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There is another thing observable with regard to Pharaoh.' Many mercies are shown to him. The Lord takes notice of the least humiliation. On Moses's
prayers his plagues are constantly ended. Yet is he hardened still against mercies, as well as against judgments. After the three days darkness, comes on the last plague,—the death of the firstborn. Here the Lord triumphs: Pharaoh, in a sudden fright, sends the people out, without exception or reserve. This puts one in mind of the strong resolutions and vehement cries for mercy of a wicked man on a bed of sickness; where there was no other principle, but the fear of hell.— I have seen such a sight, and how the false penitent, on an unexpected recovery, has returned to his evil ways, like the dog to his vomit. Thus did Pharaoh. The 14th chapter concludes his sad story. Thinking the Israelites were entangled in the wilderness, Pharaoh and the Egyptians blame themselves for dismissing them, and pursue. The end was, that they were drowned in the Red Sea. Then was fulfilled the word of the Lord; “he, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Sinners have often long warning, but the Lord strikes at last, and when he destroys, it is without warning, and without remedy.
The conclusion is obvious, and shall be short.O enemies of godliness. All ye who live in sin, whoever ye are, ye have had, this day, a remarkable portion of Scripture-history laid before you. May the Holy Ghost direct to your hearts the application of it! Ye have heard of a man, like yourselves, whom neither mercies could persuade, nor judgments terrify out of his sins. Is any curse so
heavy as that of a hard heart? yet such is yours ; Oye, who know ye ought to “ cease to do evil, and learn to do well ;” and yet can go on unaffected, unmoved. Did we not all find the same evil in ourselves by nature, and view the universal mischief as the effect of the fall, we might sit down in inconceivable astonishment, at the perverseness, ingratitude, and pride of Pharaoh. But I have lost my purpose this day, if no persons be brought to feel, that they themselves are vile and guilty, even so as to resemble that wicked king. God says to you, , “ How long will ye refuse to humble yourselves before me?” Are you in love with ruin? wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God.” Sneer at godliness and godly people a little longer : Despise a little longer, with Pharaoh, the Lord's long-suffering. Harden
yourselves, with him, against a few more warnings, and with aggravated horror you will suffer in eternity the wrath of an incensed God. But, oh! my soul would wish you to escape the wrath to come : Oh! that ye would even now humble yourselves before God, make no reserves, give up yourselves to him as unworthy rebels, and surrender at discretion. Lost and guilty, bowing the heart before him, take shame to yourselves, and give him glory, lying at his
mercy, for him to do with you what seemeth him good. This is repentance:-which Pharaoh never knew; which you too are utter strangers to, while you plead any thing in excuse for your sins, and while you delay to seek the favour of God in his appointed way.
But if we come thus humbled, shall we find mercy? Yes, you will : as surely as God lives and is faithful, you shall find that, which will make your heart rejoice for ever; and which when once tasted will make you think yourselves most unwise for having lived so long in neglect of it. If you ask what that is, I answer, come and see; it is to be found in Jesus Christ; - O taste and see, how gracious the Lord is.” Jesus Christ died, that such as you, coming to God by him, and throwing the intolerable load of guilt on him, might live and enjoy God for ever. Oh! do not harden yourselves against God and his Christ, to your destruction. I entreat you, return, RETURN at length, to God by him, and ask " what must I do to be saved ?” Make at length the favour of God and the Salvation of
your Souls your grand concern; and the Spirit of Christ will lead you to peace, to holiness, to heaven. Were you ten thousand times greater sinners than you are, the blood of Christ can cleanse you from all sin ; the power of his Spirit can carry you through all difficulties. Oh! that such a Saviour should live in heaven, so able, so wise, so gracious; and you not be persuaded to put yourselves into his hands. Oh! that you would, this day, begin to pray,
from the bottom of your hearts, and take up, before God, the lamentation of a sinner. Begin once to pray. The Mediator in heaven,-all compassion as he is,— will present your prayers to the Father; and, by his intercession, will procure you sweet and comfortable answers. “ Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Humble yourselves beneath the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you in due time.”
LOWLINESS RECOMMENDED, FROM THE
EXAMPLE OF CHRIST.
Phillip. ii. 3, 4, 5.
Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
It may be safely affirmed, that the Scriptures do indeed evince their divine Author, by their own light and power. Their doctrines and precepts, which are wonderfully agreeable to each other, and illustrate and strengthen one another, are so peculiarly noble and excellent, tend so evidently to the glory of God and the good of mankind, and are so perfectly distinct from those of any other religion or scheme of moralists, that, like the sun in the firmament of the heavens, they point out the Lord Jehovah to be their Author, and show to men his handy-work. This particularly appears in the precepts before us.
“ Let nothing be done through strife, or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
If these rules were but observed by mankind, it is plain, that contention and discord would be unknown, either in public or private life. Men would be actuated towards each other by pure love; and selfishness would be utterly banished. The tormenting throes of pride, covetousness, ambition, envy and jealousy, would then have no place. Each would view himself as an unworthy, VERY UNWORTHY, creature ; for this lesson the knowledge of his own natural depravity would teach him. Christian precepts without christian doctrine are mere castles in the air: They grow out of it, and are supported by it altogether.
The first doctrine of the word of God is man's fallen and corrupted state by nature. He who sees this aright, sees God most holy and just; and himself most vile and evil.
By the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, which is the second great doctrine, there is opened a way of forgiveness and restoration to a new state, and man is put under the conduct of the Holy Spirit to be fitted for the society of the blessed above. In this light, if the sinner, in real humility and true faith, do but feel what he is, and what God in Christ hath done for him, must he not be thankful, and low in his own eyes? Must not a creature, who might justly have been left to perish in hell, and who, through mercy, is forgiven, and saved by grace alone, have done with seeking his own glory; and from the piercing view which he has of his own sinful nature, must he not be apt to think any one