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gainsayers! you yourselves shall bear witness, you who, by reversing those ideas which the gospel giveth us of the mercy of God, have so often pretended to obscure those which we have endeavored to give of his justice and vengeance; We are pure from your blood, we have not shunned to declare unto
you all the counsel of God, Acts xx. 26, 27. When we stand at his tribunal, and, under a sense of the weaknesss with which our ministry was accompanied, say to him, Enter not into judgment with thy servants, O Lord ! Psal. cxliii. 2. Each of us will venture to add, with a view to the importunity that had been used to prevail with you to improve your precious moments, I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; lo, I have not refrained my lips; O Lord, thou knowest. With-hold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord, Psal. xl. 9, 11. I have spent my strength for nought and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God, Isa. xlix. 4.
O! may God animate us with more noble motives ! God grant, not that the eternal misery of our hearers may be the apology of our ministry: but that you may be our joy and crown in the day of Christ! Phil. iv. 1. and i. 10. Amen.
The Patience of God with wicked Nations.
Genesis xy. 16.
The Iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
T is a shocking disposition of mind, which Solo
clesiastes : Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily; therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil, chap. viii. 11. It seems, at first sight, as if the wise man had rather exceeded in his portrait of the human heart : or that, if there were any orginals, they could only be a few monsters, from whose souls were eradicated all the seeds of religion and piety, as well as every degree of reason and humanity. God is patient towards all who offend him : then, let us offend him without remorse, let us try the utmost extent of his patience. God lifteth over our heads a mighty hand, armed with lightnings and thunderbolts, but this hand is usally suspended a while before it strikes ; then let us dare it while it delays, and till it moves to crush us to pieces let usk not respect it. What a disposition ! What a shocking disposition of mind is this, my brethren.!
But let us rend the veils with which we conceal ourselves from ourselves; let us penetrate those secret recesses of our consciences, into which we never look but when we are forced ; let us go to the bottom of a heart naturally deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and we shall find that
this disposition of mind, which at first sight inspires us with horror, is the disposition of whom? Of the greatest part of this assembly, my brethren. Could we persist in sin without the patience of God ? Dare we live in that shameful security, with which the ministers of the living God so justly reproach us, if God had authorized them to cry in our streets, Yet forty days, yet forty days ? Jonah iii. Had we seen Ananias and Sapphira fall at St. Peter's feet, as soon as they kept back part of the price of their possession, Acts v. 1. 2. In a word, could we have the madness to add sin to sin, if we were really convinced, that God entertained the formidable design of bearing with us no longer, but of precipitating us into the gulphs of hell on the very first act of rebellion? Why then do we rebel every day? It is for the reason alledged by the wise man : It is because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily; therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
I intend to-day, my brethren, to endeavor to dissipate the dark clouds, with which your security obscures the designs of a patient God, who hath been patient towards you, long-suffering towards all, 2 Pet. iii. 9. and who is exercising his patience towards you this day. But who can tell how much longer he intends to bear with you ? Let us enter into the matter. I design to consider our text principally with. a view to the riches of the forbearance, and longsuffering of God, Rom. 2. 4. for it treats of a mystery of justice which interests all mankind. God bears with the most wicked nations a long while, and, having borne a long while with the rebellion of ancestors, bears also a long while with that of their descendants: but at length, collecting the rebellion of both into one point of vengeance, he punisheth a people who have abused his patience, and pro
portioneth his punishments to the length of time which had been granted to avert them.
All these solemn truths are included in the sententious words of the text: The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. I hasten to explain them, in order to employ the most of the precious moments of attention, with which you deign to favor me, in deriving such practical instructions from them as they afford. Promote our design, my
dear brethren. Let not the forbearance which the love of God now affords you set your hearts fully to do evil. And thou, O almighty and tong-suffering God! whose treasures of forbearance perhaps this nation may have already exhausted ! O thou just avenger of sin! who perhaps mayest be about to punish our crimes, now ripe for vengeance, O suspend its execution till we make some profound reflections on the objects before us! O let the ardent prayers of our Abrahams, and of our Lots, prevail with thee to lengthen the forbearance which thou hast already exercised toward this church, these provinces, and every sinner in this assembly ! Amen.
The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. These words were addressed to Abraham by God. himself. He had just before given him a victory over five kings, and had promised him blessings more glorious than all those which he had received before. He had said to him, Fear not, I am thy shield, and thine exceeding great reward, Gen. xv. 1. But the patriarch thought, these great promises could not be accomplished, because he had no posterity, and was far advanced in age, ver. 2, 4. God relieves him from this fear by promising him, not only a son, but a posterity, ver. 5. which should equal the stars of heaven in number, and should possess a country as extensive as their