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BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
2 Chron. xii. 7. ^nd when the Lord saw that they himbled
themselves, the ivord of the Lord came to Shemaiah, sayingj
They have humbled themselves, therefore I will not destroy
REPETACE is so plain and acknowledged a
duty, that it is never unseasonable to call men to the
performance of it : whilst, on the other hand, so
great are our encouragements to it, that we rather
account it a privilege than a duty. The instances
wherein God has recorded his condescension to pe-
nitents of old time, are almost numberless : the one
before us, even if there were no other, would of
itself be sufficient to encourage all, whether nations
or individuals, to abase themselves before him, and
to seek his favour with an assurance that they should
not seek it in vahi.
For the space of three years Rehoboam continued
to walk in the ways of David and of Solomon \
But having, as he thought, strengthened himself
against all assault from foreign enemies, " he forsook
the law of the Lord, as did all Israel together with
him^" For this great defection God stirred up
Shishak king of Egypt to come forth against him
with a large army. Shishak doubtless was of him-
»Ch. xi. 17. '' ver. 1.
273.] HUMILIATIO THE MEAS OP DELIVERACE. 24/
self willing enough to invade a country which
offered the prospect of such abundant spoil as Jeru-
salem did at that time : but, though unconscious of
any foreign agency, he was only an instrument in
God's hands, sent forth to punish the transgressions
of revolted Israeli Success attended the invading
army in all their movements ; the fenced cities all
successively fell into their hands ; and at last Jeru-
salem itself became their prey. In less than five
short years was all the wealth which David and So-
lomon had treasured up in the temple and in the
king's house, swept away, and delivered over as a
spoil to a victorious enemy. And now would Jeru-
salem itself also have been utterly destroyed, if the
arm of justice had not been arrested by the peni-
tential cries of Rehoboam and his nobles. God
had sent a prophet to declare to them the grounds
and reasons of the judgments that were now inflicted
on them : and they, seeing that all other hope had
failed them, betook, themselves to repentance. To
this God had respect, as our text informs us ; and,
on seeing their repentance, he sent the same prophet
to assure them, that he would suspend his uplifted
arm, and forbear to execute upon them his judg-
ments according to the full measure of their deserts.
ow from the message which was sent them from
the Lord we may properly observe,
I. That sin will surely bring the judgments of God
upon us —
[It matters not by whom sin is committed ; for all are
equally amenable to the laws of God, and must stand on an equal
footing at the bar of judgment. Kings and princes are in this
respect on a level with the lowest of mankind : for " with God
is no respect of persons."
or must we imagine that those sins only which are of greater
enormity in our eyes will be noticed by God : for he notices the
violations of the first table, as well as of the second ; and those
of defect as well as those of actual transgression. The sum of
the two tables is, that " we should love the Lord our God with
all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength ; and our neigh-
bour as ourselves :" and it will be to little purpose, that we have
•= ver. 2.
248 2 CHROICLES, XII. 7. [273.
not bowed down to strange gods, if we have withheld from Je-
hovah the entire devotion of our souls ; or that we have not
injured our neighbour by the open crimes of adultery and murder,
if we have withheld from him those holy exercises of brotherly
affection which God has made his due. JSins of omission must
be accounted for, as well as those of commission : and not one
escapes the notice of the heart-searching God.
Our iniquities, because committed long ago, may be for-
gotten by us : but not one of them is forgotten by God : they
are all recorded in the book of his remembrance : and the pre-
cise measure of " wrath" that is due to each " is treasured up,"
against the day that the vials of God's wrath shall be poured out
upon the whole world. Every sin leaves a stain behind it : and
as the hunted stag, though far removed from the sight or hearing
of his pursuers, is traced by them till he is overtaken and de-
stroyed, so will the sinner be by the judgments of the Most
High ; according as it is said, " Evil shall hunt the wicked man,
to overthrow him." Yes, to every sinner under heaven must it
be said, " Be sure your sin will find you out."]
or is there any possibility of escape, but by re-
pentance ; since God has ordained,
II. That sin, in order to its being forgiven, must be
repented of —
[" God has commanded all men every where to repent :"
and has declared, that, " except we repent, we must all perish.'*
But let it not be thought that repentance is a mere light and
transient emotion : no indeed : repentance is a far different thing
from what is generally supposed. It must be general, not re-
lating to some few particular acts, but to the state and habit of
our souls throughout our whole lives. It must also be deep, like
that of the publican, leading us to smite on our breasts with much
contrition, and to cry for mercy as the most unworthy of man-
kind. One thing in particular we notice in Rehoboam and the
princes; they acknowledged, that " God was righteous" in all
that he had brought upon them**. And till we also are brought
ingenuously and from our iimiost souls to acknowledge, that he
may justly enter into judgment with us, and consign our souls
over to everlasting perdition, we are not truly penitent : we see
not our own demerit : we virtually deny God's right to punish
us : we are proud, unhumbled, unsubdued.
Our penitence must also lead us to cast ourselves altogether
upon God's promised mercy in Christ Jesus. This it is which
constitutes the difference between that " repentance which is
unto salvation," and which is " never to be repented of," and
that repentance which will leave us short of salvation, and leave
* ver. 6.
273.] HUMILIATIO THE MEAS OP DELIVERACE. 249
room for everlasting penitence in the world to come. If our
hope terminate on any thing short of the blood and righteousness
of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have not yet learned the extent of
our fall, or the impossibility of being saved by any name but his.]
It is, however, no little consolation to know,
III. That sin, truly repented of, shall assuredly be
[How delightful the evidence of this in the passage before
us ! God sends his servant to announce to his penitent people
his compassion towards them, and his readiness to forgive ; ex-
pressly grounding his forgiveness on the penitence which they had
evinced. And where shall we find any instance of penitence
despised, or of judgments inflicted on one who with sincerity of
heart implored mercy at God's hands ? We will take an instance
of one whose crimes perhaps exceeded those of any other indi-
vidual from the foundation of the world, — the idolatrous, and
murderous Manasseh. He, like Rehoboam and his courtiers,
thought not of repentance, till he was reduced, as it were, to
the lowest ebb of misery : but even then his cry was heard ; and
his supplication entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts*. So,
if we be truly penitent, whatever may have been the extent of
our iniquity, it shall be forgiven. " Let the wicked forsake his
way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return
unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our
God, for he will abundantly pardon ^" Only let us " repent
and turn ourselves from all our transgressions, and then iniquity
shall not be our ruin^." Though " our sins have been many,
they shall be forgiven'';" and "where sin has abounded, the
grace of our God shall much more abound'."]
And now permit me to institute a most important
[Respecting Rehoboam and the princes, it is said, " God
saw that they humbled themselves : " and of this God testified,
saying, " They have humbled themselves." ow then I ask,
Can he bear the same testimony respecting you ? Has he seen you
weeping in secret on account of your multiplied iniquities ? Can
he say of you as he does of Ephraim, " Surely I have heard
Ephraim bemoaning himself;" and can he, as he did in Ephraim's
case, rehearse the very language of your lips and hearts, and
attest your every motion, whether of body or mind, as indicating
the depth and sincerity of your repentance"^? — Call to
mind the time, the place, the occasion Say whether
• 2 Chron. xxxiii. 11 — 13. ' Isai. Iv. 7.
' Ezek. xviii. 30. •• Luke vii. 47.
* Horn. V.20. •• Jer. xxxi. 18, 1 9.
250 2 CHROICLES, XII. 7. [273.
it arose only out of some particular circumstances, or whether it
be the stated habit of your mind ? Were this indeed the general
frame of your souls, we would congratulate you, assured that
God has already said concerning you, " Is not Ephraim my dear
son ? Is he not a pleasant child ? for since I spake against him,
I do earnestly remember him still : therefore my bowels are trou-
bled for him 5 I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord'.'*
There can be no doubt respecting any " one who thus sows in
tears, that he shall soon reap in joy™."
But respecting too many of you, must not the testimony of
God be tlie very reverse of this ? Must not the heart-searching
God say respecting the generality, — " I have seen in them no re-
pentance at all ? I have seen them agitated times without number
on account of earthly things : I have seen them angry, when
offended; and grieved, when they have suffered loss : but I have
never seen them angry at themselves for offending me, nor be-
moaning, as they should have done, the loss of their own souls.
If you were to form your estimate from what has been seen in
them, you must conclude, that sin is no great evil ; that re-
pentance on account of it is of no urgent necessity ; and that
acceptance with me is not worth the trouble of it" — ? Must he not
further testify respecting some, " I have seen their parents, yea,
and their Minister too, weeping over them; but have never seen
them weeping for themselves " — ?
ow, Brethren, it is to little purpose for you to say, " I have
repented," unless ''your sorrow has been of a godly sort:"
for you will not be judged by what you are pleased to call
repentance, but by the standard of God's blessed word : it is
by that that God forms his estimate of you now ; and by that
will you be judged in the last day. " Judge yourselves therefore
now, that ye may not be judged of the Lord." If it were only
such a destruction as impended over Jerusalem, that were about
to come upon you, methinks I would be content to let you
" sleep on and take your rest:" but, when I reflect that it is an
" everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and
from the glory of his power," I tremble at the thought of your
exposure to it, and of its being the doom to which you are so
soon to be consigned.
Begin then this necessary work, ere it be too late
Consider God as now calling you to it by me, as he called his
people of old by the prophet Sheniaiah" and never cease
to abase yourselves before him, till he shall have said concerning
you, " I have seen his ways, and will heal him, and will restore
comfort to him and to his mourners" :" for you may be assured,
' Jar. xxxi. 20. "' Ps. cxxvi. 5.
" If this be a subject for a Fast-Day on account of ill success in
war, or any other calamity, a parallel may here be drawn between
that and the afHictions specified in the context.
° Isai. Ivii. 18.
that, if now you " are afflicted, and mourn, and weep ; if your
laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into heaviness,
so that you humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
he will lift you up in due time J*:" he will say, "Deliver him
from going down into the pit 3 for I have found and accepted a
ransom for him''."]
P Jam, iv. 9, 10. ' Job xxxiii. 27, 28.
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