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النشر الإلكتروني

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God, who originally framed you, who “ sees your thoughts afar off,” who perceives the most hidden recesses of your heart: this God declares in the text that you contemn him. Do you believe his declara- . tion? You then confess that you scorn him. Do you disbelieve it? You then charge him with falsehood, and thus prove that you scorn him.

My brethren, unite all these arguments, and you will be forced to acknowledge that the wicked do contemn God. Nevertheless, this truth is too mortifying to the unregenerate to be easily received, and they will not fail to say, I am not sensible that I contemn and scorn God; and surely if this sentiment prevailed in my heart, I should feel and know it.'.. To this objection we briefly answer:

1. Nothing is more common than to see men the slaves of passions and vices, from which they believe themselves entirely free. Go to the avaricious, the envious, the implacable, and a thousand other classes: you will find they are ignorant of the chains with which their passions have fettered them. They and you are deceived from the same cause. This cause is, you are desirous to think well of yourselves, and are therefore unwilling to believe what must mortify you and humble you in the dust. As their unacquaintedness with their own character does not prove that they are not avaricious, envious, implacable; so neither does your ignorance of your own

that you do not scorn God. We answer, 2. If you will be candid with yourselves, you must acknowledge that your thoughts, and words, and actions, are such as we have described. Now as these are plain proofs and manifestations of scori), it follows undeniably, that if you thus think, and speak, and act, you must scorn him, whether you

heart prove

are sensible of the existence of such a principle in your heart, or not. I answer,

3. It is easy for man to mistake, but impossible for God to lie. When, therefore, the matter is reduced to this alternative, that we must assert, either that you are unacquainted with your own sentiments, or that God has spoken falsely, we do not hesitate which part to embrace.

Sinners, you see what is your true character. Differing in age, in outward circumstances, in external morality, you all agree in contemning and despising God. It is no less astonishing than horrid, that you should do so; and we should willingly believe that you did not, if scripture and experience did not force us to embrace a contrary conclusion. Suffer us to expostulate a moment with you; suffer us affectionately to inquire, “ Wherefore do you contemn God ?” What is the cause of this odious conduct? Is it because God has not those perfections on which reverence and fear are founded? Answer, cherubim and seraphim, angels and archangels, whose fervent love is mingled with the profoundest reverence; who veil your faces, fearful to look upon and unable to sustain the flashes of glory and brightness issuing from the throne of Jehovah! Answer, exalted intelligences,

es not the God whom you serve possess perfections sufficient to secure the respect of mortal worms? Ah, my brethren! the conduct of the heavenly host renders the answer unnecessary.

“Wherefore do ye contemn God?” Have you found any thing more deserving of your regard and attachment ? Let us examine what those things are for which you neglect God. A heap of gold and silver, all of which in a few years must be left, except so much as will purchase you a shroud; extensive

lands and possessions, but six feet of which

you

will shortly be able to 'occupy; an airy fame, a fallacious and fleeting pleasure; these are the things for which men sacrifice their God. Ah, sinners! I know not whether most to be astonished at, that wickedness which can reject the Lord, or, that folly which can exchange him for such vanities.

“ Wherefore do ye contemn God ?" Is it because you are stronger than he; because you can resist that irresistible arm which controls heaven, earth, and hell; because you can conquer omnipotence or oppose infinity? Ah! a worm raising its head in defiance against the heaven, or a straw opposing the whirlwind which has overthrown forests and torn mountains from their bases, affords but an infinitely feeble emblem of the arrogance and vanity of such pretensions.

“ Wherefore do ye contemn God?” Is it because you fancy you will never have need of his protection and assistance? But know you not that death is at hånd? In that dreadful hour, when your soul shall be torn from your convulsed body, and enter upon a new and unknown eternity, would you not desire to find in God a friend who could recompense you

for the enjoyments you had left on earth ? Know you not that judgment is approaching? And would it then be worth nothing to have this contemned, though Almighty God, stand up as the advocate of our naked and unprotected soul, and rescue it from eternal perdition? Know you not that eternity is near ? And would it not be happy for us when separated from temporal blessings, to find in this God in eternal portion for an eternal soul ?

56 Wherefore then do ye contemn God?" Must

not you yourselves be forced to acknowledge that you contemn him “ without a cause." Think, I

pray you for a moment how great is the guilt of indulging such sentiments! Contemners of God, what a dreadful thought! that the source of excellence, the perfection of beauty, the fountain of goodness, should be scorned and insulted by his own offspring! That you should despise him, who gave you life, who nourishes and supports you, whose air you breathe, whose earth you inhabit, from whose mercy you receive every blessing ; him, who holds your life in his hands, and who has only to speak the word, and your bodies will crumble into dust; him, at whose bar you must in a very short period appear to have your endless destination assigned to you; him, who has prepared a heaven of infinite joy for those that love and reverence him, and a hell of inconceivable torture for those that contemn 'him : what wonderful guilt! what astonishing folly! Miserable condition! in comparison with it, it would be rapture to contemn and be contemned by every individual of the human race. And will you tranquilly continue in it? Will you not blush and bewail that odious depravity, under the influence of which you can love your flesh, your ease, your wealth, your friends, nay even your sins, your God-provoking sins; at the same time that you love not God, that you refrain not from scorning infinite perfection? I beseech you to remain no longer in this condition. Aspire to those sentiments which animate the archangels; or if this model be too high, at least emulate the piety of the damned, and instead of scorning, tremble at almighty power and vengeance.

Believers, let me add one word of exhortation to you. You see what

you once were:

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But you have been washed, but you have been sanctified, but you have been justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” It is only rich, free, sovereign mercy, which “ has caused you to differ." Live under an habitual sense of the goodness which has been exercised towards you; fall lower in humble admiration of sovereign mercy; rise higher in fervent praises of the forgiving God. By your diligence in celebrating the divine perfections, redeem the time which was spent in contemning them. As you daily advance nearer to that heaven which is now secured to you, catch more of the spirit of those ten thousand times ten thousand, who lose themselves in contemplating God, who delight to vanish from observation, that the divine glory may shine the brighter.

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