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those who have eyes to see, ought to see; and those who have ears to hear, ought to hear; and those who have wise and understanding hearts, ought to learn. The duty of christians to regard the operations of God in the dispensations of providence and grace, is becoming more and more serious, imperious and important. The world is blind, but they have been enlightened; and God requires and expects that they should see, and be able to guide and lead the blind, who are destroying themselves. Let christians be entreated to improve the opportunities they enjoy, to get and to do good in this world, where there is more good to be done, and to be gotten and enjoyed, than in any other part of the universe.
5. If angels see and admire the glory of God in his conduct towards mankind in this world, then there can be no doubt but they will see and admire the glory of God in his conduct towards them, in their future and eternal state. They know what he has done for them here. They know that he has given his Son to suffer and die for them, that he has put the gospel into their hands, that he has appointed men to use the means of grace with them, that he here waits to be gracious to them, and that he sends his Spirit to strive with them; and, in a word, they know all that he does to form their characters and prepare them for their final destination. And when they see God fix them in their future and final condition, they will see and admire the glory of his conduct towards them, whether he fixes them in the world of light, or in the regions of darkness. While they praise God for his grace towards the vessels of mercy, they will also praise him for his justice towards the vessels of wrath. It will greatly augment the blessedness of the righteous to have the angels unite in praising God for their salvation, and no less augment the misery of the wicked to have the angels praise God for giving them a just recompense of reward. The knowledge of the glory of God which angels obtain in this world, enables them to make much greater progress in the knowledge of the glory of God in every other part of the universe, not only at present, but for ever. And while they are now teaching themselves in the knowledge of the glory of God here, they are preparing to teach the children of God, when they shall arrive in the kingdom of their Father. They will know a vast deal more of God's conduct towards the saints, than they knew about it while here, and when they first arrive in heaven. Christians are constantly surrounded by a cloud of angelic witnesses; and therefore it becomes them to lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset them, and to run with patience the race set before them, until they join the general assembly, and the church of the first born in heaven.
6. If God gives brighter displays of his glory here than any where else, then all men, in this life, are in the most important stage of their existence. They here enjoy privileges and advantages which they will never enjoy again, after they go off from the stage of life. They here enjoy the best opportunities for securing the everlasting favor of God, in this day of grace and space for repentance. They here enjoy the best opportuni. ties for seeing the brightest displays of the glory of God, and, at the same time, for promoting it, in building up his kingdom, and increasing the number of his cordial subjects. These are infinitely important privileges, which will cease, as soon as we cease to live and act upon the present stage of life. Saints and sinners are here in a situation to do more good, or to do more hurt, than they can ever do in any future period of their existence. Their lives are infinitely interesting to themselves and to others. It highly concerns all to improve the residue of their days to the best advantage for themselves and others. They can never retrieve the loss of time, nor the loss of opportunities of doing and of getting good. They have much to gain and much to lose. This ought deeply to impress the minds of the old and of the young, of parents and children, and of speakers and hearers. It is summer now, but the winter of death will soon come. And now be pleased to ask your. selves, whether you have laid a good foundation for peace and comfort in the closing scenes of life? Have you so faithfully served God and your generation, as that you are prepared, as David was, to fall asleep in death? Have you seen, admired, and enjoyed the displays of the glory of God which he has made before your eyes; and become prepared to see, admire, and enjoy the future and eternal displays of his glory? Have you enjoyed angelic happiness here, and so prepared to enjoy it hereafter? Is your path like the shining light, which shineih more and more unto the perfect day? Do you rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; or does an expectation of seeing more of it, fill you with darkness, dread and despair? Only put these questions to yourselves, and give an impartial answer to them, and you will determine an important point, which perhaps some of you have desired to have determined; that is, whether you are saints or sinners, or whether you love darkness rather than light; and whether you are prepared for the world of light, or the world of darkness. If you now love the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, this light will arise and shine before your eyes with increasing brightness and beauty for ever and ever. But if you hate the light of his glory, you will soon fall into the blackness of darkness, and the endless torment and despair of hell.
GOD'S HATRED OF SINNERS.
Trou hatest all workers of iniquity -- PALM, v. 5.
David was conscious that he loved God; which consciousness gave him confidence to believe that God loved him with complacence, in distinction from those who were the objects of his displeasure. This filial spirit prepared him to call upon God, with full assurance that he would hear the voice of his supplications. He addressed him in this free and familiar language: “Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King and my God : for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee and will look up. For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; neither shall evil dwell with thee. T'he foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” Here is a plain declaration, that God hates the persons of impenitent sinners.
impenitent sinners. And to set this subject in a proper light, I shall show, 1. That God does hate the persons of impenitent sinners. II. Why he hates their persons; and,
III. That this is consistent with his love of benevolence towards them.
I. I am to show that God does hate the persons of impenitent sinners.
It is often said that God hates sin, but not sinners. The point now before us to be proved is, that God hates sinners themselves, as vile and odious creatures. It is universally allowed that God loves the righteous, the godly, and all that love him, with the love of complacence; and it is equally true that he hates those who hate him. He hates the persons of sinners, as really as he loves the persons of saints. This appears not only from the character of God, but from the declarations of his word. It is asserted in the text that God hates all the workers of iniquity. God says concerning his sinful people, by the mouth of Jeremiah, “ Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth against me: therefore have I hated it.” Again he says by the prophet Hosea, “ All their wickedness is in Gilgal; for there I hated them.” David says, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” Moses says of Israel, that they forgot God, and provoked him to jealousy, “and when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them." The old Testament abounds with passages too numerous to be cited, in which God expresses his displeasure, his wrath and his indignation towards sinners. John says, “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him." · Paul says to the sinner, whom the goodness of God does not lead to repentance, “ Thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judge ment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them, who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath : tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.” It appears from these passages of scripture, that God feels hatred, anger, wrath and indignation towards the souls of sinners, which comprise all their intellectual and moral powers that constitute them proper persons, or moral agents.
II. I am to show why God hates the persons of sinners. Many are fond of making a distinction between sin and a sinner; and while they allow that God hates sin, they deny that he hates the sinner himself. They consider sin in the abstract, and God as hating it in the abstract. But though they can speak of sin in the abstract, yet they cannot conceive of it in the abstract. Who can conceive of sin without a sinner ? or of sin that no person ever committed ? Every sin is a transgression of the law, and renders the transgressor both criminal and hateful. The transgression cannot be separated from the transgressor, any more than his reason, or conscience, or any other property or quality of his mind can be separated from him. The nature and criminality of sin consists in the free, voluntary intention, or design of the sinner, which is an essential part of his moral existence, and corrupts and contaminates the whole. The apostle represents sin as corrupting all the powers and faculties of sinners. He says, “ unto the pure all
things are pure : but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” And this moral corruption of sinners he represents as rendering them vile and hateful, even in their own sight. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Every thing that is morally evil and odious in sinners lies in their hearts, which are as essential parts of themselves, as their natural powers and faculties, or, as the apostle says, their mind and conscience. And their evil hearts render their persons morally evil and hateful in the sight of God. He hates their persons, on account of their sinful and hateful hearts; just as he loves the persons of saints, on account of their holy hearts. God hates those who hate him, just as he loves those that love him. The holiness of saints renders their persons holy and lovely in his holy eyes. Hence he calls them his children, his friends, his heritage, his portion, his treasure, his jewels, to express his peculiar love and affection towards them. The prophet Zephaniah says to Zion, “ The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing." Christ said to his beloved disciples, “ He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." It is holiness of heart that makes God lovely, and spreads a moral beauty over all his natural perfections. And it is holiness of heart that makes saints lovely, and spreads a moral beauty over all their natural powers and qualities. The reverse is equally true of sinners. It is the depravity of heart in sinners that makes them morally corrupt and unlovely, and spreads a moral and odious blemish over their whole personal characters. In them, while they are in the flesh, there dwelleth no good thing, or moral excellence, but their mind and conscience, their whole souls, are morally vile and hateful; and God cannot look upon them with the least complacence, but with the utmost abhorrence and detestation. David says to God, “ Thou hatest all workers of iniquity." I now proceed to show,
III. How God's hating the persons of sinners is consistent with his loving them. This is a difficulty which seems not very easy to solve; and very few, if any, have ever attempted to solve it. Various attempts, however, have been made to evade the difficulty. Some have attempted to evade it by supposing that all the scripture says about the displeasure, the hatred, the wrath and anger of God, is to be understood figu