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for a moment, upon that view which has now been given of human nature, they might soon be satisfied, that the moral government of God is no matter of doubtful discussion. It is a fact, no less obvious and incontestible, than the government exercised by those earthly rulers whom we behold with the ensigns of their office before our eyes.

To govern, is to require a certain course of action, or to prescribe a law; and to enforce that law, by a suitable distribution of rewards and punishments. Now, God has not only invested conscience, as we have seen, with authority to promulgate, but endowed it also with power to enforce, his law. By placing inward approbation and peace on the side of virtue, he gave

it the sanction of reward. But this was not enough. Pain is a more powerful principle than pleasure. To escape misery, is a stronger motive for action, than to obtain good. God, therefore, so framed human nature, that the painful sense of ill-desert should attend the commission of crimes ; that this sense of ill-desert should necessarily produce the dread of punishment; and that this dread should so operate on the mind, in the time of distress, as to make the sinner conceive Providencetobe engaged against him, and to be concerned in inflicting the punishVOL. I.



ment which he suffers. All these impressions he hath stamped upon the heart with his own hand. He hath made them constituent parts of our frame; on purpose that, by the union of so many strong and pungent sentiments, he might enforce repentance and reformation, and publish to the human race his detestation of sin. Were he to speak to us from the clouds, his voice could not be more decisive. What we discern to be interwoven with the contexture of human nature, and to pervade the whole course of human affairs, carries an evidence not to be resisted. We might, with as much reason, doubt whether the sun was intended to enlighten the earth, or the rain to fertilize it; as whether he who has framed the human mind, intended to announce righteousness to mankind, as his law.

The second inference which I make from the foregoing discourse, respects the intimate connection, which those operations of conscience have, with the peculair and distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel of Christ. They will be found to accord with them so remarkably, as to furnish an answer to some of those objections, which superficial reasoners are apt to raise against the Christian revelation. In particular, they coincide with that awful view


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which the Gospel gives us of the future consequences of guilt. If the sinner is now constrained by conscience, to view the Almighty as pursuing him with evil for long-forgotten crimes, how naturally must he conclude, that, in a subsequent period of existence, the Divine adminictration will proceed upon the same plan, and complete what has been left imperfect here? If during this life, which is only the time of trial, the displeasure of Providence at sin is displayed by tokens so manifest, what may be apprehended to follow, when justice, which at present only begins to be executed, shall be carried to its consummation? What conscience forebodes, revelation verifies ; assuring us that a day is appointed when Gode will render to every man according to his works ; to them, who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honour, and immortality ; eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness; indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jerv first, and also of the Gentile. For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law, shall also perish wilhout the law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law. *

Rom. ii. 7-13.


While the threatenings of conscience thus strengthen the evidence of the Scripture doctrine concerning future punishments, they likewise pave the way for the belief of what is revealed concerning the method of our deliverance by Christ. They suggest to the sinner, some deep and dark malignity contained in guilt, which has drawn upon his head such high displeasure from Heaven. They call forth his most anxious efforts, to avert the effects of that displeasure ; and to propitiate his offended Judge. Some atonement, he is conscious, must be made ; and the voice of Nature has, in every age, loudly demanded suffering, as the proper atonement for guilt. Hence mankind have constantly fled för refuge to such substitutions as they could devise, to place in the room of the offender; and, as by general consent, victims have every where been slain, and expiatory sacrifices have been offered up on innumerable allars. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow down myself before the most high God? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, and calves of year

old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Or, shall I give my first-born for my transgressions; the fruit of my body, for the sin

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of my soul ? * These perplexities and agitations of a guilty conscience, may be termed preludes, in some measure, to the Gospel of Christ. They are the pointings of unenlightened Nature, towards that method of relief, which the grace of God has provided. Nature felt its inability to extricate itself from the consequences of guilt : The Gospel reveals the plan of Divine interposition and aid. Nature confessed some atonement to be necessary: The Gospel discovers that the necessary atonement is made. The remedy is no sooner presented, than its suitableness to the disease appears; and the great mystery of redemption, though it reaches, in its full extent, beyond our comprehension, yet, as far as it is revealed, holds a visible congruity with the sentiments of Conscience, and of Na



Natural and revealed religion proceed from the same Author ; and, of course, are analogous and consistent. They are part of the same plan of Providence. They are connected measures of the same system of government. The serious belief of the one, is the best preparation for the reception of the other. Both concur in impressing our mind with a

* Micah, vi. 6, 7.

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