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"To the same purpose we might quote the daring pride of Sennacherib king of Assyria. His blasphemous message to Hezekiah, the humility of the good king in that juncture, the prediction of Isaiah concerning Sennacherib, the destruction of the army of the Assyrians, and the unnatural death of that haughty monarch, are recorded 2 Kings, xviii. xix. chaps.'
"The fate of Herod, that proud persecutor of the people of God, deserves peculiar notice: having his heart elated by prosperity," Herod arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration: The people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man and immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost**.
Striking as these examples are, we are still more affected, when we find remains of pride even in the best of men, and observe their hurtful consequences. Hezekiah, whose exalted character is given us, 2 Kings, xviii. 3-7," whom the Lord prospered whithersoever he went; so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations'. Even this Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up"; therefore the divine displeasure was denounced against him.”
"On the other hand, the scriptures afford examples, even of wicked men, who, by humbling themselves before God, have averted judgments, and obtained deliverances. When Shishak king of Egypt was sent against Rehoboam on account of his impieties, Shemaiah the prophet came to him and his princes," and said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak. Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves, and
• Acts, xii. 21, 22, 28.
2 Kings, xviii. 7.
u 2 Chron. xxxii. 25.
* See the haughtiness and destruction of Haman, in the 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of Esther.
they said, The Lord is righteous. And when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them; but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak*.
There was none like unto Ahab, who did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord'. "The prophet Elijah was therefore sent to declare, that dreadful judgments were impending over him and his house." And it came to pass, that when Ahab heard these words, he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days.
OF MEEKNESS, IN OPPOSITION TO WRATH.
Anger and wrath are indications of a weak and foolish mind.-2. Wherever these prevail, they always produce hurtful effects, and often issue in ruin. -3. Judgments are denounced against the wrathful. -4. Anger and wrath are diametrically opposite to the spirit of the gospel.-5. Dissuasives from anger, with exhortations and motives to meekness.6. Meekness and gentleness are dispositions essential to the Christian character.-7. The bright example of this virtue which is given us by our blessed Lord.— 8. The happiness of the meek.-9. The complaints and prayers of the saints relating to the violent. Examples.
* 2 Chron. xii. 5, 6, 7. * 1 Kings, xxi. 25. 2 1 Kings, xxi. 27—29.
SECT. 1. Anger and wrath are indications of a weak and foolish mind.
He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city*. A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil; but the fool rageth, and is confident. He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly". He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry; for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression'. A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both. A fool's wrath is presently known; but a prudent man covereth shame". Scornful men bring a city into a snare; but wise men turn away wrath'.
SECT. 2. Wherever these prevail, they always produce hurtful effects, and often issue in ruin.
Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife". Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly. The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water; therefore leave off contention before it is meddled with. He loveth transgression, that loveth strife; and he that hath a froward heart, findeth no good. An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious nan aboundeth in transgression. He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. They that are of a froward heart, are abomination to the Lord. A froward man soweth strife; a violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth
him into the way that is not good". An evil man seeketh only rebellion; therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him'. Only by pride cometh contention*. Hatred stirreth up strifes; but love covereth all sins'. Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereofTM. Strive not with a man without cause". A wrathful man stirreth up strife; but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife?. A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger. It is an honour for a man to cease from strife; for yielding pacifieth great offences".
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul'. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous'. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city; and contentions are like the bars of a castle. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood; so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife'. A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment; for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again". Proud and haughty scorner is his name who dealeth in proud wrath. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; for wrath bringeth the punishment of the sword c. Wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one'.
SECT. 3. Judgments are denounced against the wrathful.
Thus saith the Lord, for three transgressions of Edom, and for four I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and
did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and keep his wrath for ever. Therefore as I live, saith the Lord God, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred. The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath, with a continual stroke; he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet; they break forth into singing.
SECT. 4. Anger and wrath are diametrically opposite to the spirit of the gospel.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of their own selves, fierce, despisers of those that are good, heady, highminded; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Living in hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness d. Their feet are swift to shed blood; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings. Of the which I have told you, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, living in malice, and envy, hateful and hating one another. But now you also, put off all these, anger, wrath, malice; seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, be put away from you, with all malice*. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not; and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish for where envy and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work'. Wherefore, my beloved