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BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
Ps. lxxxi. 11, 12. My people would not hearken to my voice,
and Israel would none of me : so I gave them up.
THE history of the Jews is not a mere record of
times and persons far distant from us, but a display
of the Divine procedure towards others, as a pledge
of a similar procedure towards us. The Jews were
intended as examples to the Church of God m all
ages : their prosperity whilst serving God, and their
adversity when they had departed from him, were
designed to shew us what blessings we may expect
392.] GOD GIVIG UP OBSTIATE TRASGRESSORS. 281
at God's hands, if we serve him acceptably; and
what judgments, if we rebel against him\ In this
view it will be profitable to consider the words
before us ; and,
I. The perverseness complained of —
othing could exceed the kindness of God towards
his people of old —
[How tender and affectionate is his address to them''!
He intreats them not to look to any strange god, since
he alone has an exclusive right to their regard ^ He
assures them also, that whatsoever they shall ask at his hands,
he will do it for them*^
And is it not precisely in the same way that he addresses us ?
He invites to look to him*, and to come unto him^, and to ask
of him whatsoever we will, with an assurance that we shall not
be disappointed of our hope*^. There is no limitation or excep-
tion, provided only the things we desire be agreeable to his holy
will. If we plead with him in earnest, there is no sin that shall
not be forgiven'', no corruption that shall not be mortified', no
want that shall not be suppHed''. He engages, that, to what-
ever temptation we may be exposed, his grace shall be sufficient
But their obstinacy was incorrigible —
[The Jews, with but few exceptions, " would not hearken
to his voice." His precepts, his promises, his threatenings, were
alike disregarded by them. " They would none of him ;" but
said to his messengers whom he sent to reclaim them, " Make
the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us "
And is it not thus with us ? Is not his authority trampled on
by us ? and are not both his mercies and judgments almost uni-
versally despised ? We will have other objects of our affections
in preference to him We will not open our mouths in
prayer, though we know that nothing is to be obtained without
it The language of our hearts and actions is, " We will
not have this man to reign over us™" otwithstanding
all that he has done to "redeem" us from death and hell, we
will not take upon ourselves his light and easy yoke.]
Whilst we thus imitate the perverseness of the
Jews, let us tremble for fear of,
* See 1 Cor. x. 1— 1 1. & Heb. iii. l6— IQ. & iv. 1.
'' ver. 8. ' ver. Q, lO. '' ver. 10. with Deut. iv. 7-
^ Isai. xlv. 22. & Iv. 1—3. ' Matt. xi. 28.
P John xiv. 13, 14. & xv. ?. ^ Isai. i. 18.
» Mic. vii. 19. '' Phil. iv. I9. ' 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9.
'" Luke xix, 14.
282 PSALMS, LXXXI. 11, 12. [392.
11. The judgment inflicted on account of it —
1 . What a loss they sustained—
[He would have preserved them in Canaan, and loaded them
with all imaginable blessings, even as he had done in former
But this was a very faint shadow of what he would do for us.
What victory would he have given us over all our spiritual ene-
mies ! What a fulness of consolation and joy also would
he have bestowed upon us, in the communications of his grace,
and the manifestations of his love ! Surely his Spirit, as " a
Spirit of adoption," should have *' witnessed with our spirits that
we were his," and should have " sealed us unto the day of re-
demption " 1
2. What misery they incurred —
[God gave them up to idolatry, and to their own hearts' lusts j
and left them to ** walk in their own counsels" " ' —
And this is the curse which he denounces against us also.
*' His Spirit will not always strive with us." If he see that we
are bent upon our evil ways, he will abandon us to our own delu-
sions p, and will say, "Heisjoinedtoidols,let himalone'^"
A greater curse than this God cannot inflict, because our remain-
ing days will be occupied only in augmenting our guilt and
aggravating our condemnation "^ Were the judgment only
to deliver our bodies to Satan now, that might lead to our final
salvation : but to give us over to the uncontrolled influence of
self, is a certain prelude to our everlasting damnation. It is, in
fact, the very beginning of hell, where it will be said to the un-
happy souls, " He that is filthy, let him be filthy still j and he
that is unjust, let him be unjust still \'']
Hence it appears,
1 . Whose will be the fault, if any be lost —
[one can lay it to the charge of God that he is unwilling
to save them. He has sworn with an oath that he willeth not
the death of any sinner'. And in the psalm before us he takes
up a lamentation over those who obstinately compel him to give
them up". Thus did our blessed Lord over the murderous Jeru-
salem" : and thus does he over all impenitent transgressors;
*' Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life^." " Often
" Deuf. xxxii, 29.
° See Rom, i. 24, 26, 28. " So I gave them up."
P 2 Thess. ii. 10 — 12. "J Hos. iv. 17. ' Rom. ii. 5.
* Rev. xxii, 11. ' Ezek. xxxiii. 11.1 Tim. ii. 4.
" ver. 13. " Luke xix. 40,41.
» John V. 40.
392.] GOD GIVIG UP OBSTIATE. TRAl^SGRESSORS. 28^
would I have gathered you, even as a hen gathereth her chickens
under her wings ; but ye would not^." And what a bitter source
of self-condemnation will this be to us, that God would have
saved us, but we would not be saved by him ! The language
which God now uses over us, we shall then use in reference to
ourselves : " O that I had hearkened to his voice ! O that I had
walked in his ways !" How should I have been at this instant
triumphing over my cruel adversary, and feasting on all the
richest fruits of paradise, instead of dwelling with everlasting
burnings, without one drop of water to cool my tongue 1 Surely
this reflection will be the bitterest ingredient in that bitter cup,
which they who perish will be drinking of to all eternity.]
2. Whose will be the glory, if any be saved —
[We never come to Christ, till the Father, by the mighty
working of his power, draws us to him. Such is the pride of
the human heart, that no man will submit to be saved by grace
alone, till God has made him " willing in the day of his power."
If therefore we have been brought to hearken to his voice, let us
remember Who it is that has unstopped our ears.
If it be said, We prayed for these blessings ; and therefore we
at least may glory that the blessings do not come to us unso-
licited; we would ask, Who inclined or enabled us to pray? We
should never have been inclined to pray, if God had not given us
a spirit of grace and of supplication ; " nor should we have
known what to pray for as we ought, if He by his Spirit had
not helped our infirmities." If still it be said, "Yet we prayed;'*
Be it so : but how long were you before you prayed at all ? And
what have been your prayers since ever you began to pray?
Are you not amazed when you review your prayers, and see, how
cold, and dead, and formal they have been ? What if a beggar
had asked of you in the way that you have but too often asked
of God ? Would you have granted his request ? or, if you had
granted his request, and not only relieved his present necessities,
but conferred upon him one half of your fortune, would you not
be surprised, if he, instead of admiring your unequalled genero-
sity, were taking credit to himself for asking relief from you ?
Know then, that if you are partaking of God's mercy, you are
no other than " beggars, who have been taken from the dunghill,
and set among the princes." Know, that ye are altogether
debtors to the grace of God, and must ascribe to him " the
kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever."]
' Matt, xxiii, 37.
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