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them to their ruin. The case being with them as it is with those that have bad eyes: the light makes them uneasy, and they choose to be in the dark, and want all that comfort and advantage, which others enjoy; and, which is worst of all, they know not what this blindness will end in. This being the case of all such as are careless hearers of God’s Word; negligent in coming to His house; despisers of His ministers, and treating them as their enemies; uneasy at the reproof of their friends; angry with those that shew them their faults; never pray for God’s grace and Spirit to enlighten their minds with saving truth; stifle the voice of their own consciences, and the remains of that light which God has given them in earnest of a better, if they would make use of that ; all these love darkness better than the light, and are liable to that sentence of condemnation, which will send them to remediless ruin and misery. But then, in the next place, is it not a strange blindness that has seized the hearts of Christians, who pretend to pity those poor heathens that want the light of the Gospel, and yet make so little use of it themselves? How glad would a serious heathen be to know, how he might be freed from the guilt of the sins he has committed; how he may overcome that corruption of his nature which leads him to sin continually How thankful would he be to be certainly informed of what becomes of men when they die : whether they shall be accountable for what they have done here * Whether there be rewards and punishments in another life, and how these may be escaped, and those attained 7 Why now, good Christians, every one of you do, or may, know these things, and be as well assured of them, as that you live; and yet, how few value the blessing of knowing them, and still fewer that make any use of this knowledge' Can there be any blindness equal to this? You thank God you are a Christian, and that you believe the Gospel: What! and yet live as if every word of it were false ! People do not consider, that to believe the Gospel, is to be convinced of the certainty of the rewards and punishments of the life to come, of the absolute necessity of holiness, in order to escape eternal misery, and to attain eternal happiness; it is to be convinced, that nothing in this world ought to tempt
er. 13. 16.
us to displease God, by breaking any one of His commands;
Eternity is a matter of too great concern to be neglected, or put off to the last. To be for ever happy, or for ever miserable, will be the certain portion of every man, who has made use of, or turned his back upon, that light which God has afforded him to bring him to everlasting life. God grant that we may all think of this, that we may walk as children of the light; and that the prince and powers of darkness may have no share in us; but that we may attain the light of everlasting life. Amen.
Lest there should be among you man or woman, or /amily or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations : lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall hare peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart to add drunkenness to thirst. The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under hearen.
HERE is one of the most solemn and dreadful declarations of God's displeasure, that, perhaps, is to be met with in the whole Book of God. Let us consider the occasion :
In the chapter going before, Moses had very particularly set before the people of Israel the blessings of obedience to the laws of God, and the curses which would certainly follow their disobedience. And that they might be more careful, and afraid of drawing down those curses upon their heads, the Levites were commanded, in the audience of all the people,
“to say, with a loud voice, Cursed be the man that is guilty
of idolatry; of undutifulness to his parents; of removing his neighbour's land-mark; of making the blind to go out of his way; that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, &c. And all the people shall say Amen ;” acknowledging the righteousness of the laws of God, and confessing that a curse is due to those that wilfully break them. And all this was done to the intent, that, being admonished of the great indignation of God against sinners, they might flee from such vices, for which they did, with their own mouths, affirm the curse of God to be due. But lest, after this solemn declaration, there should be any so perverse as to slight these curses, and hope to escape the judgments of God, though they do the things here forbidden; therefore Almighty God does, in the words of the text, most solemnly declare, “That if any man, when he heareth the words of this curse, shall bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace,” that is, no evil shall befall me, “though I walk in the imagination” or stubbornness “of mine heart, and add one sin to another: the Lord will not spare such a man, but His anger and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.” So that the persons who are here so severely threatened are such as hear the things which God has forbidden upon pain of His displeasure, and instead of saying Amen to His righteous sentence (that is, acknowledging that they who do such things are worthy of death), not only do the same, but flatter themselves in their wickedness, and fear not the judgments of God, and so become incurably wicked. For if the wrath and fear of Almighty God will not restrain men, no other consideration can keep them from destruction. Thus you see how mercifully God provided for His own people, to keep them in awe; to keep His laws fresh in their memories; to plant His fear in their hearts. They were bound to hear the curses due to those that should offend; they were obliged to give their assent to every part of the law, that it was holy, just, and good; and that the transgressors of it deserved the wrath of God; and they are most solemnly assured, that such as should refuse to give this testimony to the truth of God, and the righteousness of His laws, by saying Amen to them, that man should be exposed to the vengeance of an angry God.