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This being the case that God is infinitely lovely, and glorious, and has an infinite right to authority, he of course is infinitely worthy to be loved, honoured, and obeyed by us; and we are under infinite obligations to love, honour, and obey him; for if we are under obligations to love, honour, and obey, in proportion to the worthiness of the object to be loved, honoured, and obeyed, which is a self-evident principle, then God being infinitely worthy, we must be under infinite obligations to love, honour, and obey him. Sin is therefore a violation of infinite obligations. And if by how much the more we are under obligations to do, or not to do a thing, by so much the greater is the criminality of doing wrong, or neglecting our duty, which appears to be plainly true, and agreeable to the common sense of mankind, every sin must be an infinite evil, because every sin violates infinite obligations, and consequently every sin deserves an infinite punishment, and therefore the wrath and curse of God through eternity.
3. The same may be proved from the tendency of every sin. Every sin has an infinitely evil tendency, or a tendency to do infinite mischief. By the tendency of an action, we mean, not, what are the actual consequences, but what they might and would be, if it were not for a restraining and preventing power. Thus poison infused into the blood has a tendency to destroy a person, though it may not produce this effect, being checked in its natural influence, by the superior power of medicine, skilfully administered. But that the poison was prevented by a superior power from killing the man, does not render its nature any better, or the action of him who secretly administered it
, any the less wicked. Now sin has an infinitely evil tendency. Every sin is rebellion against the authority of God, and a practical denial of his right to reign, and a practical declaration that he shall not reign. Every sin is also, as has been shown, a practical denial of the holiness, justice, truth, and goodness of God. Every sin therefore has a tendency to rob God of his moral perfections, and to dethrone him. And what would be the effect upon the universe, if God were not boly, just, true, and good ? Most assuredly wickedness and misery would every where pro
And especially, what would be the effect upon "se, if God were dethroned and his government
to cease ? Univeral disorder, and ruin throughout the whole extent of creation, would soon inevitably ensue. And this would certainly be an infinite evil. Such is the tendency of every sir, and that it does not produce these infinitely direful effects, is owing to the impotency of the sinner, and the restraining power of the Almighty. But that it does not produce these effects, does not render sin in itself any thing the less wrong, any more than the stopping of the effect of poison, by the skill of the physician, renders the wickedness of him who administered it the less criminal. Sin therefore having an infinitely evil tendency, is infinitely wrong, and deserves an infinite punishment, and therefore the wrath and curse of God through eternity.
4. We shall come to the same conclusion, if we consider the atonement that was made for sin, to open a way for its pardon. From the wisdom of God we may be assured that he will require no greater atonement for sin than was necessary. The atonement which he did require, and which was made, was infinite. For it was made by the sufferings and death, of the Son of God incarnate. The infinite Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, humbled himself to a union with our nature, and in our nature suffered death to make atonement for sin. This atonement being made by an infinite person, giving and sacrificing himself, was doubtless of infinite value. And since a God of infinite wisdom, required an infinite atonement for sin, that it might be consistent with his perfections to forgive it, the conclusion is obvious, that sin must be an infipite evil, deserving an infinite, and therefore an eternal punishment.
5. Once more, our doctrine is abundantly proved by those declaralions of God's word, which teach that the future punishment of the wicked will be eternal. Thus we read in the Scriptures, “Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire;" Mat. xxv. 41. “ And these shall go away into everu lasting punishment ;” Mat. xxv. 46. 6 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched;" Mark ix. 44. “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction;" 2 Thes. i. 9. “To whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever ;" 2 Pet. ii. 17. “ To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever ;" Jud. 13. From these texts it is clearly evident, that the punishment of sin in the future win
will be eternal ; and it is certain that an infinitely righteous God will not punish sin more than it deserves. Therefore, the conclusion again is evident, that sin does deserve God's wrath and curse, throughout eternity. And since sin generally deserves this, and not merely a number of sins collectively, or some of the more heinous kind, we must conclude that this is the desert of every sin. And agreeably to this conclusion we find, that the curse of the law, to redeem from which, Christ shed his blood, is denounced against every sin ; “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law to do them;" Gal. iii. 10. This is a clear evidence that not only sin generally, or a number of sins collectively, or some very heinous sins, but that every sin even the least, deserves the curse of the law, which is e ternal death.
From the doctrine which has been thus established, we may
derive much useful instruction. i. It teaches us the wonderful patience and condescension of God. Is one sin so great an evil in his sight as to deserve his eternal wrath and curse? how wonderful then is his patience that he bears with sinners so long, amidst so many sins, and so often repeated! And still more wonderful is it, that he should condescend to place his love upon us sinners, and so to love us as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life ! Our admiration may well rise still higher, when we consider that his patience is lengthened out to those, who continue to live in sin notwithstanding all this love, and even to those who neglect, reject, and despise the offers of mercy, through Jesus Christ. And to crown all, how wonderful that God should grant the special influences of his Spirit, to change the hearts of such creatures, make them willing in the day of his power, and through grace, fit them for those mansions of glory, which he hath prepared for them that love him! We may well, in view of this subject of the desert of sin, be filled with adoring wonder, at the patience and condescension of God. And will any of you my hearers, continue to abuse this patience? Will you make the experiment, how far the patience of the sin-hating God will bear with you? It is an extremely dangerous, and will be a fatal experiment. “Despisest thou the
riches of his goodness, and forbearanče, and long-suffering : not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and intpenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God ;" Rom. ï. 4, 5. Such will be the consequence of abusing and despising the amazing patience of God. The day of . righteous retribution is fast hastening on, and when vengeance does fall, it will fall with the more dreadful weight in proportion to the long-suffering exercised.
2. Our subject corrects an error into which many fall, that some sins are small or trivial. It is true that some sins are more heinous than others, but no sin is small. Every sin is committed against an infinitely great Being; every sin violates infinite obligations ; every sin has an infinitely evil tendency, every sin can be atoned for, and forgiven only by the blood of Christ; in short, every sin is an infinite evil, and deserves the wrath and curse of God through eternity. Can any sin, then be small ? Certainly not. Think of this subject, ye who can plead for some sins and commit them without remorse, because you suppose them to be small. Consider the object against whom the smallest sins are committed, the obligations which they violate, and their tendency; consider well the character, sufferings and death of Christ, without whose death, the smallest sin could not be pardoned; and consider the terrible nature of that curse, which is denounced against every sin; and then cease to call any sin small, or to venture, upon it because it is small.
3. Our subject is calculated to alarm the secure; and ought to lead them to flee without delay from the dreadful wrath that awaits the sinner. Is it true that one sin even the least, deserves God's wrath and curse through eternity? What then, O careless sinner dost thou deserve, who hast lived in the world for twenty, thirty, fifty, and perhaps seventy years, and hast been sinning every day of thy life, yea every hour, and continually? And this too with many and great aggravations ? Think of this subject. Consider what a weight of guilt must press upon you, and what an unspeakably dreadful punishment you deserve, and awaits you. . Can you in view of this subject continue to make light of sin, or as some have done to
make a mock at sin ? Truly as the wise man said, “ Fools make a mock at sin;" Prov. xiv. 9.
Can you, my hearers, whose sins are yet unpardoned, continue, in view of this subject unconcerned? When one sin deserves the wrath and curse of God forever, and will soon receive this desert, unless pardoned ; and when you have sinned not only once, but innumerable times ? O awake, careless sinner, who art sleeping on the brink of an unspeakably dreadful and eternal hell! Consider your situation; and be filled with anxiety to know, whether there is any hope for you, whither you may flee for safety, and how you may escape.
Do any of you make these inquiries? You are answered, there is hope. An infinite atonement as you have heard has been made for sin. God can now be just and yet the justifier of the sinner. He offers you pardon and everlasting life through Jesus Christ. He is willing that you should be saved; for he has declared, “ As I live I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live ;" Ezek. xxxii. 11. He offers you salvation, and urges it upon you. Accept the offer on gospel terms. Flee to Christ by faith, receive him as he is offered, trust to his righteousness for pardon and acceptance, and devote yourselves to him to walk with him in the ways of new obedience, and you shall be saved. And O my hearers be exhorted not to delay ; what you do, do quickly. You who are out of Christ are in an unspeakably dreadful condition; and life is uncertain. Before you are aware, and while you are sleeping in sin, God may say, “Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward." Yea, while you are dreaming of days and years to come, God may say, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee." And what follows? The worm that dieth not, the fire that is not quenched, the mist and blackness of darkness, forever and ever.
May the Lord of his infinite mercy, have mercy on careless sinners, awaken them to a sense of their condition, and deliver them from that second and eternal death, which is the wages of sin.---AMEN.