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One Habitual Sin Ruins the Soul.

One Habitual Sin Ruins the Soul.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. D. MERRILL

When I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy ser-
vant in this thing. 2 Kings v. 18.
BY REV. D. MERRILL

When I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy ser-
vant in this thing. 2 Kings v. 18.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 23, 2013
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ONE HABITUAL SIN RUINS THE SOUL.BY REV. D. MERRILLWhen I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy ser-vant in this thing. 2 Kings v. 18.These are the words of Naaman the Syrian — a prayer, wemay call it, offered under peculiar circumstances. There isabout it a degree of frankness and sincerity, in themselves wor-thy of commendation. In making a covenant with God, hewould have the conditions well understood. The promise wentno farther than the intention to perform. So far I will go.As to any thing beyond that, I must be excused on account of my peculiar situation. But with God, peculiar situation is noexcuse. His authority extends to all situations, and his lawsare binding in all situations. No exceptions or reservationscan be allowed.This case is worthy of our attention, as a manifestationof the spirit of the carnal mind. Naaman had been curedof leprosy, and was strongly affected by this exhibition of the power of God. He was satisfied that none of the godswhich he had worshipped could perform such a work, and de-termined at all hazards to renounce them. They should re-ceive no more worship and sacrifice from him. "Behold, nowI know there is no God in all the earth but in Israel. .Thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering norsacrifice unto any other gods, but unto the Lord." Now thiswas going a good way for a heathen, — making what we wouldbe disposed to call a good beginning. And a good beginning188 REV. D. Merrill's sermons.it was, if it had been carried out in all its Icngtli and breadth.But here was a failure — evidencing that the very foundation,good as it appeared, had not been properly laid. His masterwas an idolater, and he must attend him, not merely at court,but at the Idol temple. Of course it would be expected thathe would conform to the established usages. When his masterbowed down to the idol, he must do so too. He must eitherconform or lose his place at court, and perhaps his head too.The temptation was very strong. He had not the heart to re-sist it. " The Lord pardon thy servant in this thing." Heseemed conscious that it was wrong, — that there was no com-munion between God and idols. But then, without it, dis-grace and suffering, and perhaps death, awaited him. Not
 
having the spirit of a martyr, he was not willing to give up all,or to risk all in such a cause. He determined to conform, andin order to palliate his fault as much as possible, and cast theblame upon his circumstances, he smoothed the whole over with" The Lord pardon thy servant in this thing. I am sorry ithappened so. But, situated as I am, how can I help it?"A really pious man would have known how to help it. A de-termination, '* it must not and shall not be done," would havebeen formed in a moment. He would have said, "It is pleas-ant to hold a place among the honorable of the earth, but thereis no necessity that I should hold that place at all hazards. Itis pleasant to live, but there is no necessity that I should liveat all hazards. But ' necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe isunto me,' if I obey not the voice of the Lord God," Earthlydistinction, and even life itself, when laid in the balance againstthe favor of God, are altogether lighter than vanity. Therewere many things favorable in the case of this man, but thisone thing destroyed the whole. He could give up many things.ONE HABITUAL SIN RUINS THE SOUL. 189but he could not give up all. And for the same reason, thou-sands who go far in religious ways, come short of salvation.They will not give up enough. For one sin, persisted in, willdestroy the soul. There is no necessity for going all thelength of abomination ; let a man hold on to one sin, whateverit may be, and he is forever ruined. I am aware that this iscontrary to the apprehensions of most men ; they have no ideaof such thorough-going devotion to the service of God. Al-lowances are made for sin here, that God will not make here-after. Indeed, the general apprehension seems to be, that if the conduct is upright in the main, and the great evils avoided,the Lord will pardon an indulgence in smaller matters. Mostmen would judge Naaman, with his simple reservation, a prettygood Christan. But the law does not so judge — nor shall we,if the truth have any place in us.One SIN DELIBERATELY PERSISTED IN DESTROVS TOE SOUL.From the very nature of sin, it must be so. What is sin ?A departure from God — a passing over bounds which he hasfixed — a cloud to hide the face of God. While a single sin ispersisted in, the soul is away from God, and without the circleof blessedness. And there hangs the cloud to hide His face.Thus, in the very nature of the case, one sin must be ruinous.To save a soul that persists in a single sin, is as much impossi-ble as to change the character and laws of God. We may as
 
well suppose God to be different from what he is, as to supposesuch a salvation. Sin, is going away from God ; and persist-ing in sin, is continuing away. Doing many things which Godhas re((uired, does not destroy the distance. While the soulcontinues away from God it must be in a state of ruin andwretchedness. So that the hope of many, that some thingsmay be neglected provided others are performed, is palpably190 REV. D. Merrill's sermons.absurd. Tlie cause of ruin must cease to act before the ruincan be repaired. And while one sin is persisted in, the causeremains.From the very nature of religion, one sin persisted in de-stro3^s the soul. What is religion ? It is the image of Godenstamped on the soul — the soul renewed again in the imageof him that created it. It is a grafting into the good olivetree. And the graft must first be separated entirely from theold stock. So that religion and peristence in a single sin areinconsistent. For whoever persists in a single sin, shows thathe has not been cut off from the old stock. If he had been,he would not be nourished by that root. Sin would not havedominion over him. Persistence in one sin is as clear andconvincing evidence that he has no part nor lot in the matter,as persistence in ten thousand. Eeligion is the law of Godwritten in the heart, — not a mutilated copy of the law, but thewhole, written in fair legible characters — a law contrary toall sin — making no allowance — forbidding one sin as well asanother. Can he who has the law thus written, not with ink,but with the Spirit of God, persist in any species of iniquity ?Can he say, " The Lord pardon thy servant in this thing,"while he determines to hold on to it ? The very spirit of re-ligion is to abstain from every appearance of evil. And if theSpirit of God dwell in him, he will not desire to abide in anyiniquity. He will rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ hasmade him free, and have no wish to be again subjected to bon-dage. Taking the Lord Jehovah for his portion, he can wil-lingly renounce every thing which would separate him fromhis portion. He will no more think of indulging sin of onekind than sin of all kinds. The same spirit which leads himto hate one, leads him to hate all. From the very nature of ONE HABITUAL SIN RUINS THE SOUL. 191

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