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tremble' It shall come to pass, if thou wilt 'not hearken unto the voice of the lord, thy
God, to observe to do all his commandments
and his statutes, that all these curses shall
come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed 'shalt thou be in the city; and cursed shalt 'thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy
Cursed shall be the
'basket and thy store. 'fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, 'the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy
sheep. Cursed shalt thou be, when thou 'comest in; and cursed shalt thou be, when 'thou goest out. The lord shall send upon 'thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke in all, 'that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, ' until thou be destroyed.' And yet this is but the commencement of a frightful detail of woes, which extends through fifty verses, and predicts all the calamities of the Israelitish people, as the certain consequence of transgressing the commands of God.
But, to satisfy ourselves of the displeasure of God against every breach of his law, we need not look further than to the second chapter of the book of Genesis.
In that succinct narrative of the formation of our first parents, and of their condition in Paradise, a specific penalty is denounced against the violation of one single commandment, and that too a commandment, of the transgression of which many profane persons are tempted to think lightly. The lord, God, commanded the man, saying-Of the tree ' of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt 'not eat of it; for in the day, that thou eatest 'thereof, thou shalt surely die.'
Thus death was made the penalty of transgression and lest, we should imagine, that the death of men was part of the original plan of our creator, and is therefore no decisive proof of his present displeasure against our offences, the commentary of the apostle in the twelfth verse of the fifth chapter to the Romans cuts off all evasion. By one man' (says he) sin entered into the world, and ' death by sin; and so death passed upon all
Nor yet may we believe, that the mere separation of soul and body, which is what constitutes natural death, will satisfy the severity
of this enactment.
Observe the language
of the text- The soul, that sinneth, it shall 'die.'! There is a death of the soul, a spiritual death, as far surpassing natural death in horror, as the soul surpasses the body in dignity, or eternity surpasses time in value: and this spiritual death is also a threatened and certain consequence of transgression. Let us observe, in what language it is described and denounced in scripture!
The revelation of God's purposes in the bible is gradual and progressive. That is first intimated in general terms, which is afterwards developed more particularly. Especially the doctrine of life and immortality was not fully brought to light till the times of the gospel: and consequently the doctrine of spiritual and eternal death, consisting in separation of the soul from God, as natural death consists in its separation from the body, is more vaguely expressed in the old testament, leaving the outline to be filled up and brought out in the new. Yet even in the old testament observe, what strong allusions are occasionally made to a state of things after death, which must needs
alarm every soul, which is conscious of sin, and at the same time convinced, that the scriptures are the word of God!
First in the thirty-third chapter of Isaiah at the fourteenth verse the sinners in Zion, when fearfulness had taken hold of them, are represented, as asking the portentous question'Who among us shall dwell with the devour'ing fire? Who among us shall dwell with ' everlasting burnings?' Again in the last verse of his prophecy there is this terrific denunciation concerning the men, that have transgressed against God- Their worm shall 'not die, neither shall their fire be quenched.'
Let us next turn to the prophet, Daniel! He tells us in the second verse of his last chapter, that many of them, that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt.
But in the new testament these alarming phrases are rendered more distinct. Thus our blessed lord, Jesus Christ, in the latter part of the ninth chapter of saint Mark's gospel cautions us in these remarkable terms, and repeats them again and again with
a singular emphasis and solemnity of admo
nition-' If thy hand offend thee, cut it off! It
is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, 'than, having two hands, to go into Hell, into 'the fire, that never shall be quenched, where 'their worm dieth not, and the fire is not " quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off! It is better for thee to enter, halt, 'into life, than, having two feet, to be cast ' into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And, if thine eye 'offend thee, pluck it out! It is better for 'thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast ' into Hell-fire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' On other occasions he describes the prison of the ungodly under the form of outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Again he asks the hypocrites of his day, in the thirty-third verse of the twentythird chapter of saint Matthew,-Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape 'the damnation of Hell?'-: and in the twenty