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cified, to prevent the spread of the gospel. Caiphas had a worse intention than Pilate ; and his guilt was in proportion to the wickedness of his endeavors. Herod's guilt was in proportion to his evil intention, which was to destroy all the children in Bethlehem under two years old. And Paul's guilt was in proportion to his evil intention, which was to destroy the whole Christian Church. Thus it appears, to be agreeable to scripture and reason, that some sinners more deserve to be punished than others, because their ill desert is always in proportion to the wickedness of their endeavors. The next thing is,

III. To show what is implied in God's punishing finally impenitent sinners according to their deserts. It has been shown that all sinners are guilty and ill deserving, but some are more guilty than others. The inquiry now is, what is implied in God's rendering to them according to their desert. And, ' 1. It implies his punishing them according to the duration of their desert. They deserve to be punished, because they have done evil of design. There is ill desert necessarily connected with every evil affection, desire, or intention, which they have freely and voluntarily formed. This ill desert will exist as long as they continue to exist ; and since they are to exist forever, their ill desert will forever exist, unless there be some cause to remove it. But what cause can remove their guilt ? The atonement of Christ cannot remove it.For notwithstanding he has tasted death for every man and died the just for the unjust ; yet impenitent sinners are as guilty and ill deserving, as if Christ had never laid down his life for them : yea, they are unspeakably more guilty, than if Christ bad not made a propitiation for their sins and offered salvation to them. His atonement will forever increase, intsead of removing the guilt of finally impenitent sinners.

Again, repentance cannot take away the guilt of those, who go out of this world impenitent. For if it could be supposed, that they should repent after death, yet their repentance could have no tendency to remove

their guilt. A robber, or murderer, may repent in this world after he is condemned to die, but his repentance has no tendency to remove his guilt or save him from death. He still deserves to die and all mankind approve of his execution. And if repentance cannot remove the desert of temporal death, surely it cannot remove the desert of eternal death.

Again the ill desert of sinners cannot be removed by any temporary punishment. It is not the nature of punishment to to take away criminality or ill desert. --If punishment could take away guilt, then a guilty person might be punished till he became innocent. But who can conceive, that punishment should produce this effect? What parent ever corrected his child with a view to make him innocent of the offence he had committed ? What court of justice ever directed a criminal to be punished, with a view to take away his criminality and restore him to innocence? The design of punishment is not to take away guilt, but to display justice. We cannot conceive, that God can, by punishing a sinner for ages, or for any limited duration remove his guilt and make him innocent. Now, if neither the atonement of Christ nor sincere repentance, nor temporary punishment can take away the ill desert of those, wbo die impenitent ; then their ill desert must remain forever. But if their ill desert must remain forever, then to punish them according to the duration of their ill desert, must be to punish them forever. So that one thing implied, in God's punishing sinners according to their deserts, is punishing them according to the duration of their guilt, which will nev

Besides, 2. His punishing them according to their deserts further implies his punishing them according to the degrees of their guilt. It appears from what has been said, that some will have greater degrees of guilt than others; and therefore it will be proper to measure the degrees of future punishment according to the degrees of guilt, which the finally impenitent have contracted. Though the guilt of all be the same in respect to du

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ration and their punishment must be the same in respect to duration, yet the punishment, which God will inflict upon them, must be different in degrees according to their different degrees of guilt. Justice seems to require, that God should punish them according to their different degrees of ill desert.

And scripture assures us, that this will be the case in the great day of retribution. Christ expressly declares; that it shall be more intolerable for some sinners than for others in the day of judgment. It is the design of future punish. ment to display God's displeasure at sin ; and in order to display his displeasure at sin in the clearest light he must dispense different punishments to those of different degrees of guilt. He is able to measure their different degrees of guilt and the different degrees of punishment, which they deserve ; and he will not fail to “ render to them their desert ;” for shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ? It only remains to show,

IV. Why good men desire, that God would punish the finally impenitent according to their deserts. We find, that some of the best of men have sincerely desired God to inflict a just punishment upon all incorrigible sinners. David, not only in the text, but in a multitude of other places in the Psalms, imprecates the final destruction of the finally impenitent, He solemnly prays to God to “ give them according to their deeds and according to the wickedness of their endeavours : give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert." Elijah prayed in the same spirit and in the same language. “Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias ? how he maketh in. tercession to God against Israel.” And the spirits of just men made perfect cry to God, to give unto impenitent sinners their desert. John says, “ I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held : and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them, that dwell on the earth ?" These are divine declarations, that good men do desire God to

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punish the finally impenitent according to their deserts. But it is still worthy of our serious inquiry, why the truly pious and benevolent do desire God to inflict eternal punishment upon any of their fellow creatures. Saints certainly have a clear and awful sense of eternal misery and yet they desire God to inflict it upon the final enemies of all righteousness. What good reasons can they have for such a desire ? Here I would say,

1. That it is the nature of true benevolence to love justice. The justice of God is a truly amiable and glorious attribute of his nature. It is an essential branch of his infinite benevolence. And since saints view the justice of God in this light, they must be pleased to see the displays of it upon the finally impenitent, who deserve the full execution of divine justice in their future and eternal punishment. Good men would not desire, that God should punish them at all, if they did not deserve to be punished. It is their ill desert, that renders them proper subjects of punishment ; and as it has been shown, that their ill desert will continue forever. T'here is the same reason why they should be punished forever, as why they should be punished at all ; and the same reason why good men should desire God to punish them forever according to their deserts, as why they should desire him to inflict the lightest and shortest punishment upon them. If good men love the justice of God, they must love to see God display his justice in punishing those, who deserve to be punished ; and sincerely desire that he should continue to display bis justice in punishing them, as long as they deserve to be punished, which will be to all eternity. There is precisely the same reason why good men should desire God to punish the finally impenitent forever, as why they should desire him to punish them at all either in this life, or in the life to come.

2. It is the nature of true love to God, to desire that he may be glorified forever. But he cannot be forever glorified by the finally impenitent, without punishing them according to their deserts. They deserve eternal punishment and God cannot free them from it, by annihilation.

annihilation. It seems to be inconsistent with the moral rectitude of God to put an end to the existence of his sinful creatures, who deserve to feel the weight of his everlasting displeasure. But if he must continue them in existence forever, he must either punish them forever according to their deserts, or else make them happy forever contrary to their deserts and contrary to the terms of salvation through the atonement of Christ. Bat he can do neither of these things consistently with his glory. What then must he do, to glorify himself by the finally impenitent, but to punish them forever? And for this reason, good men do sincerely desire, that he should punish them forever according to their deserts. Besides,

3. They desire he should punish them forever, to promote the highest good of the universe. punishment of the wicked will always promote the holiness and happiness of all holy beings. Hence the apostle demands, "what if God, willing to shew his wrath and make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction : and that he might make known the riches of bis glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepareil unto glory?" All good men ardently desire the purest and highest blessedness of all holy beings; and for this reason, must desire that God would display the beauties of his justice, as well as the riches of his grace, by eternally rewarding both the righteous and the wicked, according to their works.

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IMPROVEMENT.

1. If the ill desert of sinners essentially and necessarily consists in their free, voluntary design to do evil; then neither the foreknowledge, nor purpose, nor agency of God can ever afford them the least ground, or reason, to complain of him, for punishing them forever. They will always know, that God foreknew and decreed their final impenitence and that his agency was

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