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inquiries into this aweful subject. In rewarding obedience, the divine goodness is chiefly displayed; and who shall presume to set bounds to it?
But, in punishing disobedience, the divine wisdom, of which we conceive much more imperfectly, is mainly concerned : and what examples of severity in the punishment of incorrigibly impenitent offenders, after such means as have been devised to reclaim them, and for the support of his moral government over more worlds than we have
any idea of, this attribute may demand, we shall do well, with ah submission and modesty, to leave unexplored.
Still, what is just, that is, what is right and fit, on the whole, will undoubtedly take place : but we are not, we cannot, be competent judges of what is fit and right in this instance. It will be safest to rely, without further inquiry, on the general declaration of him, who was not only our Redeemer, but shall one day be our merciful judge: These, says he, (that is, the wicked] shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal".
What remains on this subject, is only to admonish you of those relations, in which we stand towards the Author of our salvation, and the correspondent duties they impose upon us, I can but just point out these relations and duties : though they deserve to be inculcated (as, in fact, they have been, by the sacred writers) with all the force of eloquent persuasion, that words can give.
r Matth. XXV. 4G.
With regard to the supreme cause of all things, who is of himself only the source and principle of deity, and the original author of our salvation, God, thus understood, is graciously pleased to present himself to us in tho Gospel, under the idea of the Father, and to consider us in the tender relation of sons. We owe him, therefore, all possible filial love and reverence, and must so conceive of his part in the mystery of our redemption, as to refer all the fruits of it, ultimately, to the glory of God the Fathers,
In subordination to the Father, he in whom we have eternal life, is our friend', and therefore entitled to our warmest love: he is our greatest benefactory, and therefore claims our utmost gratitude: he is our only masters, and of course, must be followed with all observance:
3 Phil. ü. ll.
t John xv. 15.
he is our redeemer, and sole mediator between God and many; therefore he challenges an implicit, an exclusive trust and confidence from us : he is the appointed judge of the worlds; therefore to be regarded with the humblest fear and veneration : lastly, he is the only begotten Son of God”, nay our Lord and our God b; to whom therefore we are to pay transcendant honour, so as to honour the Son even as we honour the Father c.
These are some, the chief of those duties, which, as Christians, we are bound to perform towards the Author of our salvation. The relations from which they spring, could not be discovered by the light of nature ; but, when made known to us by revelation, they require as certainly, and as reasonably, the several duties which correspond to them, as the relations in which we stand to God and man, as discoverable by nature only, require their respective duties.
You see, then, the sphere of a Christian's duty is much enlarged beyond that of the natural man: and not in these instances only, for the gospel has made known another divine person, (so we are obliged to speak) the holy Spirit of God, who stands in a distinct relation to us; and to whom, therefore, his
y Rev. v. 9. 1 Tim. ii. 5.
2 Acts x. 42.
and peculiar honour is due. But of this divine person in the glorious Trinity, I shall find another occasion to lay before you, at large, what the scriptures have brought to light.
For the present, it may suffice to have put you in mind of what we are taught concerning the grace of God in his Son Jesus Christ ; to the end that, religiously observing all the duties which this revealed doctrine requires of us, we may fully correspond to the gracious intentions of the revealer, by having our fruit unto holiness ; and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin (be it ever remembered) is death : but eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lordd : To whon be all praise, thanksgiving, and honour, novo and for evermore. Amen.
d Rom. vi. 22, 23.
PREACHED JUNE 12, 1774.
GAL. vi. 8.
He that soweth to the spirit, shall of THE
SPIRIT REAP LIFE EVERLASTING.
WITHOUT staying to point out the imme. diate occasion of these words, or to enumerate and define the several senses of the word spirit, in sacred scripture, it is sufficient to my present purpose to observe, that the text affirms a general and fundamental truth of the Gospel, more clearly and particularly explained elsewhere. It is this : That he who in this life conducts himself according to the rules and admonitions of God's holy spirit, which the Apostle calls, sowing to the spirit,