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nature of mankind, the apostle speaks further and most solemnly on the subject. Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. There must be no compromise in this matter. The gratification of the lusts of the flesh brings the wrath of God upon those who indulge themselves in it. Ungodly men may palliate and excuse these offences, as though they were of a venial nature; but they are viewed with abhorrence by Almighty God, and He will punish those who dare to commit them in defiance of His prohibition. It is possible for persons to be in the habit of attending on the ordinances of the house of God, and yet to live in the commission of sins of this description. How awful is it thus to attempt to serve God and sin together. The religious profession of such persons will rise up in judgment against them. However they may flatter themselves in their own eyes, their iniquity will be found to be hateful.92 Let it be our prayer that we may abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good,93 that we may be kept from walking in a way that is not good, after our own thoughts from falling into sin or running aside into danger. Let not the multitude of offenders embolden us to sin against God; but let us remember that God


92 Psalm xxxvi. 2. 93 Romans xii. 9. 94 Isaiah lxv. 2.

spared not the old world; but brought in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and at a later period turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.95 Let sinners take the warning that is given them, and not imagine that they may go on in sin with impunity.

The apostle proceeds, Be not ye therefore partakers with them who commit these sins. Ungodly men hesitate not to propose their own evil example for the imitation of those over whom they may have influence. Let young people especially, who are exposed to the evil example. and solicitations of such persons, beware how they adopt their wicked practices, and involve themselves in the guilt of their transgressions.

But the persons whom the apostle addressed had been heathens, and were on that account the more liable to fall into sins which they had formerly committed without fear or shame. He therefore reminds them of their former condition, and of the change which had taken place in them. Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. They had formerly lived in sin, and in ignorance of God, darkness had blinded their eyes; but they had been enlightened with the knowledge of the gospel of Christ, through the preaching of the apostle; and God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness had shined in their hearts, to give the light of the knowledge


of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.96 They were therefore the children of light and the children of the day; they were not of the night, nor of darkness.97

This being the case, they were exhorted to walk as children of the light. It was needful that their conduct should be suitable to the change which had taken place in their character and condition, that they should walk before God and men as the children of God, proving what is acceptable unto the Lord, or giving proof by their conduct that God had not called them unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. The conduct which is pleasing in His sight and acceptable to Him, is that which is produced by the influence of His Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of His believing people. For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. Here is goodness as opposed to wickedness; righteousness as opposed to disobedience; and truth as opposed to error. The children of men naturally follow after wickedness, being dead in trespasses and sins; and live in allowed disobedience to the word and will of God; deceiving themselves by the adoption of erroneous opinions, which they are disposed most obstinately to defend. In opposition to this spirit and conduct, the children of God are to follow after goodness. They are

95 2 Peter ii. 5, 6. 96 2 Cor. iv. 6. 97 1 Thess. v. 5; iv. 7.

to live in obedience to what God has commanded; and to take the word of truth for their guide and directory at all times. They are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them. They are not to keep company with those who practise wickedness, but if such come in their way, or they are under the necessity of associating with them, they are to endeavour to embrace the opportunity of this intercourse for reproving them, that they may be led to repentance in consequence of being warned to flee from the wrath to come. Those who openly talk in a corrupting manner are to be openly rebuked, that the spreading of their evil communication may be counteracted. But above all, their deeds of darkness are to be shunned. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. It is awful to think that wicked men should dare to do in secret what every body should be ashamed to speak of; but that they should boast of such deeds of darkness is truly horrible. Yet such persons are, alas, to be met with. When they do broach their daring wickedness, the best way to prevent the contagion of their evil example is to exhibit the light of Divine truth, and to show that all sin is opposed to the word and will of God; who will call the transgressors of His holy law to account for their evil conduct. All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; for

whatsoever doth make manifest is light. It is by the exhibition of the light of God's holy word that the deformity of the works of darkness is manifested. This is to be exhibited, however, not by the lips only, but by the life of the true Christian. It is by being blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, shining as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life,98 that the children of God will put to shame the practices of wicked men. Where the light of both Christian doctrine and practice shines, it will manifest the foulness of the works of darkness, and tend to repress them. As Christ is the Light of the world, where He shines darkness will flee away. He Himself declared, I am the Light of the world, he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.99

On which account the apostle adds, Wherefore He, or (according to the margin) it, the gospel, saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Those who profess to have been awakened from the sleep of sin, or to have been raised from a death in trespasses and sins in which they were formerly involved, are to seek grace from Christ to enable them to live to His glory and show forth His praise, to manifest that they are alive to God,

98 Philippians ii. 15.

99 John viii. 12.

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