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objections which have any show or colour of remarks, let us observe, that obscurity in regard
learn of the greatest of divines to stop where
Accuse of judgment, Get ye behind me ye refractory us of reasoning inconclusively; but do not acservants! I sent you to make the church holý, cuse us of exercising a faithless ministry. But, and not render it disputatious: to confirm my say you, you have divines among you who elect, and not to engage them in attempts to poison controversy, who refute with bitterness, penetrate the mysteries of election, to announce who excommunicate such as are not of their my laws, and not to fathom my decrees. sentiments on predestination, and who, had
But not to confine ourselves to these general they power equal to their will, would establish
every opinion with fire and blood. Have we than a hundred thousand enemies are either such divines? Ah! may God deliver us from buried in the waves, or killed by our troops, them! They follow their own spirit, and not or trodden to death by our horse, or taken the spirit of our churches. Our churches never prisoners. Behold! whole provinces yield to separated any person from their communion our arms. Behold! our noble army covered for not believing predestination. You know with more laurels than we had ever seen bethis by experience. Do we not open our arms fore. Behold the fatal power that was just to you? Do we not receive you into our com- now exalted to heaven, shaking, falling, and munion? Have we not a sincere and ardent about to be cast down to hell. My brethren,
desire to be in union with you? O that God let these events make us wise. Let us not • would hear our prayers! Spouse of Jesus judge of the conduct of God by our own ideas,
Christ! O that God would put an end to the but let us learn to respect the depths of his
be real enemy of the Reformation, and of the re- tween the porch and the sanctuary? Will God formed! This is our wish, and these shall in- always lead us among chasms and gulfs? Ah! cessantly be our prayers.
my brethren, these are precisely the ejaculaThe depths of the ways of God may serve tions, these are the desires with which we to reprove the timid and revolting Christian; would inspire you; and this we affirm, that a character too common among us. Our faith the deep ihings of God expose the folly of a forsakes us in our necessities; we lose the sure worldly man, who immoderately loves the preanchor of hope in a storm; we usually dash sent life. Presently this night, this dark night, Against rocks of adversity; we are confounded shall be at an end; presently we shall enter when we see those projects vanish, on the suc- into that temple, “where there is no need of cess of which we rested our happiness, and the the sun, because the Lamb is the light thereprosperity of the church. My brethren, let of," Rev. xxi. 23. Presently we shall arrive us be more firm in our principles. Christian at that blessed period, when that which is in prudence indeed will oblige us to put our hand part shall be done away. In heaven we shall io every good work. We must be vigilant, know all things. In heaven we shall underassiduous, exact in our own affairs. In like stand nature, providence, grace, and glory. In manner in public dangers, we must assemble heaven, Jesus Christ will solve all our diffiwise men, raise armies, and every one must culties and objections. In heaven we shall see endeavour to do what is in his power, and carry God face to face. O how will this knowledge a stone towards the building of the temple: but fill us with joy! O how delightful will it be to when our designs fail, let us be steady, im- derive knowledge and truth from their source! moveable, unchangeable. Let us remember My soul, quit thy dust! Anticipate these pethat we are only little children in comparison riods of felicity, and say with Moses, “Lord, with the Intelligence at the helm of the world; show me thy glory!" O Lord, dissipate the that God often allows us to use just and clouds and darkness that are around thy throne! rational means, and at length frustrates all O Lord shorten the time that separates us! ... our designs in order to deliver us by unexpected “No man can see my face and live.” Well! methods, and to save us with more conspicuous Let us die then. Let us die to become impower and glory.
mortal. Let us die to know God. Let us When I am to penetrate this truth, I fix my die to be made partakers of the divine nature. eyes on the great enemy of religion. I see Happy to form such elevated wishes! Happier him at first equalling, yea surpassing the most still to see them accomplished! Amen. superb potentates, risen to a point of elevation astonishing to the whole world. His family numerous, his armies victorious, his territories
SERMON LXVI. extended far and wide, at home and abroad. I see places conquered, battles won, and every THE SENTENCE PASSED UPON JUDAS blow aimed at his throne, serving only to establish it. I see a servile idolatrous court ele
BY JESUS CHRIST. vating him above men, above heroes, and likening him to God himself. I see all parts
MATTHEW xxvi. 24. of the world overwhelmed with his troops, your frontiers threatened, religion trembling, The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: and the Protestant world at the brink of ruin. but wo unto that man by whom the Son of man At the sight of this tempest, I expect every
is betrayed: it had been good for that man, if he moment to see the church expire, and I exclaim, had not been born. O thou little boat, driven with the wind, and This verse is part of a period beginning at battered in the storm! Are the waves going the seventeenth, and ending with the twentyto swallow thee up? O church of Jesus Christ! fifth verse, in which the evangelist narrates against which the gates of hell were never to two events, the last passover of Jesus Christ, prevail
, are all my hopes come to this!-Be- and the treason of Judas. One of my colhold Almighty God makes bare his holy arm, leagues will explain the other parts of this pasdiscovers himself amidst all this chaos, and sage of sacred history, and I shall confine myoverwhelms us with miracles of love, after self to this sentence of our Saviour against Juhaving humbled us by the darkness of his Pro- das, “ It had been good for that man, if he had vidence. Behold! In two campaigns,* more not been born." * Of Hochstet and Ramillies.
This oracle is unequivocal. It conveys a
most melancholy idea of the condition of the How like are their dispositions! How sad sounhappy criminal. It should seem, Jesus Christ ever the examination may be, there is at least enveloped in qualified terms a truth the most one confortable consideration, at least one difdreadful imaginable. These words, “It had ference between them and this traitor, that is, been good for that man, if he had not been Jesus Christ has pronounced the decree of his born," are equivalent to these, Judas is for ever condemnation, whereas he has not yet proexcluded from the happiness of heaven; Judas nounced the sentence on my hearers; the door is for ever condemned to the punishment of of mercy is yet open to them, the time of their hell. It is the same truth, which the apostles visitation is not yet quite expired. Othat expressed, after the example of their master, they would avail themselves of the few inestiin milder terms, “ Thou Lord, which knowest mable moments that remain! Othat they the hearts of all men, show whether thou hast would throw themselves at the feet of that chosen Justus or Matthias, that he may take Jesus whom they have so often betrayed! O part of this apostleship, from which Judas by that they may be washed in that blood which transgression fell, that he might go to his own they have so unworthily trodden under foot! place,” Acts i. 24—28. What is this place? God Almighty grant, for his great mercy's The answer is easy, though some ancient here- sake, that this may be the effect of this distics affirm extravagant things about it. It is course! Grant, o God, that such of us as are the place reserved for those against whom the best established in piety may be filled with door of mercy is shut: it is the place reserved holy fear, by seeing to what excess self-interest for those who must for ever serve for victims may be carried! * O Lord, incline my heart of divine justice.
unto thy testimonies, and not unto covetousIf you recall to mind all the most guilty ness.”
." Amen. persons, and those whose condition is the most “ It had been good for that man if he had desperate, you will not find one of whom that not been born," or what is the same thing in can be said without rashness which is here af- this place, “ If he had never existed, and were firmed of Judas, Judas is the only person, lite- not to exist any longer.” Let us first explain rally the only person, whom we are allowed the meaning of Jesus Christ by a few reflecwith certainty to declare is in the torments of tions, and justify the idea I have given you of hell. Certainly we cannot help forming la- the words. mentable ideas of the condition of some sin- 1. Existence is the foundation of happiness ners, who died in perpetrating their crimes; as and misery. Nothing has no properties. Not of some who were less men than monsters of to exist is to be neither happy nor miserable. humanity, and who died blaspheming God, To exist is to be capable of one or the other, and attacking religion and morality, as Pha- or both together. Existence considered in itraoh, Belshazzar, Julian, and others; but after self, is indifferent to the being existing; it is all, it is not for us to set limits to the mercy of the happiness or the misery with which it is God. The Holy Spirit has ways unknown to accompanied, which determines the value of us to convert the hearts of men. Judas is the it. If it were possible for a man to exist withonly one without exception, of whom I dare out being either happy or miserable, his existventure to affirm, he is irrecoverably lost. And ence would be in some sort useless and indifwhen I form this judgment of his destiny, I do ferent, and it would be true in regard to him, not ground it merely on his betraying Jesus that it would be neither good nor evil to him Christ; for it is not impossible that after he to be born or not to be born. If the existence had committed that crime he might have ob- of a man be accompanied with equal degrees tained forgiveness by repentance. I do not of happiness and misery, we must form the ground it on the manner of his death, for he same judgment; misery is compensated by was distracted, and madness is sometimes happiness, and happiness by misery, the bacaused by trouble, and in such a case reason lance is equal, and preponderates neither way. has no share, and divine justice does not im- If there be more happiness than misery in his pute sin to a man deprived of his senses. I existence, it is true in regard to him, that it is ground my judgment of the punishment of better for him to be than not to be; on the Judas on the words of my text, “ It had been contrary, if misery exceed happiness, good for that man, if he had not been born;" finish this proposition yourselves, and apply it words never denounced by the Spirit of God to the subject in hand. “It had been good for against any other wretch that ever was. Thus Judas if he had not been born." So Jesus the object which I exhibit to your view to-day, Christ declares. The existence of Judas then is not only a particular object, but is even an must be attended with more misery than hapunique, a sole, a single object.
piness. This is our first reflection. But perhaps, because it is a singular case, 2. To judge whether a man be happy, or you think it does not regard you, and that you miserable, whether it would be better for him need not make any inferences concerning your to exist or not to exist, we must not consider own eternal destiny from it. And does not this him in regard to a few moments, but in the object regard you: Alas! My brethren, I dare whole of his existence; we must examine not ..... but however hear me; condescend whether all things considered good be greater to accompany me in this mortifying and (I than evil, or evil greater than good. The must tell you, how improper soever it may good and ills of past life generally leave no imseem to reconcile your attention) deign to ac- pression on our minds, they contribute only company us in this alarming meditation to our present happiness or misery, and there Come and examine what a melancholy like- remains nothing but a remembrance of them. ness there is between the features of some of If you can judge of the happiness or misery of our hearers, and those of the miserable Judas. man by his actual condition, you will say in
each moment of his happiness, it is better for life, mankind prefer life before annihilation. him to be than not to be; and during every Whether their taste be good or bad, we do not moment of his misery, you will say, it is better inquire now, we speak of a fact, and the fact is for him not to exist. But, as I said before, it indisputable. Jesus Christ speaks to men, he is not in regard to a single instant that a man supposes their ideas to be what they are, and ought to be considered to determine whether he speaks according to these ideas. When he he be happy or miserable; it is in the whole says, "it had been good for Judas, if he had of his existence.
not been born,” he means that his misery I make this reflection to prevent your sup- would be greater after death than it had been posing that when Jesus Christ said, “It had during his life; for how disgusting soever life been good for Judas if he had not been born,” may be, mankind prefer it before annihilation;
he meant Judas should be annihilated. Had and if Judas had no other punishment to saffont Judas been annihilated after death, it must be fer for his perfidy than such as belonged to the
said, according to our first proposition, that present state, Jesus Christ would not have
dies, and the fire that is never quenched.”
BY JESUS CHRIST. lowing the genius of the gospel, you examine | an irreligious man be not to have the power of for whom divine justice reserves the most dread- getting rid of the troubles of a few years by ful punishments, you easily conceive it is for destroying himself, what will be the state of such men as Judas, and you will agree (with the damned to see themselves under a fatal neout our staying now to prove it) that as Jesus cessity of existing for ever, and of not having Christ denounced the worst kind of punish- the power of terminating their existence, and ment against him, so he doomed him to suffer of sinking into nothing? What despairing and the greatest degree of that kind of punishment. cruel complaints will this necessity of existing
In fine, our last remark on the words of Je-cause? In vain will they seek refuge in "dens" sus Christ is
, that when he said, "it had been and chasms of the earth! In vain will they good for that man if he had not been born” or implore "mountains and rocks to fall on them had he never existed,” he supposed not only and hide them!" In vain will they “curse the that the punishment of Judas did not exist in day,” and execrate" the night of their birth!" annihilation, but that it would not be in his They will be obliged to exist, because Alpower not to exist. He supposed that Judas mighty God will refuse them that act of omwas not master of his own existence, and that nipotence, without which they cannot be anit did not depend on him to continue or to put nihilated. an end to it, as he should think proper. Ex- Such will be the misery of the damned, and istence considered in itself is indifferent. We such is the extreme misery to which Jesus have explained in what sense, and we have Christ adjudges Judas. But this man, you proved that it is the happiness or misery, which will say, had a dark perfidious soul, he was a attends it, that determines the worth of it.- traitor, he had the infamy to betray his Saviour, Now, whatever the pain of hell may be, it need and to sell him for thirty pieces of silver; thig not alarm us, if the Creator when he caused man was such a monster as nature hardly prous to exist gave us the power of remaining induces in many centuries. My brethren, I am
it or quitting it. In this case it would always come now to the most odious but most necesdepend on us to get rid of punishment, because sary part of my discourse. I must enter on it would depend on us to cease to exist, and we the mortifying task of examining whether there might enter into that state of annihilation be any resemblance between some of this aswhich we said was neither happy or misera- sembly and the unhappy Judas. What a task ble, but we have not this power over ourselves. to perform in such an auditory as this! What As an act of omnipotence was necessary to a gospel to preach to Christians! What murgive us existence, so is it to deprive us of it; murs are we going to excite in this assembly! and as it belongs to none but Almighty God to " The word of the Lord was made a reproach perform the first of these acts, so it belongs unto me, and a derision daily. Then I said, I only to him to effect the second; so absolute, will not make mention of him, nor speak any so entire is our dependence upon him! more in his name. But his word was in mine
I do not know what is intended by the "star" heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, mentioned in the ninth chapter of Revelation. and I was weary with forbearing, and I could St. John represents it as "falling from heaven not stay,” Jer. xx. 8, 9. unto the earth,” as having " the key of the Do not think that I intend to conclude my bottomless pit," as causing a “smoke to arise," discourse by abusing the liberty given me of by which the "sun and the air were darkened,” speaking in this pulpit, by attempting to make and out of which came “locusts upon the an ingenious essay on a subject the most grave earth.” But I am persuaded, that in a system and solemn; be not afraid of my extenuating of irreligion nothing can be imagined more the crimes of Judas, and exaggerating yours. dreadful than the miseries which the Holy How is it possible to extenuate the crimes of Spirit here says these infernal locusts inflict Judas? When I represent to myself a man upon mankind. These were commanded “not whom the Saviour distinguished in a manner to kill,” but to “torment five months” such so remarkable, a man who travelled with him, men as “had not the seal of God in their a man to whom he had not only revealed the foreheads.” And “in those days shall men mysteries of his kingdom, but whom he assoseek death, and shall not find it, and shall de- ciated with himself to teach them to the world, sire to die, and death shall flee from them. It to subvert the empire of Satan and set his capis a miserable relief, I grant, to destroy one's tives free, and to preach this gospel, “lay not self to avoid divine punishment. But does up for yourselves treasures upon earth, but lay death put an end to our existence? Is a sinner up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where less in the hand of God in the grave, than he your treasure is there will your heart be also. is during this life? “Whither shall I go from Sell that you have, and give alms, provide thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy yourselves bags that wax not old, a treasure in presence?” Ps. cxxxix. 7.
the heavens that faileth not,” Matt. vi. 19, &c. What misery in the eyes of an irreligious Luke xii. 33. When I consider this man freely man to be tormented through life, and to be opening his heart to the demon of avarice, pardeprived of a relief which the wretched almost leying with the most obstinate enemies of his always have in view, I mean death! For how divine master, proposing to deliver him up to many ways are there of getting rid of life? their barbarity, agreeing on the price of treaAnd to what degree of impotence must he be son, executing the horrible stipulation, coming reduced who is not able by any means to put at the head of the most vile and infamous mob an end to life? “In those days shall men seek that ever was, giving the fatal signal to his undeath, and shall not find it, and shall desire to worthy companions, kissing Jesus Christ, and die, and death shall flee from them.”'
saying while he saluted him, “hail master;" But if the greatest misery in the account of when I consider this abominable man, far from