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"The Heart is derritfiul above all things
and poteli wikit." Jeremiah.

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THE HUMAN HEART.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately

wicked, who can know it?

The heart is the seat of the affections, and is in its natural state full of evil.* The characteristics of the natural heart are often described in the Holy Scriptures, by such symbols as nature furnishes. The passions are all in existence, although not all called forth. Circumstances tend to foster some and to neutralize others; the serpentine are active in one constitution, the animal in another. One frequently predominates as a master-passion, and this gives ground for that peculiar designation with which our Lord and his apostles frequently distinguished characters.

When speaking of a crafty, ignoble character, our Lord said, “ Go ye and tell that fox,” &c. He characterises those teachers who had a form of religion without its power as “ wolves in sheep's clothing." Of others he says, “ Ye serpents, ye generations of vipers, who hath warned you from the wrath to come ?” &c. Of epicurean sensualists

“ Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again to rend you." Those of the nations who shall have failed to demonstrate their faith in Him, by kindness shewn to His brethren in their captive, frendless, and destitute condition, He denounces as the goats, while those who have befriended them He identifies with the flock of His pasture, the sheep of His hand." . Those who have remained unenlightened in the midst of nations exalted to heaven in privileges, are likened to owls and bats.

He says,

* The accompanying plate is an allegorical representation of its passions.

A fearful account is given of the subversion of the Roman empire, beginning with these words, “ Come near ye nations to hear, and hearken ye people; let the earth hear, and all that is therein ; the world, and all that comes forth of it; for the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies : He bath utterly delivered them to the slaughter," &c.

66 For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance for the avenging of Zion, and the streams thereof shall be turned into lava, and the dust thereof into brimstone; and the land thereof shall become burning lava : it shall not be quenched night nor day: the smoke thereof shall ascend for ever, from generation to generation it shall lie waste, noneshall pass through it any more for ever, but the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it, and He shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of delusion.66 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof; and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall call to his companion; the screech owl also shall rest there. There shall the great owl make her nest, and hatch and gather under her shadow : there shall the vultures be gathered, every one with her mate.”

These hideous and doleful creatures are the symbols of the children of this world, who hate the light; who live for themselves, and with no reference to the hope set before them, as rational, accountable, and immortal beings. The irony is deep, and full of point, for when retributive judgment shall have made vacant their places, those hateful creatures whose characters they resembled shall reign instead of them.

“ An angel, having great power and glory, shall cry mightily, Babylon the Great is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird, because all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the profusion of her delicacies.” Another voice follows, “ Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath called to remembrance her iniquities,” &c.

Individual sins become in the aggregate national. It is in vain for persons to limit their observation to themselves as isolated beings; God does not consider them such. His Holy Spirit was given not only to convince of inward sins but of outward national sins.

The same light exposes and reproves both at the same time.

The ground from which man was taken was compelled to suffer disgrace with him in his fall: it was to yield thorns and thistles, as the curse of man's transgression. Again, the earth was implied in the judgment which came on the world, when Noah in vain preached righteousness, to a generation who had corrupted their way, and filled the earth with violence. Again, the soil suffered with the inhabitants of the plain, when righteous Lot was grieved from day to day with the pollutions of the wicked. The earth also sympathises with the obedient; it opened its mouth, and swallowed up Corah and his self-entitled company: its rocks rent, its graves opened, when the centurian exclaimed, “ Truly this was a righteous man, — truly this was the Son of God!” And even as the earth was defaced by that

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