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'Sin,'says Baxter ( Saints' Rest, chap. viii.), 'obscures that which it destroys not; for it bears such sway, that grace is not in action. It puts out or dims the eye of the soul, and stupefies it, that it can neither see nor feel its own condition. But especially it provokes God to withdraw Himself, His comforts, and the assistance of His spirit. As long as thou dost cherish thy pride, thy love of the world, the desires of the flesh, or any unchristian practice, thou expectest comfort in vain.'
References. XIV. 4. E. Browne, Some Moral Proofs of the Resurrection, p. 93. XIV. 4, 5. C. W. Furse, Sermons at Richmond, p. 12. XIV. 6. H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Common Life Religion, p. 45.
It is but vaine to implore His power in a bad cause. Man must have an unpolluted soul when he praiseth (at least in that moment he addresseth himselfe to praye) and absolutely free from all vicious passions; otherwise we ourselves present Him the rods to scourge us withal. In lieu of redressing our fault, we redouble the same by presenting Him with an affection fraught with irreverence, sinne, and hatred, to whom only we should sue for grace and forgivenesse.... And the state of a man that commixeth devotion unto an excessible life, seemeth in some sort to be more condemnable than that of one that is conformable unto himselfe, and every way dissolute.
Montaigne (Florio), Essays, chap. lvi.
References. XIV. 7, 8. J. Warschauer, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxii. 1902, p. 29. XIV. 8. Henry Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. ii. p. 120.
'Justus Jonas asked Luther,' it is related in the latter's Table-Talk, 'if these sentences in Scripture did not contradict one another; where God says to Abraham, If I find ten in Sodom, I will not destroy it; and where Ezekiel says, Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, yet would not I hear, etc. ; and where Jeremiah says, Therefore pray not thou for this people. Luther answered: No, they are not against one another; for in Ezekiel it was forbidden them to pray, but it was not so with Abraham. Therefore we must have regard to the word: when God says, thou shalt not pray, then we may well cease.'
References. XIV. 14. G. A. Denison, Third Sermon on "Lux Mundi," Sermons, 1828-93. XIV. 19, 20. E. W. Attwood, Sermons for Clergy and Laity, p. 474. XIV. 20. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii. No. 1651. A. G. Mortimer, The Church's Lessons for the Christian Year, part iv. p. 265. XV. 1, 2. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii. No. 125. XV. 22, 23. J. B. Brown, The Soul's Exodus and Pilgrimage, p. 81. XV. 27. Ibid. p. 104. XVI. 1, 2. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi. No. 323. XVI. 1-3. Ibid. vol. xli. No. 2438. XVI. 5, 6. Ibid. vol. viii. No. 468.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 14". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany