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and by means of the creature, and the mical study, asked him, • What will creature is nothing to him without you now do with your astronomy?' God.-Baxter.
His answer was worthy of a Christian An astronomer, who had long idol- philosopher: 'I am now bound for ized his favourite science, became a heaven, said he, • and I take the zealous convert to spiritual Chris- stars in my way.' The true use of tianity. His intimate friend, know- the visible is to assist us in our aspiraing his extreme devotion to astrono- tions after the eternal.--Leisure Hour.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
V. 28. “They did not like to retain ter than the discovery of what is preGod in their knowledge.'—No higher viously unknown; especially if the proof of corruption can be given than memory is assisted by frequent repetithis. God is infinitely excellent and tions, and multiplied manifestations, lovely. A good mind naturally re- of the same truth. Men were origigards Him as infinitely more desirable nally possessed of the true knowledge than all other objects; and delights to of God. However inexcusable they contemplate, love, and obey Him, in might have been, had they been left, entire preference to all other enjoy- in a state of entire ignorance, to ments. A gross and guilty mind, gather this knowledge, in the way of therefore, is the sole cause of this discovery, from the works of God, this apostasy and rebellion. The degree of was not, in fact, their situation. All this guilt is strongly seen in the com- that was to be effected by the numberpleteness of the apostasy. God has less displays of the Divine power Teen totally banished; and creatures and Godhead, was only to keep them totally opposite to Him in every attri- in remembrance of what they already bute have been worshipped in His knew. Yet they not only did not stead. Thus the mind has loved to learn, but rejected and forgot what recede as far as possible from its they had been taught; not only did not Maker; and not only refused its pro- discover what was unknown, but lost per love and homage to Him, but ren- what was known; and, instead of dered them to the vilest and most un- being led by the creature to the Creworthy of His creatures.-Dwight. ator, put the creature in the Creator's
The mere remembrance of what is place !-Dr. Wardlaw. already known is a much easier mat.
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
V. 30. • Haters of God'!-An intel- their whole outer man transformed ligent spirit, hating God, is the most into the most hideous shapes, 'twere a frightful prodigy in universal Nature ! trifle, in comparison of this deformity If all men's limbs were distorted, and of a man's soul !-Howe.
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
• Without natural affection.' The should be tolerated but spiritual appeapostle here seems to have had the tites. Why should any strive after Stoics in his eye, who recommended that, as a high attainment in holiness, their apathy, or freedom from all affec- which the apostle here mentions as tion and passion, as the highest pitch of one instance wherein the heathen had virtue: and who reckoned the affection attained to the most horrid pitch of between parents and children, hus- wickedness? Some have doubted whebands and wives, and the like, among ther they might pray for the converthe vices. But their tenets are here sion and salvation of their children, condemned with the greatest reason; any more than for that of others; befor the very best men need the im- cause the salvation of others would be pulses of affection and passion to as much for God's glory as the salvamove them to what is good; and God tion of their children; and they have hath implanted these in our nature supposed that to pray most for their for that very purpose.—Macknight. own salvation would show & selfish
Some persons have endeavoured ut- disposition! In this they evidently terly to root out and abolish all na- aim to go beyond the Divine rule.tural affection, or any special affection Pres. Edwards. to their near relations, under a notion • Implacable'—that is, that cannot that no other love ought to be allowed be reconciled; if once there be a but spiritual love, and that all other grudge, it is everlasting—a fixed thing. love is to be abolished as carnal, and Oh, this cannot belong to the God-like that it becomes Christians to love seed, to be of an irreconcileable spirit; none but those in whom the image of it hath the essence of hell in it; the God is seen, and in such proportion. devil as the parent of it appears in They might as well argue that a man this countenance, nothing more plain; ought to disallow, and endeavour to the very show of that countenance disabolish, all appetite to his daily food, covers who is the father; an implacaunder a notion that it is a carnal ap- ble spirit! malicious, vindictive, and petite, and that no other appetite then implacable !-Howe.
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
V.32. There is an important distinc- loved their company, than that they tion to be observed between the ap- approved their conduct.-Dr. Payne. probation of the judgment and con- To us it seems most certain, that science, and the approbation of the nowhere is to be found a people, howheart. The number is not small of ever fallen, so utterly debased as to those who approve the good, while have lost the power of moral discrimithey follow that which is evil. The nation. The Lacedemonian Institute feelings of moral approbation and dis- is alleged against this. The vices of approbation have been, perhaps, less lying and thieving are said to have affected by the fall than almost any been inculcated by it as good and useother! The heart is sometimes sadly ful. But the entire tale of Sparta, polluted, while the moral faculties re- allowing all its literal truth, is not an tain a considerable portion at least of episode in the history of our species, their primitive rectitude. It is the but an exception to it. The whcle last item in the charge of the Inspired system supported itself in a thorough writer against those who held the dethronement of nature. It formally Truth in unrighteousness, that they interdicted all the laws and sympanot only did those things which they thies of humanity. It annulled mar. knew to be worthy of death, but had riage; it took possession of all offpleasure in them that did them. Even spring; it required, as the test of this, however, intends rather that they endurance, the self-infliction of the
severest cruelties, &c. We wonder at
rejoice in the wickedness of others, from a great affection and inclination to the same kind of sins. They are glad of the patronage of evil-doers, and are too prone to justify themselves by their example: Others take their liberty,
and why may not I?' And so they go, as Seneca says sheep do, the way which is trodden, not the way they ought.' — Howe.
One would think them indeed to be but half men, and scarce Christians at all, that can allow themselves so inhuman and unhallowed a pleasure as. rejoicing in another's sin! 'Tis very unworthy of a man to take pleasure in seeing his fellow-man turning beast. There is little in it of the ingenuity that belongs to human nature, to delight in the harms of others, much less of the prudence, to make sport of a common mischief. And would a Christian rejoice in the disadvantages of his own cause? and in the dishonour and reproach of the very name which he himself bears ?-Ibid.
CHAP. II. THEREFORE thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art
that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
It has not unfrequently happened own, that they may carry on their own that a woodman having mounted a designs with less suspicion. Absalom tree to lop its branches, has been so aspersed his father's government as a earnestly engaged in his work, that he stirrup to help himself into the sadhas unconsciously cut off the bough dle. Jehu loved the crown more than on which he was standing. — Abp. he hated Jezebel's whoredoms, for all Whately.
his loud cry against them. In a word It is very ordinary for a man to —for it is impossible to hit all—there decry that in another, and smartly to may be much revenge in it, but it is. declaim against it, which he all the the person that is shot at rather than while harbours himself. How severe his sin. This was observed of An-was Judah against Tamar! he com- thony's zeal against Augustus, He mands in all haste to burn her (Gen. hated the tyrant, but well enough Xxxviii. 24). Who would not have loved the tyranny.'-Gurnall. thought this man to be chaste? Yet Some persons who value themselves. he was the very person that had de- on knowing men and manners, are filed her. There may be a great cheat full of complaints against a bad world, in this piece of zeal. Thus many that and indulge a spirit of censure against are magistrates give the law to drunk- all mankind but themselves. Their ards and swearers, merely to maintain ludicrous and merciless way of cen-the decorum of their place, and to suring shows they are only indulging shun the clamour that would arise the spirit of pride and malice. Sin is from their neglect, who can possibly with them evidently a light matter, do both when they meet with place and an affair of merriment, after all. and company suited to their purpose. The spirit of such men is plain by Some, again, inveigh against the faults this; they condemn others, but see of others, only the better to hide their not that they themselves are involved
in the same condemnation.-Milner. conduct, reproved him severely for his
A profane father, in one of the profanity, and then commenced whipUnited States, one day learned that ping him and scolding him at the same his little son had uttered some blas- time, and while whipping his son for phemous expressions, doubtless a se- his profanity, he swore several procond edition of his own. He called fane oaths himself !- Anecdotes. the child to account for his vicious
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ?
V. 4. The frost is seldom quite out thy days, when I have been all thy of the earth till the sun hath acquired days doing thee good ; thou hast done some power in the spring to dissolve evilly against Me as thou could'st, its bands: neither will hardness of slighted My authority, and despised heart be removed until the soul be My mercy; I could plead My rebukes thoroughly warmed with the sense of against thee, with flames of fire ; if I God's mercies (Ezek. xx. 43). A par- should whet My glittering sword, and don from the prince hath made some My hand take hold of vengeance, how weep, whom the sight of the block soon could I ease Myself of so feeble could not move.
A sight of wrath in- an adversary, and avenge Myself of so flames the conscience; but a sense of contemptible an enemy! But I formercy melts the heart and subdues the give thee now, upon thy repenting and will.-Gurnall.
turning to Me with thy whole soul; I The goodness and forbearance of forgive thy ungodly prayerless life, thy God doth, as it were, take a sinner by having been alienated and an enemy the hand, leads him into a corner, and in thy mind by wicked works. I forsaith, • Come, let thee and Me talk to- give thee it all! Thy iniquity is all gether; thus and thus vile hast thou pardoned, thy sin covered, I no more been, and thus and thus long-suffering impute anything of it to thee!' What and merciful have I been to thee; thy rock would not this melt! What heart hath been full of sin, the heart stony heart would it not dissolve and of thy God hath been full of pity and break in pieces !-Howe. mercy.' This brings the sinner to The Sovereign Ruler woos' His tears, breaks his heart in pieces; if erring creatures by His kindness, as anything in the world will melt a hard well as 'awes'them by His judgments; heart, this will do it.—Flavel.
and yet how often does man remain 0, how mighty a load does it remove from the soul of a sinner to hear his
though woo'd and awed,
Bless'd and chastised, a flagrant reoffended Lord say to him, • Thou hast
bel still !
Dr. Wardlaw. been sinning against Me hitherto all
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Every man is treasuring up stores Whatever the impenitent man is doing, for eternity: the good are laying up he is treasuring up wrath! He may • treasures in heaven;' the evil and be getting wealth ; but he is treasuring impenitent are treasuring up wrath up wrath! He may be getting fame; against the day of wrath. What an but he is treasuring up wrath! He idea is this ! Treasures of wrath ! may be forming pleasing connections; but he is also treasuring up wrath ! stopped, and press hard to go forward. Every day adds something to the heap! -Pres. Edwards. Every oath the swearer utters, every Sinners now often cavil against the lie the liar tells, every licentious act justice of God's dispensations, and the lewd man commits, there is some- particularly the punishment which He thing added to the treasure of wrath ! threatens for their sins — excusing When a wicked man lies down at night, themselves, and condemning Him ;he is richer in vengeance than when but when God comes to manifest their he rose in the morning !-J. A. James. wickedness in the light of the day of
As some exercise grace more than Judgment, then they will be speechothers, so there are greater traders in less.--Ibid. sin, that set more a-work than others, The riches of God's forbearance' and return more wrath in a day than make way for the manifestation of the others in a month. Happy are such- • treasures of His wrath.' If God did in comparison of these — who are bear but a little with the insolences of chained up by God's restraint upon men, and cut them off after two or their outward or inward man, that three sins, He would not have opporthey cannot fill up so fast as these the tunity to show either the power of His measure of their sins !-Gurnall. patience, or that of His wrath; but
The condemnation of the wicked is when He hath a right to punish for begun in this life. As heaven, so hell one sin, and yet bears with them for is in the seed, before it is in the fruit. many, and they will not be reclaimed, The wicked on this side hell are turn- the sinner is more inexcusable, Divine ing and treasuring up that wrath which justice less chargeable, and His wrath hereafter shall be broached and re- more powerful.—Charnock. vealed. The wicked have even here As treasures of mercy are kept by hell in its causes. When thy lust God for us—He keeps mercy for thouasks, 'How canst thou want the plea- sands,' -so are treasures of wrath kept sure?' let thy faith answer by asking by Him to be expended, and a time of another question, · How can I bear the expense there must be : Patience will penalty ?'-Anon.
account to Justice all the good offices The wrath of God is like great it hath done the sinner, and demand waters that are dammed for the pre- to be righted by Justice; Justice will sent; they increase more and more, take the account from the hands of and rise higher and higher till an out- Patience, and exact a recompense for let is given; and the longer the every injury offered to it. When Jusstream is stopped, the more rapid and tice comes to arrest men for their mighty is its course when once it is debts, Patience, Mercy, and Goodness let loose. There is nothing but the will step in as creditors, which will mere pleasure of God that holds these make their condition so much more dewaters back, that are unwilling to be plorable.-Ibid.
• Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
The numerous assembly of the per- those whose portion is in this life, fected spirits of the just have agreed with the simple hope and confidence of in this common resolution; and did what they were to enjoy in another.in their several generations, Howe. they had passed this state of trial, Every service done to God is but the with an heroic magnanimity, trample sacrifice of a fool, if not animated by this present world under their feet, the desire of final blessedness in Him. and aspire to the glory of the world to This desire is the life of Religion; all come; relieving themselves against all duties and exercises of piety are withthe grievances they had suffered from out it but empty formalities, solemn