Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

ON HOSEA XIV.- VERSES 2, 3. 109 much more is, and ought the love of God himself in . the new creature to be stronger, than self-love whereby it seeks and serves itself ! And without this, all other services are but Ananias's lie, lies to the Holy Ghost, keeping to ourselves what we would seem to bestow upon him. Lifting up the eyes, beating the breast, spreading the hands, bending the knee, hanging down the head, levelling the countenance, sighing, sobbing, fasting, howling, all nothing else but mocking of God. And we may say of such men, they deceive God and fail in his precepts, and they shall be themselves de- ceived, and fail in their own expectation. For " the hope of the wicked shall perish." By a double consideration of ourselves. (1.) Of our natural torpor and sluggishness unto this duty. As the Dead Sea drinks in the river Jordan and is never the sweeter, and the ocean all other rivers and is never the fresher ; so we are apt to receive daily mercies from God, and still remain insensible of them, unthankful for them. God's mercies to us are like the dew on the ground, our thanks to him like the dew on the fleece. We are like fishermen's weels, wide at that end which lets in the fish, but nar- row at the other end, so that they cannot get out again. Greedy to get mercy, tenacious to hold it, but unthankful in acknowledging or right using of it. The rain comes down from heaven in showers, it goes up but in mists. We sow in our land one mea- sure, and receive ten, yea Isaac received a hundred- fold, Gen. xxvi. 12. but God sows ten, it may be a hundred mercies amongst us, when we scarce return the praise and the fruit of one. Our hearts in this case are like the windows of the temple, 1 Kings vi, 4. wide inward to let in mercies, but narrow outward to let forth praises. Now, as Solomon says, " If the iron