DELUSIVE COFIDECE REPROVED.

THE REV. C. SIMEO, M.A.
Ezek. xiii. 10 — 12. Because, even because they have seduced my
people, say'wg, Peace, and there was no peace; and one built
zip a wall, and, lo, others daubed it luith untempered mortar :
say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar, that it
shall fall : there shall be an over-Jioiving shower ; and ye, O
M 2 great
164 EZEKIEL, XIII. 10 — 12. [580.
great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it'
Lo, ivhen the wall is fallen, shall it not he said unto yoiiy
Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it P
SO deeply is unbelief rooted in the heart of man,
that scarcely any testimony from God is ever received
with the confidence it deserves. This appears
throughout all the Sacred History: and our own
lives are one continued exemplification of it. To his
people of old God was pleased to give many repeated
warnings of the judgments that were coming upon
them : but the assertions of false prophets were al-
ways credited, in opposition to the declarations of
God himself. By the prophet Ezekiel God fore-
warned the people of the captivity to which they
would soon be reduced by their Chaldean invaders.
He directed the prophet to set before their eyes sym-
bolic representations of the calamities that awaited
them ; to dig through the wall of his house, and
carry forth his goods by night, and to eat bread, and
drink water, with quaking and trembling % But false
prophets persuaded the people that they had no cause
for alarm ; for that these signs related to distant
times ; and that there would soon be an end of the
impending dangers. It seems that some, women, as
well as men, conspired thus to counteract the influ-
ence of God's word upon the people ; and that they
sewed pillows to the arm-holes, or elbows, of per-
sonSj and covered their heads with kerchiefs, in or-
der to intimate to them, that they might repose them-
selves in perfect ease and safety. To reprove these
persons, and to confirm his former assertions, is the
prophet's object in the chapter before us. He com-
pares the men to persons building an ill-constructed
wall, and daubing it with untempered mortar, which
would be washed away by the first shower; and to
the women he declares, that God would soon tear
from the arms of their deluded followers the emblems
of their delusion, and undeceive those whom they
had so fatally led astrav''.
But
* See the whole preceding Chapter. '' See the whole Chapter.
580.] DELUSIVE COFIDECE REPROVED. 165
But it is not our intention to confine our remarks
to that particular occasion. Similar conduct obtains
amongst us at this day; and it calls for similar re-
proof. We propose therefore to consider,
I. Who are obnoxious to this reproof —
All ranks and orders of men who attempt to inva-
lidate the messages of the Most High, are guilty of
the evil here spoken of. It is justly imputable to,
1. Unfaithful Ministers —
[ot only amongst the Jews, but even in the Christian
Church, there were many, who, professing themselves to be am-
bassadois of Heaven, were only deceivers of the people"^. Their
habit has at all times been, to " say, Peace, peace, when there was
no peace '^." Would to God that none of this character yet ex-
isted in the world ! But are there not still some who keep out of
view the desperate depravity of the human heait, the absolute
necessity of a new birth, the impossibility of being saved by any
righteousness of our own, and the duty of giving up ourselves
wholly and unreservedly to God as his redeemed people ? —
Are there not those who decry these things as enthusiasm ; and
who tell their hearers, that there is a smoother and an easier
way to heaven than wliat the Scriptures have marked out?
If then such persons exist, say whether they do not re-
semble the prophets and the prophetesses spoken of iu ouf
text? ]
2. Unbelieving people —
[Whether seduced by others or not, all are prone of them-
selves to speak peace unto their own souls : they will not receive
the declarations of God concerning them : they cannot endure to
think that they are in such danger as God's word declares them to
be ; or that tiie way to heaven is so strait and narrow as his Go-
spel represents it. They substitute some terms of their own in
the place of those which God has prescribed ; and they persuade
themselves that they shall be saved at last, though they conform
themselves in no respect either to the principles or practice of the
Christian code Are not these then daubing their wall
with untempered mortar, and sewing to their arms pillows which
shall be rent away? • ]
Let us then proceed to notice,
II. Th? warning here given them —
Their labour is, alas ! and must ever be, in vain :
it will end,
1. In
*= 2 Cor. xi. 13. Gal. i. 6—3. 1 Tim. iv. 1. 2 Pet. ii. 1,2.
•* ver. 10. with Jcr. vi. 14.
166 EZEKIEL, XIII. 10 — 12. [580.
1 . In certain and bitter disappointment —
[Their wall will surely fall : and shall it not then be said to
them, " Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it ?" Sad
indeed will be the reproaches which both the deceivers and the
deceived will cast on each other : the one will say, Why did ye
mislead me ? the others will say, Why did ye believe me in pre-
ference to the word of God ? Sad reflections too will all cast upon
themselves : Why did I set up my own oj)inion against the most
express declarations of my God? The very disappoint-
ment which the Jews experienced, when Ezekiel's prophecies were
verified in the destruction of their city, and in their own captivity,
will ere long be realized by all who now buoy themselves up with
their own delusions. If they should inlreat their God to give
them an opportunity of undeceiving their surviving relatives, the
answer will be, o : they have Moses and the Prophets ; and if
they will not attend to their voice, they must receive their de-
served recompence.]
2. In irremediable and endless ruin —
[o further means of salvation will be afforded them. Their
day of grace is irrecoverably gone : their state is fixed for ever.
O to what anguish of heart are they now a prey ! What weeping,
what wailing, what gnashing of teeth do they now experience,
under a sense of God's wrath, and in the prospect of its everlast-
ing duration ! This must assuredly be the end of all our self-
deception. As " Ezekiel was a sign to the Jews*," so have we
signs in plenty, that the threatened vengeance shall come^, and
that they who will not believe God's word shall find it true at the
last" ]
Address,
1. To careless sinners —
[You will persuade yourselves that no evil consequence shall
arise to you from your neglect of God and of your own souls.
But will God falsify his word to save you ? Do not entertain so
vain, so impious, a thought. He will not, he cannot, deny him-
self: nor shall one jot or tittle of his word ever fail ]
Qj. To self-complacent formalists — •
[You profess to reverence the word of God, and to comply
with its commands : but, whilst you rest in mere forms and cere-
monies of religion, you greatly err. God requires the religion of
the heart : you must have " the power of godlitiess as well as its
form." The wall that you are constructing may look tj»!r to the
eye ; but it will not stand : it is raised on a sandy foundation : it
is formed of bad materials : it wants the cement of the Spirit :
the
'¦ Ezek. xil. 11.
' 1 Cor. X. 5 — U. 2 Pet. ii. 4 — p. Jutle 6, 7. " Set forth for an
example." * Jcr. xliv. 28.
the showers shall soon wasli oflf its external covering ; and the
stormy wind shall scatter the loose materials : in the name of
God we declare to you, that " it shall fall." othing will ever
stand, but that which is laid on Chri.t as the foundation, and has
all the graces of the Spirit for its superstructure ]
3. To inconsistent professors—
[Be it granted, that, as far as relates to your views of the
Gospel, you are right : still we must look to the effects of the
Gospel on vour heart and life ; and must declare unto you, that,
if you do not manifest by your life and conversation that you
have " the same mind as' was in Christ," you only deceive your
own souls : you may have a faith indeed ; but it is no better than
the faith of devils. From this point we cannot recede an hair s
breadth. We do not say that you must possess sinless perfec-
tion ; for then who could be saved ? But we say, that no sin
must have allowed, or habitual, dominion over you : the .right
eye, or right hand, if knowingly retained contrary to the will ot
God, will as effectually cast you into perdition, as any number ot
sins whatever : your condemnation indeed may be increased by a
multitude of sins ; but it will not be rendered more certain, than
it is by one reigning sin. O that those who are worldly-minded,
or covetous, or proud, or passionate, or impure, or slothful, or
addicted to any one sinful disposition, would consider this .
God says, Bv 'their fruits ye shall know them: and by their
fruits they shall be known. If ever we would be Christ s, we
must " walk as Christ walked."]
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