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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 we
may find 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 " thou 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
of this enactment. Observe the language of the text—' The soul, that sinneth, it shall
die.'-! There is a death of the soul, a spiritual death, as far surpassing natural death in horror, as the soul surpasses the body in dignity, or eternity surpasses time in value: and this spiritual death is also a threatened and certain consequence of transgression. Let us observe, in what language it is described and denounced in scripture!
The revelation of God's purposes in the bible is gradual and progressive. That is first intimated in general terms, which is afterwards developed more particularly. Especially the doctrine of life and immortality was not fully brought to light till the times of the gospel : and consequently the doctrine of spiritual and eternal death, consisting in separation of the soul from God, as natural death consists in its separation from the body, is more vaguely expressed in the old testament, leaving the outline to be filled up and brought out in the new. Yet even in the old testament observe, what strong allusions are occasionally inade to a state of things after death, which must needs