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of Egypt, where they supposed that they should be completely beyond its reach: that they should'perish there by famine, by pestilence, and by the sword; that their name should become a reproach, an astonishment, and a curse; and that not even a single individual should again behold the land of Judea, or escape from the evil which God would bring upon them.

Let me endeavour, under the blessing of divine grace, to elucidate and to apply to your edification, the instruction which may be derived from this narrative.

I. Consider, in the first place, what was that great and general duty, against which the Jews, on the occasion now before us, rebelled.

Ye dissembled, said Jeremiah, in your hearts. The first duty of religion is to surrender the heart to God. Without that surrender there can be no religion. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart. This is the great commandment to the Jew and to the Christian. To the observance of this commandment the promises of divine favour have ever been annexed. If thou return unto the Lordt faith Moses, with all thine heart; the

Lord will have companion upon thee (a). Te Jhalljind me, faith God, by the voice of Jeremiah, when ye Jhall search for me with all your heart (b), If thou believefl with all thine heart, faith Philip to, the Ethiopian, thou mayest be baptized {c). The Jews of whom the prophet speaks in the text resembled their future countrymen in the days of our Saviour. They were a people that drew nigh unto God with their mouth, and honoured him with their lips; but their heart was far from him. Ye dissembled' in your hearts when ye sent me unto the Lord your God, faying; Pray for us unto the Lord our God: and according t9 all that the Lord our God shall fay, so declare unto us, and we will do it. They dissembled; though they had bound themselves in the presence of God by the most sacred promises, that they would scrupulously per«form whatever he should command. My brethren! you have bound yourselves to the performance of the fame duty by promises no less sacred. You yourselves, no less solemnly than the Jews, even all the people from the least' unto the greatefl, have come near and said; The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us that we will obey the voice of the Lord our God.

(a) Deat. xxx- 1—3. (b) Jerem. xxix. 13.

(t;) Ads, viii. 36, 37.

At your baptism, you drew near and promised by your sureties that you would obediently keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the fame all the days of your life. Most of you have again drawn near at the office of confirmation, and renewed the solemn promise and vow which were made in your name at your baptism; ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe and to practise all those things which your sureties then undertook on your behalf. A large proportion of you have frequently drawn near to the sacramental table; and have there professed repentance of your fins, and a full purpose to lead a new life, to follow the commandments of God, and thenceforth to walk in his holy ways. On this very day, and on every day when you have attended the public worship, you have drawn near and requested of God, that he would give to you that due sense of all his mercies, that your hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that you may shew forth his praise, not only with your lips but with your lives, by giving up yourselves to his service, and by walking before him in holiness and righteousness all your days, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Jews, in their


solemn professions, dissembled. My brethren, have you dissembled in yours?

Dissimulation, like other sins, admits of degrees. The heart may dissemble radically and entirely, so as to be wholly hypocritical; lo as not to feel any portion of that love to God, of that faith, of that gratitude, of that fense of duty, of that purpose of obedience which the tongue expresses. Or it may dissemble partially; feeling weakly and insufficiently those sentiments towards Him, which dwell with parade and seeming warmth upon the lips. The doom which awaits the complete hypocrite, cannot be doubted. Let the partial hypocrite beware, left, he at last come to the fame place of torment.]

II. Consider, in the next place, each of you for himself, how strong is the probability that you may be guilty, in a greater or a less degree, of dissembling in your heart before God. Remember the natural corruption of the human heart. The heart is originally averse to holiness, replenished with the seeds of every sin, and scarcely to be searched or penetrated by human eyes. The imagination os mans hearts faith the Scripture, is evil from his youth. The heart of the sons of men is full of evil. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it (d)P Have not you reason to dread that your heart thus subjected originally to the dominion of sin, may not yet be purified from dissembling against God? Have you not reason to dread that your heart, by nature thus stored with duplicity, thus difficult to be discerned, may deceive yourself? Reflect farther, of what multitudes the Scriptures make mention; multitudes existing at different periods, and among the very people peculiarly favoured with the knowledge of true religion, and in the most impressive manner dedicated to God; as having dissembled against Him, even so as utterly to have departed from Him. At the time of the deluge, only eight persons out of the whole human race were preserved by divine mercy from destruction. When the Israelites were commanded to enter the land of Canaan; Caleb and Joshua, together with Moses and Aaron, and perhaps some few individuals besides, were the only persons of the whole congregation of Israel who re-; mained faithful to the Lord of Hosts. When the Jews, to whom Jeremiah addressed the words of the text, were commanded to render the promised obedience to their God, and to abstain from going down into Egypt; all the people^ with the exception as it should seem

(d) Gen. viii. 21. Eccl. ix. 3. Jerem. xvii. 9.


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