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Yet who amongst us must not confess that he has forgotten all his vows?
Behold then, we may say to all, "Ye have sinned against the Lord"-]
Nor are we to suppose that our sin will always pass unnoticed
II. What assurance we have that our sin shall find us out
Sin may be said to find us out when it brings down the divine judgments upon us
[Conscience, stupified or seared, often forgets to execute
Nor speaks, till God, by his Providence or Grace, awaken it
Sometimes years elapse before it reproves our iniquities— Sometimes it testifies to our face as soon as our sin is committedi
Whenever it thus condemns us, our sins may be said to find
But the expression in the text imports rather the visitation of God for sin
There is a punishment annexed to every violation of God's lawk
And sin then finds us out effectually when it brings that punishment upon us—
That it will find us out, we have the fullest possible
[The perfections of God's nature absolutely preclude all hope of impunity
If he be omnipresent, he must see; if omniscient, remember; if holy, hate; and if just, punish the violations of his law
If he be possessed of veracity and power, he must execute the judgments he has denounced
The declarations of his Word abundantly confirm this awful truth'
Sin leaves a track which can never be effaced; and evil, however slow-paced, will surely overtake it
However scoffers may exult in their security, their ruin is fast approaching"
h Gen. xlii. 21, 22.
k Ezek. xviii. 4.
2 Pet. ii. 3. and iii. 4, 9. and Deut. xxix. 19, 20.
¡Matt. xxvi. 74, 75. and xxvii. 3, 4.
The remarkable instances of sin being detected and punished in this world afford a strong additional testimony
David and Gehazi, though so studious to conceal their guilt, had their iniquity marked in the punishment inflicted for it°
When, according to human calculations, it was above two millions to one that Achan would escape, the lot fell on him by an infallible direction❞—
How much more then shall the most hidden things be brought to light hereafter!
The appointment of a day of final retribution puts the matter beyond a possibility of doubt
For what end can there be such a period fixed but that the actions of men may be judged
And for what end can they be judged, but that every man may receive according to his deeds?¶__
We may then emphatically say to every sinner, "Be sure, c."-]
1. How earnest should we be in searching out our own sins!
[We think little of evils which have been committed by us long ago
And imagine that they are effaced from God's memory as well as from our own
But every action, word and thought is noted in the book of his remembrance
He sees the transactions of former years as if they had this moment passed
All our iniquities are viewed by him in one accumulated
Nor does he abhor them less than in the very instant they were committed
Let us not then pass them over, or palliate them, as youthful follies
Let us remember how exactly the Lord's threatenings were executed on the Israelites in the wilderness"—
And endeavour to avert his judgments while space for repentance is allowed us
Let us mourn over our innumerable violations of our baptismal covenant
Let us lament our solicitude about a present portion, our aversion to fight the Lord's battles, and our indifference about the heavenly Canaan
2 Sam. xii. 9-12. 2 Kings v. 26, 27. P Josh. vii. 14—18.
Eccl. xii. 14.
Numb. xxxii. 10-13.
We must repent of these things, or lie under the guilt of them for evers-]
2. How thankful should we be that a way of escape is provided for us!
[It is not sin lamented, but sin unrepented of, which will find us out
There is a city of refuge provided for those who will flee to it
The man, Christ Jesus, is an hiding-place from the impending storm
If we flee to him, we may be sure that sin shall NOT find us
Every perfection of the Deity is pledged to save a believing penitent
We are confirmed in this hope by the most positive declarations of scripture —
We have most authentic and astonishing instances of sin forgiven
And the day of judgment is appointed no less for the complete jnustification of believers than for the condemnation of unbelieversa
Let this blessed assurance then dwell richly on our minds— Let it encourage us to take refuge under the Saviour's wingsb
Let an holy confidence inspire those who have committed their souls to him
And let all rejoice and glory in him as able to save them to the uttermost]
s Ps. 1. 21. Luke xiii. S.
* 1 John i. 9.
z 2 Sam. xii. 13. Luke vii. 47. and xxiii. 43.
t Heb. vi. 18. u Isaiah xxxii. 2. y Isaiah xliv. 22. Mic. vii. 19. Heb. viii. 12.
a 2 Thess. i. 9, 10. d Heb. vii. 25.
CCCLVII. THE DANGER OF FORGETTING GOD.
Psalm ix. 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
THE most eminent saints are represented in scripture as weeping over an ungodly world-Nor would this exercise of compassion be so rare, if we duly considered how great occasion there is for it-The words before us are a plain and unequivocal declaration from God himself respecting the doom which awaits every impenitent sinner
-May God impress our minds with a solemn awe, while we shew
I. Whom they are whom God esteems wicked
If we consult the opinions of men, we shall find that they differ widely from each other in their ideas of moral guilt, and that they include more or less in their definition of wickedness according to their own peculiar habits of life; every one being careful so to draw the line that he himself may not be comprehended within it-But God does not consult our wishes, or accommodate his word to our partial regards: he denominates all them wicked, who "forget" him-Doubtless there are degrees of guilt; but all those are wicked in his sight who are forgetful of
1. His laws
[These ought to be written on our hearts, and to be the invariable rule of our conduct-It should be our constant inquiry, What is duty? what does God command?-But if this, be no part of our concern, if our enquiry be continually, "What will please myself; what will advance my interests: what will suit the taste of those around me;" are we not wicked? Do we not in all such instances rebel against God, and become, as it were, a God unto ourselves?-Yet who amongst us has not been guilty in these respects?-]
2. His mercies
[Every day and hour of our lives we have been laden with mercies by a kind and bountiful Benefactor-And should they not have excited correspondent emotions of gratitude in our hearts? Yea, should they not have filled our mouths with praises and thanksgivings?-But what shall we say to that greatest of all mercies, the gift of God's dear Son to die for us? Has not that deserved our devoutest acknowledgments? -What then if we have passed days and years without any affectionate remembrance of God? What if we have even abused the bounties of his providence, and poured contempt upon the riches of his grace?-What if we have "trodden under foot the Son of God, and done despite to the Spirit of grace?" Are we not wicked? Do we account such ingratitude a venial offence, when exercised by a dependent towards ourselves?-]
3. His presence
[God is every where present, and every object around us has this inscription upon it, "Thou God seest me"Now it
is our duty and privilege to walk with God as his friends, and to set him before us all the day long-But, suppose we have been unmindful of his presence, and have indulged without remorse those thoughts, which we could not have endured to carry into effect in the presence of a fellow-creature; suppose we have been careless and unconcerned even when we were assembled in God's house of prayer; suppose that instead of having him in all our thoughts, we have lived "without him in the world;" are we not wicked?-Is it necessary to have added murder or adultery to such crimes as these in order to constitute us wicked?-Does God judge thus, when he declares that they who are thus without God, are at the same time "without hope?"-]
While we rectify our notions respecting the persons that are wicked, let us enquire
II. What is to be their final doom
The word "hell" sometimes imports no more than the grave; but here it must mean somewhat far more awful; because the righteous go into the grave as well as the most abandoned
Hell is a place of inconceivable misery
[Men in general do not wish to hear this place so much as mentioned, much less described as the portion of the wicked: but it is better far to hear of it, than to dwell in it; and it is by hearing of it that we must be persuaded to avoid ith Our Lord represents it as a place originally formed for the reception of the fallen angels; and very frequently labours to deter men from sin by the consideration of its terrorsAnd who that reflects upon that "lake of fire and brimstone," where the wicked "dwell with everlasting burnings," and "weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth" without so much as the smallest hope of deliverance from it, and where "the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever;" who that considers what it must be to have the devils for our companions, and to have the vials of God's wrath poured out upon us, without intermission and without end; who that considers these things, must not tremble at the thought of taking up his abode in that place?—]
Yet must that be the portion of all that forget God
[Now scoffers make light of eternal torments, and puff at the denunciations of God's wrath; but ere long they will
a Eph. ii. 12. b2 Cor. v. xi.
Luke xii. 5. Mark ix. 43-48.