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he that formed them will fhew them no favour." The learned Rabbies and fages of the world can gravely dispute about the grace and favour of God, with ftrong inclination to appropriate it to themfelves. They are often ready to fay of the illiterate, as the chief priests and pharifees of old, This people who know not the law are accursed;' intimating that they themselves are high in God's account, and diftinguished by his favour above their neighbours. But Jefus fays to those who juftify themselves, "That which is highly efteemed among men, is an abomination in the fight of God."
The afpiring Nimrods and the flattering Abfaloms of the world, when they have the favour of princes or people, imagine they have the favour of the Almighty. But Haman and Herod foon received a confutation of this opinion; the one for his deteftable pride, through divine indignation, was hanged like a dog; the other was fmitten by an angel of the Lord, and his loathfome carcafe eaten up of worms, be. cause he gave not God the glory.
The unworthy, the greedy and griping fons of the good old Eli, who would be ferved firft, and ferved with the beft, or take their part by force, though they boafted of the ark, and trufted in it, fuppofing they had the Almighty in fome fort engaged to them thereby, yet they themselves were miferably flain, and their pofterity were brought bafely
bafely to crouch for a piece of filver, and a morfel of bread.
Though carnal persons may bless the profperous covetous man, we are told that God abhors him. If Jeconiah will fet his eyes and heart only to his covetousness, and build himself a houfe by unrighteousness, and chambers by wrong, ufing his neighbours' service without wages, by divine appointment, he fhall die unlamented, and be buried with the burial of an afs; the best part of his name fhall be taken away, he fhall only be called Coniah; and though he was as the fignet on God's right hand, advanced to high and distinguished honours, yet the Almighty will pluck him thence and caft him down. Though the ambitious and impious king of Tyre be, in the estimation of fome, as the anointed cherub, and fay he is God, and fet his heart as the heart of God, yet he shall be brought down to the pit.
Myftical Babylon may fay, "I fit as a queen, and fhall fee no forrow; fhe may glorify herself, and boast of the peculiar favour of Him whose spouse she pretends to be; yet it will appear by and by, that she is the habitation of Devils; and her plagues shall come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; nay, she shall be utterly burnt with fire, for ftrong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
If haughty and felf-righteous Ifrael fill the world with the loud acclamations of "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we, the church, the church; we are God's peculiar people, his portion, his chofen heritage;" yet the Most High can take his leave of Jerufalem, as he did of Shiloh, and caft the people out of his fight; and though they were to him once externally for a name, a praise and a glory; yet they fhall become like a rotten girdle, that is good for nothing; yea, God will even dafh them in pieces one against another, and will not pity nor fpare them, because, notwithstanding their high pretenfions, their hearts are far from him.
Chorazin and Bethfaida had mighty works done in them; they were highly favoured with the prefence, the preaching and the miracles of Jefus, yet, because of their unbelief, it fhall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for Capernaum, which was exalted to heaven in privileges, for the like ftupid infenfibility, shall be caft down to the lowest hell in punishment.
The feven Afian churches may lose their splendor, be diminished and brought low. Laodicea thought herself rich and increafed with goods, dignified with able preachers, fplendid gifts of the Spirit, found doctrine, and glorious privileges, on which accounts the judged herself more in favour with God
than all the rest, and became vain and fecure to that degree, that the threatening denounced against her is, Thou art fo offenfive to me, that I will fpue thee out of my mouth,"
To be in the favour of God is a matter of infinite concernment, yet thousands in the world are mistaken about it. When death and judgment come, what discoveries will be made; what an awful disappointment will many meet with; efpecially fuch as expect the favour of God, and admiffion among the faints, on account of a mere outward profeffion, or of some acts of external obedience! Some will plead their excellent gifts in praying and preaching, for which they have been admired and applauded by men. Some will plead their high preferment in the church; and others fay, “We have eaten and drunk in thy prefence, and thou haft taught in our ftreets." But the great Judge tells us, he will answer them all alike, with these awful words, "I know you not, I will not own you, depart from me, ye curfed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels." It will be in vain for them to reply, "What! must we depart, who were civil with our neighbours, good church-men, orthodox believers, and sober livers! Muft we depart who heard the word gladly, commended the preacher, practifed
many things which we heard, had ftrong convictions, hated fuperftition, were pleaders for God's pure worship, and even took delight in approaching unto Him! Wilt thou not, on all these accounts, grant us favour? Muft we indeed be banished from thee? O moft dreadful difappointment!
Alas, alas! what a difcovering, difanimating, confounding day will that be to many, who, upon felf-flattering grounds were as confident of being in God's favour as if they had seen their names in his book! They would by no means be beaten off from this vain confidence; but they will now fee themfelves to have been wofully deluded by Satan, and their own deceitful hearts, when it is too late to cry for mercy.
The confideration of this deeply affects the minds of upright minifters. Their hearts ache, and their fouls mourn in fecret, on account of the pride and ftupidity of felf-deceivers. If we tell them there is danger; if we bid them search and deal plainly with their hearts, they look upon us as enemies, by raifing in them unneceffary terrors, and giving falfe alarms. Some even deride our earnest endeavours, and bid us look to ourselves; for they know they are fafe, and as high in God's favour as the best of us, though their whole temper and their walk give juft ground of fufpicion, that their hearts are not right in the fight of God. We are under the fad