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up the wicked character or conduct of any person in order to make merry with it, or to make your friends merry with it; or when you can have pleasure in them that do so;-when you can join in the consenting and approving laugh;-or give to these things the countenance and encouragement of a pleased and gratified attention ;—then, you make a mock at sin. My dear Brethren, let me affectionately and earnestly warn you against this too-prevailing practice. How provoking must it be in the sight of a holy and sin-avenging God, that not only should his creatures daily sin against him, but also make their own sin, or the sin of each other, a mockery and an amusement ! Sin, whether in ourselves or others, should at all times affect our minds with sensible pain and grief. Well has the wise man said, that they are “Fools" who make a mock at sin; and I will proceed to shew you the reasons why they are so called.
A fool is one who shews by his conduct that he is void of understanding ;-destitute of reason and sound judgment. Now if you were to see a man perversely preferring that which is directly opposed to all that is excellent, and lovely, and of good report;—if you saw him wantonly insulting and offending his best benefactor on whom he wholly depended;-acting against his own interests, and laboriously bringing on his own ruin ;caressing the murderer of his friend;-cherishing
in his bosom a deadly serpent;--scattering firebrands, and arrows, and death, and saying, “Am
, I not in sport?" If you heard him making merry with the desolation which some wide spreading disease or some overwhelming calamity had occasioned;—if you found him glorying and boasting of his own share in the general ruin; and turning into a jest and a song the very malady which was wasting his strength, and with slow but sure progress destroying his health and his life.-If you knew such a man, you would feel no doubt that he was void of understanding; the least and lightest term by which you could designate such a man, would be that which is used in the text,-"a fool."
Now, my dear Brethren, raise but the subject from the things which relate to the body and to the temporal interests; and apply it to the things which relate to the immortal soul, and your eternal interests; and you have here an exact description of those who make a mock at sin.
God is the source and centre of all good—the sum of all excellency. Whatever there is in the world which is desirable in itself, or beneficial in its effects, comes from Him. All the moral virtues which are exercised by mankind,-truth and justice, and mercy, and love ;--all that is holy, and amiable, and useful, and commendable in public, or social, or private life;—all is but a faint shadow of the divine attributes. These excellencies all exist in God, irr full and unchangeable perfection.
Now sin is directly opposed to God. It is in its nature hateful, and in its consequences destructive. All the moral evil which is in the world, falsehood, and oppression, and cruelty and hatred; -all that destroys the peace and happiness of society, springs from sin. Must not that man then
a fool” who makes a mock at sin? God is the author of all our mercies, the giver of all our blessings. Whatever we have or hope for, comes from Him, He openeth his hand and filleth us with good;--he hideth his face and we are troubled :-he taketh away our breath and we die. He is either our best friend or our most terrible enemy, because he is “the God in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways." Now sin turns away his favour and provokes his wrath. Sin shuts up his loving kindness in displeasure, and withholds good things from us. Sin separates between us and our Maker, and daily calls down upon the guilty offender all the furiousness of his wrath. Must not that man, then, be a fool” who " makes a mock at sin?”
Again, sin brought death into the world and all our woe. If there were no sin, there would be neither pain of body nor distress of mind.Sin cast our first parents out of Paradise, and shut against the human race the gates of the kin om of Heaven.-Sin brought the curse of God upon the earth. --Sin drowned the old world.-Sin burned with fire and brimstone Sodom and Go
morrah and the Cities of the Plain.-All the evils which mankind have suffered in past ages, or shall suffer to the end of time,from plague, pestilence,-famine,-battle-murder, and sudden or lingering, or violent death ;—all were occasioned by sin. Whatever of sorrow and affliction we feel or witness ;—whatever evil we deplore; sin is the cause of all. Is not that man“a fool” who “mocks at sin?"
You have perhaps had your feelings moved when you have read the cruel mockings, and the bitter agony which the innocent and holy Jesus had to endure; and as you have thought of his bloody sweat, and traced the sad history of his cross and passion,-his unparalleled sorrow and sufferings-you have exclaimed, “How could they crucify the holy, harmless, compassionate Saviour, who went about doing good, only good, and that continually ;—who was at all times the friend of man, the aid of those that needed, and the helper of all that fled to him for succour.” My dear Brethren, it was sin which filled his cup of bitterness;- — it was for sin that he drank it to the very dregs; it was to atone for this accursed—this abominable thing—that he suffered thus. What a heart then must that man have who“ makes a mock at sin!”
Again, sin has planted in your frame the seeds of dissolution; and it is bringing you down, many of you perhaps with sorrow, to the grave.-Sin has armed death with a dreadful sting, and caused
him to triumph, and clothed him in terror. It is sin which awakens the guilty conscience at the approach of eternity, and racks the reflecting mind with fearful anticipations, and causes those aweful scenes which are sometimes to be witnessed around the restless bed of a dying sinner. But to the unpardoned and the unprepared, these are but the beginning of sorrows. There is beyond the grave, the weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth—the everlasting burningsthe agony of despair ; all the wrath of the ever
; living and Almighty God. Bitter as are the fruits of sin in this life, they are as nothing when compared with its wages in another. It is in hell that sin quickens into life the undying worm, and kindles the unquenchable fire. Oh, my dear Brethren, the devil and his angels,—the souls of the damned,--they know well—what a “fool” that man is who makes a mock at sin. The condemned criminal, who spends the night preceding his execution in revelling and riot, and makes a song of the sentence which was passed upon him ;—the poor maniac, who glories in the madness which has overthrown his mind ;—the leper, who turns his loathsomeness into laughter ;--the plague-stricken man, who finds a source of merriment and a subject of jest in the black and livid blotches which foretoken his death ;-Oh! these are all wise in comparison of the fools who make a mock at sin.