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Charles Simeon on his Fourth Rule

July 20, 2017

The last of Charles Simeon’s Four Rules is this: Every sin we commit is aggravated by the mercies we receive.  This one is perhaps the most difficult for modern readers to understand, but this is Simeon’s explanation of it:

This, as has been observed, was intimated by God in the case of Solomon: and the universal voice of Scripture attests the same. “If our Lord had not come and spoken to the Jews, they had been comparatively without sin:” but his discourses and his miracles rendered them altogether without excuse; insomuch, that “it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for that generation.” In like manner we are told, that the superior information of a servant who knows his Lord’s will and does it not, will cause him to be beaten with more stripes, than he, whose ignorance forms some kind of plea for his neglect. What then will be the state of us who have had such ample instruction, and such repeated warnings? If our minds have never been awakened, our misimprovement of the means of grace has involved us in the deeper guilt: but if the Lord has ever “manifested himself to us as he does not unto the world,” and we have turned back from following him, our guilt is proportionably increased; so that “it would have been better for us never to have known the way of righteousness, than, having known it, to turn from it.”

This is a hard truth, to some extent – that knowledge of the Truth does increase our responsibility.  That seems to be the message of such passages as Matthew 11:24.

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