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Mankind Punished by Being Left to Themselves.

Mankind Punished by Being Left to Themselves.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. HARVEY GOODWIN, M.A.,


PSALM Ixxxi. 12, 13.

My people would not hear My voice, and Israel would not

obey Me.
So I gave them up unto their own hearts lusts, and let

them follow their own imaginations.
BY REV. HARVEY GOODWIN, M.A.,


PSALM Ixxxi. 12, 13.

My people would not hear My voice, and Israel would not

obey Me.
So I gave them up unto their own hearts lusts, and let

them follow their own imaginations.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 03, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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MAKID PUISHED BY BEIG LEFT TO THEMSELVES. BY REV. HARVEY GOODWI, M.A., PSALM Ixxxi. 12, 13. My people would not hear My voice, and Israel would not obey Me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts lusts, and let them follow their own imaginations. THE lesson which I propose to draw from these words is most important; one which lies at the root of all the relations which subsist between our souls and God, one also which I think rises very obviously from the text, and which yet I venture to guess the words have never suggested to the minds of many amongst you. It seems to me very possible that you may have read the words of the text and heard them read often, and may have taken them to mean merely this, that God withdrew His blessing from the Israelites because they rebelled against Him ; and you may have concluded, that in like manner He will now as of old withhold His mercies from those who will not heartily serve Him. And I do not say- that these conclusions are wrong; they are true conclusions, true as regards the Israelites, true as regards ourselves; but they do not convey, as I think, the peculiar point and edge of the text. For what says the text? "My people would not hear My voice, and Israel would not obey Me." Here was the act of rebellion, the deter mination not to serve and obey God ; and it was a determination which was sure to bring down
 
evil on their heads ; and so it did : but mark what kind of evil, mark what was the sentence of God upon a chosen people who had made up their minds to disobey : "So I gave them up unto their own hearts lusts, and let them follow their own imaginations." A strange punishment this truly ! strange at least to a mind not looking below the surface of things ; Israel wishes to have his own way instead of God s way, wishes to follow his own imaginations instead of God s law, and the punishment is this, that, instead of cor recting the rebellious spirit by sharp chastisement and discipline, God suffers His rebellious servants to have their own way. And it is clear from the tone of the Psalm, that this punishment is looked upon as one of the D2 52 SERMO IV. most grievous which God s wrath can inflict; for the writer of the Psalm, speaking as in the words of God, laments over the people as over those who were now past recovery ; as though the sword of the enemy, the famine, the pestilence, were but slight scourges, compared with that more bitter curse of being allowed to do as they would with out check or curb. This must needs seem strange to one who judges after the manner which is common in this world. For to be free from check, to do as he will, to be permitted to have his heart s lust or desire, to be able without let or hindrance to follow his own imagination, this is what half the world are seek ing after, this to half the world would be almost
 
the definition of happiness. It is the restraint of rules and laws which many men find so galling; the laws of society forbid this, and the bonds of family interfere with that, and the Bible is severe in its code, and the Church protests, and withal conscience is for ever tormenting and vexing ; and so a man who desires to walk after the ways of his own heart finds himself perpetually curbed and harassed by all kinds of restrictions; and nothing would delight him more than to receive such a sentence as this, " From henceforth you shall have your own heart s lusts, and you shall be allowed to follow your own imaginations." MAKID LEFT TO THEMSELVES. 53 And yet this boon of freedom would be the deadliest curse ; this coveted state of liberty is the last awful punishment reserved for those, who have made up their minds to rebel, and whom the ordinary chastisements and warnings of God have failed to bring to repentance. ow let us look into this subject a little more closely. The Psalm from which the text is taken throughout belongs to Israel ; it is a hymn of merryhearted joy to the God of Jacob, for all His mercy and goodness. Let us then for a moment consider the relation of Israel to their God: Israel was the chosen people, they were taken out of all the world as a witness for the true God, they were to be treated with special favour, they were to be the holiest as well as the happiest of mankind. How did God shew His love to them? Did He say, Your natural appe tites lead you to such and such things, and as you are My chosen people I will not interfere to thwart your propensities? Did He say, Ke-

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