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ignorant of and unscathed by his lightningwrath, when he shall visit to judge the world.
The rebellious house of Israel and of Judah did seek to know the Lord, when they were reduced to much tribulation and anguish. And when insulted by their enemies, and being outcasts from their own pleasant fields, they had to eat the bitter bread of slavery, “ full of the rebuke of the Lord,” “ By the waters of Babylon they sat down and wept, when they remembered thee, O Sion.” Where else, but unto the Lord God of their fathers, could they now turn for refuge and for hope ? and whom did they more desire to seek than he, the Almighty One, the just and the holy, whose threatenings had not proved vain words, and whose arrows of vengeance, however long and in mercy delayed, had at length gone forth, and taken the sinner in his own naughtiness? Then was it, that they knew the Lord in thunder, and by his judgments, whom they ought already to have known in “ the still small voice," and “ in the wealth" wherewith he had blessed them. But, like as they had forsaken their Lord, and served strange gods in their land; so had they now to serve strangers in a land which was not theirs.” 6
5 Psa. cxxxvii. 1.
And think ye, brethren, that in the word of the Lord spoken by his prophets to the children of Israel and the house of Judah-think ye, there is nothing to admonish, to awaken, and alarm us? that hath an ear" greatly doth it behove him to give good heed to these words; to be in his very heart convinced, that “ whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning :”? and that however the foolishness of man may pervert his way, and however he may refuse to “ hear the word that cometh forth from the Lord,” yet that that “word 6 Jer. v. 19,
7. Rom. xy. 4.
shall not return void,” 8 but that it shall be accomplished either in a blessing, or a
There may be, “ there are many devices in a man's heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” 9
Therefore, as in the days of old, so now, the people of God, they who profess to be the servants and subjects of the Great Eternal – it is required of them to hearken unto the word spoken, to receive the messengers delegated to deliver the message, that they may hear—to understand and fulfil the terms of the covenant which “God in these last days ” has made with man through his Son Jesus Christ. If the watchmen of Israel were solemnly enjoined of the Lord to speak unto the people, manifestly was it the duty as well as the interest of the people to give the ear to hearken. It was the prophet's commission to utter no vain or unimportant thing, but the awful realities of life and death, to place before 8 Isa. lv. 11.
9 Prov. xix. 21.
the people the choice between good and evil, the favour or the displeasure of God; these were the stirring concerns propounded to their notice; and “ whether they would hear, or whether they would forbear," their own destiny, their own welfare, stood perilled on the issue.
Brethren, we presume to say, that this statement strictly belongs to us, that it behoves us to make the application to ourselves, and to see that herein we are summoned and called, by every interest most valuable to us, to give diligent and glad heed unto the words spoken by Christ and his apostles through the appointed ministers of the Gospel. Brethren, we must not be that “impudent race and stiffhearted,” thus becoming sinners against our own souls, and outcasts from the favour and loving-kindness of our God. The commission with which the ministers of the Gospel are now charged, though it cometh not to them with power of miracles, and furnishes them not of necessary consequence with irresistible eloquence, yet is it not very dissimilar to the authority delegated to Ezekiel, and the Lord's servants, the prophets, in the days of Israel's probation. They “ have, indeed, this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of men:” 1 but the name in which they speak is the same high and holy name "from everlasting" _" the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” “ Thus saith the Lord God." It was not of himself, neither to magnify himself, that the prophet was bidden to speak unto the people; neither did he desire so to do. And, in truth, the people themselves confessed to, and were aware of this. “They spake one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord.” 2 And the present ministers of the Gospel, for the truth's sake, and because on none other 12 Cor. iv. 7.