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the energy may descend upon them which shall subdue, recover, and redeem !
2. This disposition exposes to the signal retribution of future punishment. To the accusation of the text, are annexed threatenings of tremendous evils as consequent on the crime. The judicial result, arising from the previous transgressions, is at once stated. « Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth : and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.” will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them as their congregation hath heard. Woe unto them ! for they have fled from me; destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me.” “ Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away,”—you will mark how the same figure that expressed the insufficiency of the “ goodness,” is employed to denote the completeness of the desolation,-“ as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney."* It is with reference to these judgments, that the Almighty utters the exclamation—“0 Ephraim, what
shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?” Hespeaks as though he were in deep emotion while contemplating and preparing the woes his erring people had invited, and were about to endure,—anxious to spare, and yet compelled to strike. Here is the last quivering of the balance at the equipoise, ere justice flings her sword into the scale, and decides it for punishment and doom ; here is the last lingering light of love, ere it is extinguished in the blackness of darkness; here is the last whisper of mercy, ere it is drowned amidst the rising thunders of vengeance, and nothing is heard but the wild roar of the relentless and overwhelming storm.
* V.5; vii. 12, 13; xiii. 3.
The addition of temporal evils to those which are more distant and future, may not be expected systematically to occur, as during the Jewish economy, under the present dispensation of divine government. But there are sorrows infinitely more fearful than any which this world can witness, to which such transgressors as have been described are always exposed, and of which they must be anxiously warned. If you never know a higher spiritual state than what you sustain under the application of the text, you remain in a condition of peculiar exposure to the anger of your Almighty Judge. You do indeed mistake, if you imagine, as it is possible you may, that these occasional impressions do at all retrieve and mitigate the general heinousness of depravity, or that transitory signs of goodness diminish the ultimate amount of your sins. They do, in fact, form an aggravation of guilt. Is there no additional iniquity, think you, incurred, by approaching religion as if you were about to embrace it, and then insultingly rejecting it, that you might turn again to folly, by exciting hopes which you resolved to annihilate,-by giving occasion for the ridicule of the enemies of the cross,-and by hardening your own souls more and more against the claims and redeeming truth of the living God? O, do not deceive yourselves! I would strive to tear away the veil. I tell you, ye, whose“ goodness has been as a morning cloud, and as the early dew that goeth away,”—if unchanged you die, and if unchanged you stand before that dread tribunal where an account must be rendered of all providences, all immunities, and all feelings, you will be found fatally wanting, and will hear a sentence of condemnation that will consign you to realms of everlasting despair. As true as that Jehovah lives, is it that he will thus execute the fierceness of his indignation. Abodes of sorrow await you, where every past benefit will but be an instrument of torture; where memory and conscience will hold up the mirror of by-gone privilege and promise, of abused mercy,
of forsworn and perjured vows, only that remorse may strike upon the soul its more than scorpion sting, and where grace and hope can never alleviate the wailings that will reverberate through the dungeons of outer darkness for ever and for ever !_Your doom will be more tremendous precisely in proportion to the means you possessed, and the signs you gave, of averting it :-can any doom be worse than yours? When these " terrors of the Lord” expounded, say if there be not an argument of mighty force why you should now beware, and why you should now hear the voice of God, lest you should be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, and lest he should swear in his wrath that you shall not enter into his rest!
-That the remarks suggested by the inspired language discussed, are adapted for usefulness, I trust is not to be doubted.—Even to those who seem most distantly removed from the situation described, who have been converted by the Spirit of God, and who are established in grace, they are not to be heard in vain. The subject may suggest consolation. They can deduce an interesting contrast between their own state, and that of which they have now heard. Their goodness has not passed away like a morning cloud, or like the early dew; it has been alike more refined and more decided ; it has been settled and abiding; it has borne the fruits of righteousness, and pledged a ripening for glory. What abundant cause for thankfulness and joy!—And the subject may suggest caution. “ Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall :" “ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation :” “Hold fast the confidence, and rejoicing of the hope, firm unto the end.”
But once more to appeal to those for whom this address has been particularly designed.
That such there are, I know. I could turn round, and fix my eye, and rest my hand, on persons by whom, if so arraigned, the accusation of the text could not be denied or evaded. You have been again visited by the instrumentality, which is adapted for the impression of the heart. Do not reject it ; do not let it have that insufficient influence which is but to be dissipated for the world, and which makes the end worse than the beginning. No-nothing will avail but the entire surrender of the soul to him who
it -the determination to live to Christ, and to glory only in his cross. In the name of the great God, who is not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance, I do now adjure you,
trifle not a moment longer, that you delay not a moment longer, that you resist not a moment longer : " Come and return unto the Lord :" let this be a season of consideration ; let this be a season of, repentance; let this be a season of prayer ; let this be a season of dedication to
God : --Now, my hearers, Now!
-Minister and people must part once more. The book must be closed again; the voice must be silent again ; the congregation must retire again. 0, Spirit of God, perform thy work!
Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe
upon these slain, that they may live !" Let there not be one here before thee, of whom, when yonder heavens shall be on fire, and when