The contempt of God's love shown by the lost
("On the Love of God to Man," a sermon on I John 4:8, in Sermons, Chiefly on Devotional Subjects, pp. 15-18)
First, Let me address myself to careless sinners, in the language of warning and reproof. If God is love, not only in his nature, but also in his dispensations to mankind, then how great is your ingratitude, in perverting his acts of kindness into instruments of rebellion against your generous Benefactor!
Various are the methods by which you pervert the riches of divine love. If, when enjoying the bounties and benefits of our God, you forget the Giver of all good; if, when you eat of his bread, and are nourished by his care, when you lie down in safety, and rise up in health, you acknowledge not, with humble gratitude, your dependence on the Almighty; is not this to rob God of the praise of his loving-kindness, and to be unmindful of the Father of mercies, in whose hand your life is, and whose are all your ways?
Above all, you careless ones who are at ease in Zion, you insult a loving God, by indulging impenitence and unbelief. He has revealed the great things of his law, and of his gospel; he has, in love, held forth for your acceptance the pearl of great price; but you trample it under foot, and despise the unspeakable gift; you treat with scorn all the methods used for your salvation; nay, you dare to sin with the greatest arrogance and ease, because mercy is revealed, pardon offered, and grace promised.
O foolish and unwise! do you thus requite the Lord? How shall you answer before him for your contempt of his love? or repel the charges brought against you, of goodness despised, grace rejected, patience, mildness, and long-suffering, insulted and abused? Your ingratitude and distrust, your unbelief and disobedience, your determined rejection of mercy and grace, will surely increase his righteous displeasure, will aggravate your future punishment, and will add new fuel to the flame of your everlasting torment.
But can I suppose, that any now hearing of the riches of divine love and mercy, can obstinately persist in rejecting them? The supposition is too mournful to be indulged. Rather let me urge the consideration of this love, as an argument for your now turning to this merciful God. Draw near to him in faith and prayer. Plead the infinite amiableness of his nature; plead the riches of his redeeming love, manifested through his dear Son; plead the loving-kindness which has led him to spare, and protect, and nourish you until now; and plead what he has, in his love and pity, done for others, as destitute and helpless as you; how he has redeemed many persecuting Sauls, many carnal Mannasehs, many a covetous Zaccheus, and many impure Corinthians.