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God's Delay of Judgment on the Wicked

God's Delay of Judgment on the Wicked

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. GEORGE BUIST


EccLES. Chap. 8, Ver. U.

*' Because sentence against an evil work is not executed
speedily : therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set
in them to do evil."
BY REV. GEORGE BUIST


EccLES. Chap. 8, Ver. U.

*' Because sentence against an evil work is not executed
speedily : therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set
in them to do evil."

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 16, 2014
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GOD'S DELAY OF JUDGMET O THE WICKEDBY REV. GEORGE BUISTEccLES. Chap. 8, Ver. U. *' Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily : therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." So great is the perverseness of the human mind, that it turns the strongest instances, of God's wisdom and goodness into arguments against his very existence and providence ; the means appointed for our improvement, we employ for our ruin ; the very medicines of the soul we convert into deadly poisons, o- thing, for example, can be a clearer proof, than God's delaying for a time the punish- ment of sinners, that he is slow to anger and of great kindness, that he is unwilling that any should perish, but that all should return, repent and live : And yet, the text informs us, SERMO VII. 155 and experience confirms the truth of the in- formation, that, even, from this, the most dan- gerous inferences have been drawn. These are of two kinds, and take their rise from two different classes of men, the scepticks or dis- putersof this world, who are disposed to doubt and cavil ; and the taicked or profane who lay hold of every thing which seems to counte- nance them in their favourite pursuit. The former raise objections to the divine govern- ment, and consider the impunity, and, not
 
unfrequently, the success which attends bad men, as contrary to that sense of merit and de- merit which God has given us for the direc- tion of our conduct, and as inconsistent with the administration of a wise, just, and perfect being. The latter have abused the goodness of God, have become bolder in iniquity, and' have continued in sin though grace did a- bound. Let us, therefore, try to justify the ways of God — to show the impropriety of tlfose objec- tions which are made to the plan of provi- dence, from the delay which takes place in the punishment of vice — and to explain the folly and danger of those men whose hearts, because sentence against an evil work is not 156 SERMO VII. executed, speedily, are fully set in them to do evil. This is the object of my discourse : and certainly I will have accomplished the purpose of addressing you from this place, if I am able to rectify your mistaken opinions about the divine government — to increase your reverence and love for the divine character — and reclaim the sinner from those paths which lead down to death. The subject divides itself into two heads. I. I shall show that God's sparing the wicked for a time is consistent with justice, wisdom, and goodness. II. I shall show that the conduct of wick- ed men is highly absurd and unjustifiable, in
 
taking encouragement to continue in sin, from this part of the divine providence. I. I return to the first head, and shall be- gin with considering how far the justice of God is affected by this objection, or is consis- tent witb this fact in his government. 1. It may be observed, then, that if things- are stated in a proper light, and as they really are, objections against this attribute can have no place. God's government is of two kinds, natural and moral. In the former there is thr SERMO VII. 157 same connection between actions and their consequences, as between the cause and its effect ; so that the time, the manner, and na- ture of the consequence are precisely deter- mined by the action, and as necessarily result from it, as the effect results from the cause. In God's moral government, on the other hand, though reward and punishment are, likewise, connected with the actions of moral beings, yet it is only in the way of desert : and the action is the occasion, but not the cause of that pleasure or pain with which we expect certain actions to be accompanied. Does' any thing happen contrary to this in the di- vine administration ? What is the real state of the case ? The wicked man is often great in power ; he abounds in riches, and is success- ful in all his undertakings. But indiis there is nothing inconsistent. These are the natu- ral consequences of foresight, application and industry ; and they do not hinder the sin- ner from feeling also the natural consequences

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