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Sinners flatter themselves with the hope of impunity.

We are so taught in the word of God. Deut. xxix. 18, 19. “Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God. Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood, and it come to pass when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst.” Where it is supposed, that they whose hearts turn away from God, and are roots that bear gall and wormwood, generally bless themselves in their hearts, saying, We shall have peace.

See also Ps. xlix. 17, 18. “When he dieth, he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him, though whilst he lived he blessed his soul.” And Ps. l. 21. “These things thou hast done, and I kept silence: thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.”

It is very evident, that sinners flatter themselves that they shall escape punishment, otherwise they would be in dreadful and continual distress; they could never live so cheerfully as they now do. Their lives would be filled with sorrow and mourning, and they would be in continual uneasiness and distress; as much as those that are exercised with some violent pain of body. But it is apparent that men are careless and secure; they are not much concerned about future punishment, and they cheerfully pursue their business and recreations. Therefore they undoubtedly flatter themselves, that they shall not be eternally miserable in hell, as they are threatened in the word of God.

It is evident that they flatter themselves with hopes that they shall escape punishment, otherwise they would certainly be restrained, at least from many of those sins in which they now live: they would not proceed in wilful courses of sin. The transgression of the wicked convinced the psalmist, and is enough to convince every one, that there is no fear of God before his eyes, and that he flatters himself in his own eyes. It would be impossible for men allowedly to do those very things, which they know are threatened with everlasting destruction, if they did not some way encourage themselves they should nevertheless escape that destruction.

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