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BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
2 Chron. xxxvi. 15, 16. And the Lord God of their fathers
sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending;
because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-
place : but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised
his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the
Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
I speaking of the Divine perfections, it is common
to represent tliem all as infinite, because they do not
admit of any increase: but perhaps it would be
more correct to speak of them as limited, because
they all so limit each other as to produce one har-
monious agency in all their operations ; every per-
fection being exercised so far, and so far only, as is
consistent with the glory of the whole Deity. Justice,
for instance, never exerts itself to the disparagement
of mercy ; nor does mercy ever triumph over the
rights of justice: so neither does patience interpose
for the arresting of judgment, any longer than consists
with the claims of holiness: as soon as ever its
protracted influence would reflect dishonour on God
as the moral Governor of the universe, it recedes,
and leaves the sword of vengeance to execute its
heavenly commission. The truth of this statement
fully appears from the words before us; from which
we are naturally led to notice,
I. God's patience exercised —
It was exercised to a most astonishing degree
towards his people of old —
342 2 CHROICLES, XXXVI. 15, l6. [294.
[The Scripture frequently speaks of God, not only as sending
messengers to his people, but as " rising early" and sending
them. This intimates, that as soon as ever they went astray, he
commissioned his servants to reclaim them ; yea, many hundred
years before the final execution of his judgments upon them,
he forewarned them how he would proceed, and cautioned them
against driving him to such extremities'" When these
warnings were disregarded, he sent them prophets, to bring these
things to their remembrance^ and to plead with them in his name.
Sometimes he raised up prophets for particular occasions; at
other times he continued them for many years in their office, in
order by any means to turn the people from their sins. Full of
*^ compassion towards his people," and averse to forsake the
land which he had given them for a " dwelling-place," he bore
with all their frowardness and perverseness ; " many a time
turning away his anger," when he might justly have broken
forth against them, and made them monuments of his everlasting
But how did they requite his tender mercies? " They mocked
his messengers (we are told), and despised his words, and
misused his Prophets." Even against Moses himself did their
resentment frequently burn, insomuch that on one occasion they
were ready to stone him ^. Their Prophets in every successive
age were treated with all manner of indignities, menaced,
imprisoned, martyred, according as the wrath of their rulers was
permitted to prevail. " Which of the Prophets have not your
fathers persecuted?" said St. Stephen''; and our blessed Lord, to
comfort his Disciples under the trials which they would meet with,
reminded them, that " so had the Prophets been persecuted, who
were before them*."]
In like manner is it exercised in reference to us —
[God is yet sending his ambassadors to us, not merely to reprove
and warn, or to encourage us with a hope of temporal rewards, as
he did to the Jews, but to offer us redemption through the blood
of his dear Son, and to beseech us to accept of reconciliation with
him*^ And such is his " compassion towards us," that he
cannot endure the thought of giving us up ^, as long as a hope
remains of converting us to himself*
And what return do we make to God ? Do we not act pre-
cisely as the Jews before us did ? There is no faithful messenger
that addresses us in Jehovah's name, but we call him an enthu-
siast : however temperate and kind, and reasonable his exhor-
• Lev. xxvi. 14 — 39. & Deut. xxviii. 15 — 68.
" Ps. Ixxviii. 38. & cvi. 13 — 48. *= Exod. xvii. 4.
"* Acts vii. 52. * Matt. v. 12. '2 Cor. v. 18 — 20.
• Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Jer. xiii, 27. Hos. xi. 8.
294.1 TERMIATIO OF GOd's FORBEARACE. 343
tations may be"", we mock and deride him as " a babbler',"
"a deceiver''," and " a fellow that ought not to be tolerated^"
Our blessed Lord himself, who " spake as never man spake,"
was accounted a madman and a demoniac™; and every faithful
servant of God from his day even to the present hour, has been
made an object, though not of equal, yet certainly of similar,
reproach. One would suppose that men, with the sacred volume
in their hands, seeing how the Prophets and Apostles were all
treated, would avoid treading in the steps of former persecutors :
but the enmity of the human heart against God is the same as
ever ; and the messages of God are therefore treated with the
same contempt as ever. If there be any difference as to the
mode in which that enmity betrays itself, it is owing to the ex-
cellence of our laws, and not to any superiority in us above the
Jews. Our dispositions are the same as theirs, and our abuse of
God's tender mercies is the same.]
In the sequel of our text we see,
II. God's patience exhausted —
He was at last constrained to execute upon them
his threatened vengeance —
[After bearing with their frowardness many hundred years,
his wrath against tliem was kindled, and he gave them up into
the hands of their enemies''. Every effort for their preservation
had been tried in vain, and " no remedy now remained :" the
people therefore were sent into captivity ; and both their city and
Temple were destroyed.]
Thus also will he do with respect to us —
[If we go on incessantly "grieving the Holy Spirit," we
shall at last " quench" his sacred motions". There is a time
beyond which God will bear with us no longerP. There is a day
of" grace wherein he will be found ^ ; an accepted time in which
salvation may be secured by us ^ But there is a time when he
will say, " Let them alone = ;" " Let their eyes be blinded and
their hearts be hardened*:" "I am weary with repenting":"
and now, " though they cry I will not hear, though they make
many prayers I will not regard them^."
Doubtless if a person were truly penitent, he would be heard
'' See particularly the temperate message sent by Hezekiab,
2 Chron. xxx. 6—10, ' Acts xvii. 18. Ezek. xx. 40.
k John vii. 12. ' Acts xxii. 22. & xxiv. v.
•^ John X. 20. "ver. 17— 21.
" Eph. iv. 30. 1 Thess. v. 19. " Matt, xxiii. 3?, 38.
1 Luke xix. 41—44. ' 'i Cor. vi. 2. Isai. Iv. 6.
8 Hos. iv. 17. ' Acts xxviii. 25 — 27. .;
"Jer.xv. 6. » Prov. i. 24— 31.
344 2 CHROICLES, XXXVI. 15, 1 6. [294.
and accepted at the last hour : but it is God alone who can give
repentance : and, if we continue obstinately to resist his calls,
he will cease to strive with us^, and will give us over to final im-
penitence^. This he has done in unnumbered instances ; and
this he warns us to expect at his hands : " He that being often
reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and
that without remedy''."]
[God speaks to men by his word and Ministers at this day,
as truly as ever he did either by Prophets or Apostles : and pur
word, as far as it is agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, is to be
*' received, not as the word of man, but of God"* :" and, if any
man " despiseth it, he despiseth not man, but God '^." Happy
would it be if this matter were duiy considered : for certainly
there are many, of a proud and contemptuous spirit, who instead
of "trembling at the word," as they ought '', and "humbling
themselves before the Ministers" of Jehovah % make light of all
they hear"", and turn it to derision s. But to such God says,
" Be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong*^." There
is great danger lest they " be holden with the cords of their own
sins'," and be given up to their own delusions''.
On the other hand, let not any imagine that an attachment to
faithful Ministers, or a love to the ordinances as dispensed by
them, will necessarily prove us to be in a state of acceptance with
God : for Ezekiel's hearers were delighted with his discourses,
whilst yet they were by no means conformed to the precepts deli-
vered by him'. Inquire then whether you be really obedient to
the Gospel, receiving Christ as the gift of God to your souls,
relying on him as your only hope, rejoicing in him as your all-
sufficient Saviour, and devoting yourselves to him in all holy
obedience. The tree must be judged of by its fruits alone. If
your fruits be not yet such as might be wished, apply the
" remedy :" go to Christ for the remission of your sins, and seek
from him the gift of his Holy Spirit : then shall the Gospel have
its due effect, and be " the power of God to the salvation of
y Gen. vi, 3. ^ Ps. Ixxxi. 1 1, 12. ^ Prov. xxix. 1.
'' 1 Thess. ii. 13. M Thess. iv. 8. ^ Isai. Ixvi. 2.
* ver. 12. f Matt. xxii. 5. ? Jer. xx. 7, 8.
'• Isai. xxviii. 22. ' Prov. v. 22.
'' Isai. Ixvi. 4. 2 Thess. ii. 10 — 12. 'Ezek. xxxiii.31, 32.
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