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Judas, one of his twelve Apostles, consents, for a miserable bribe, to betray his Divine Master. Christ calls Judas "the son of perdition.' Satan is said to have entered into him ;' and the great Redeemer solemnly declares' Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed, good were it for him that he never had been born.' But Judas persists in his nefarious design-betrays his Lord-hangs himself in all the horrors of remorse, and straightway is RECEIVED IN TO HEAVEN!
Jesus dies-the blessed Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world-and in due time the destruction prophesied by his own mouth, descends upon Jerusalem. Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, and rulers, had all united to murder the Lord of life and glory, and with the infatuated multitude at their backs, cried out in savage frenzy, 'Crucify him, crucify him, his blood be on us, and on our children.' The days of earthly vengeance came, and they were slain in crowds by famine, by civil discord, and by the Roman sword. But what a blessed exchange did these bloody wretches make, upon the principles of this accommodating system. They lost Jerusalem below, but they gained Jerusalem above. They were cut off in Almighty indignation from earth, but it was only IN ORDER TO TRANSFER THEM, BY ALMIGHTY FAVOR, TO HEAVEN!
Alas! for the way wardness of the mind which can contemplate such conclusions without utter astonishment. Wonderful must the power of that delusion be, which can enlist the nominal followers of Christ under such a system, To our simple apprehension it stands opposed alike to the whole Word of God, and the plainest principles of reason. It makes no ultimate distinction between the righteous and the wicked-between him that serveth God, and him
that serveth him not. It neutralizes the justice of the Divine character, and deprives the sinner of all inducement to repent and obey. It robs heaven of its holiness, by promising its glories alike to the impious and the godly; it robs the Word of Christ of its truth, by interpreting its most awful denunciations in such a manner that they signify nothing; and it takes from an immoral and unbelieving world all the salutary fears, which the menaces of the 'wrath to come' were intended to inspire. Yea, it even robs our poor earth of every protection from the arm of civil justice; for what becomes of our courts of justice without testimony? What becomes of testimony without the sanction of those solemn oaths which appeal to the judgment of God' at the great day?' And what becomes of the binding efficacy of an oath, when he who takes that oath professes to believe that there is no judgment of God at the great day, that all the judgments of the Almighty are executed in the present life, and that the perjured profligate who tramples upon all laws, whether human or Divine, is sure, after death, of the same heaven which is promised to the righteous.
But we rest our argument here; trusting that enough has been said to show the sophistry and the danger of these various forms of error, in which the spirit of unbelief seeks to destroy the record of the Word of God. The remaining points of our subject will be considered in the next discourse, and meanwhile, my beloved brethren, let us gain, from the mournful heresies which still distract a portion of the professing disciples of the Saviour, an increasing conviction of the power of faith, as 'the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,'-deriving all its light from the blessed page of revelation, and accepting the whole truth of God with the same unhesitating
submission of the intellect, and the same humble confidence of the soul. To the 'guidance of that Divine truth, and the protection of the Holy Spirit, we commend you, concluding with the appropriate language of those sacred oracles which are our only infallible director. Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.' Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gate into the city,'the heavenly Jerusalem ;-' FOR WITHOUT ARE DOGS, AND
SORCERERS, AND WHOREMONGERS, AND MURDERERS, AND IDOLATERS, AND WHOSOEVER LOVETH AND MAKETH A LIE.'
AND THESE SHALL GO AWAY INTO EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, but the RIGHT. EOUS INTO LIFE ETERNAL.
THE final sentence of everlasting punishment, so clearly denounced upon the wicked by our great Redeemer, formed the topic of our last discourse; and the various objections, by which mistaken men have sought to evade the plain declarations of the Son of God, were considered, as we trust, with sufficient attention. It was shown that the plausible question, which asks how can a finite sin deserve an infinite punishment,' was a mere sophism. Sin, in the abstract, is rebellion against that holy and infinitely perfect Being who is the only source of happiness as well as life. The will of God is infinitely good, because infinity is an inseparable characteristic of all that belongs to him. Sin opposes, and would destroy that will, and, of course, it must be infinitely evil.
The mistake so often committed on this subject has arisen from confounding sin, considered as an external ACT, with sin, considered as an internal PRINCIPLE. But it is plain that the government of God regards the principle rather than the act, and, indeed, condemns the act only on account of the principle. And this for the strongest reason, because so long as the principle of rebellious opposition remains in the soul, the sinner is not only constantly violating the law of love, but is ready, so far as he has
power, to commit all outward transgression; and hence the judgment of God cannot forgive sin, until repentance-which is the submission of the heart to his holy governmentexpels the old and establishes a new nature. Sin, therefore, never becomes finite, that is, it never has an end as a principle of opposition to God, until that change of character called holiness has passed upon the sinner, and has converted him from an enemy of the Divine government, into a friend and faithful subject.
Now this change of inward disposition which puts an end to the principle of sin, is not produced by death, because death makes no change in the dispositions and affections of the soul. The spirit which resolves to be the enemy of the Divine will, while it is united to the body, continues to be the enemy of God after it has left the body. The only agent, through whose sacred influence a change of the sinful principle can be produced, is the Holy Spirit. His visitations are vouchsafed to the sinner, for the sake of Christ, throughout the period of his earthly pilgrimage; but if that Holy Spirit be rejected and grieved so as to depart, the hostile character of the sinner becomes fixed forever. He remains unchangeable, the wilful enemy of God; and as his enmity is everlasting, his punishment is everlasting
The true philosophy of this important doctrine, thus considered, appears to my mind simple and conclusive, harmonizing, most perfectly, with the language of Scripture. But there remains one question worthy of remark, namely, why it would not comport better with the infinite benevolence of the Deity to annihilate or utterly destroy his disobedient and impenitent creatures, rather than continue them throughout eternity, in judicial torment and despair? And this enquiry manifestly leads to another, still more profound