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which was permitted to take place in the natural world; the jarring, difcordant paffions which feemed to convulfe and disturb the moral government of God, and even the infernal devices of the powers of darknefs, were all, without their defign, nay, contrary to their intention, carrying on the great plans of the divine providence to their confummation. Glorious, tranfporting thought! I will henceforth command my troubled foul into peace. I will calmly wait the iffue, and leave it to the great God, in his own time and way, to explain the reasons of his conduct, and fully vindicate his ways to men. The troubles which I fee, the troubles which I feel, the troubles which I fear, though they may come nigh, fhall not overwhelm my foul; "I fhall not be afraid when I hear of evil tidings; my heart is fixed, trufting in the Lord."* "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpofe."+ "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory."
Fifthly, When we behold a holy and righteous God thus feverely punishing, what may be deemed, by fome, a flight offence, in one of the deareft and beft of his children, let none dare to trifle with his juftice. If Mofes, in one rafh moment, by one unadvised step, incurred a displeasure which he could never remove, and forfeited an inheritance, which he never was able to recover, what haft thou, O man, to expect, whose whole life has been an accumulation of offence; has been the addition only of finfulness to weakness, and of prefumption to folly? "If the righteous fcarcely be faved, where fhall the ungodly and the finner appear." Take care how you eftimate the malignity, guilt and danger of fin, by the erroneous and fluctuating ftandard of your own weak understanding, or still weaker paffions. Not according to thefe, nor the
*Pfal. cxii. 7.
+ Rom. viii. 28.
2 Cor. iv. 17.
maxims of the world, nor the prejudices of a mifguided fpirit; but by a steadier rule, by an unchanging law, thou shalt be judged, and finally justified or condemned. If Mofes loft an inheritance in an earthly Canaan for neglecting to give glory to God in one instance, tremble to think of being eternally excluded from "the inheritance of the faints in light," for ten thoufand offences of the fame nature. Beware of reckoning any tranfgreffion fmall, any fin venial, any temptation contemptible. Behold the mighty fallen, and be humble.
It is truly affecting to find Mofes in the fequel earneftly entreating a remiffion of the fentence, but entreating in vain; and, when unable by fupplication to prevail, fubmiffively refigning himself to the will of God. But the world has feen a ftill more awful demonftration of God's difpleasure at fin. When the Lord laid upon the head of the great atonement "the iniquity of us all; it pleafed the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief." "God spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all." Is it poffible to conceive a motive fo cogent to abftain from evil, and even from the appearance of it; and to loathe and put off from us the garment fpotted with the fleth?
But again, one offence, though it may provoke the anger and call down the chaftifement of a holy God, breaks not off all intercourse, and forever, between him and a good man. With the firmnefs of a wife and juft father, he denounces the punishment and inflicts it. With the tendernefs and love of a gracious and relenting parent, he carries on the correfpondence; and even admits the offending child to clofer intimacy, and to familiarity more endearing. For the great God is not like them who mar and embitter their pardon with hard conditions, cruel upbraidings, and mortifying recollections; and who plainly fhew, that though they may be capable of forgiving, they know not what it is to bury injuries in everlafting forgetfulness.
LECT. XIV. getfulness. The conduct of Mofes too, under the weight of this awful displeasure, is amiable and inftructive. He mutters not, with fullen Cain, "my punishment is greater than I can bear;" he finks not into dejection; he replies not in refentment. While he deprecates the penalty, he attempts not to extenuate the guilt of his crime; and though well affured he is not to have the honour of conducting Ifrael into Canaan, nor the happinefs of enjoying a perfonal poffeffion in that promifed inheritance, yet he withdraws himself from no particular of duty, relaxes not his diligence, cools not in his zeal; he labours to the laft, does what he can, though he be not permitted to do what he would; he goes before Ifrael to the land of promife, though accefs into it was denied him. This, as much as any thing in his hiftory, marks his character and evinces the greatness of his foul. And this teaches a leffon of no mean importance in friendship among men, namely, to cultivate with diligence and affiduity the charities which we have in common, and to fuffer those things to reft and fleep, which, if ftirred and awakened, are likely to disturb and separate us.
It is not the defign of Providence that we fhould think exactly the fame way on all points. But, fhalk agree with my brother in nothing, because we happen to differ in one thing?
I detain you till I have made only one remark more upon the whole hiftory. The diftrefs of the cattle for want of water, is mentioned as a circumftance of importance both in the books of Exodus and Numbers, and it is especially attended to in the miraculous relief which Heaven provided. Is the great God degraded, when he is reprefented as "caring for oxen, and feeding the ravens, and hearing the young lions when they cry?" No, no; thefe minuter views of his providential care and kindness, endear him but the more to the understanding that difcerns, and the heart that feels. I know not a more tender ftroke of the pathetic eloquence than that which we have in
the prophecy of Jonah, when God extended mercy in a manner peculiar to himself, to Nineveh, that great and finful city. "Then faid the Lord, Thou haft had pity on the gourd for the which thou haft not laboured, neither madeft it grow, which came up in a night, and perished in a night: and should not I fpare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than threescore thousand perfons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle ?”*
One stage more will bring us with Ifrael to the foot of Sinai, to obferve and to improve one of the most notable difpenfations of Providence upon record; "The giving of the law." But here let us paufe, with devout acknowledgment of that bountiful hand, which fed the feed of Abraham immediately from the clouds for forty years together; and which feeds us, through rather a longer process, by blending and compounding the qualities and influences of earth, air, fire and water. While we adore the providential care which refreshed Ifrael by ftreams from the rock, let us rejoice together, that it refreshes us by keeping our rivers ever flowing, our fountains conftantly fupplied, and the clouds of our atmosphere, in their feafon, always impregnated with the rain and the dew. "With the bread that perifheth," gracious God! grant us that "which endureth to life everlasting."
Jonah vi. io, 11.
Hiftory of Mofes.
EXODUS XVii. 8—13.
Then came Amalek, and fought with Ifrael in Rephidim, And Mofes faid unto Fofhua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Jofhua did as Mofes had faid to him, and fought with Amalek. And Mofes, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the bill. And it came to pass when Mofes held up his hand, that Ifrael prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Mofes's hands were heavy; and they took a stone and put it under him, and he fat thereon: and Aaron and Hur flayed up his hands, the one on the one fide, and the other on the other fide; and his hands were steady until the going down of the fun. And Joshua difcomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the fword.
NOTHING can be more afflicting to a humane and ferious mind, than to reflect on that ftrife and contention which have in every age deluged the world with human blood. Who could believe, if all hiftory did not prove it, and who can think of it without horror, that men fhould be continually lying in wait, like beafts of prey, to catch and devour men; that the ftrong, the cunning and the fierce fhould be forever on the watch, to take advantage of the weak, the fimple and the gentle? And muft it be? Father of mercies! muft it needs be, that war fhould continue to waste