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THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT REMEMBERING OUR LATTER END
Lamentations 1:9. She remembereth [Note: It should rather be, remembered.] not her lost end; therefore she came down wonderfully.
TO men in general nothing appears sinful but that which violates in the grossest manner some positive command, and interrupts in a very high degree the welfare of society. But God considers an unprofitable servant as meriting the same doom as the dishonest; and informs us, that an unmindfulness of our latter end will bring his judgments upon us, no less than a determined commission of every thing that is evil.
The Prophet Jeremiah is lamenting the sore bondage under which his country groaned in Babylon, and is assigning the reasons for which God had thus rejected her. But in doing this, he does not fix on any one particular sin, however great; but on that which had pervaded all ranks of people, their unmindfulness of their latter end.
In his words we read,
This is the common sin of all mankind—
[Moses had forewarned the Jews of the things that should come upon them in the latter days: but they had never duly considered his predictions, nor laboured to avert the threatened calamities. Thus has God warned us also of the miseries which the wicked shall endure in another world: but we will not regard his admonitions. The gay, the worldly, the ambitious, are intent on their several pursuits; but none says “Where is God my Maker [Note: Job 35:10. Psalms 14:2-3.]?” Even those who profess some regard for religion, are yet, for the most part, very little engaged in a preparation for eternity: their zeal, in the pursuit of heavenly things, bears no proportion to the importance of their object, or even to the labours which others use for the attainment of worldly vanities.]
Nor let this be thought a venial matter—
[This it was, which brought down Jerusalem: and it will involve us also in the heaviest calamities. And well it may: for it is a contempt of God our Maker. In this view he himself complains of it [Note: Psalms 10:4-6; Psalms 10:11; Psalms 10:13.]; and he represents all his attributes and perfections as dishonoured by it [Note: His majesty, Psalms 12:4; his omniscience, Job 22:13-14; his justice, Psalms 94:7; his goodness and forbearance, Romans 2:4.]. It is also a contempt of Christ our Saviour. He had even “died, to purify us unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works:” but, by our indifference, we make light of his mercies [Note: Luke 10:16.], and trample on his blood [Note: Acts 13:38-41.Hebrews 10:28-29; Hebrews 10:28-29.]. Finally, it is a contempt of our own souls. The most avowed enemies of God and his Christ profess to have some regard for their immortal souls: but God, who will not put a wrong construction upon our actions, tells us, that “he who refuseth instruction, despiseth his own soul [Note: Proverbs 15:32.].” Indeed this is but too manifest; since the man who remembers not his latter end, practically says, ‘Give me the things which my body most affects; and, as for my soul, I care not for it: if my soul can be saved, notwithstanding my indulgence of the body, it is well: but if their interests clash, I will gratify my body, though at the peril, yea, to the certain destruction, of my soul.’
Can that then be light and venial, which involves in it such awful consequences? Surely, though no flagrant crime were ever committed, this alone would be sufficient to bring upon us God’s eternal wrath and indignation.]
The evil of such conduct will abundantly appear, if we notice,
The downfall of Jerusalem was a fit emblem of that which awaits impenitent transgressors—
[Let us only compare the departure of Israel out of Egypt, guided, protected, and supported by God himself, and their establishment and increase in the land of Canaan, with, their miserable condition when they were carried captive to Babylon: “How was the gold become dim, and the most fine gold changed!” Thus wonderful will be our destruction also, if we continue to forget our latter end.]
God himself warns us that our destruction will be great if we neglect our souls—
[It will be sudden [Note: Psalms 73:17-20. 1 Thessalonians 5:3.] — — — tremendous [Note: Jeremiah 23:17-20.] — — — irremediable [Note: Proverbs 29:1.] — — — and eternal [Note: 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.] — — —
Let us reflect on the change experienced by the Rich Man in the parable [Note: Luke 16:19; Luke 16:23.]; and we may conceive a little of that surprise and horror that will seize on us in the instant of our departure from the body.
Let us also, if we would escape this doom, regard the solemn warning, and the compassionate advice, which God himself has recorded for our instruction [Note: Deuteronomy 32:18; Deuteronomy 32:20; Deuteronomy 32:29.].]
We may improve this subject yet further,
For the warning even of real Christians—
[We will suppose that your concern for your souls is such as to secure eternal happiness: yet a declension in holy zeal will produce a proportionable declension both in your graces and your comforts [Note: Psalms 30:7. Song of Solomon 5:2-6.]. Let those who have ever experienced the blessedness of living nigh to God, and of being on the wing for heaven, compare it with the darkness and misery of a drooping and deserted state; and they will see enough to make them watchful against spiritual decays, and increasingly mindful of their eternal interests.]
For their comfort and encouragement—
[There is a truth, not expressed indeed, but evidently implied in the text, namely, That all who remember their latter end, shall be wonderfully exalted. And what an encouraging truth is this. Let any one view Lazarus at the Rich Man’s gate, and in Abraham’s bosom [Note: Luke 16:20-22.], and he will see what a wonderful exaltation awaits the righteous at their departure hence. Even here the children of the devil, as soon as ever they believe in Christ, become “sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:18.]:” but hereafter they shall reign with him as partners of his glory [Note: Romans 8:17.]. Let this hope then animate the Christian in his difficulties, and stimulate us all to more abundant diligence in our heavenly calling [Note: 1 John 3:3.].]
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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Lamentations 1". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany