And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
I. TO DESPAIR OF GOD'S MERCY IS SINFUL.
1. The ancient divines were accustomed to call despair one of the seven deadly sins It well deserves this character. It is directly contrary to the will of God. He, we are told, taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, and hope in His mercy. He must, therefore, be displeased with them that refuse to do this. It is also a great insult to the character of God. It calls in question the truth of His word; nay, it gives Him the lie; for He has told us that whosoever cometh to Him He will in no wise cast out. It calls in question, or rather denies the greatness of His mercy. It also limits the power of God. He has said, Is anything too hard for Me? But despair says, It is impossible that He should renew my heart, subdue my will, and make me fit for heaven.
2. Despair is the cause or parent of many other sins. As hope leads all who entertain it to endeavour to purify themselves, even as Christ is pure, so despair leads all under its influence to wander farther and farther from God, and plunge without restraint into every kind of wickedness.
II. DESPAIR OF GOD'S MERCY IS DANGEROUS. When a man gives himself up to this sin, he does, as it were, give himself up to the power and guidance of the devil; for he voluntarily throws away everything which can protect or deliver him from the adversary.
III. DESPAIR OF GOD'S MERCY IS GROUNDLESS AND UNREASONABLE.
1. It is unreasonable to despair of God's mercy, because He continues to you the enjoyment of life, and the means of grace. Will you say, There is no hope, while the walls of God's house encircle you, while the light of the Sabbath shines upon you, while the Word of God is before you, and while the Gospel of salvation sounds in your ears!
2. The character of God, as revealed in His Word, shows that it is unreasonable for you to despair of His mercy.
3. The grand scheme of redemption revealed in the Gospel, renders it still more unreasonable to indulge despair.
4. The person, character, and invitations of Christ, show in the most striking and conclusive manner, that despair of salvation is unreasonable.
5. That it is unreasonable to despair of God's mercy, is evident from the characters of many to whom it has already been extended.
(E. Payson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.