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SERMON V.

THE CASE OF PHARAOH, A WARNING TO

STUBBORN SINNERS.

Exodus x. 3.

Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt

thou refuse to humble thyself before me?

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THESE

HESE were the words of the Lord, by Moses and Aaron, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, after the plague of the hail, and previous to the plague of the locusts. The hardness of this man's heart is notorious, even to a proverb: and, as the Story was dictated by the Holy Ghost for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, my intention is, with the divine blessing, to consider some parts of it, and to intersperse such remarks as shall obviously occur, by way of application to the consciences of men. And

And may the Lord vindicate his own glory in our sight! May we see how the sin of refusing to humble ourselves before him, is the sin of sins ! May we be led to take notice of the Lord's long suffering exercised towards us already, and so to take notice of it, as to be gladly content to have our humbling days in this life, lest, if we die in our pride, we go away into everlasting punishment.

“ How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?" This was the point to which all Pharaoh's hard-heartedness was to be reduced. He was but a creature, the clay in the hands of the Potter. He needed only to be made sensible of his dependant state, and heartily disposed to give to his Creator and Proprietor the glory that was due to Him; and all would be well. God is love itself to his creatures; he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. Let Pharaoh behave himself dutifully as a creature, and he shall find the Lord a kind and bountiful Sovereign. This same controversy the Lord has with all wicked men at this day on account of their rebellion against the God that made them. He requires only men's hearts ;-then peace and happiness will not fail to be their portion. But, while men will not give Him, what is so justly His due, they must necessarily be miserable: the perfections of God, and the nature of things forbid any other conclusion. In this humble dependant frame of heart Adam was created : In the loss of this consists the present corrupted state of human nature; and to recover men to this did Jesus die and rise again. All, that we have in view in preaching the Gospel, is, that this happy end be accomplished.

Simple as this matter is, and most reasonable in itself,—that man should be humbled before his God,-yet the corruption of nature and the wiles of Satan make it the hardest thing in the world, too hard indeed for any means, merely human, to effect. We are encouraged, however, to use means as the appointed way, in which the strength of the

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Almighty may be expected, THAT STRENGTH, which alone can cast down imaginations, and the high things which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, and bring every thought of men's hearts into captivity, to the obedience of Christ. One of the sorest evils belonging to this sad condition of human nature is, that those, who are evidently living in rebellion against God, will not see that they are enemies to his government and authority. They can see, perhaps, that others are ; but are dexterous enough to avail themselves of some unessential difference in circumstances, and from that to conclude that they are in a far better state. Thus, what Jew, in the time of St. Paul, would not have owned, that Pharaoh was a wicked hard-hearted

But did they see THEMSELVES to be hardhearted ? Far otherwise. They fancied themselves the peculiar friends of God. Yet if you look into Romans ix. you will find St. Paul compares the men of that generation to Pharaoh, though they professed to regard the God of the Hebrews, whom Pharaoh openly despised. The truth is, it matters not much what men PROFESS, if they go no further than mere profession. If the Jews showed as much hatred to God in their conduct as Pharaoh did, they were as hard-hearted as he was. And, at this day, what numbers will readily own that Pharaoh, and the Jews who crucified our Lord, were immensely wicked; not considering, at all, that they themselves, who think, speak, and live, in a quite contrary manner to the Gospel of Christ, are at the same distance from God as they were. -Let us then consider and apply some particulars in the conduct of Pharaoh. His character may, perhaps, be found not to differ essentially from that of many wicked men in our own times.

man.

VOL. I,

In the fifth Chapter of Exodus Moses opens to him the divine commission, “ Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness; and Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Here is a declaration of war against the Most High. God, as Sovereign of the Earth, declares his will to his creature: the creature positively refuses to obey; asserts his independency,—rebel and traitor as he is,--and WILL Act just the contrary. This is the state of every unconverted man. He lives knowingly in the breach of God's express commands. For instance, God orders that the Sabbath day be kept holy, that we should call it a delight, and honour him, not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words on that day. But, says the wicked man, “I, having been confined all the week, must walk or ride out for my health on that. day, though you may call it breaking the Sabbath.” Here is, you see, a strife, a war, a contest, commenced between the Creator and the creature, as real, and as likely to be dreadful in its consequences to the creature, as Pharaoh's disobedience was to him—“Thou shall not take my name in vain.”— So saith God. No, says the wicked man's practice, I will curse and swear, I will every five minutes introduce the name of God in a careless impertinent. way.-" Thou shalt not return evil for evil,” - thus

saith the Lord. No, says the unconverted man, I will use thosé well who use me well; but those, who use me ill, shall find I have a spirit to resent it.—“Speak ye truth every one with his neighbour." No, says the modern Pharaoh, I should be overreached and imposed on, I should not be able to acquire a livelihood, if I did not, occasionally, equivocate and deceive my customers.--People may make what excuses they please; and Satan is exceedingly ready to assist men in deceiving themselves; but, every one of you, who acts in this or in any other

way of positive refusal to obey the will of God, expressed in his law, which you profess to receive as his law, is a rebel against God. Every such person has entered into a war with the Most High as really as Pharaoh did; and, that he is still alive and not cut off, is to be ascribed to that same mercy which long spared Pharaoh.

“ How long will ye refuse to humble yourselves before me?” the

of

you as truly as of Pharaoh. The next thing we find of Pharaoh is, that instead of complying with the divine commands in letting the people go, he made their bondage still heavier, by denying them straw, and yet insisting on their fulfilling of their task in making brick as heretofore.—At this day, a similar effect of the word of God among the hard-hearted, is by no means uncommon.--A preached Gospel is, perhaps, never indifferent in its consequences.-- If it be not a

savour of life unto life,” it will be a “ savour of death unto death." Too many proofs of this, I fear, may be found in this congregation. If the Gospel hath not been efficacious in making you hate

Lord may say

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