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ing to us, as they went down, “The wages of sin is death." “ Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return."
Such was the sentence passed upon our first parents, a sentence which we see most rigorously executing before our eyes every day. My brethren, since we ourselves are all included in the same condemnation, and sin las filled our world with terror, sufferings, and death, where are we to look for succour and deliverance? Shall we never be permitted to know God under any other character than that of a consuming fire? 'Shall we never hear any thing but the thunders of His-justice? Oh, no; a voice of mercy is heard ; it speaks to us; it penetrates delightfully into the inmost recesses of our troubled hearts : God is love! Yes, God is love, even when He condemns; God is love, even when He curses.-A remedy for all our woes, a remedy, the idea of which would never have entered the mind of man, or even of angels, has, in the inexhaustible riches of the Divine compassion, been found out for us. The Repairer of the disorders of sin had already been promised to Adam, before he heard the sentence of death, which has just been mourn
fully occupying our thoughts. And not only does the Almighty forbear to annihilate His guilty creature, not only does He prepare for him an unexpected deliverance, but He even veils His designs of mercy, and the means of salvation which He has provided under the terms of His condemnation. So that, even in this world, and while we are enduring the penalty of sin, we
are enabled to discern in that penalty the marks of God's love. The woman is condemned to a thousand sufferings, but she is promised the happiness of becoming a mother. Man is doomed to eat the bread of toil and labour; a thousand miseries overspread a tear-bedewed earth.-But if it were not so; if sinful man had been able to give himself up, without restraint and without suffering, to all his disordered passions, to all his wickedness, to all his vices; if sin had not brought with it its own immediate chastisement, and met with a salutary check, what would a world, fallen from God, have become? Iniquity, like an impetuous torrent, would have desolated the earth, corrupted and polluted the inmost folds of man's heart, and converted the whole race of Adam into one infected, pestilential mass of corruption, without remedy and without hope. Hell, with its eternal terrors, and its eternal torments, would have commenced in Eden, have invaded the whole human family, and become our only heritage. Ask the thousands of the redeemed, whom the Saviour has rescued from the dominion of sin, like brands plucked from the burning, ask them by what means they have been brought back to God, and to their original destination. They will tell you, almost without exception, that it was, like the prodigal son, by tribulation, by affliction, in fact, by the punishment of sin. And are not they who “stand before the throne of God, clothed with white robes, and with palms in their hands, those who have come out of great tribulation ?”—Blessed be God! Blessed be God for the thunders of His justice! Blessed be God for the curse denounced against sin!
Man is condemned to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. He is doomed to procure it with labour and fatigue. But what would he have become, had he not been subjected to that salutary labour, which distracts his thoughts from himself, occupies his mind, mortifies his passions, and puts a certain
restraint upon the corruption which dwells within him? A prey to his own reflections, master of his own life, and burdened with the weight of his days, he would have become the sport of his passions, and have plunged into every species of iniquity which a corrupt imagination could have invented. The punishment of sin, to a certain extent, deprives him of the power and opportunity of doing evil, in spite of himself, and sometimes becomes, in the hands of God, the means of bringing him to salvation. And what dissatisfaction, what weariness, what an insupportable feeling of emptiness must continually have attended an idle and useless existence ! On the contrary, what a source of enjoyment and satisfaction, what a means of developing and perfecting his faculties does he now find in a life consecrated to useful labour! Blessed be God! Blessed be God for the thunders of His justice! Blessed be God for His curse denounced against sin!
Man is condemned to die; but how deplorable would have been his lot, had he been doomed to immortality! to drag on, upon an accursed earth, and in a world of suffering and corruption, a fatal immortality; to groan under the infirmities of an eternal old age, and under the burden of an unprofitable life, without the hope of ever seeing the termination of his miseries! O death,
O death, messenger of the curse of my God, and, at the same time, of the deliverance which He has provided! I hail thee as one of His choicest benefits; strike thy victims; deliver them from this body of death, this envelope of sin and corruption, and if they be Christ's, if they have accepted the amnesty proclaimed on Calvary, thy approach will be their deliverance; thou shalt conduct them from an earth cursed on account of sin, and bringing forth thorns and thistles; an earth where sin embitters and defiles every thing, unto “ the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”—There “all things are made new 7;" the curse is taken away; it no longer presses upon the earth; "the wilderness and the solitary place are glad; the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose; it blossoms abundantly, and rejoices even with joy and singing.”—“The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God.” Death, the last