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God was upon them, and his just punishments would not be turned away from them.

Such denunciations as these form a prominent feature in the writings of the ancient Prophets of the Most High God; and serve to teach us that the opposers or oppressors of his people shall in no wise escape his righteous vengeance. Of such persons it is written in the New Testament that their end is destruction, that it is a righteous thing in God to recompense to them tribulation, that the true worshippers of God are to be in nothing terrified because of them which is to them an evident token of perdition and that of God.* And in our own days thus saith the Lord God; for three transgressions and for four of the opposer of true vital religion, for three transgressions and for four of the scoffer who reviles or ridicules my children, I will not turn away my threatened and most righteously deserved indignation.

In the days of Amos, God executed tremendous temporal judgments against the oppressors of his people, bringing war and tumult upon them, consuming their cities and villages and families with devouring fire, laying waste their fertile fields, and reducing the most powerful among them to captivity and slavery. In these our days, though temporal prosperity may seem to smile around the opposers of the

* Phil. i. 28. iii. 19. 2 Thess. i. 6.


Gospel ; though they may riot and triumph in their clamorous ridicule, and appear for a season, or even for their whole lives, to escape the judgments of God; yet come it will, slowly perhaps as men count slowness, but in the end swift and terrible, a day of horror, of fierce anger, of indignation and wrath, of tribulation and anguish. O! consider this ye who imagine vain things against the Lord, and against his Christ, making of his cross a stumbling-block, and saying of his people ' they are weak enthusiasts ;' combining your influence also, and exercising your authority to resist and thwart and discourage the saints, as you contemptuously call them. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh you to scorn, the Lord shall have you in derision, he shall speak unto you in his wrath, and vex you in his sore displeasure, he shall rule you with a rod of iron, and break you in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise, now therefore, O ye opposers of the holy religion of the Lord Jesus, be instructed, O ye proud ones of the earth, serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling, kiss the Son lest he be angry,

and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled, yea, but a little.

Are there in this congregation any unconverted children, resisting or evading or murmuring under the anxious efforts of their religious parents? Are there any unconverted parents

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opposing and oppressing their religious children? Are there any unconverted wives fretting in the bitterness of mortified vanity against the retiring piety of their husbands; or unconverted husbands, exercising a malicious, unfeeling, sneering severity over their Christian wives ? Are there any unconverted servants bearing false witness and circulating evil reports against their religious masters; or unconverted masters making a mock of what they are pleased to call the hypocritical canting of their religious servants ?

Let me entreat every individual among you, whose conscience is touched by any of these inquiries, patiently to consider the application of the prophesy now before us.

In God's awful threatenings against Moab and Ammon, against the Edomites and Philistines, behold as in a glass his just anger against you: and in the history of the infliction of his judgments upon those nations, behold the undoubted certainty of the execution of his fierce wrath upon you;


ye continue to rebel and raise either hand or tongue against his believing children.

Whoso persecuteth the least of these my brethren, saith the Lord Jesus, persecuteth me; and it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,

and that he were drowned in the depth of the



Having delivered this part of his inspired commission, the Prophet proceeds to his more peculiar office of reproving and warning, and threatening and expostulating with the men of Judah and the children of Israel, the whole professing Church of the Lord of Hosts. “Thus saith the Lord; for three transgressions of Judah and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies have caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked : but I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.” The transgressions of Judah were not of the same outwardly atrocious description as those wherewith the heathen nations are charged: they originated in a neglect of the oracles of God. The men of Judah had not persevered in attentive and repeated reading of the law, and this inattention to the direct authority of God had by an easy and natural process ended in idolatry, and their lies, that is their idols, had caused them to err as their fathers had done before them. In the next verses, Israel is accused of the grossest injustice, the meanest covetousness, and the most revolting licentious

“ Thus saith the Lord; for three trans


for a


gressions of Israel and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof : because they sold the righteous for silver, and the

poor pair of shoes : that pant after the dust of the earth upon the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek; and a man and his father will go

in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name: and they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their God.” The most paltry bribe was sufficient to induce their magistrates to sacrifice the righteous cause, and deliver the innocent poor into the hands of their merciless oppres

The smallest property of the poor, though scarcely more valuable than the dust of the earth upon their heads, excited their eager covetousness. The garments of the poor

laid to pledge for the supply of their present pressing necessities, instead of being carefully preserved according to the contract, were made use of, to save their own garments in their idolatrous prostrations. The wine used at their feasts in their idol's temples, had been fraudulently received, either in commutation of the punishment of those who were justly condemned, or as a bribe to procure the condemnation of those who ought to have been acquitted. While not only the laws of God were broken, and the name of God profaned, but even the

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