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and if so, they will be your enemies—they will come forth against you in the hour of your greatest need. But with what feelings can you look, or are looking forward to that day ?—the day to you will be only bitterness, wrath, and anguish, and what you had so greatly depended on while on earth, will bring forth nothing but eternal misery.
"Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving your own selves." Practise what you are taught; for the consolation which is derived from placing a firm confidence in God is peace and comfort in this world, true happiness in the next. "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them : but the transgressors shall fall therein." The temptations of the world we know are very alluring, but lead to eternal death. And he that careth not for his own soul, will but heedlessly think on these things; and he who does, will ponder them in his heart. He knows and is convinced, what is alloted for the future state of the wicked, and the blessedness which will be for the righteous. He is sowing to his spirit, and will reap to his advantage. And that nothing will prevent us from appearing before the judgment seat of Christ to render an account of our actions good or bad. Which are your's my brethren?
Yet forty days, and our possessions, our habitations, and even existence may be cut ofF. Are your works righteous, that your reward may be great? But if evil, the resurrection of condemnation awaits you, and all that you do, cannot prevent it. You are advancing day by day to a close; the world will soon end, and death will be swallowed up in victory. Your sentence will be passed,— and when you should have grown in grace you grew in sin; and when instead of being in the knowledge and love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you were fully acquainted with the evil ways of the world. Though Nineveh had forty days warning, we know not at what hour the bridegroom comcth. Watch!
"Hasten, sinner, to be wise f
Hasten, sinner, to return;
Hasten mercy to implore:
Lord! do thou the sinner turn;
Chelnuford, A. M. W.
19th June, 1845.
The NARRATIVE of JOMH continued.
THE REPENTANCE OF NINEVEH.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing; let them not feed, nor drink water; But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. 3rd. chap. Jonah, 5—10th verses. These verses bring us to consider 1st.—The Ninevites' repentance at the voice of the prophet sent from God, and the proclamation following. 2nd.—The consequence of their Repentance. Jonah's solemn sentence apparently affrighted them into an acknowledgment of their errors, and a deep humiliation. They trembled, and they believed. Their king too foresaw ruin impending, and he with the people, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Even the King, in the midst of earthly pomp and splendour, adorned in the gorgeous robe of earthly dignity and power, was summoned as it were to repent of his own sin, and to assist his people in attending to the same also. So Job in experiencing his loss of fortune prostrated himself in dust and ashes. Such being considered a strong mark of humiliating repentance. The people then proclaimed a solemn fast, forbidding both man and beast to feed or drink water. The same appears by history to have been usual in Peru, and the Canaries, when in time of drought their animals were deprived of food, under the notion that their cries would reach to heaven, and so prevail on God to send rain. The clothing of horses, mules, and camels in sackcloth expelled the use of usual caparisons and ornaments, and which is a mode of expressing sorrow also, illustrated in our own funeral rites (if Pomp be not as apparent.) Thus did the Ninevites by their external acts of devotion endeavour to obtain from God remission of their gross offences,—how far such outward conduct, corroborated with their inward feelings their relapse into sin, and total desolation, serve to prove. Under the supposition that God would turn his displeasure away from them, by ceasing from evil for a time, they use their utmost exertions, and obtain their anticipations, as we shall see. Their sins were great; and they had heretofore given no attention to their ways and their doings. Though Nineveh had erred, she was at the voice of God conscious of it. So, indeed, are we. But here, I will make a pause. Are there not some beguiled and mistaken, by what are termed the innocent amusements of the world: for there are many gratifications which will prove dangerous to those who would shrink from more flagrant vices, and deceive them by the appearance of innocence which they wear? Hence all manner of amusements are frequented, the follies of the world are seen, (perhaps admired) but, the glories of Christ's religion are neglected, because they are not so visible. Too many linked together in the chains of sin, deceived by gross impositions, and false friendships, which abound in this uncertain life. Such too the knowledge of religion by the world at large, and such in various measures, were it is to be presumed, the circumstances existing with the people in Nineveh, when they were required to repent of their evil doings. Do we not also need a like repentance and deep humiliation? Do we not, my brethren, as much require to make peace with God as the Ninevites of old? Are not too many of you regardless of your actions one towards another, which often are not pervaded by love, and are you not too satisfied with your position in the world, without looking how you stand with God? Let us remember the admonition of the Apostle, "This I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they have none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."
2nd.—The result of the repentance of Nineveh. We notice in the tenth verse, that upon the Ninevites' repentance, God forgave them their sins. His mercy had been long stretched out towards them, and he showed it to the last extremity. God is equally merciful to us; but if we persist in evil, after once forgiven, our destruction, like Nineveh, is most certain. Such a prediction as this is startling and terrible. Be not high-minded, but fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Nineveh appeared safe, but again falling into sin, she was destroyed. We, indeed, are living in a peaceful isle, yet sin is not forsaken, nor repentance universal. The Principle of many, seems to be, that Epicurean sentiment, condemned by St. Paul, "Let us eat, and drink for to-morrow we die;" and most forcibly reproved by our Saviour,—" I will say to my soul, soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? Nineveh with all her wealth, and all her grandeur, is no more. God punished her greatly on earth, and may we who remain, take a warning from her. In the same proportion as he subsequently punished Nineveh of old (when she fell into sin the second time) with utter destruction, so may He also destroy this nation, which abounds in ein. And what will be the reflections of the Ninevites at the judgment day, who though once penitent, and once forgiven by God, still lingered in their own ways? And what, but similar bitter reflections must we christians also entertain, if with greater privileges we shall have been like them 1 What a bitter time will it be to all who have laid, like the Ninevites, their portion in this life, then to be driven like chaff