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4. The word teaches that we are elected according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. See 1 Pet. i. 2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unio ubedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ : Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” And yet there are many, very many, who profess to be Chris. tians, who deny this doctrine. 5. The word teaches that “.
we are kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation. Yet some say we keep ourselves. "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Yet some at this day say they can perish.
6. The Bible says the wicked shall be driven into hell, punished with everlasting destruction from the prosence of the Lord, shałł go away into everlasting punishment. Yet, say some, everlasting has an end. * But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” And yet many say, you shall not surely die.
This is a fearful day, my brethren. It seems the devil has come down unto us, knowing that he hath but a short time. The lo-heres and lo-theres gather upon us thick as a cloud.
Some pervert the doctrine of the gospel, and some the precept; some resist the power, and some pervert the ordinances. Let us, then, take heed unto the truth; for the truth shall make us free.
Let us often ask the question, "What is truth?” and let us be sure we believe, practise, and teach it. For what good will deception or false sentiments de us in the coming storm; when the fire of God's wrath will try every man's work, and when truth only will stand in the day of judgment? “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but not one jot or tittle of my word shall fail.” “ For the great day of his wrath is come, and who will be able to stand ?' AMEN.
THE VISIONS OF EZEKIEL.
EZEK. xii. 27.
Son of wan, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he
seeth is for many lays to come, and he prophesioth of the times that are far off.
Ever since man fell from the state of innocence and obedience in which he was created and placed in the garden of Eden, he has been prone to hide from God, and to cover iniquity in his bosom, rather than to confess his crimes and forsake his transgressions, as the law of gratitude would dictate, and the gospel of Jesus Christ require. When man sinned, all the malignant passions of the evil spirit entered the citadel of his heart, and reigned predominant over his soul.* Hatred, which like a goad urges him on to his own destruction, is ever rankling in his breast, and, mad with rage, he plunges forward like an angry horse in the day of battle, to trample under foot the Being he abhors, the law he dislikes, and even the offers of mercy and peace which he detests. Malice deliberately influencing his mind, like a deep flowing river, presses him onward to plot all kind of mischief against him whom he ought in his soul to admire and respect, and likewise against those who may love, or be loved, by the object of his malicious spite.t
This can only account for the ferocious persecu. tion which has followed the people of God in all ages, and among all nations, from the days of Cain and Abel to the present time. If man had been only possessed of hatred without malice, he would not have persecuted, he would only have shunned the society of him he detested; but malice pursues the object with an untiring zeal, which will never yield, even in death itself. For in hell they lift up their eyes, (with a malicious spite against the throne, and him who sitteth upon it,) being in torment. Show me a man, or woman if you please, who has malice against a neighbor, and I will show you one whose tongue will never tire, whose feet will never be weary. Neither the torrents nor the blasts, the rains nor the snows, darkness nor light, will ever prevent them from spreading their malicious lies, to injure their neighbor's character. They will visit the couch of the sick, or the bed of the dying, to whisper the often-tord, malignant tale. They will put on the visage of sanctity itself, and visit the sanctuary of God, where holy men and women meet to praise and pray, in order to drop their poison into the ear of some unwary listener. They will creep into houses to lead captive silly women, as says the apostle. They will separate very friends-they will destroy the peace of families, the prosperity of Zion. Such are the servants of Satan.
* See Eph. ii. 2. 2 Tim. ii. 26.
† Rom. iii. 10–18. i. 21–32.
Envy is another base and sordid passion of fallen man. How mean, how selfish, how despicable is that soul that looks with envy on those above it, that cannot be at ease when others are blessed, that rests only in the woes of others.. Vexation and disappointment are the lot of its inheritance. “Envy," says Solomon, " is the rottenness of the bones.” The envious man is his own tormentor. Job says " envy slayeth the silly one."
But unbelief, that worst of all sins, that final, souldestroying sin, which makes man an infidel, and sinks him down to dwell in endless woe, where hope and joy, and every grace that gives to life a blessing, are gone, forever gone-which distrusts the word of
God given for the soul's salvation; discards the promises, although supported by the oath of God; and hinders the work of God, though Christ himself be engaged in it;-what shall we say of this climax of all sins?
Christ himself could not do many mighty works in his own country, and among his own kin, because of their unbelief. Unbelief caused the destruction of the Israelites in the wilderness; they did not rely on the word of God, his promises they rejected, his precepts despised, his providence disregarded, and murmured against his government; therefore they were consumed in the wilderness. Unbelief will eventually prove the condemnation of the wicked. For the unbelieving, says John, shall have thei part in the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death. This then, of all the evils of the human heart, brings most destructive consequences. For all that Christ has done for the salvation of sinful man cannot save an unbeliever, and all that God has done, by sending his Son, and revealing his will, his word, kis.grace, and proving the truth thereof by a cloud of incontestable witnesses, showing man his fallen state, his need of salvation, the certainty of condemnation, placing before him the highest motives to happiness and glory, presenting the most deplorable condition of the finally impenitent, exciting the rational mind to virtue and holiness by the promise of great and lasting rewards, threatening the incorrigible with just and heavy judgments here, and in the world to come eternal banishment from all good ;all this will not effect his salvation; the unbeliever is an unbeliever still. Nothing, no motives, no threatenings, no rewards can move him. He remains unchanged. Yet there is one way and one only by which the unbelieving heart can be changed. And blessed be the name of God, he alone was able to discover the way and execute the plan. Infinite knowledge could devise, and creative power could do the work. You must be born again-created in Christ Jesus unto good works. All other ways were
tried with the people to whom our text is addressed, “ the house of Israel.” Their fathers had been called and separated from all the families of the earth, they had been preserved by miracles, and delivered from their powerful foes by the more powerful arm of the Almighty. They had been fed and clothed by the liberal hand of him who called them sons. He condescended to converse with some of them as a man converses with his friend, face to face. He wrote the constitution of their laws with his own finger on tables of stone. He gave his precepts to Moses, and sanctioned them on mount Sinai by his voice. He divided to Israel by lot, and appointed their portion in a land flowing with milk and honey. He drove his enemies before them, and gave them peace in all their borders. He established his ordinances among them, and his holiness filled their temple at Jerusalem. He promised them a Messiah in the seed of Abraham to sit upon the throne of David. Yet after all they were rebellious still, as the prophet says in the context.
With these preliminary remarks, I now come,
I. TO ILLUSTRATE THE VISION; the vision which they treated with so much neglect, and said it was yet “ for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off."
The visions which Ezekiel had seen you will find in the first chapter of Ezekiel, and then again the eighth to the tenth inclusive. In these visions, which agree, are represented the glory of God in the revelation of the gospel, which would be revealed in Christ between the two cherubims, the Old and New Testaments; the setting up of the spiritual kingdom, and destruction of the Jewish hierarchy; the different situations or times in the gospel day, through which this kingdom would pass; and the completion of the same, and destruction of the world and all the abominations of the earth. It is very evident to those who will read these visions of Ezekiel, that the principal design of God was to warn the Jews of the heavy judgments which he was about to bring