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trary unto me, I will walk contrary unto you, and will
, punish you yet seven times for your sins. Return ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Should such admonitions of Heaven be disregarded, we have reason to tremble at such judgments as the following; And as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things, which are not convenient. Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful; but became vain in their imagination, and their foolish-hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. These, and the many similar warnings of Inspiration, derive the greatest emphasis, as they respect us, from our national blessings, our Gospel privileges, and our signal obligations to God. And nothing can exempt us from their terrors, but repentance and reformation.
National sins are provoking to the God of the nations. This has ever been the case. And surely it cannot be less so now, under the peculiar light and advantages of this period. It was said of old, Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is the reproach of any people. Civil communities are punishable for their public sins, only in this world. If sinful individuals continue to enjoy prosperity in this world, it is not unaccountable. They will be punished in the next. But if sinful communities escape Divine judgment here, one would be apt to inquire, Where is the God of judgment? Is not God to be known by the judgments, which he executeth? Terrible things were, implied against an ungrateful and wicked people of old, when we read; Hear O heavens, and give ear 0 earth; for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebell. ed against me.
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
Perseverance in sin, under signal calls of Providence, is peculiarly provoking to God; and dangerous to an incorrigible people. In that day did the Lord God call to weeping and to mourning, and to baldness, and to gird. ing with sackcloth; and behold joy, and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. And it was revealed in mine ears, hy the Lord of hosts, surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till you die, saith the Lord of hosts. Were they ashamed, when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. Therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them, they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. A dreadful fulfilment these words will have, among Antichristian nations, at the battle of that great day, which is fast approaching
No doubt our nation is highly favored with praying people. Their numbers have of late increased.
And often has the Most High blessed whole nations, in answer to the prayers of individuals; or for his Church's sake. Ten righteous persons would have saved Sodom! But we read of a time's coming, with sinful nations, when the prayers of the pious among them will cease to prevail
. Therefore pray not thou for this people--for I will not hear thee. Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people. Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and. Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls, saith the Lord God.
Every thing then calls on our great national community to repent and reform. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
, that I thought to do unto them. Blessed encouragement! But read the alternative; At what instant'I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not m; voice; then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit thenk.
These cannot be otherwise than words of alarm to our nation.
2. Faithfulness in the government of our literary Institutions.
These Institutions have a very powerful influence on the religious sentiments, and the morals of the community. Their members, and especially their annual graduates, are capable of doing great good, or evil, in society; they.can greatly withstand, or greatly promote the cause of Infidelity and licentiousness. How important is it then, that, while obtaining their education, they be duly impressed with a correct view of the dangers of this period, arising from the influence of Antichrist? · And that they be diligently guarded by pious instructions, against every favorable impression of that philosophy, which is falsely so called. It is of high importance to the community, that they be led to im. bibe the spirit, and correct sentiments, of the Christian religion. This is an object, which depends much on those who have the government of our literary Institutions. And it is an object of great moment at this interesting period.
3. Vigilance and faithfulness in the embassadors of Christ.
Those, who are set for a defence of the Gospel, must in a special manner contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Peculiar duties are attached to the office of the watchmen to give notice when the enemy are approaching. If they sleep, or are unfaithful, ruin may ensue; and the watchmen must answer for it at the peril of their souls. The embassadors of Christ must watch the attacks of the enemy; and, at whatever risk, they must sound the alarm. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble for the day of the Lord; for it is nigh at hand.
Ministers ought to use great plainness in preaching and supporting the distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel; and never to handle the word of God deceitfully, in order to render it palatable to the carnal heart. Infinite mischief has been done, and Infidelity greatly pro
by such attempts to please men. The Aristo. telian, Platonic, and other systems of ancient philosophy have been adopted in turn, or at different periods, to aid in unfolding the truths of revelation. But the consequences were fatal. Such attempts are nearly allied to Infidelity. They are a virtual rejection of the word of God.
In that form of Illuminism, called The German Union, the German divines, while they professed the warmest attachment to the Gospel, united to explain away its most offensive, or its peculiar doctrines. This was a signal for others to come forward, and deny the superiority of the Bible to natural religion; and thus to preclude the necessity of a revelation.
And this again opened a door for a third class to deny all religion, and its Author. The first of these classes, Judas like! betrayed the Gospel into the hands of the other two, by stripping it of its blessed peculiarities. By numbers of such hands under the mask of friendship, the sacred pillars of the Gospel were there undermined; and Infidelity obtained an easy triumph.
The faithful preaching of the distinguishing doctrines of grace must hold a prime rank among the means of withstanding the spirit of Antichrist, and of supporting the Christian Religion. This is a mean of God's appointment, and a mean, which God will bless. Preach unto them the preaching, that I bid thee. Speak all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word. This is an essential mean of salvation.
While the ministers of Christ at this day are wise as serpents, and harmless as doves, they will need to be strong, and bold, and very courageous. The wiles of Infidelity are so reduced to a system, and have taken such deep effect, that to expose them is rendered unpopular with thousands, and dangerous to the undertaker. All the depths of Satan are interwoven with this scheme, to enable it to defy the friends of religion. Its pillars and bulwarks are numerous, and of long preparation. The last words of David in his sublime prediction of the Kingdom of the Righteous Ruler, and of the
scenes that shall precede it,* are here directly in point.
The embassadors of Christ, of this generation, especially the younger part of them, may possibly see days of trial. Trials to the faithful will precede the Millennium. The feet of the ancient priests were dipped in the waters of Jordan, overflowing all its banks in the time of wheat harvest, before the waters divided to give a passage to the tribes of the Lord into the promised land. It was the lot of these ministers of the Lord to lead the way, bearing the ark of the covenant before the people. That procession, divinely ordered, was about to take possession of the promised Canaan, and also to present us with a type of the transition of the Gospel Church from her wilderness state, to her millennial glory. They moved forward toward the foaming waters, which rolled furiously between them and the promised land, till the feet of the priests were plunged. Human wisdom saw no way of being transported over the flood. They confided in God.
The command, given at the Red Sea, became again applicable; Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord!
• 2 Samuel xxiii, 1, 6, 7.
+ Joshua iii, 10.