Ezra 10* Ezra encourages to reformation. (1-5) He assembles the people.(6-14) Reformation effected. (15-44)1-5 Shechaniah owned the national guilt. The case is sad, butit is not desperate; the disease threatening, but not incurable.Now that the people begin to lament, a spirit of repentanceseems to be poured out; now there is hope that God will forgive,and have mercy. The sin that rightly troubles us, shall not ruinus. In melancholy times we must observe what makes for us, aswell as against us. And there may be good hopes through grace,even where there is the sense of great guilt before God. Thecase is plain; what has been done amiss, must be undone again asfar as possible; nothing less than this is true repentance. Sinmust be put away, with a resolution never to have any thing moreto do with it. What has been unjustly got, must be restored.Arise, be of good courage. Weeping, in this case, is good, butreforming is better. As to being unequally yoked withunbelievers, such marriages, it is certain, are sinful, andought not to be made; but now they are not null, as they werebefore the gospel did away the separation between Jews andGentiles. 6-14 There is hope concerning people, when they are convinced,not only that it is good to part with their sins, but that it isnecessary; we must do it, or we are undone. So rich is themercy, and so plenteous the redemption of God, that there ishope for the vilest who hear the gospel, and are willing toaccept of free salvation. When sinners mourn for their sins, andtremble at the word of God, there is hope that they will forsakethem. To affect others with godly sorrow or love to God, we mustourselves be affected. It was carefully agreed how this affairshould be carried on. That which is hastily resolved on seldomproves lasting. 15-44 The best reformers can but do their endeavour; when theRedeemer himself shall come to Zion, he shall effectually turnaway ungodliness from Jacob. And when sin is repented of andforsaken, God will forgive it; but the blood of Christ, ourSin-offering, is the only atonement which takes away our guilt.No seeming repentance or amendment will benefit those who rejectHim, for self-dependence proves them still unhumbled. All thenames written in the book of life, are those of penitentsinners, not of self-righteous persons, who think they have noneed of repentance.
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