vicious passions, and ungoverned appetites; the sins of gluttony and drunkenness, of depraved and sensual pleasures. The effects of these are manifest: pain and sickness of body, anguish and depression of spirit, a wounded conscience, oftentimes a hardened heart, an untimely grave. Even in this life the consequences of sin follow quickly upon the commission of sin; and loss of property, of health, of character, and of peace, * Mark, viii. 36.
oftentimes hurries the wretched sinner into despair, into madness, into self-murder.
Examine what profit comes from sins of another kind. What real good do those persons gain, who constantly seek the gratification of their own wills, the natural pride of their own hearts, regardless of all the self-denying rules and endearing ties of Christian charity; who live a selfish life, and, in all their intercourse with their fellow-creatures, seldom or never ask and act upon what will make others happy, but what will satisfy their own personal convenience and selfish desires? These are common sins of social and domestic life, equally among the rich as among the poor; so common, that few are to be found who do not sin herein themselves, and so make others wretched; or suffer from these sins prevailing at home, in the very bosom of their own families.
By thus examining the profits of sin in the circles of private life, shall we not at once see and apply the question put by the holy Apostle: 66 What fruit had ye in those things, the end whereof is death ?"*
When, moreover, we examine into the consequences of sin committed in public life, in men's more extended dealings with their fellow-creatures, we shall still find that it is un
*Rom. vi. 21.
profitable. If those, whose occupations lead them into professional duties and worldly bur siness, sin in what comes before them, practise dishonesty for purposes of private gain, what profit comes to them in the end? The chica nery and fraud of a worldly cunning, the secret gain of some temporal advantage at a more simple and unsuspicious brother's loss, may perhaps bring some increase of the "unrighteous mammon;" for one of great authority. hath said that "the children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light." But, in the end, what profit is there? The crooked paths of the deceiver, whatever be the motive for which he practises his fraud, never lead to honourable maintenance either of himself or his family; and, sooner or later, are always found to end in disappointed hope, oftentimes in the actual and disgraceful loss of those very gains which an unchristian cunning had tempted him to put by for himself, and for his children's children.
Say, however, that sin does sometimes bring present profit, and conceal from man the discovery of its iniquity. It may, perhaps, but it is a profit which, at best, can last only for a season: the iniquitous profits of time must end in the enduring woes of eternity: it is God's own word which saith, "Be sure your