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ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
3 2 Cor. vii. 1.
EZEKIEL ii. 3, 4.
“ Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel,
to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me : they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiff-hearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God.”
THERE is much dignity, much to attract our attention, in the wording of this commission, which the Almighty delivered unto his servant Ezekiel, when he ordained him to be his prophet, and sent him to reprove and to exhort the children of Israel, to declare the counsel and purpose of Jehovah concerning them, to vindicate Heaven's high truth, and the entire wisdom, justice, and mercy of the Almighty Father in all his dealings with a wayward and inconstant people. Most solemnly is the prophet adjured to acquit himself of his delegated trust with resolution and fidelity “ Thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions.—And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.” 1 With him, in his heart, and in the utterances of his tongue, there was to be no reservation, no timid, no time-serving policy. In godly sincerity, and under the authority of his, and their Master, he was not to shun “to declare unto them all the counsel of God." Thus only could he stand in the sight of
Although he might meet with inattention or indifference on the one hand ; and though more open scoffing and rejection of the word of the Lord might assail him on the other, yet was he still to speak, and to beseech the people not to be sinners against their own souls, not to delay, until the arrival of the day of the execution of God's fearful judgment, “ to know that there hath been a prophet among them.”3 As in the chapter of our text, so likewise in other parts of this magnificent book of Ezekiel's prophecy, there are to be found most emphatic denunciations concerning the wilfulness and perverseness of the people, and which were pronounced evil and abominable in the sight of God, and bringing down that wrath which was, and did in the end come forth from the Lord. “ Thus saith the Lord God. Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas! for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel ! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.- So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness towards Diblath, in all their habitations : and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
3 Ezek. xxxiii. 33.
Ah, brethren, a fearful time is it, and a time for trembling and great fear, when men will not know the Lord, nor acknowledge him, nor inquire after him! and so wait in hardness of heart and disobedience until the day of their calamity cometh, until the world is, as to them, no
prospects blighted and cut off by the chilling hand of mortal disease brought on, it may be, by their own ungovernable folly. Vain, indeed, is the attempt, guilty and ruinous in the extreme the mad purpose of those unto whom the Almighty hath vouchsafed to speak, to continue for ever in ignorance of the Lord. They shall not remain
4 Ezek. vi. 11-14.