- e.g. a drunkard — as affording a ready and forcible illustration. Pleasing to him is the first unnecessary draught: for there is

pleasure in doing wrong. A kind of satisfaction is experienced by our evil-inclined hearts, which rejoice in iniquity, although the conscience may remonstrate. But he may determine to shun the next time, although it is more probable he will crave for the repetition. But when the next time comes, the jeer of some comrade, the challenge of a boon companion, makes that, about which at first there was a scruple, easy and palatable. No difficulty or obstacle is now placed in the way, and that which was once tolerated becomes delightful. Pleasure without compunction is experienced; no jeer, no challenge is now needed. The needless potation is called for at once, and from being delicious it becomes a matter of frequent occurrence.

Intervals were once observed, but are now laid aside ; a craving and artificial thirst is impatient of them. Frequency becomes habit. Once and again has the snare been gradually coiled round in increasing folds, and the escape which once seemed easy now seems impossible. The habit, loose at first, by degrees is confirmed. No Samson's strength avails to snap the cords. The Philistines are upon him; he may try to escape—try to break the bands, but they resist all efforts. The vile habit is confirmed. It becomes needful to the man's depraved existence. The more it is indulged, the more it craves; yea, demands pampering. Conscience has all this time become weaker and weaker ; the voice, ever still and small, ceases to remonstrate; the finner becomes impenitent. His heart is feared — forrow for sin finds in him no place. He is without repentance—he relents not—remorse is gone. He glories in his shame. He who was a man has, step by step, levelled himself to such habits as even inferior animals do not acquire. Having become impenitent, he refuses to hearken to remonftrance or the voice of warning. The terrors of hell move not, nor the sweet voice of tender mercy. He wishes there may be no hereafter, and he persuades himself to believe there is noneno punishment, no wrath, no judgmentfeat. He is now obstinate in his iniquity - dogged—immovable—unimpressible — twice dead—apathetic to the most urgent entreaty. He repulses all overtures. He shuts the door which


open — slams it — refolves never to repent

- — is given over to a reprobate mind. The time is come which is described by the Spirit of the Lord in Prov. i. 24–31, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have


stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh ; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall: seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel : they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” Then is the wicked man turned into hell, to join the other people who forget God. Are not such examples to be met with ? Not only in the debasing sin of drunkenness — that disgracing blot in the character of our countrymen— but in other evil propensities and doings, such as fabbath-breaking, uncleanness, theft, or lying. A man fins once, yea twice, and says within himself he will leave off; but the hill is too steep — the downward path too slippery; he cannot stop, and the foaming torrent at the base whirls him to destruction.

Not only is the character of the wicked pourtrayed in terms which denote gradual imbuing with wickedness, but the modes of action and life which are adopted by them are here similarly set forth. Notice the expression. First, the Psalmist speaks of “walking ” in the counsel of the ungodly; then of “standing ” in the way of finners; then of “ sitting.” Each one, you observe, more indicative of remaining than the one which preceded. “At the window of

my house," writes Solomon, “ I looked through the casement, and beheld among the sim

« ForrigeFortsett »