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day of power, and adopts the language of Isaiah, “ O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid : for the Lord JEHOVAH is
my strength and my song, he also is become my salvation.” Great is the happiness of every lover of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is blessed now. He is in Christ, and there is no condemnation. He can never fall under the wrath of God. There may be much wrong in him, and much done by him, that deserves condemnation; but being justified by God, he will never fall under the curse. Amidst all the vicissitudes of time, one thing is certain, that though the peace which God has given may be interrupted, it shall not be utterly taken away. Infinitely comforting are the words of Christ, John v. 24, “ He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation." He who loves the Lord Jesus is interested in all the blessings of the covenant of grace, and shall have them infallibly dispensed according to his necessity. In every situation of life he is blessed of the Lord, and death will be great gain. The whole paths of the Lord will be truth and mercy, and all things shall work together for his good. In one word, we may say concerning his blessedness here and hereafter, with the apostle, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”_We proceed,
II. To open up the import of the curse denounced in these words, '“ Let him be Anathema, Maran-atha."
In general, considered as spoken by God, these words are a denunciation of his wrath and curse. As spoken by the apostle, they are an imprecation containing a prediction that divine vengeance will follow all who love not Christ, and expressing the earnest desire of his heart that it may be so. In this desire every believer heartily joins. It is all one whether we view them as God's denunciation, or his people's imprecation of deserved wrath: if God had not denounced vengeance against his enemies, the saints never would have ventured to pray that it might be poured out. Both ways they express the sin and danger of all who love not the Lord Jesus. We have many instances of such imprecations in the Psalms; and the song of Deborah is concluded with a beautiful example of praying for complete destruction to the Lord's enemies, and an accumulation of happiness to his people. Judges v. 31, “ So let thine enemies perish, O Lord: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might.”—This phrase imports,
1. The greatness of the punishment. God's curse is weighty, and his wrath is great beyond conception. Moses was sensible of this, and knew the improvement to make of it when he said, Ps. xc. 11, 12. “ Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” The, punishment inflicted on God's enemies is expressed many different ways in Scrip
ture, all designed to point out its greatness. It is called eternal death; a being turned into hell, and dwelling with devouring fire and everlasting burning. Christ often spake of it under the idea of the worm dying not, and the fire not being quenched. And the apostle uses great variety of phraseology to point out the greatness of that punishment which awaits the Lord's enemies, as may be seen in most of his epistles.
The punishment must be great, if we consider that it is exactly proportioned to the crime : and who can conceive how criminal it is to oppose and reject Him “ who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ;” and all this for sinners, that they might be saved! As it is the great commandment of God that we believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, rejecting him, of all sins, is the most dishonouring to God, and draws down the most dreadful wrath on the sinner; for “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” It tramples under foot the love of all the persons in the Godhead, as displayed in the work of redemption. But great as the sin is, the punishment will be in proportion. We need not hesitate about this; for God will exert all his perfections to inflict upon his enemies condign punishment. His wisdom will determine the punishment, and his almighty power will inflict it: his holi
ness and justice require it; and his faithfulness and veracity render it certain.
On this theme the sacred writers copiously insist, that sinners may be warned to fly from the wrath to come. The best way to become acquainted with the greatness of that punishment is, carefully to consider what God hath said. It must surely be very awful to be cast into fire prepared for the devil and his angels; to be everlastingly with that accuser and tormentor, whose cruelty is unrelenting; to have life itself continued as a curse, and eternally suffer divine wrath; to be deprived of every comfort, down to a drop of cold water to cool the scorched tongue! Heaven is all consolation, and hell is wholly torment, according to the words of Abraham to the rich fool; when applying for the small boon of a single drop of water: Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus his evil things : but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."
2. The certainty of the punishment. Every word of God is true, and his threatenings will be as faithfully executed as his promises will be accomplished. If God's word could fail in the least article, he could not be trusted in any thing : “ but he is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ?” His universal infallible truth and veracity is the grand foundation of all trust and worship. If it could be supposed that God would vary from what he has said, so as to become either better or worse than his
word, he would no longer be a proper object of that faith and trust, that honour and obedience, which he requires of us. There is scarcely any thing about which the enemies of the Lord Jesus deceive themselves more than the certainty of future punishment. They allow, and partly believe, that God has threatened awful punishment against his enemies; but they indulge a secret belief that his threatening never will be executed, and that he will not be so severe as he has said. Many fall into an opposite mistake, equally great. Through fear, and a sense of sin, they apprehend that God will not be as merciful as he has said. Let God be true, and every man a liar. He will neither be better nor worse than his word. As all the happiness which he has promised will be faithfully bestowed upon his people; and they will have the best reason to say, “ Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord our God spake concerning us : all are come to pass :” so every degree of punishment found written in his word will be faithfully inflicted on his enemies : • Heaven and earth may pass away, but one jot shall in no wise pass away till all be fulfilled.” Hell is as sure as heaven; and to be banished from heaven is in itself awful punishment: but it is as certain as awful; for when God says, concerning such as love not Christ, let them be accursed, they shall be AnaTHEMA, MARAN-ATHA.
3. That at the coming of the Lord there will be an awful and serious reckoning between him and such as loved him not; and that the sentence will then be fully executed. Maran-atha is a Syriac word,