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take hold on you, and there be none to deliver. Close not your eyes against the warnings of the gospel. Be convinced that God will bring upon the wicked all the punishment which He has denounced against them as furely as He will bestow upon the righteous the glories, which Christ has purchased for them with His blood. Remember the sonsin-law of Lot. Fly from the contagion of guilt: fly from fin, the certain forerunner of destruction. Life is set before you. Why will ye die?
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Woe unto them that call Evil Good, and Good Evil; that put Darkness for Light, and Light for Darkness; that put Bitter for Sweet, and Sweet for Bitter!
THHE steps by which error gains possession of the human mind are various. Sometimes it pushes its operations in secrecy and silence. Sometimes it advances with a bolder aspect; and scarcely disguises its assaults on the bulwarks of truth. At one period it resorts to measures promising immediate success. At another, it depends on the flow result of-persevering artifice. Now jl aspires not beyond a temporary triumph.
Now Now it extends its aim to permanent delusion. Now it misleads in a special instance by suggesting unsound conclusions from just and recognised principles of conduct. Now it attains its purpose by exalting a false principle into the place and sovereignty of the true* Of all the machinations of error the last, though among the most difficult to carry into effect, portends, when its victory is assured, the most durable and the most extensive mischief. The disease of a single branch infects but the fruit of that branch. The rill drawn aside from the main current is alone polluted by the impurities of the .channel into which it is diverted. Is the whole produce to be corrupted? Canker the root. Is the whole stream to be tainted? Poison the fountain.
Such is the nature of the offence, against which in the passage of Scripture before us a woe is denounced by the prophet. In other parts of the chapter, speaking, as here also, by the command and in the person of the Almighty, he proclaims vengeance from God against various descriptions of sinners: against the covetous, who join house to house and lay field to field: against sensualists, who follow Jlrong drink, and cheer their feasts- with the harp and the viol, but regard not the work os
she the Lord: against the self-righteous, who are 'wife in their own eyes and prudent in their own fight: against scoffers, who deride the Jongsuffering of God, and call upon him to make speed and hasten his counsels: against iniquitous judges, who for a bribe justify the wicked^ and take away the righteousness of the righteous: against those who, professing to be His people, through their own wilfulness have no knowledge of the real nature of religion, and are groaning under the appointed retribution of calamity : and, by parity of reasoning, against all, who, like the sinners selected as examples to illustrate the general denunciation, have cast away the law of the Lord qfhqstsi, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel* In this catalogue of crimes and consequent woe8 the text has its station. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! "Woe unto them, who in any one of the ramifications of the two component branches of religion, piety and morality; in any subdivision of human duties, whether it has God or man for its immediate object; establish a wicked -principle in the place of the righteous oppo-site i either openly uphold the false rule of conduct, and openly vilify the true; or con
fine themselves to the tacit impeachment arid subversion of the latter by a studied exaltation of the former.
I propose, under the divine blessing, to elucidate by some instances derived from, modern life the guilt here stigmatised by the mouth of God; and the present and future woes here denounced by the fame authority against every offender. The discussion lies at the root of all religion. Give me your diligent attention. And may the Spirit of God bless the good feed, which I may be made the instrument of sowing in your hearts!
I. Among the most prominent illustrations of the present subject we may produce those persons, who represent enthusiasm as religion*
By enthusiasm, as applied with a reference to religion, I understand the subjection of the judgement, in points of religious faith or practice, to the influence of the imagination. The forms under which this influence manifests its predominance may be divers. The power which its exercises over one mind may in degree be greater or less than that whkh it posseiTes over another. But whereever, and in whatever shape and measure, it operates: there, and in that sliape and measure, exists enthusiasm.