Edward Payson Archive

Selected Thoughts

Thoughts of God Painful to the Sinner

Sinners do not like to retain God in their knowledge, because He is omniscient and omnipresent. In consequence of his possessing these attributes, he is a constant witness of their feelings and conduct, and is perfectly acquainted with their hearts. This must render the thoughts of his holiness still more disa¬≠greeable to a sinner, for what can be more unpleasant to such a character, than the constant presence and inspection of a holy being, whom he cannot deceive, from whose keen, searching gaze he cannot for a moment hide, to whom darkness and light are alike open, and who views the sinner’s conduct with the utmost displeasure and abhorrence? Even the presence of our fellow creatures is disagreeable, when we wish to indulge any sinful propensity which they will disapprove. The slanderer, the profane swearer, the drunkard, the debauchee and the gamester would feel the presence of a religious inferior to be irksome, though he should be present but for an hour. How exceedingly irksome, then, must the constant presence of a holy, heart-searching God be to a sinner! But if the sinner retains a knowledge of God, he must feel him to be present. No wonder, then, that sinners banish a knowledge of him from their minds, as the easiest method of freeing themselves from the restraint imposed by his presence.

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