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Be sure your sin will find you out. — um. xxxii. 23. Men, when they commit sin, wish to think that they are done with the thing for ever. Few succeed
SI WILL COME TO LIGHT. 55 in convincing themselves of this huge error; but some do think that the Most High doth not regard, and will never call them to account. Others think that the day of God's deaUng with them will not come till by some means, not sanctioned by Scripture, not approved by sound reason, they will make all right. In many ways sinners practise deceit on themselves and harden themselves in iniquity. Men are not done with sin when they have committed it. After sin comes a dread account. Be sure your sin will find you out. I. God certainly shows his purpose to punish sin by the way he causes woe to come on some sinners here. The drunkard, the glutton, and the cheat, the liar and the lewd, are not the only examples. Most frauds are exposed. early all murders are brought to. light. Men may plot very secretly, and think their crimes are hid. But Providence calls on stones and beams of timber, on tracks and pieces of paper, to be witnesses of the crime. Some* indeed escape conviction, and a few escape detection. Moral evidence often puts the brand on men who escaped punishment by legal evidence. Then all that class of sins which are not
punishable by human laws, God often punishes with a loss of respect, esteem, or confidence. After twenty-
56 SI WILL COME TO LIGHT. four years of concealment Joseph's brethren are brought to feel and say that God had found out their iniquity. Ibycus, a famous Grecian poet, was going to Corinth. Robbers attacked and murdered him. As he was falling and dying, he looked around to see if there were no witnesses or avengers. All he could see was a flock of cranes high in the air. He called on them to avenge his blood. You may think that was an idle call. The robbers thought so. They got their prey and came to Corinth. They went to the open theatre. As they sat there, they looked up and saw above them a flight of cranes, and one scoffingly said, " Lo, there are the avengers of Ibycus." The words were heard by some one near them. Abeady fears of the poet's safety began to be common. The gang, on being questioned, betrayed themselves, and The Cranes of Ibi/cus became a proverb, like that we have in English, Murder mil out. Many a man, who has too much passion to abstain from crime, has too much conscience to conceal it. The advocate and the judge have both been known to leave their placp in the court, and take their stand in the prisoner's box, and confess themselves culprits. 11. Men might be sure that their sin will find them out by the sore judgments which God sometimes sends on men for their sins. • On this matter
SI WILL COME TO LIGHT. 57
we should exercise candour, caution, and charity, and not call that an angry judgment which is but a dark doing of love. Still there are on earth sore and marked judgments. Look at the history of Achan, of Korah, of adab and Abihu, of Saul, of Absalom, and many others mentioned in the Old Testament. Read the history of the crimes, and cruelties, and pride of Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, and Herod Agrippa, and see the unhappy end of their lives ; and you can hardly avoid the conviction that "verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth." Of thirty Roman Emperors, Proconsuls, and high officials who distinguished themselves by their zeal and rage against the early Christians, it is recorded that one became speedily deranged after an act of great cruelty ; one was slain by his own son ; one became blind ; the eyes of one started out of his head ; one was drowned ; one was strangled ; one died in a miserable captivity ; one fell dead in a manner that will not bear to be told; one died of so loathsome a disease that several of his physicians were put to death, because they could not abide the stench that filled his room ; two committed suicide ; a third attempted it, but had to call for help to finish the bloody work ; five were assassinated by their own servants or people ; five others died the most horrible deaths, having many and strange
58 SI WILL COME TO LIGHT. diseases ; and eight were killed in battle, or after being taken prisoners. " Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days." In more modern times you might find many cases Uke these abeady given in the death of tyrants, infidels, criminals, and vicious men. A man swearing falsely was seen to grow pale, stagger, and expire. A profane man called on God to damn his eyes. Soon after his eyes burst and left their sockets empty. There is a Judge in all
the earth. Men have more to do with sin than to commit it. Be sure your sin mil find you out. "When the judgments of God are abroad in the earth, let the inhabitants learn righteousness." wicked man, stand in awe and sin not. III. One may escape detection and strange judgments, and still his sin may find him out in the fears, clamours, and remorse of conscience. Seldom does one kill a man in a duel without turning coward, or desperado. If he lives, he is afraid of the dark, he is afraid of being alone. A great man in our own Country, a sinner though not a murderer, often exclaimed in his sleep, "I am dead and damned." Another often waked all who were near him by screaming out the name of one he had greatly injured. Remorse is remorseless. Like fire, it burns all around it. Conscience keeps the spirit of the
SI WILL COME TO LIGHT. 59 guilty in the state of a volcanic mountain — ^the fire rages within, the heated elements boil, and swell, and mutter angry sounds. or will an eruption put out the fire. o man can protect himself against his sins flashing him in the face at any moment. The Bible, preaching, singing, praying, a marriage, a trial in court, the sight of the man he has injured, or of one that looks like him, or anything, may arouse his conscience into fury at the most inconvenient time. IV. But even if one escape all these things, yet if he dies impardoned, his sins will find him 'out in the next world. " For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, and hid, that shall not be known," Luke xii. 2. These were the words of Jesus, rebuking the deep hypocrisy of his times.
" Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment ; and some men they follow after," 1 Tim. y. 24. But whether they go before or after, they will find you out despite all your efibrts to conceal them. God knows all about your acts, and has written them in his book. Solomon says, " Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought ; and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber ; for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter," Eccl. x. 20. But the King of
60 SI WILL COME TO LIGHT. kings needs no bird and no messenger to tell him what man thinks, or says, or does. Why do not men admit the force of these truths, and act accordingly ? The reasons are very clear. 1. Some think their sins will not find them out because God has not yet called them to an account. " Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil," Eccl. viii. 11. Such men forget that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day ; that the day of the Lord will come as 9, thief in the night ; and that the only reason why they are not now undergoing punishment is that God is long-suflFering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, 2 Pet. iii. 8—10. 2. In this world sinners often forget their sins, and think God has also forgotten them. Many are so stupid that in an hour after using profane language they remember it not. But God forgets nothing. That which occurred fifty years ago is before his mind as clearly as if it occurred this hour. It is not the right-
eous but the wicked that has said in his heart : " God hath forgotten : he hideth his face ; he will never see it," Ps. X. 11. 3. Some think their sin will not find them out because they doubt whether God is holy and just, and
SI WILL COME TO LIGHT. 61 whether he takes notice of human actions. The Bible tells us of such : " They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say. The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it," Ps. xciv. 5 — 7. But that is practical atheism. " For the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good," Prov. xv. 3. And " God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil," Eccl. xii. 14. 4. Some think their sin will not find them out because God is merciful. ow in a sense, and in his appointed way, God's mercy is high as heaven, deep as the ocean, longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. But mercy slighted and rejected can save no man. All the cooling foimtains can do no good to him who does not drink them. The light of the sun is not strong enough to make the blind see. Bread will not save from starvation unless it be eaten. Even God's mercy will not save from hell unless it be accepted. O sinner, sinner, be sure your sin will find you out. You may now live in ease and in error. You may now harden your heart in pride. But you must meet your sins at God's tribunal. Remember that. O be wise, be wise unto salvation.
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