‘Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.’ Deuteronomy 7:20
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 19:7–14
John Bunyan in The Holy War very wisely describes the town of Mansoul after it had been taken by Prince Immanuel. The Prince rode to the Castle called the Heart and took possession of it, and the whole city became his; but there were certain Diabolonians, followers of Diabolus, who never quitted the town. They could not be seen in the streets, but lurked about in certain old dens and caves. Some of them got impudent enough even to hire themselves out for servants to the men of Mansoul under other names. There was Mr Covetousness, who was called Mr Prudent Thrifty, and there was Mr Lasciviousness, who was called Mr Harmless Mirth. They took other names, and still lived there, much to the annoyance of the town of Mansoul, skulking about in holes and corners, and only coming out on dark days, when they could do mischief and serve Diabolus. Now in all of us, however watchful we may be, though we may set Mr Pry Well to listen at the door, and he may watch; and my Lord Mayor, Mr Understanding, be very careful to search all these out, yet there will remain much hidden sin. I think we ought always to pray to God to forgive us sins that we do not know anything about. Perhaps the sins which you and I confess are not the tenth of what we really do commit. Our eyes are not sufficiently opened to know of the heinousness of our own sin. It is possible that God in mercy suffers us to be somewhat blind to the abominable accursedness of sin. He gives us enough of it to make us hate it, but not enough to drive us absolutely to despair. Our sin is exceedingly sinful.
For meditation: ‘Be sure your sin will find you out.’ (Numbers 32:23) Be also sure that you will never find out all your sins. Even if you could, you could never make yourself right before God. He alone knows the extent of the wickedness of your heart (Jeremiah 17:9); only God the Son could shed his blood and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7,9).
Sermon no. 673
28 January (1866)