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mandments, and an humble belief of the threatenings, recorded in the word of God. How does this fact appear? By the best evidence: by the life and actions." The tree is known by its fruit. Look at the fruits of thefe inen. When you see persons paying no practical regard to the declarations of the Almighty : what is this but to treat his declarations as an idle tale? When you see a man trusting for salvation principally to fupposed merits of his own : is it not plain that he treats as an idle tale the fundamental doctrine of the gospel, that salvation is purchased entirely by the atonement of Christ that it is to be fought only through faith in His blood; and that good works, though indifpensably required of every Christian, are valuable only as fruits and proofs of faith, not as being themselves pure in the sight of Cod, and fill less as possessing any power of buying off the punishment due to transgrelfion? When you feo a man confidently depending on his own strength for ability to serve God acceptably : does he not prove that he treats as an idle tale the unequivocal affertions both of the Old and of the New Testament, that of ourselves we can do nothing which is good ; that by nature we are corrupt, and enemies to God; that it is God


who worketh in us both to will and to do that which is right; that we cannot be pre

served for a single moment in faith and holi*ness but by the fanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost? When you see a person, though

abstaining from some sins, wilfully persisting - in others: is it not evident that he treats: as

an idle tale those many warnings in the Scriptures, that any one criminal habit, whether it be drunkenness, or uncleanness, or theft, or covetousness, or envy, or lying, or malice, or any other fin, wilfully and obstinately in- . dulged, will plunge him into hell? When you see a person as it were defying the anger of God by careless disobedience: is it not manifest that in practice he treats as an idle tale, the sentence of everlasting damnation, everlasting fire, the worm that never dies, the fame that never shall be quenched ? Surely to such men the Lord God Omnipotent, the Creator, the King, and the Judge of the universe, seemeth as one that

mocketh - III. Consider, in the third place, the con

sequences of treating as an idle tale, as the words of one that mocketh, the declarations of Almighty God. A 4 2


· Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that all be also reap. Let God be true, but every man a liar. Thy word, O God, is true from the beginning. Hath He spoken ; and shall He not do it? Brethren, we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing the terror of the Lord, we perfuade men (d). · Enquire now of the days which are gone what has been the end of all those, who in past ages have disregarded the denunciations of God. Let God be the Judge between you, and those who admonish you in His name. Let God by His past dispensations be the interpreter of His own word. When our first parents listened in paradise to the ensnaring question of the Tempter, Yea; batb God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden: when, giving ear to his confident assertion, ye shall not surely die, they ventured to consider the sentence of death as a judgemenț not designed to be carried into execution : what was the consequence? They brought ruin upon themselves and upon their

(d) Gal. vi. %. Rom. iii. 4. Pf. cxix. 160. Numb. Xxiii. 19. 2 Pet. i. 16. 2 Cor, v. 11.


pofterity. When Noah admonished the world

that the Spirit of God would still strive with · sinful man only during the period of an hun

dred and twenty years vouchsafed for trial and repentance: when that Preacher of Righteousness seemed unto them as one that mocked: what was the end of the unbelievers ? The deluge came at its appointed hour, and swept them to destruction. When the sons-in-law of Lot made light of the threatenings of God: what was the event? They were overwhelmed at fun-rise by the tempest of fire and brimstone. When Pharaoh cried, Who is the Lord that I hould obey his voice? When he hardened his heart, and gave no credit to the warnings of Moses : did God forbear to fulfil his word? Plague after plague overtook the king of Egypt: till having seen his country laid waste by miracles of divine vengeance, and his own first-born, together with the first-born of all his people, cut off in a single night, he perished with his mighty host in the Red Sea. When the Jews in the days of Jeremiah fhut their ears against his message from Jehovah, that the city of Jerusalem should be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar ; did the words of the prophet prove an idle tale? The Chaldean army took the city, and burned it to the

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ground. When Nebuchadnezzar himfelf in the pride of his heart despised the impending judgements revealed to him by Daniel : did they fail of coming to pass ? At the end of twelve months, a voice from heaven was heard proclaiming that the hour was come; and the thing was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: the kingdom was taken from him, and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his dwelling was with the beasts of the field. When the Jews in later times heard from the mouth of Jesus Christ that of their beloved city not one stone should be left upon another : when the Son of God seemed as one that mocked to the people whom he came to save : what was the result? The Roman armies advanced, and miserably destroyed those finners, and took away their place and nation. With all these examples before you, do you treat the words of God as idle tales, and hope to escape? In the fate of these despisers do you not read your own? Has the Omnipotent poured out upon all others the vengeance, which He has threatened against the impenitent and unbelieving; and shall He not pour it forth upon you? For your fake alone will He abrogate His word? For your fake alone will He annul His laws established from eternity


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