« AnteriorContinuar »
and said, that he reproached them. Sinners now dislike to hear, that God hates all workers of iniquity; and that his wrath is pointed against then and constantly abides upon them. I know, that it is much more pleasing to sinners, to preach the love than the hatred of God towards them ; but it is not much more safe, They are ready enough to believe, that God loves them, but they are slow of heart to believe, that God hates them as vile and odious creatures, even as vile and odious as those in a state of irrecoverable misery. Paul had zeal and fidelity enough to inculcate this truth upon the heart and conscience of a sinner, with plainness and pungency. tle said, “O full of all subtility and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the righi ways of the Lord ?" Paul knew that this was the true character of Elymas the sorcerer and of himself, before his heart was changed. Nor was this character peculiar to them, but is common to the most amiable impenitent sinners in the world.---They are perfectly sinful and consequently perfectly hateful in the sight of an heart-searching God. This truth ought to be plainly and forcibly inculcated upon the hearts and consciences of sinners, to prepare them to see and feel the necessity of embracing the mercy of God offered to them in the gospel.
4. If it be consistent with the benevolence of God towards sinners to hate them; then it is consistent with his benevolence to express his hatred towards them. The only reason, why some suppose it is inconsistent with God's love to sinners to punish them, is because it is inconsistent with his benevolence to hate them. But we have shown, that it is consistent with God's love of benevolence, to hate unholy, selfish, malevolent sinners. The consequence is undeniable, that it is consistent with his benevolence, to punish those whom he hates ; and whom his very benevolence disposes him to hate. Punishment is the expression and the only proper expression of hatred. The infliction of pain, or natural evil, is no punishment, when it is not designed to express hatred towards the subject of it. The surgeon, in the amputation of a limb, often inflicts great pain upon the patient, but he expresses love and not hatred ; and therefore the pain he inflicts is no punishment. But it is the sole design of punishment, to express hatred towards the punished. And if the punished deserve to be hated, they equally deserve to be punished, which is the proper and just expression of hatred. If God's benevolence disposes God to hate sinners as long as they remain impenitent; then it must equally dispose him to express his hatred towards them, by punishing them as long as they remain impenitent. And his punishing them will have no tendency to diminish or take away his hatred of them. If his hatred of them arose from selfishness and was of the nature of revenge, it is true, his punishing them might gradually diminish and finally take away his hatred of sinners.--Sinners often punish one another in revenge to such a degree, as to soften and turn their own malignant hearts into compassion towards the objects of their hatred. But as God does not hate sinners from selfishness ; so he will never punish them in malevolence and revenge, but only from benevolence which necessarily disposes him to hate them, because they are really hateful. If we can only see, that it is consistent with the benevolence of God towards impenitent sinners to hate them, then we can as clearly see, that it is consistent with his benevolence, to punish them : and to punish them as long as they remain sinners and the proper objects of God's just displeasure and hatred. We have no evidence from scripture, that God's hatred of the fallen angels has abated, or ever will abate. And we have no evidence in scripture, that God's hatred of Judas and of the human spirits in the regions of darkness has ever abated, or ever will abate. Of course we have no evidence from scripture that the punishment of any impenitent sinners will ever abate or cease. as they remain impenitent, they will remain hateful, and so long as they remain hateful it is consistent with his beneyolence towards them to express his dis
pleasure and his wrath, by punishing them. That benevolence of God towards impenitent sinners, which disposes him to hate them, will always dispose him to express his hatred, by giving them a just recompence of reward.
5. If God's hatred of impenitent sinners flows from his benevolence; then his punishing them must flow from his benevolence. He can be and will be, as benevolent in punishing, as in hating sinners. And this will give a peculiar weight and pungency in the punishment of the finally impenitent. They will know, that God loves them, while he actually punishes them. A disobedient child cares but little about the punishment, which his parent inflicts upon him, in revenge ; but he is obliged to stoop, when his parent corrects in love. The finally miserable will be as capable of seeing the benevolence of God towards them in another world, as they were capable of seeing it in this world, while God was pouring down upon them the blessings of his providence in a rich and astonishing profusion...And this incontestable evidence of his benevolence will never be erased from their minds. So Christ says in the parable of Dives and Lazarus. When the rich man begged to have Lazarus sent to alleviate his torments, the request was denied on the ground of God's benevolence to him. “Son, remember, that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things and Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted and thou art tormented." The benevolence of God carried conviction to his conscience, that he did not punish him from malevolence, but from that goodness, which disposed him both to hate and punish him. All the finally miserable will have the the same conviction, that God always did and always will love them with benevolence, while be hates and punishes them forever. How insupportable must that eternal punishment be, which flows from infinite and eternal benevolence.
6. Ifit be the benevolence of God, that disposes him to hate and punish impenitent sinners forever, then it is extremely absurd and dangerous for sinners, to rely
upon his mere benevolence to save them in the eleventh and dying hour. This many appear to do, who are not Universalists in theory, or sentiment. the reason is, that they view God's benevolence, as implying the love of complacence. They cannot think, that God who has treated them so benevolently all their life time, does really hate them, in their last and most distressing moments. But why do they form this idea of God's benevolence ? It is because they love darkness rather than light ; and error rather than truth. It is because they are totally depraved and their total depravity blinds their understanding and conscience. But see, ye blind ; and hear,ye deaf. That love of God, in which you trust, may and will sink you to the lowest hell, if you remain impenitent and unbelieving. The wrath of God now abides upon you and will abide upon you forever, except you repent.
This subject now calls upon all to inquire and determine, whether they are saints or sinners. The distinction is great and will draw after it, the most serious and important consequences. If you are saints God now loves you with both the love of benevolence and the love of complacence ; and will forever love you with both the love of benevolence and complacence. But if you are sinners, God's love of benevolence now disposes him to hate and punish you ; and he will continue to hate and punish you to all eternity if you continue impenitent. Are you ready to decide the important question ? If you delay to decide it, it will soon be decided for you. Though God can have no pleasure in your death yet he can take pleasure in rewarding you according to your works. And you will know, that from his perfect and infinite benevolence, God will hate all workers of iniquity forever and ever.
THE VINDICTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD.
I. SAMUEL, xv. 33. —And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
Agag was king of the Amalekites, who were the natural enemies of the Israelites. Both nations sprang from the same original stock. The Israelites sprang from Jacob and the Amalekites sprang from Esau, the brother of Jacob. Esau's posterity imbibed the spirit of their father and harboured a mortal enmity to the posterity of Jacob. Accordingly, as soon as the Israelites Jeft Egypt and set out upon their journey to Canaan, the Amalekites, without receiving any provocation from the Israelites, came out and fought against them at Rephidem. But at the prayer of Moses and by the arm of Joshua, God defeated them; and at the same time devoted the whole nation to utter ruin. " The Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua : for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi : For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn, that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”... God delayed, for more than an hundred years, to put this irreversible sentence into execution. But after the Israelites were established in the land of promise, and had a king set over them, God gave a commission to Saul, their king, by the hand of Samuel, to go and extirpate the whole race of Amalek. “ Samuel said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee king over