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be, if the judge were the being personally offended; if he were the object of the crime on which he sits in judgment. This terror belongs to the tribunal before which you are to appear.
8. We see why men are so proud, and carry themselves so haughtily. They forget God, especially do they forget how vile and guilty they have made themselves by sinning against him.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be
repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.2 CORINTHIANS vii. 10.
The Apostle Paul wrote two epistles to the church which he had instrumentally established at Corinth. The first was in answer to a letter received from that church, as he expressly says; and if that letter from Corinth were now in existence, it would, undoubtedly, throw some light on such parts of the answer to it, as are now more or less obscure. In his first epistle, the Apostle sharply reproved the Corinthians for tolerating in their communion a notorious offender, a certain incestuous person.
He rebukes them for being puffed up and not rather mourning, that he that had done the deed might be taken away from among them, for he asks, “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump ?" He commands them not to keep company with such a person, being called a brother; no, not to eat; nay more, he enjoins it upon them to put away from among themselves the wicked person; to deliver him unto Satan; that is, to excommunicate him from that visible body over which the Lord Jesus Christ presides, and to regard him as belonging to that other community,
which is subject to the prince of the power of the air; and this “for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the Lord Jesus. Before writing this second epistle, Paul had heard through Titus, who had come from Corinth, that his instructions had been complied with, and that, as a church, they had sorrowed deeply on account of the evil done by one of their members; and he takes notice of it in this chapter. He speaks of the comfort he had received in hearing of their mourning, and tells them that though he grieved for the necessity of writing that letter to them, yet he does not repent having written it, nor that it had made them sorry, because they had been made sorry but for a season, and had sorrowed to repentance; that is, as the word literally signifies, to a change of mind, and, consequently, of conduct. They had been made sorry after a godly manner, and, therefore, had received no damage by him in any thing; and then he introduces this general proposition, “For godly sorrow, (or sorrow according to God, that is, such as he requires, and as is derived from divine considerations, worketh repentance (or a change of mind,) to salvation not to be repented of, (regretted, but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” This is our subject-sorrow.
It is melancholy to reflect, my hearers, that of all, even of those who are now most elate, and prosperous, and gay, we may, with absolute certainty predict sorrow. Yes, whosoever thou art, oh! man, and whatsoever thy present circumstances, sorrow awaits thee. The tear, the sigh, the sob, the bitter regret shall be thine. That cup, which now spar
kles as thou puttest it to thy lips to drink its delicious draught, shall pass away and be exchanged for another, in which the wormwood and the gall will constitute the chief ingredients. It is certain, inevitable, unless thou hast already drunk thy bitter portion, sown all thy tears, and a merciful Providence should remove you suddenly to that country where no tear is secreted, and whence all the causes of sorrow are excluded. Except on this single condition, it is inevitable; and it is suitable that you should have experience of sorrow; for its causes surround and pervade you. They are in you and
Events will occur, which cannot but mournsully affect you. You are bound by the tender ties of affection to many, and you will painfully feel it, as one after another they are severed; and you will owe to many the sorrow of sympathy; but above all you have, each of you, done that for which you should sorrow; if sorrow were not necessary, yet it is most appropriate; if repentance were not a duty, yet it ought to be esteemed a privilege. Sorrow is the sinner's road to rejoicing. Through tribulation and much tribulation, we enter into the kingdom of God. Tears are the seeds of joy, and blessed are they that mourn. But sorrow is absolutely obligatory as well as suitable. “Be afflicted and mourn and weep,” is an apostolical exhortation. Sorrow is of the very essence of repentance; and what are we more peremptorily or more frequently commanded to do than to repent? And, in fine, sorrow is, in every sense, necessary; our very salvation is suspended on it. It is impracticable without it, “for godly sorrow
worketh repentance to salvation;" and salvation is never wrought without it. Nor is it necessary by arbitrary appointment merely; but in the very nature of things. The return and submission of the rebel involves sorrow as a art of it. Oh ! ingrate child of the best of fathers, couldest thou, even if thou mightest, return to that home which thou hast abandoned, and fall into that embrace of love which thou didst spurn, and enjoy, unupbraided, thy father's favor and thy father's bounty, without the feeling of sorrow? Could you? would you? We should not too fervently deprecate sorrow; and there is a species of it that we should court and cherish. We hear sometimes of the luxury there is in tears, and of the joy of grief; of penitential tears, of that grief, which is according to God, it is true.
But will any sorrow suffice? Does it matter not what evil causes the sorrow? Do all tears produce joy? No; salvation is not suspended on sorrow without regard to its cause. No tear germinates and fructifies unto joy, but the penitential tear. That sorrow which pain, loss, disappointment, bereavement, and various other like causes produce, is not necessarily salutary. It is often destructive : “the sorrow of the world,” that is, that which is produced by mere worldly considerations, “worketh death." It emaciates the body and drinks up the spirit. Often it makes men more rebellious against God; and not unfrequently arms them against their own lives. The sorrow that is salutary has sin for its cause. That is the evil which gives rise to it; and here let me introduce a reflection. How little of all