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2. Positive part.
'Rend your hearts.'-From, by, what. (1.) From-hypocrisy and formality. From-earth and earthly things.
From-self, creatures, and sin. Delilah.
(2.) By godly consideration, sorrow, shame, confession, abhorrence.
(3.) What-your hearts,-Not bodies, tongues. (4.) What necessity for this?
The old heart must be rent:-It is the sacrifice of God. A bone wrong set must be broken again. Clay must be tempered and bruised, or no good vessel can be made.
II. The second precept.- Turn unto the Lord your God.
Turn unto the Lord Jesus Christ as your God, to have the heart rent and renewed.-This implies beholding, praying, believing, following, cleaving to your God,'-not your judge, executioner, enemy. Turn,' as the prodigal to his father. Turn for the blood of Christ, and the Spirit of God. pardon, holiness, glory.
Turn for a
Sin makes us turn from God, as Adam; and
hide ourselves, as Tiberius.
1. Evil is gone forth.
'Lest I tear you in pieces.' (Psalm 1. 22.) Rend the caul of their heart.' (Hos. xiii. 8) Unprofitable servant cut asunder. (Matt. xxiv. 51.) We blow the trumpet in Sion, and sound an alarm throughout God's holy mountain. Avoid this evil by condemning yourselves, rending your hearts.-For God breaks not the bruised reed.
2. God is good. And willing not only to repent of the evil [do it not] but to do good.
(1.) He is gracious.-Full of grace, ready to give grace.
(2.) Merciful to returning penitents,
(3.) Slow to anger.-Witness our being out of hell. (4.) Of great kindness.—Witness the dying Jesus, intreating ministry, sweet promises, alluring mercies. (5.) Repents him of the evil.-Nineveh. No pleasure in him that dies.
APPLICATION.-1. Ye careless.-There is need of much ado, heart work, rending of the heart. This is not so terrible as to be rent from all good, and from God. Soon will be rent from earth, and the soul from the body.
2. Ye mourners.-Dwell on God's titles in the text. 3. Backsliders.-See Christ rent in the veil of his flesh. And see that of the temple. 4. Godly.-Mourn for others.
Why will ye die, O house of Israel?-EZEK. xviii. 31.
INTROD.-Strange expostulation of God to man.
1. What danger there is of our dying? From the word of God, experience of sinners. 1. Death is the wages of sin and impenitency.-O cast away from you all your transgressions.
2. It is the consequence of not turning to God. (Verse 32.)
3. It is that of an unregenerate state, (new heart, verse 31.)-This consequence is natural, necessary; the gradation is sin, death, sin, sickness, death, grave.
One, the least sin is killing, Adam, sabbathbreaker, (Num. xv. 32,)-undutiful son, Israel unbelieving, disobedient Prophet at Bethel, Uzza, Ananias, Nadab, Abihu, Asa, Herod, Corinthians, Lying, &c.
II. What death we are in danger of?
Why will you be twice dead?-Die with horror, and die throughout all ages?
III. Enforce the expostulation of the text.-Why will ye die?
1. "Sin is sweet" to a vitiated taste. Ask the unclean, passionate, drunken, pleasure-taker, miser.— Damuation is bitter.
2. "I fear a bad name."-People will suppose me to be mad, (Beelzebub.)-What of that? When dead, God will give you a new name.
3. "I have married a wife."
4. "I have merchandize to mind."
5. "I will do as the rest of my neighbours."
6. "I am loath to beg for life, and hope I am not in such danger as you say."-Death follows sin as the shadow the body.
2. Why? Will you embitter your own death, hasten to it, and secure endless agonies, by refusing life upou God's offers ?-Refusing the Prince of Life, the ways of life?
3. Why? Is there not a Saviour, balm, promises, helps, warning ?-Some must, you need not.
Will you?-Let Brutes, Heathens, Turks, Jews, die :-You need not. You that have the gospel, means, baptism, precepts, convictions, Reformation, calls.— Will you, the house of Israel?
4. Why? Is spiritual and eternal life odious? Can any thing be given you in exchange for your lost souls? Is it not enough that so many die? Is death so sweet a state? Will you deprive Christ and angels of the satisfaction in your conversion? Will you please Satan and evil men?
APPLICATION.-Some of you will answer in a different way: "We will not die,-we want to live. How shall we escape death?" See your danger, cry for help, fly to Jesus, hide in Jesus, abide in Jesus. Live in him, who is the Resurrection and the Life. Touch not the poisoned cup. Eat the bread of life.
scarlet thread. Be sprinkled with the blood. Live the life of faith, hope, and love. You need not die. See Jesus dying for you. See the promises of life.
Why should any deadness come on you?
Why should not you triumph more in Christ's life? Why should not you do more the acts of the living? Why do you not expostulate more with dying souls, and ask, 'Why will you die?'
JAMES NICHOLS, Printer,
2, Warwick Square, Newgate Street, London.