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in all the essential parts of human character
Are your life
This is to be
A Christian life includes all moral duties, but, beyond them, reaches after perfection. A Christian life is the commencement, the first beginning of the life of God
to be consummated in heaven.
If it be something more than merely a
moral life, it unquestionably is more than an immoral life. Such a life is hostile to faith. An immoral man can be no Christian. What shall we say, then, of those professing believers, who not only are always like the world, but, in many respects, outstrip the men of the world in worldly conduct? But especially what shall we say of those who give the enemies of religion occasion to blaspheme, by reason of their sins? We must say of all these as the apostle did weeping, that they are" enemies of the cross "of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose "god is their belly, and whose glory is in "their shame, who mind earthly things."
Professors of the Lord Jesus! beware that these things be not said of you. You are Christians in name: be so in deed likewise. You stand on an eminence, like a city built on a hill hide not then yourselves amidst the pollutions of sinners. You are lights in the world: obscure not your shining by the vapours and mists of corruption. Always display a pre-eminence in virtue and holiness, worthy of your vocation. Always let your light shine before others, that they,
Phil. iii. 18, 19.
seeing your good works, may glorify God. Although here you dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations, you will, if you are faithful unto death, be admitted to the thousands of Israel, in the City above— to the kindreds, people, and nations, who dwell there, and with them shall be happy for ever. AMEN.
THE NATURE AND CONSEQUENCES
HOSEA IV. 17.
Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.
THE ten tribes of Israel are here called Ephraim, not only because this was a principal one among them in numbers and courage, but also because it gave birth to a number of their kings, and contained in its boundaries, Tirzah and Samaria, successively their seats of government. They revolted from their allegiance to the house of David, under Rehoboam, and erected themselves into an independent kingdom, under
SER. VII.] THE Nature and conSEQUENCES, &c. 147 Jeroboam the son of Nebat. The character given of this man in Scripture is pre-eminently infamous. He did evil above all that were before him; for he " took counsel, and "made two calves of gold, and said unto❞ the people," It is too much for you to go to Je"rusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which "brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. “And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing," saith the sacred historian, "became a sin for the "people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan"." Thus he did sin, and caused Israel to sin. Being a self-willed, rebellious people, they readily fell in with his views, and became idolaters like unto the heathen around them.
Against such conduct they had been admonished to guard themselves, under the penalty of Jehovah's hottest displeasure. No one sin is so frequently and unequivocally forbidden in Scripture, as that of idolatry. It is "saying to a stock, Thou art my "father, and to a stone, Thou hast brought "me forth." It is ascribing that glory of praise to perishing vanities, which is due a 1 Kings xii. 28-30.