Page images






1 Cor. x. 11, 12. Now all these things happened unto them for

ensamples ; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are


Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take

heed lest he fall. THE writings of the Old Testament demand our very attentive perusal upon various accounts. One, and that not the least important, is, that they supply us with memorable examples of the wrath of God conspicuously manifested in the punishment of sinners; that they give us evidence of his strict impartiality in taking vengeance for crimes, of whatever description be the criminal; and are thus calculated to convince us of this undoubted truth, that however greatly a man may esteem himself favoured by the Almighty, he has no ground for hoping that he shall enjoy the continuance of God's favour, and avoid the effects of his indignation, if he be disobedient to the divine commandments.

With this intent we hear St. Paul, in the passage preceding the text, directing the attention of his Corinthian converts to certain remarkable events in the Jewish history. He calls to their recollection in the first place the singular marks of favour, with which the people of Israel had been distinguished :-he then reminds them of the ungracious conduct of the Israelites in return, of the consequent displeasure of God, and their destruction in the wilderness :-he thence proceeds to remark in the text, that these things were recorded for the admonition of Christians, who might read in the history of the Jews ensamples or types of their own condition ; of their spiritual privileges in the blessings

conferred upon the Jews, and of their punishment, (provided they were disobedient,) in the disasters, with which that chosen people were inflicted :- Jastly he founds upon the whole a caution to those, who might be disposed to pride themselves upon their superior qualifications, not to indulge an ill-founded security, which would probably prove fatal to their ultimate happiness, but to be especially careful and diligent in “ making their calling and election sure.”

Let us direct our thoughts to these particulars in the same order, wherein the Apostle proposes them to our notice; praying almighty God for the sake of his wellbeloved Son, that the same gracious Spirit, who suggested the admonition to the writer, may give efficacy to it upon the present occasion, and enable it to have its due influence upon our hearts !

I. “ Brethren,” saith the Apostle to the Corinthians, first directing their attention to the marvellous events recorded in the Jewish history: Brethren, I would not


that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink : for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them; and that rock was Christ? And surely if ever a nation was signally protected by the arm of the Almighty, it was the people, to whom St. Paul alludes in this summary of marvellous events. Rescued from the house of bondage, from the dominion of an arbitrary monarch, by a' succession of overpowering miracles, they continued for a series of forty years to experience the unremitted care of a superintending Providence.

Did - the sea lift up

his waves” to obstruct their passage? The Lord “ caused the sea to go back, and divided the waters and made the sea dry land; so that the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry land, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left." -Did the wilderness present its terrors, to entangle and to shut them in?” The Lord


went before them “ by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.”—“Hungry and thirsty, did their soul faint within them?” The Lord “prepared them a table also in the wilderness : he brought waters out of the stony rock, and gave them drink thereof, as it had been out of the great deep. He commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven : he rained down manna also upon them for to eat, and gave

them food from heaven."

II. That a people so signally favoured by the Almighty, should be equally distinguished for their fidelity, might have been reasonably expected: not that they would“ turn their backs upon his testimonies,” and fall away from their allegiance,

starting aside. like a broken bow.” Yet notwithstanding the especial blessings, by which they were encompassed, heart was not whole with him, neither continued they steadfast in his covenant." Instead of being contented and thankful for the angels' food” which he vouchsafed them, they lusted after “ the flesh-pots of

56 their

« PreviousContinue »