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and all because they would not know the things that belonged to their peace.'
O sinner! the case, I say, is possible ; it may be yours, to be thus given over to impenitence and to destruction. You will feel no fears, you will have no alarms, for the truth will be hidden from your eyes : you will remain as you now are, thoughtless,-it may be even confident : but ere long, death, judgment, eternity, and the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched, all these will come on you as in a moment, and you shall be “utterly consumed with terrors."
Take warning then. Be assured there is a meaning in those words of the Apostle, mark them I entreat you, “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
These are awful words indeed, but they are true. They tell us, just as our text does, how God deals with men that will not hear nor see the things of their peace.
He seals their eyes,
, He closes fast their ears, they are under a strong delusion; “ peace, peace,” they cry, " but there
for them; and so they die, and are lost.
Then, sinner, we repeat it, be warned in time. Provoke not God thus to sentence thee to thine own impenitence. That sentence once passed, thy doom is fixed : thy judgment is already begun.
is no peace
III. Having noticed thus Jerusalem's sin, and Jehovah's judgment on that sin: it remains to observe what were the FEELINGS DISCOVERED BY THE BLESSED JESUS IN REFERENCE TO BOTH.
We cannot but be struck on the one hand by the pity, compassion, and grief, which the Saviour manifested toward the guilty city and her people : on the other hand by the tone of inflexible justice and truth, with which he foretold their doom. On both these particulars, let us offer a few remarks.
Note the pity of the Saviour, the compassion which he evinced towards a hardened unbelieving people, and his grief in contemplating their guilt and their condemnation. Abhorring sin, how does He mourn for the sinner. Frowning on Jerusalem's impenitence, and threating Jerusalem's fall, He weeps, weeps bitterly at the prospect of her suffering. "O that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace
!” It was no joy to Him, that Jerusalem should be condemned to woe. His very soul melted within Him at the thought. Most truly had He rejoiced, could He, consistently with the claims of eternal holiness and truth, have spared and rescued her from ruin. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not.”
Brethren, I would that sinners could but see a Saviour's pity for lost souls. Alas, how many of them are prone to regard the warnings and
threatenings which they hear from the Gospel of Christ, and from the ministers of Christ, as only so many out bursts of harsh severe vindictiveness; they think it savours of no tenderness, to speak as we do of judgment and damnation and eternal woe, and secretly their hearts revolt against the truth of God, and they deem it all uncharitable and unkind.
O would, I say, that they could see the Saviour's heart, even while judgment is on his lips, all full of grief for such as are in their sins ! And would they could understand how pity and compassion for them can dwell in christian hearts, even while, knowing the terrors of the Lord, we lift the warning voice.
Nay, brethren, think not, when we speak of your guilt, and tell you of danger, and warn you of the wrath to come, that it is in harsh unfeeling pride. We trust we have not so learned Christ. We mourn for
in some measure we would hope, as Jesus wept for Jerusalem. We look at you, and think of you as fellow creatures and fellow heirs of eternity : we know that sinners dying unpardoned and unchanged, must spend that eternity in woe beyond all expression terrible : we fear lest you should so die : we know not how soon your day may come : we feel sure that if death seize you as you are now, there is no hope, you must be lost : you are yet in the world, in sin, afar from Christ and from God : and we cannot but mourn over you.
O the agony of the thought that you, with whom we have lived, and conversed, and whom we have seen every day around us, and it may be, have had cause to love and esteem as friends in this world, should ere long be numbered with the lost, the hopeless, the condemned; shut up in the prisons of endless misery, eternity rolling ever on and on, and you still wretched, still unrelieved, weeping and wailing in anguish and despair.
Believe me, sinner, Jesus weeps, and his ministers weep, and his people weep, all weep for you: : even though they speak the words of warning as they do. But can they speak otherwise ? Glance again at the text. Mark the Saviour's unhesitating declaration of a coming judgment. Why did Jesus so inflexibly pronounce, in the midst of his tears, Jerusalem's doom? Because truth compelled Him. He could not do otherwise. And why does He speak by his word, and by his ministers, so awfully to you? For the same reason. Truth requires it. It is no matter of opinion, but a matter of certainty, that if you will not know the things that belong to your peace, the consequence must be your ruin for
No being in earth, or heaven, can save you. God's own truth and justice demand your condemnation. God cannot save the man that dies in sin.
Then, sinner, now, at least in this thy day, be persuaded. Consider thy ways. Pray God to pardon and convert thee. Who can tell, this day may see thee saved! The Holy Spirit touch and turn thy heart !
JEREMIAH 111. 22.
RETURN, YE BACKSLIDING CHILDREN, AND I WILL HEAL
YOUR BACKSLIDINGS. Behold! WE COME UNTO THEE, FOR THOU ART THE LORD OUR GOD.
The prophet Jeremiah had a painful task to perform; he came to his people with heavy tidings. Their sins had long cried to heaven for vengeance; their judgment was at hand; and it was the prophet's most distressing duty to foretel the sore calamities which were impending.
Yet it was not of judgment only that he had to speak. No, he was the messenger and minister of a God who in wrath remembers mercy. And hence in the midst of all the denunciation of Israel's sin, and the threatenings of almighty vengeance, which Jeremiah had to deliver, we yet continually meet with the most tender and touching appeals and expostulations, and the most gracious assurances of mercy encouraging their repentance. The words of our text are an instance of this. They belong to a portion of the prophecy in which Jeremiah is predicting the time of Israel's contrition; and in reference to it, the verse before the text gives this description