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struction brought upon the inhabitants thereof, we are constantly to bear in our minds that we are reading the execution of a dreadful, but just sentence, pronounced by God against the intolerable and incorrigible crimes of these nations - that they were intended to be made an example to the whole world of God's avenging wrath against sins of this magnitude, and of this kind : sins, which, if they had been suffered to continue, might have polluted the whole ancient world, and which could only be checked by the signal and public overthrow of nations notoriously addicted to them, and so addicted, as to have incorporated them even into their religion and their public institutions : that the miseries inflicted upon the nations by the invasion of the Jews, were expressly declared to be inflicted on account of their abominable sins: that God had borne with them long : that God did not proceed to execute his judgments till their wickedness was full: that the Israelites were mere instruments in the hands of a righteous Providence for the effectuating the extermination of a people whom it was necessary to make a public example to the rest of mankind : that this extermination, which might have been accomplished by a pestilence, by fire, by earthquakes, was appointed to be done by the hands of the Israelites, as being the clearest and most intelligible method of displaying the power and righteousness of the God of Israel ; his power over the pretended gods of other nations, and his righteous hatred of the crimes into which they were fallen.
This is the true statement of the case. It is no forced, or invented construction, but the idea of the transaction set forth in Scripture; and it is an idea, which, if retained in our thoughts, may fairly, I think, reconcile us to every thing which we read in the Old Testament concerning it.
NEGLECT OF WARNINGS.
Deut. xxxii. 29.
Oh that they were wise, that they understood
this, that they would consider their latter end!
HERE is one great sin, which, never
theless, may not be amongst the number of those of which we are sensible, and of which our consciences accuse us : and that sin is the neglect of warnings.
It is our duty to consider this life throughout as a probationary state: nor do we ever think truly, or act rightly, but so long as we have this consideration fully before our eyes. Now one character of a state, suited to qualify and prepare rational and im
proveable creatures for a better state, consists in the warnings which it is constantly giving them; and the providence of God, by placing us in such a state, becomes the author of these warnings. It is his paternal care which admonishes us by and through the events of life and death that
beTherefore it is a sin against Providence to neglect them. It is hardiness and determination in sin: or it is blindness, which in whole or in part is wilful ; or it is giddiness and levity, and contemptuousness in a subject.which admits not of these dispositions towards it, without great offence to God.
A serious man hardly ever passes a day, never a week, without meeting with some warning to his conscience; without something to call to his mind his situation with respect to his future life.
And these warnings, as perhaps was proper, come the thicker upon us, the farther we advance in life. The dropping into the grave,
of our acquaintance, and friends, and relations, what can be better calculated, not to prove (for we do not want the point to
be proved), but to possess our hearts with a complete sense and perception of the extreme peril and hourly precariousness of our condition ; namely to teach this momentous lesson, that when we preach to you concerning heaven and hell, we are not preaching concerning things at a distance, things remote, things long before they come
pass; but concerning things near, soon to be decided, in a very short time to be fixed one way or the other? This is a truth of which we are warned by the course of mortality; yet, with this truth confessed, with these warnings before us, we venture
But it will be said, that the events which ought to warn us, are out of our mind at the time. But this is not so. Were it that these things came to pass in the wide world only at large, it might be that we should seldom hear of them, or soon forget them. But the events take place where we ourselves are; within our own doors; in our own families : amongst those with whom we have the most constant correspondence, the closest intimacy, the strictest connection. It is impossible to say that such events can be out of our