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This was the particular sin for which God drowned the old world.
Some of Lot's daughters married in Sodom, and perished in the overthrow.
Both Ishmael and Esau married irreligiously, and were both rejected and turned persecutors.
The first blasphemer that was stoned by God's com mand is marked as an offspring of one of these marriages-his mother had espoused an Egyptian.
The first captivity of the Jews after their settlement in the holy land is ascribed to this cause. The whole passage is very instructive. It is said that the remains of the nations were to prove Israel to know whether they would hearken unto the commandment of the Lord which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves: therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.??
David married the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, by whom he had Absalom-The disgrace and curse of his family.
The case of Solomon is a warning to all ages.
His son Rehoboam, that lost the ten tribes, sprang
from one of these forbidden marriages-his mother was an Ammonitess.
The marriage of Ahab is thus awfully noticed. "And it came to pass as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethball king of the Zidonians, and went, and served Baal and worshipped him. But there was none like unto Ahab who did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord whom Jezebel his wife stirred up."
What was it that Ezra so grievously lamented, and so sharply reproved? It was, that "the holy seed had mingled themselves with the people of the land."
And what says the zealous reformer Nehemiah ?— "Their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jew's language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or "for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things! yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives!"
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after all things as they also lusted.”
Excuses to justify Deviation from it examined.
IN the history of the church recorded in the new testament, we find no instances similar to those which have been remarked in the preceding chapter. The rule was too clearly understood, and the reasons on which it was founded, were too powerfully felt, to allow of its violation by the primitive christians. And indeed one would suppose that a godly character would stand in need of no positive prohibition in such a case as this. It' might be expected that his very feelings would secure him. For surely a kind of violence must be offered to his dispositions and principles before such a step can be taken. Accordingly something of this nature is often pleaded. They feel religious reluctance, but speak as if it WERE to be, and MUST be. Let us examine this, and see whether it be their fate or their folly.
Sometimes they plead peculiar circumstances which seem to countenance it. As this is a very common excuse, and by which many are deluded, it demands some notice. And for ever to check all encouragement derived from this quarter, let the following things be maturely considered.--That such prognostics are rarely, if ever remarked, but when they fall in with our determination, or at least with our propensity.-That when a man "receives not the love of the truth, God may "give him up to strong delusion to believe a lie.-That "thus saith the Lord God; every man of the house of "Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth "the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, "and cometh to the prophet: I the Lord will answer
"him that cometh according to the multitude of his "idols that I may take the house of Israel in their own "heart, because they are all estranged from me through "their idols.”—That after he has expressly said to Balaam "go not," and he finds him still longing for the enterprise, he can say by an irony which the eager mind will mistake for reality, "go."--That Jonah was deceived if he supposed that, when fleeing from the presence of the Lord, it was very providential for him to find a vessel just ready to sail for Tarshish.-That circumstances and events are equivocal, having occurred at different times with the most contradictory aspects.That the word of God is our only guide, and that only while walking by this rule shall mercy and peace be upon us.-That we are to lay stress on nothing, however singular or ftriking, that opposes the revealed will of God. That the death of a prophet slain by a lion was written to teach us this very truth: he had re ceived an express command in which he could not be mistaken, and he yielded to another specious suggestion as coming from God concerning which he could not be
But there is another juftification often urged. It is the prospect of being useful. This also is common, and has often ensnared those who ought to walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise. Here permit me to ask you the following queftions.
Are we to do evil that good may come ?—It is desirable for a generous chriftian to have property; he will do good with it. But is he to fteal or rob in order to obtain it?
Is marriage to be considered as one of the means of
grace? Is it ever spoken of in the scripture, as intended for the conversion of souls? Is it any where prescribed for this purpose?
Promises and appearances may induce a pleasing hope during the formation of the connexion-but may not these be very fallacious? To admit this, it is not necessary to suppose that the individual is vile enough to deceive wilfully-yet this has frequently been the case, and a regard to the forms of evangelical religion, has been a mere pretence, gradually thrown off as the inducement for using it ceased-but it is not necessary to charge a man with hypocrisy. There are many powerful emotions that are very sincere, and yet not durable. The mind may be softened by affection; and view every thing in reference to its favorite purpose.— Men know not themselves; they are not aware how they may feel in new and untried situations. The godliness which they seem even to admire in the general indistinct notion, and while at a distance, may become very irksome when brought near and acted upon in every instance of life: yea it must be offensive, at least in all its more spiritual parts and exercises, to every natural man. Who, that is not alive to his religious improvement, is likely to love an example that continually admonishes and condemns? Who that is trying to go to sleep loves a noise? Who that wishes to remain in darkness can be fond of light--especially placed so near?
Is it not more consistent with a becoming diffidence of yourselves to fear that you should be injured by the irreligious, rather than that the irreligious should be benefitted by you? We have already shewn the danger of this in fact, and which has led an ingenuous author