“God Gave Them Up”
When God is exceedingly displeased with a people, it is not necessary, in order to their punishment, that He should bury them alive by an earthquake, or destroy them by lightning. If He only leave them to themselves, withdraw His blessings from their counsels, and His restraint from their passions, their ruin follows of course, according to the necessary order and connection of causes and effects.
If God gives up a people to the way of their own hearts, they will, they must, perish! When a general corruption of morals takes place, when private interest extinguishes all sense of public virtue, when a profligate and venal spirit has infected every rank and order of the state, when presumptuous security and dissipation increase as danger approaches, when, after repeated disappointments, contempt for God, and vain confidence in imagined resources of their own, grow bolder and stronger, then there is reason to fear that the sentence has already gone forth, and that the execution of it is at hand.
John Newton – 1781