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afraid, if we would be honest in tracing our convictions and in acknowledging our fears, that God is displeased with us ; and the idea of passing eternity under a sense of his displeasure is the most comfortless of all reflections. Hence still further arises all that train of superstitious and degrading rites, vainly invented for the relief of a burdened conscience, to the bondage of which men, unenlightened by revelation, are through fear of death in many instances seen to be all their lifetime subject.
Nevertheless on a question of this kind a wise man will ask, not—What does conscience
declare ?'-but. What does God declare 'concerning it?' If God has really made a revelation of his will to men, it is but reasonable to expect, that in some part of that revelation
a decisive answer to the important question, in what light he regards those of his creatures, who have broken his revealed and published law. And undoubtedly we may find it there, if we will examine candidly the testimony of his word.
First, if Moses gave us the law, what does Moses say to its violators ? His answer is this. You may find it in the last verse of the twentyseventh chapter of Deuteronomy-Cursed be
he, that confirmeth not all the words of this • law, to do them. And again it is repeatedly stated in the prophecy of Isaiah—“There is no
peace” (saith my God) “ to the wicked”. while saint Paul in the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans, at the eighteenth verse, sums up as it were, all previous declarations in the words. The wrath of God is revealed from * Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.'
These however are general denunciations. We may read in other places more particular and express declarations of his wrath against offenders. Thus it is written in the eleventh psalm-Upon the ungodly he shall rain snares, ' fire and brimstone, storm and tempest. This
shall be their portion to drink.' And again in the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy to which reference was made on a former occasion, a catalogue of curses is pronounced against all offenders, which may make the stoutest
tremble— It shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the lord, thy
God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes, that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city ; and cursed shalt 6thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy
basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the · fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land,
the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy "sheep. Cursed shalt thou be, when thou comest in; and cursed shalt thou be, when * thou goest out. The lord shall send upon 'thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke in all, that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, ' until thou be destroyed. And yet this is but the commencement of a frightful detail of woes, which extends through fifty verses, and predicts all the calamities of the Israelitish people, as the certain consequence of transgressing the commands of God.
But, to satisfy ourselves of the displeasure of God against every breach of his law, we need not look further than to the second chapter of the book of Genesis. In that succinct narrative of the formation of our first parents, and of their condition in Paradise, a specific penalty is denounced against the violation of one single commandment, and that too a commandment, of the transgression of which many profane persons are tempted to think lightly. The lord, God, commanded the man, saying— Of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt ' not eat of it; for in the day, that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.'
Thus death was made the penalty of transgression : and lest, we should imagine, that the death of men was part of the original plan of our creator, and is therefore no decisive proof of his present displeasure against our offences, the commentary of the apostle in the twelfth verse of the fifth chapter to the Romans cuts off all evasion. By one man' (says he) sin entered into the world, and · death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.'
Nor yet may we believe, that the mere separation of soul and body, which is what constitutes natural death, will satisfy the severity
duties to discharge to one fellow-creature, as our child, or parent, or tried friend, which cannot be claimed from us by strangers. But we must have a love for them, which would prompt us to befriend them to the same extent, if their situation and ours made it proper: and contingencies do sometimes arise to call for such an exercise of universal philanthropy, as sudden danger levels all distinctions, and gives to every individual the claim of a brother; and then, as in a wreck for instance, but more especially (I would say, if you were prepared to admit it) in that moral wreck, which has befallen the species, it is seen, whether we do or do not love our neighbour, as ourselves.
But, if this be the case, I fear, it follows, as an undeniable truth, that none of you keepeth the law. I say to you in the words of the text without fear, that any of
will be disposed in his heart to contradict me,Did not Moses give you the law? and yet
none of you keepeth the law. He gave you a law, by the observance of which you might live : and yet none of you keepeth the law.