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might arise and go over Jordan, to take possession of the land of their inheritance, Moses their leader, their lawgiver, and their prophet, must retire alone to Mount Nebo, to die by himself, and even in his burial to be separated from his people. Surely for our sakes this was written, that we might know what that judgment of God is from which Christ has delivered us; and how little we could in our own strength endure to abide it.

But what is written concerning Moses is but in accordance with what is written concerning the people of Moses, and concerning other nations also. We see everywhere the language of judgment, not unmixed certainly, yet predominant; because the evil which draws it down is predominant everywhere. We see obedience required to the minutest outward observances, even on pain of death. We see devastations of war, of pestilence, of famine, sweeping away the young and the old, and, to speak man's language, the righteous and the wicked together. We see one thing above all others insisted on, the worship of God, and the keeping of His law. God is everywhere exalted, whilst the wisdom, the glory, the power, and the pretended righteousness and innocence of man, are all humbled in the dust together.

And is not this the very impression which we need, in order to go with true and wholesome feelings to the cross of Christ ?

Is it by talking

of man's frailty and God's goodness that we shall ever learn the full meaning of that which Christ has purchased for us,the being reconciled to God? Is it by going on carelessly, by taking life as we find it, by being under no concern for our actions, by talking of heaven as the natural termination of our life in this world, that we can ever understand what is contained in the word Redemption? Or is it not certain, that to such a careless and confident state of mind the very mercy of the language of the Gospel acts as a poison? We turn the grace of God into lasciviousness; we do not judge ourselves; and we are therefore in danger of being not saved, but judged by the Lord, when He shall appear at the last day.

Surely the Old Testament is well fitted for the reproof of such feelings as these. It represents most awfully to us what God will be to us if we do not fear Him. Nor is it true that we need this representation once only; that having once felt the fear of the Lord, and rejoiced therefore in Christ's salvation, we have nothing to do with fear any more. As I said last Sunday,—that no man is ever wholly dead to the law,-so it is true, or rather it is the same thing to say, that no man has wholly done with fear. We are ever needing something to sober us, to remind us from what evil we have been delivered. We need what we have; the Scriptures in their fulness; the Old

Testament and the New together : that, while the New Testament shows us clearly what of the Old Testament has passed away, and what in it was but imperfect, and suited to a time of greater ignorance, the Old Testament may show us no less clearly what will be our portion if we neglect the great salvation offered to us; if boasting of living in the light, our deeds are yet deeds of evil. It may show us what God's law is, and what His judgments; how He puts down all who exalt themselves against Him, or live without regarding Him. It may finally make us understand that as the law of faith exalts most highly the law of works, so the law of works on the other hand is no less the highest, and only true exaltation of the law of faith in Christ Jesus.


November 20th, 1836.



HEBREWS, x. 31.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Some perhaps, when they hear these words, may be reminded of the somewhat different feeling expressed by David, when he was told to make his choice between three different sorts of judgment proposed to him. His expression was, “ Let me now fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are great; and let me not fall into the hands of men." Yet here, again, these sentiments, seemingly so opposite, do but make up together a great and most wholesome truth. “ Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are great ; that we may not fall into the hands of the Lord, when He shall come to judge His people.”

“Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His

mercies are great ; and let me not fall into the hands of men."

Let us experience God's judgments, and not men’s. Strictly speaking, indeed, every thing that befalls us is God's judgment, whether it comes upon us through the instrumentality of nature or of man.

And again, on the other hand, it is very possible that nothing, whether it come from nature or from man, may seem to us to be God's judgment; we may see in it nothing beyond the instrument, and not look up to its Author. But still, undoubtedly we are more apt to see God's hand in what we call natural visitations, than in those brought on us by man; and therefore they are far more apt to do us good. And the reason of this is evident. In evils brought on us by the hand of man, the injustice, or cruelty, or dishonesty of the instrument, that is to say of the man, hinders us from looking any further; and as injustice and cruelty excite our anger, we are rather disposed to be angry with another than with ourselves; we think not of our own sin, but of our enemy's wickedness. And this is a great aggravation of his wickedness, and is indeed one of the worst parts of all injustice, that it is likely to do not a worldly injury only, but a spiritual one besides ; by exciting in the mind of him to whom it is offered such feelings as lead him away from his great business, the business of watching his own heart and conduct.

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