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The first, who practised this art, was the grand deceiver, when, in the garden of Eden, he assailed and misled our general mother. But, it appears that the Father of mankind was not, at that eventful period, the victim of the adversary's wiles. 1 Timothy i. 14, “ And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the trangression." By this deceiver the nations are deceived. Revelations xviii. 23, “ For by thy sorceries all nations were deceived.” Even the Apostles were deceived. Titus iïi3, “ For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another."
Secondly, God is not mocked. What is it to mock? It is to hold up false lights, to delude by misrepresentation, by falsehood, to betray the confidence which was reposed in us.
Thirdly, Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reap and nothing else. The sacred volume describes three characters as sow. ers. First, The man, Christ Jesus. But what hath the man Christ Jesus sowed ? Matthew xii. 27, “So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field ? From whence then hath it tares?" Secondly, The grand adversary, the man of sin. 2 Thessalonians ii. 3, 4, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exaltéth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” This same arrogant man of sin, is a capital sower. He is that enemy, who, following the footsteps of the great husbandman, sowed tares among the wheat. , Thirdly, Mankind individually are sowers, and the verse succeeding our text, describes the fate of these sowers. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. Thus we are taught where, as well as what we shall reap, and the life we shall reap, is eternal life, because it is in Christ. When Christ who is our life shall appear, we also shall appear with him. John vi. 33, “ The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” Romans v. 18, “ Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification.”
It is thus the spirit teacheth my understanding. The almighty seed's man hath sown the human nature, and he shall reap the human nature. The man of sin hath sowed tares, and he shall reap tares. The individuals of human nature sow indiscriminately good and evil, and that which they sow, they shall reap. If their works be good, they shall be rewarded. If they be bad, the intense heat of the divine fire shall kindle upon them, and burning up the chaff, they themselves, by this very burning, be saved, so as by fire, when the Redeemer shall reap his harvest winnowed from every particle of chaff. Such is the doctrine of the restitution of all things.
2 THESSALONIANS ii. 11, 12.
Tre verse immediately preceding our text informs us why God sent the people strong delusions. Because they receive ed not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. This leads us to enquire,
First, What we are to understand by the truth? Which it is not said, they did not receive, but simply they did not receive the love of the truth. Micah in the last verse of his prophecy, speaking of this truth, says, “ Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Isaiah speaketh good things, chapter xxxviii. 17, “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness; but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption : for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Jereemiah vi. 33, “ Behold I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” These are some of the features of that glorious truth, which unbelievers do not receive the love of.
The law came by Moses; but grace and truth by Jesus Christ. The law was true, but it was not the truth, which was accompanied by mercy and grace ; strange as it may appear, the truth, which was replete with mercy and grace, was the truth which the people received not in the love of it.
Secondly, What is the consequence of this refusal ? God sends then strong delusion. As far as I can determine, after the most diligent search, I do not think this term, delusion, occurs in more than one place in the sacred volume, our text excepted. In Isaiah Ixiv. 4, it is thus written, “I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them, because, when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear, but they did evil before my eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” Thus, it is evident, that where there is not a love of truth predominating in the mind, God sends strong delusions. To this effect, saith the Lord by the prophet Hosea, iv. 17, “Ephraim is joined to idols ; let him alone.” Again 1 Kings xxii. 22, “ And the Lord said unto him, wherewith? And he said I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophcts. And he said thou shalt persuade him, and shalt prevail also: go forth and do so."
This is a remarkable passage. The lying spirit offering himself to deceive by the mouth of the prophets, and the LORD said, thou shalt persuade, and shalt also prevail.
Thirdly, They are themselves deceived, for they believe a lie. What is a lie? Those who have seen the truth know the reverse of this inust be a lie. If it be true that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, to declare he is not, is a lie.
Fourthly, The consequence of believing a lie. Our text informs us all those who believe this lie, are the subjects of damna. tion ; that they all might be damned, who believe not the truth. They are not only damned for believing a lie, but they are damned for not believing the truth. And what is this damnation, which results from unbelief? It is condemnation, that they all might be condemned, who believed not the truth. John ü. 18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that beliveth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” How long shall this condemnation continue ? It is, it will be coeval with the deLusion. How long will the delusion continue ? Until the man of sin, the son of perdition be revealed. He who opposeth himself to, and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that le as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. When this is effected, then shall that which is written be accomplished. The people shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, (and they shall all hear, every eye shall see, and every tongue shall confess) and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. It is elsewhere written, and him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out,
Taught, immediately taught by their Creator, taught by God himself-Can the delusion continue, especially when that wicked is removed, which the LORD shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming ? The prophet Isaiah informs us, that God will destroy the covering, cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. That it shall be said in that day, lo, this is our God: we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Amid a scene like this, can the delusion continue ? Particularly as the doer of the deed is separated from them, as the God of this world will then have no more power to blind them, and, when they see and believe the truth, will the condemnation for unbelief be continued ? Knowing God will they not love God, and loving God, will they not love the truth?
It is evident from scripture testimonies, that this delusion, and its consequent condemnation or damnation, will continue as long as an unbeliever shall be found, until the consummation described in Revelations xxi. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth : for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write : for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."
Until this blissful period, the sufferings described in the eighth verse, will no doubt be realized, darkness is consequent
upon unbelief. The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars (all men, saith the sacred volume are liars) shall have their part in the lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone. But when they have had their part in this lake, when unbelief is no more, when the veil shall be taken away, when the rebuke shall cease, when the knowledge of the LORD shall cover the earth, when death and hell shall be cast into the lake of fire, when there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, nor any more pain, the delusion will of course be destroyed, every individual will believe, and consequently every individual will love the truth : the condemnation will cease, and the whole human family will find their honour their pleasure, the sum of their felicity, in RIGHTEOUSNESS.
1 Timothy iii. 16.
E acknowledge, with all the devotion and veneration, of which our natures are susceptible, the mystery of godliness, and we rejoice with joy unspeakable, that this adorable being, this omnipotent God was manifested in the flesh. But 'what are we to conceive of God? Is he not said to be incomprehensible ? Yet we may discern some vestige of his sacred footsteps, from the names by which he hath condescended to reveal himself. He is the Creator, all things were made by him. Proverbs xvi. 4, “ The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” i John i. 5, “ This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 1 John iv. 16, “ And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love ; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” God is and must be, in the nature of things, unchangeable.
Secondly, God was manifested in the flesh, first in figure. Adam was the figure of him, who was to come. That the temple