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bourhood of his goodly handy work, so soon as it had sin. ned. From these instances, the only two npon record, I not only deduce the veritable effect of sin to imprint a lasting stain, but I might also raise an argument against the amiable enthusiasts with whom I have at present to do upon the question of the excessive disproportion which they say there is between everlasting misery and a limited lifetime of sinfulness. Although I deny this method of proceeding by proportion to be consonant with the facts of divine punction of sin, yet for the sake of their prejudice upon this head, I will raise an argument of the proportion of future punishment with present sinfulness, from this only instance of punishment executed against an evil work which we have upon record.
Let us then go coolly to estimate. Here did one transgression bring death into this world with all our woe;' all sufferings that have been, that are, and that are to be, are from the womb of this big sentence. All diseases, sick. nesses, sorrows and death, with all unseen, unknown effects of death, are the tribute which mankind have paid for that one commission. All waste and revolution and convulsions, whether of the labouring elements or of troubled life, were bred when Adam fell, and have continued to propagate their kind. War, fire and pestilence; hunger, thirst and nakedness; pain, horror and anguish; the woeful stings within the breast; and the whips of fortune, which ever overlay the content and peace of man, did issue out of hell and reign on earth when innocence forsook our abode. And they continue to have the dominion over us, notwithstanding of the great atonement. Yea, though the Son of God stripped himself to our aid, and finished a work of redemption, still the enemies of the earth make that strong and terrible head which we see in every land, and which every one feeleth within the bounds of his own experience. Against all the aids and graces of the Spirit of God shed without measure, behold the enormous accumulation of grief with which we are weighed down. Reason, then, if one transgression was followed by such abalienation of man and man's habitation, and man's innumerable posterity, insomuch that had not a remedy cast up, and a corrective been introduced, there is no saying at what stage of mercy we might have stopped, and whether there might have been any need to translate the wretched people to any sorer habitation; Reason, I say, if thus they fell from friend-like converse and communion with the highest, to such a pitch that the earth needed to be eased of them, and washed clean for a new experiment; if, by fault of one transgression they fell, till out of their devoted myriads there could be found only one family in all, and out of their devoted cities only one family in all, which was not worthy of instant cutting off.What, what must come to pass, when each one of us, covered with more sins than there are hairs upon his head, and pregnant with as many iniquities as his bosom hath conceived thoughts, shall come up for judgment into the presence of that Holy God, who could not brook the neighbourhood of his goodly handy work when once, but once, it had contravened his Holy Law! Can you, with this only instance of execution against evil before your eyes, doubt as improbable, deny as incredible, or deride as impossible, the issues of hell, which are threatened upon those who hold out against proffered mercy, spurning the name of Jesus from the honourable places of their heart, defying the power, and refusing the intercession of heaven?
Think of the difference of the two cases, and say if the difference of the two issues be so disproportionate? There was in the former nothing to be gained. In the latter, heaven is to be gained and hell avoided. There was in the former no taste of sin's miserable fruits; in the latter, there is one constant experience of their bitterness; in the former case the mind was deliberative only for a brief moment, it decided wrong, and all instantaneously vanished. In the latter, the mind is deliberative a whole lifetime, it decides wrong, vengeance tarries; it decides wrong again, still vengeance sleeps: so mercifully are we dealt with through the whole period of human life. Adam was a perfect man, it is true; but then in his case nothing but continued perfection would do. His posterity are less perfect men; but less, far less than perfection by the grace of God will do.
Thus by every method we would apprehend the truth of the revelation of changeless conditions, which these amiable enthusiasts sacrifice before a beautiful fiction they have imagined of the goodness and mercy of God, as if that attribute was not compatible with the existence in the universe of sorrowful and suffering creatures. But they understand not what they dote upon, neither consider the condition of all created things, which are not like the eternal Jehovah, obnoxious to no change and infallible, but have a limitation of being, and exist within bounded habitations, which it is always possible for them to overpass. They are kept in loyal fealty by the happiness and joy that toucheth all their nature, and exciteth in it sweet emotion; by the sunshine of God's pleasant countenance in which they bask, they are enamoured of all good thoughts and obedient offices. But upon the other hand, 'to make assurance doubly sure,' they are kept from disobedience by the knowledge of the woe which sin worketh upon their whole estate, and by the exhibition within the limits of creation of that woe and wickedness which it hath actually wrought. Take that exhibition away, let sin cease to engender sorrow, let the outcast return back to his heritage after a season of forfeiture, and you do at once leave the stability of happy creatures unsupported upon the one side, you fall foul of the most ancient constitution in creation, and take the key-stone from the arch of the happy universe.
It is easy and pleasant for us to sacrifice every thing for the stake which we have in the issue; so pleasant and easy would it be for the criminal at the bar, that inquisition and sentence should fee before the face of mercy; and it would be very good natured in the Judge to grant the prayer of his request. But what comes of honest and upright men thereby? Where is their safety, if thus justice is to be bartered away to womanish weakness, or to the cry of entreating nature There would ascend from every prison a cry of lamentation and mercy, and the prison doors would be opened to vomit forth upon the works of peaceful men, a herd of depredators to grub up the fruits of their labours like the locusts of the East, and despoil their happiness like an army of red-handed savages. Can God hang the universe upor his nod with less stability of purpose than is needful for the government of a petty state! It is impossible. It is fine, very fine, for men to reason of mercy, and draw after them a train of good-natured thoughtless people, and take credit over those who stand up for the awful sovereignty of right, and the terrible punishment of wrong. But what mean they by such paltry cozenage of the people? Do they not see how they open the sluices of evil nature, and give inlet to a sweeping deluge of iniquity? They demolish divine law, they render Christ's sacrifice vain, they spoil him of his power over the heart, and give every demon of darkness a holyday to rejoice and be active. They know not the nature of man, how with hope in the distance he can endure any tribulation, and pass through it unmoved. Who cares for hell, when heaven is to bring out the conclusion of it with a shout of gratulation? Who cares for righteousness, when
wickedness will succeed in the end as well? Who cares for God, when in despite of God we shall win our own again.
What may be in the womb of eternity, I know not. Whether there may be a visit paid to hell's habitations by another "mighty to save I know not. Whether there may be some other dispensations of mercy to the abject creatures when this dispensation is fulfilled, another trial of the for. lorn creatures, and another levy of righteous men carried after probation and sanctification to heaven, and so, dispensation after dispensation, the numbers of the damned thinned and thinned antil at length they shall be all recovered these things there is not one shadow of revelation to induce the hope of, and therefore I declare it to be the most daring invasion upon the prerogative of God, the most monstrous abuse of his gracious revelation, and the most dangerous uploosing of its power over men, to set forth as certain, as probable, or even as possible, such doctrines as are wont to be set forth amongst us.
It seems a cruel-hearted thing thus to argue against an opinion which hath in it such a show of tender mercy, and consign to eternal abodes of darkness and dismay the souls and bodies of my fellow men; but I am convinced that it is the greatest mercy upon the whole thus to state the plain unvarnished truth. For such are the pleasures of sin for a season, that while we can look hell in the face we will continue to follow after them, and so defeat all the good ends of present enjoyment and future blessedness which God aimeth by revelation to bring about. Now, this opinion doth jast make hell such a thing as human nature can tolerate, and so panders to every evil tendency of our nature which this awful issue was intended to refrain. A vague indefinitude settles down upon the mind, little better than positive disbelief. It is content to run the risk, not perceiving its magnitude; it exaggerates the mercy of God in the proportion of its own need of mercy; it seems to do him the more honour the more it magnifies this lovely attribute; it shudders at every one as a monster who can imagine God to be of a sterner, firmer mood; and by dwelling upon this topic constantly, sin drops its heinousness, the law loses its strength, the future is disburdened of its fear, and life goes on just the same as if God had overlaid it with no rule, and required of us no account. The whole constitution is defeated, and all the ends of divinc government are made null and void. Now what good, what beauty, what mercy is there, in thus defeating all God's intentions for the renovation of mankind, and bringing us back into the same pass from which he hath sent his Son to recover us.
I allow that if God had actually consigned some portion of men to these awful abodes, brought them into being, bred them up in wicked training, that he might ship them off like Africans to work his pleasure in the internal pit, I should have stood amazed and horror-struck no less than they, and cried, Let such a tenet be hunted from the face of the earth, back again into the detestable brain which bred it. But, seeing all men intreated to shun this direful abyss, and Jesus sent from heaven to redeem all from its curse, and open up, to all, the gate which leadeth unto honour and life, I marvel greatly how any man can be so thoughtless as to defeat the progrees of this salvation by undervaluing the misery from which it is to save us. It is to unpeople heaven and to people hell, to forge such notions. For it musters the resolutions of men to meet the issue. Whereas, Christ would utterly defeat that resolution, would make nature shrink with horror from the foul and fearful catastrophe, that she may turn round as in desperation and call on God for mercy. I declare it is to blunt conscience, and make the shafts of conviction harmless, and leave men at will to reject the Gospel. Nay, truly, the avenue of sin must be shut by the horrid shapes of fear and shrieks of horror which are heard onward, a little onward, from the place we now occupy. But if instead we heard the voice of hope and expectation, the bold purpose of endurance, and the cheerful call to a little patience, when all should be well; if we saw them mounting to heaven on joyful wing from the surface of the sulphurous lake, an active intercourse passing across the gulf; then what were it but a buld adventure like that which voyagers make to inhospitable climes, a threading of difficult sounds and dangerous straits, for the glory which awaits us when our labour is complete an adventure which it were accounted poverty of character to fear, resolution to undertake, and heroism to have braved. These speculators, I say, know not that human nature which they study to please. They please it at the expense of all that is great and noble. They make hell tolerable at the expense of making heaven indifferent. And by consequence, none of the powers of heaven come down to possess the soul. There is no regeneration of the inner man, or recovery of the divine image. The world continues in its pitiful plight, for want of heaven-born characters to do deeds which breathe of hea.
If we can make the ends of God's amplified mercy