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26 Sacred Declarations, &c.
But most tremendous are the Declarations of the righteous God against his own People for prosaning his Sabbath.
Thac is an awful Declaration of the Lord of Hosts in Ezek. xx. 21.
They polluted my Sabbaths: Then I said I would pour out my Fury upon them. And this Impiety is mentioned as one Cause of deflroying Judgments, and of God's with-holding his Favour and Blessing. v. 13, 10, 24.
This Irreligion is reckoned among the crying Sins of the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, (Ezek. xxii. 8.) Thou haft despised -mine holy Things, and bast profaned my Sabbaths, laid- the holy God.
And after the mentioning of their Provocations, God says, (ib. v. 14.J Can thine Heart endure, or can thine Hands be strong in the Days that I shall deal with thee-? I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it. And I will scatter thee among the Heathen, and disperse thee in the Countries, and will consume thy Filthiness out of thee ., ver. 16. .
Many People break God's Sabbaths without Remorse, because they meet with no Punishments from Men, and because the Judgments of God are not speedily executed; but they must not think to escape so in the Day of God's Visitation for Sin: 'she Threatnings mentioned plainly shew, that they shall not escape.
I have, in the foregoing Particulars, considered the Declarations of the righteous God concerning some Sorts of Persons who are wilful, 'stubborn Transgressors of one or other of the four first of the Ten Commandments, recorded in Exodus xx. and I intended to have related some of the awful Things, which the Lord hath spoken in his Word of those, who live in wilful Disobedience to his other Commandments; but that what has been written may
soqner sooner get into the Hands of those whom it chiefly concerns, I thought it needful first to publish this Part of what I proposed to offer to the most serious Thoughts of People.
The Declarations of the Judge of the whole Earth, which have been related, are indeed full of doleful Tidings, Tidings which may justly fill the Minds of People with an awful Fear and Dread of provoking the Divine Anger, and excite them to forsake their Sins.
Are not the Threatnings mentioned, the Threatnings of Almighty God, against those Sorts of Persons, who are the Objects of them! And is not the Great God able to execute them ! And will he not do fb, in cafe the Guilty remain incorrigible!
And when, in Way of his Providence, he proceeds to fulfil his Threatnings, can the guilty Sinners, against whom they are pronounced, expect to escape them? Can they fly from God? Can they get out of the Reach of his almighty Arm? Can they hide themselves, where he cannot find them? Can any hide himself in secret Places, that I pall not fee him? Saith The Lord. Jer. xxiii. 24. He shall not be able to hide himself, says God, J er em. xlix. 10.
Every one has Reason to say unto God, as David did, Ps cxxxix. 1. O Lord, thou haft searched me, and known me—thou underftandeft my thought afar off—and artacquainted with all my IVays-r-For there is not a Word in my Tongue, but lo, 0 Lord thou
knowejl it altogether. Whither shall I go from thy
Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy Presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, thou art there: if I make my Bed in Hell, behold thou art there. If I say, surety the Darkness shall cover me; even the Night /hall be Light about me; yea, the Darkness hidetb not from thee.
D 1 These
These are certain Truths: How vain and foolish is it then for guilty stubborn Sinners to se^k by Flight a Safety from the Judgments God has denounced against them.
But is there no Hope? Is there no escaping the Wrath and Vengeance of the holy God? I answer, there is none by Flight, none by Riches, none by human Power or Policy.
Yer, blessed be the merciful God, there is some Hope remaining; there is a Door of Hope, opened by the gracious Declarations, and kind Invitations whichAlmighty God, infinite in Goodness, has made to those who provckidhim to destroy them.
Wash ye, make you clean (says our God who delights in Mercy, Isaiah i. 16, &c.) Put away the Evil of )our Doings from before mine Eyes, cease to do Evil, learn to do well, seek Judgment, relieve the Oppressed, judge the Fatherless, plead for the Widow.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be as white as Snow; though they be red like Crimson, they shall be as Wool.
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the Good of the Land. v. Iq. Which implies not only that God would then pardon them, and forbear to inflict: thejudgments threatened against them, but also that God would bless them, and provide carefully for them.
It is added, ver. 20. But if ye refuse, and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the Sword: for the Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Signifying, that if they would not repent of their Sins, but go on in their Trespasses, and continue their Rebellion against God, they should certainly be destroyed.
In Jerem. xviii. 7, 8. our merciful God says, At ivhat Instant I shall speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and
to to destroy it, if that Nation, against whom 1 have .pronounced, turn from their Evil, I will repent of the Evil that I thought to do unto them.
In Ezek. xxxiii. 11. As I live faith the Lord God, I have no Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked, but that the Wicked turn from his Way, and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil Ways : for why will ye die, O House of Israel?
In Ezek. xviii. 21, 22. it is said, But if the Wicked will turn from all his Sins that he hath committed, and keep all my Statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his Transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not le mentioned unto him.
How amazing is the Mercy of God' What Encouragement is hereto engage the Wicked to turn from their evil Ways, to repent of their Sins, and to return to God and their Duty? How should the Loving-kindness of God make us ashamed of the Transgressions and Offences we have committed against him! Is God willing to be. reconciled to us, notwithstanding the Multitudes and Heinoufhess of our Crimes! and willing so perfectly to forgive them, that they shall not be even mentioned to us for a Reproach, and Condemnation, if we turn from all our Sins, and conscientiously keep all his Statutes, and do that which is lawful and right. And shall we not be thankful for the wonderful Manifestations of Divine Grace, and return unto the Lord our God! O that there was such an Heart in all the Wicked! Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, (says the Prophet) call ye upon him while be is near. Let the Wicked forsake his Way, and the unrighteous Man his Thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have Mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isa. lv. 6, 7.
Te are gone away from mine Ordinances, and have not kept them: Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. Mai. iii. 7.
Therefore fay thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Turn ye unto me, faith the Lord of Hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts, Zech. i. 3.
Now these glorious Declarations of God, are certain Evidences that God is willing to be reconciled to Sinners, notwithstanding the Number of their Sins, and although they have long lived in Disobedience to him : They shew that there is a Way, and a sure Way to Reconciliation and Peace with him, a sure Way to obtain Forgiveness, and the Favour of God; and therefore a sure Way to Safety, Comfort, and Happiness.
But what is the Way by which Sinners may return to God? This is a most important Enquiry, and our Blessed Saviour answers it in Johnxiv. 6. Jesus faith unto him, (that is, to Thomas, ver. 5.) / am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: No Man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The sure Way of returning to God acceptably, is through Faith in Christ Jesus, the only Saviour, and the only Mediator between God and Man.
Faith in Christ is the only Way to obtain Salvation from our Sins, and Peace with God, I am the Door ; by me if any Man enter in, he shall be saved, said our compassionate Saviour, John x. 9.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the Ends of S the Earth, saith our gracious Redeemer, Isaiah xlv. 22.
This is the Way that God in his Word has revealed, and directs us to.
And it is what the Ministers of the Gospel are to instruct us in.