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the Gospel has denounced against them. They are represented there as things that ought not even to be named among Christians, as defiling the man, as warring against the soul, as grieva ing the Spirit of God, as rendering men incapable of inheriting the kingdom of heaven, as exposing them to the indignation of Him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity* And as if men had endeavoured in those days as well as in our own, to softęu and extenuate and explain away the guilt of licentiousness, the apostle adds, with great solemnity and great earnestness, “ Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children, of disobedience t." . Let every man then that pretends to be a Christian, and lives in the habitual practice of the vices here condemned, weigh well these tremendous words. If there be any truth in the Gospel, they will not be vain words; nor will offences of this nature ever pass unnoticed or unpunished by the righteous Governor of the world. ** Ephes. y. 3. Matth, xv. 18. 1 Pet. ii. 11. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Habak. i. 13.
* Eples. v. 6.
These s? These remarksare hot introduced here within but reason. It is the peculiar prevalence of these very vices at this moment which demande sach animadversions as these ; a prévalence which I infer not merely from an imaginary ebtimate of the low state of morals amongst us, founded on rumour, on conjecture, or miscons straction, but from facts too well ascertained, and which obtrude themselves on the notice of every observing mind*. I mean those daring violations of the nuptial contract, and the free quent divorces resulting from them, which seem daily gaining ground in this kingdom This is a most melancholy and incontrovertible proof of increasing depravity amongst us, and I am sorry to add, of depravity of the very deepest dyes for instances lave not long since occurred, in which the guilt of the parties too nearly resembled that of Herod, combining the twę atrocious crimes of adultery and incest! Surely such enormities as these are enough to make us tremble, and loudly call for the interposition of the legislatured: lest they bring down upon us, the just vengeance of an of citiw fi betogios e a soul 1.9 on gift AditorIn the Spring of the year 1899. 12 Jahren
fended God. . “ Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ! Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this*?". sig • Another reflection arising from this short history of Herod and John the Baptist is this: that although, in the ordinary course of di. vine administration, the punishment of the wieked does not always overtake them here; but is reserved for the last awful day of ace count; yet it sometimes happens (as I observed in my last Lecture) that their crimes draw after them their just recompense, even in the present life. This was eminently the ease of the flagitious Herod; for besides those terrors of conscience, which, as we have seen, perpetually haunted him, which raised up bem fore him terrific forms and agonizing appréhensions, and represented John the Baptist as risen from the dead to avenge his crimes; we are informed by the historian Josephus, that his marriage with Herodias drew upon him the resentment of Aretas, king of Arabia Petræa, the father of his first wife, who deelared war against him, and, in an engage ment with Herod's army defeated it with great slaughter. This says the historian, the ** Jer. V.9.
Jews Jews considered as à just judgment of God upon Herod for his murder of John the Baptist*. "And not long after this, both he and Herodias were deprived of their kingdom by the Roman emperor, and sent into perpetual banishment. And it is added by another historiant, that their daughter Salome met with a violent and untimely death. Instances like this are intended to show, that the Goy vernor of the universe, though he has appointed a distant period for the general disa tribution of his rewards and punishments, yet, in extraordinary cases, he will sometimes in terpose to chastise the bold offender, to assert his superintending providence and supreme dominion over all his creatures, and to give them the most awful proofs that, from his allsearching eye, po wickedness can be cons cealed. ...si
The remaining part of this chapter is occul, pied with the recital of two miracles, on which I have only to observe, that they have both of them a spiritual as well as a literal meant ing, are both of a very extraordinary nature; and calculated to make, as they did, a most
Jos. Ant. L. xviii. c. 5. s. 1, e..sowellery * Nicephori. Hist. Eçcles. I, 11.p.89.
powerful powerful impression on the minds of the spectators; these were, the feeding above five thousand persons with five loaves and two fishes, and our Saviour's walking on the sea. The first of these had a reference to that :spiritual food, that celestial manna, that bread of life, which our Lord was then dispensing in such abundance to those that hungred and thirsted after righteousness. The other was meant to encourage the great principle of faith ; of trust and reliance upon God, in opposition to that self-confidence, that high opinion of our own strength, which we are tog apt to entertain, and to which St. Peter, above all the other apostles, was peculiarly liable. When therefore, in consequence of his own request, he was permitted to go to Jesus on the water, and forgetting immediately who was his guide and support, began to be afraid and to sink, and called out to his. Divine Masterto save him, our Lord graciously stretched forth his hand and caught him, and said unto him, “ . thou of little faith, wherefore didst-thou doubt?” A reproof well calculated to convince him that it was not in proportion to his own natural strength, but