1. Observe the time when they would make this profession. In a season of great affliction and distress, when God would contend with them, when their enemies should be let loose upon them, and every thing around them. look dark and distressing.
2. The manner in which this profession would be made. They would not only speak, but speak vehemently, and "cry" with earnestness and confidence.
1] It is a great thing truly to know the Lord.
2] A profession of this knowledge is of great importance.
2. Notice some of the evidences of a true knowledge of God.
1] All saving knowledge proceeds from God only.
2] Saving knowledge will produce a humble confidence in God. Humility is one of the first-fruits of a good understanding.
3] A spiritual acquaintance with God will be accompanied with a conformity of soul to him.
(1) It is a great evil to profess to know God, and yet, in works, to deny him. A wicked professor is a disgrace to religion, a stumbling-block to others, and hateful in the sight of God. A profession, without corresponding practice, is but solemn mockery: it is like the conduct of the Roman soldiers, who arrayed Christ in a purple robe, and cried, Hail, Master; and then spit in his face! This is adding hypocrisy to sin, and hiding hatred with lying lips, to make it a still greater abomination. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." Such iniquity and deceit shall at length be detected, exposed to shame, and doomed to punishment. Hypocrites shall have their. portion in the lake which burneth with.fire and brimstone, and the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever.
(2) Let us beware of the contrary extreme, of withholding an open profession of the truth after we have been brought to understand and receive it. The fearful
and faint-hearted, who virtually deny the Saviour, act as much out of character as the bold and self-confident deceiver. "Whosoever shall confess me before men,
him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God." Luke xii. 8, 9.
(3) The subject shews us the reason why many apostatise from their profession. They have received the truth, but not in the love of it: hence "their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust." The house that is built upon the sand may stand for a time, but sooner or later it must fall. He that believes in Christ, and builds on him as the foundation, shall not make haste, and shall never be confounded; but the overflowing scourge shall pass through and overwhelm such as have made lies their refuge, and hid themselves under falsehood. Empty professors are like wandering stars, or meteors, that maze for awhile, and soon disappear: but real Christians are like the stars which the Saviour holds in his right hand, and which shall shine for ever.
(4) The enlightening and renewing influences of the Holy Spirit are necessary to form the Christian character. Spiritual knowledge is the foundation of all true religion, and this can proceed only from his teaching. " The spirit of the Lord is the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the "spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldst go." Isaiah 11:5, 48:17.
With an illumin'd eye,
To see the truths of God,
The mysteries of redeeming love,
And reconciling blood:
The streams of life and peace,
And fountain whence they flow,
The doctrines which I should embrace,
The duties which I owe —
Bestow it, Lord, on me !
Oh speak the word, 'Let there be light'.'
And light shall straightway be.
Within this heart of mine;
Watch o'er my thoughts, direct my words,
And in my actions shine.