Page images
PDF
EPUB

SERMON II.

The Unfruitfulness and Mifery of Sin.

ROMANS, vi. 21. Wbat fruit had ye then in those things, whereof ye

are now ashamed ? for the end of those things is death.

ONE

NE of the surest means, by which

Satan keeps men under his power, is by keeping them in ignorance of their state. Did they once fee, in what a vile, a shameful, a runious service they are engaged, they would quickly leave it.

Did they once fee, what sin really is, they would speedily flee from it. In this view the text is particularly useful : for it sets fin before us in its true colours, and shews us what it is, when stript of every covering.

St. Paul is fpeaking to persons, who have ing once been the servants of fin, had now left that service, and were become the fer,

vants of God: and he puts to then this ferious question : “ What fruit had ye then in those things, whereof ye are now alhamed? for the end of those things is death.”. --At the time when you lived in your former finful courses, what real comfort, satisfaction or happiness. did you find in them ? Did they yield you any true profit ? The manner in which the Apostle puts the question, plainly shews his meaning. He knew that they had found nothing of this, kind. They must be ready to own, that fin, far from having been profitable to them, had brought with it disappointment and vexation; had been followed with: frame and grief; and had' exposed their: fouls to tħe greatest danger: : In discoursing on these words, I shall fet before you the three things, which are hera itated concerning fin. I. That it yields no present fruit, II. That it is followed by shamé.. III. That it ends in death..

I. Sin yields no present fruits; that is,, nothing which deserves the name of fruiti. It may furnith indeed some short gratification, some: momentary, pleasure. But this: is not fruit... It does not pay a man for the trouble and danger, into, which it brings:

[ocr errors]

;

him. Nothing but peace with God, and
an approving conscience, can really deserve
the name of fruit : and fin, so far from
producing these things, totally destroys
them. Sin indeed makes large promises,
tempts men with flattering offers, and tells
them what great things it will do for them
in the same manner as the devil tempted
our Lord to worship him, by offering to
him all the kingdoms of the world, and
the glory of them. But as Satan then
promised to give what was not in his power
to bestow; so it is with sin. It cannot ful-
fil its promises, or make good its words.
It only deceives, and difappoints those, who
listen to its offers. They may amuse them-
selves with the expectation of great advan-
tages. They may hope to reap much fruit.
But they are “fowing to the flesh,” and
must “reap corruption."-Sinners do not
find in fin even that present enjoyment,
which they had hoped to find. Look at
our first parent Eve; what fruit had the
from her fin? She had fancied that there
would be some great and singular pleasure
in eating of the forbidden tree. She had
perfuaded herself, that she should gain some.
fpecial advantages by this act of disobe.
dience; that it would make her wise, and
great, and happy, like God himself. But

were these expectations answered ? did flie find all the good, which she had hoped for from her fin? far otherwise, she found herself wretchedly deceived. She was become indeed wifer than she had been before; but the wisdom, which she had gained, was not such as to add to her comfort and enjoy. ment. She knew good from evil; for the had lost the good, and had found the evil. Instead of being happy, she was become miserable. Instead of being like God, fhe had lost his likeness; and was become like the devil, whose counsel she had followed. Instead of being filled with peace, and joy, and hope in God, as she had before been ; she was now torn with remorse, and guilt, and terror.

This was the fruit of her fin.

Take another example. Look at Judas, who fold his master. What fruit had he in his transgression ? He doubtless thought that the thirty pieces of filver would add greatly to his happiness, and would yield him much present enjoyment. In the hope of the benefits which he should procure from his fin, he “ ran greedily after the reward,” and betrayed the innocent blood. Was his hope fulfilled? We know that it was not.

No sooner was the fin committed, than he saw it in its true light.

The advantages which he had promised to himself, all fled away. He was overwhelmed with horror and despair.

But we need not go fo far back for examples to our purpose. We may have recourse to living instances. My brethren, I would refer this matter to yourselves, and make you judges in the case before us. What fruit have you had in the ways of fin. To such of you, as being convinced of the evil of these ways, through grace have left them, and turned into other paths, to such I may confidently appeal. You, I feel assured, will readily confess, that you found no fruit in the ways of sin; that so long as you continued the servants of fin, you were strangers to true enjoyment; and that real peace and happiness are only to be found in the fervice and the ways of God. But you are not the only witnesses to this truth. I would appeal to others also; to those who are still living in the ways of sin, and yielding themselves fer, vants to unrighteousness. I would ask them, whether they find true happiness in their finful courses? I would put the question in the text to their confciences, and say to each of them,

What fruit hast thou even now in these things?")

.

« PreviousContinue »