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eyes; O that
Holy Ghost; ye who stand convicted in your own souls of having neglected the very things which God in his word, and by his Son, has taught you are the things belonging to your peace ; I do ask you, is not Jerusalem's sin your sin ? God speaks, and you
will not hear. Christ comes, and you heed him not. You put from you the grace of God, just as did Jerusalem. O that we could
sinners' they could see what it is they do ; O that God would now put forth his power and make all hitherto heedless, impenitent, unbelieving souls among us to feel their state, and tremble to think upon their crime--a crime no words are equal to describe, that of sinful and perishing men, treating with indifference, negligence, yea, with contempt and refusal, the word of their God, the word his Son has spoken, the word which would tell them how they may have peace with Him, his favor, his love, his glory.
The Lord of his mercy forbid that the sentence of judgment should go forth upon any of us on the same ground as was alleged against Jerusalem, “because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
II. We mark in our text the awful nature of THE JUDGMENT WHEREWITH JEHOVAH VISITED JERUSALEM's Sin. How is it expressed ? “The things that belonged to her peace : now,” said Jesus," they are hid from thine eyes.
· The things thou wouldest not know, thou shalt not know: thou shalt be left to thy hardness and impenitence of heart, so“ treasuring up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”
This then was Jerusalem's punishment-to be abandoned to her own unbelief and its inevitable consequences ; surrendered of God to her own wayward will in rejecting his truth, so bringing ruin on herself and her people.
Mark then here the just severity of God. Jerusalem said, 'I will not see.' What is God's sentence ? "Thou shalt not see: the things that belong unto thy peace shall now be hidden from thine eyes.'
There is a passage in the twelfth chapter of St. John's Gospel, placing this awful but equitable dealing of God towards the Jewish people in a most clear light. There you read how that though Jesus “ had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him,” fulfilling what Esaias said in prophecy, “ Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed ?" What then follows? Therefore,” St. John
St. John proceeds, “therefore they could not believe;" they were given over to darkness and ignorance, and a spirit of unbelief, “ because that Esaias said again, that is, in pursuance of another prophecy where it was declared, “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I should heal them.” Healed and saved they could not be so long as they continued impenitent, unbelieving, unconverted.
And, therefore, because God had resolved that He would not heal and would not save them, He gave them up to their blindness and hardness; his sentence was, let them alone; I leave them in their sin : unbelief has been their crime, unbelief shall be their punishment.
A very short time and the tremendous consequences of this sentence of the judgment of God began to appear. The whole body of the Jewish people proceeded, but a few days after the words of our text were spoken, to fill up
the measure of their sin, crucifying the Lord of glory by the hand of their Roman governors. Then, after his resurrection, when his Apostles went forth in his name, teaching his truth, declaring the fact that he was risen, and asserting that Jesus was Lord and Christ, notwithstanding all the evidence which proved the truth of the Apostles' words, and in spite of all the miraculous witness which on the day of Pentecost, as well as afterwards, God Himself so abundantly gave to the testimony of the Gospel, the Jewish people still refused to believe, they “contradicted and blasphemed.” Thus they continued in their sin, given up to judicial blindness. A few years more, and their most terrible calamities began. Titus came and besieged their city, and ravaged their land. Jesus himself had foretold it, and every letter of his warning was fulfilled. shall come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children
- The days
within thee : and they shall not leave one stone upon another.” Exactly as the Saviour predicted, so it came to pass. Josephus, the Jewish historian, gives us the account. He tells us how Titus built a wall all round the city, imprisoning its inhabitants within it. Thousands upon thousands, crowded as they were together, perished by famine. After this, eleven hundred thousand of Jews, he states, fell by the sword of the Roman soldiery. The temple was plundered and fired ; the city completely sacked: and its walls levelled with the earth, a few towers only being left as monuments of the victory gained. “The rest of the wall,” I quote the words of Josephus, so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those who dug it up, even to the foundation, that there was nothing left to make those who came thither believe it had ever been inhabited." A singular testimony from one, himself a Jew, an enemy to Christ, yet so minutely verifying all that Christ had spoken.
From that day what has Jerusalem been ? A wreck ! a very wreck, and in the hands of infidels and enemies.
And what have Israel been ? Even what God said they should be. He said it more than three thousand years ago, and we now witness the fact, “a nation scattered among all people, a proverb. and a by-word.” See then, brethren, the punishment of Jerusalem and her children, for refusing to know the things that belonged unto their peace. First, their eyes are blinded, they are left to their impenitence, and so they go on adding sin to sin ; and then, when they have filled up the measure of their iniquity, wrath comes upon them to the uttermost.
Sinner, look at Jerusalem, and read thy warning there! Read there the way in which God deals with those who trifle with his word, who treat with carelessness the Gospel of his Son, who will not heed his warnings, who care not to enjoy his love, who know not, and will not know, the things that belong unto their peace.
Have any of you who hear me been thus indifferent and negligent respecting the Lord Jesus Christ, and the truth and grace of God revealed in Him? Then let me beseech you to beware. It is a possible case,-God may say of you as he did of Jerusalem, let their eyes be blinded, and their hearts hardened, let them have their own way, and go on in their unbelief, and worldliness, and sin, so shall they remain unconverted, unforgiven, unsanctified, unsaved: they shall never awake from their slumber, they shall never be concerned about their souls, they shall never seek salvation, they shall never know Christ, they shall be left to multiply their sins, my Spirit shall never restrain them, or strive with them, or turn them to me; day after day, year after year, they shall as they list add to their crimes, and at length the day of death shall come, the day of their perdition ; their souls, imperishable, never dying souls, shall go down to hell, laden with guilt, and crushed beneath the fierceness of that wrath which must abide on them, and that for ever, the wrath due to their sin,