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within the walls of a single city. A number of persons equal to the population of London, in the largest sense of the term, and taking in many of the most populous parishes of the neighbourhood, was crowded together within limits far narrower than those of London, and all perished. In fact, the population crowded together in Jerusalem was much greater than this ; for besides these eleven hundred thousand, ninety-seven thousand were taken prisoners; and these were reserved, not for the light sufferings commonly undergone by prisoners of war in our days, but for the horrors of the slave-market, and for a life of perpetual bondage.
I said that this dreadful story was well worth our studying; and it is so for this reason. These miseries, greater than any which history mentions, fell upon God's Church, upon His chosen people, His own redeemed; the people with whom He was in covenant, to whom He had revealed His name, while all the rest of the world lay in darkness. It was not upon Amelek, nor upon Babylon, that this extremity of judgment fell, but upon Jerusalem. And what is Amalek now, what is Babylon, and above all, what is Jerusalem ? Whatever be the answer given to the two first questions, there can be no doubt as to the last. “We are the circumcision,” says St. Paul, when writing to the Greek Christians of Philippi ; that is, we Christians, and we alone, are now the true Israel of Scripture, the Israel of God, the seed of Abraham. It is even so, and as we have succeeded to the privileges of Israel, we should do well also to remember the fate of Israel. But I am not speaking of ourselves as a nation ; it is not as Englishmen, but as Christians, that we are the Israel of God; and it is not as Englishmen, that is, as citizens of an earthly country, but as Christians, citizens of a kingdom not of this world, a country incorruptible and eternal, that it concerns us to dread the judgments of Israel. God has other and far worse ministers of vengeance than the sword, or the famine, or the pestilence. These can but kill the body, and Christ has especially charged us not to fear those evils which can do us no greater harm than this. But we each of us individually, not in the persons of our children, not as the mere abstract idea which we call a nation, -we all of us here assembled, in our bodies and our own souls, have to fear an undying judgment. To us, each of us, belongs in the strictest sense the warning of the text. For us, each of us,-if we do fail of the grace of God, if Christ has died for us in vain, if being called by His name, we are not walking in His spirit,—there is reserved a misery of which indeed the words of the text are no more than a feeble picture. There is a state, in which they who are condemned to it, shall for ever say in the morning, Would God it were even ; and at even, Would God it were morning! for the fear of their heart wherewith they shall fear, and the sight of their eyes
which they shall see. There is a state in which the tender and delicate woman shall hate those whom once she most loved ; in which they who lived together here in a friendship wherein God was no party, will have their eyes evil against one another for ever. For when selfishness has wrought its perfect work, and the soul is utterly lost, there love is perished for ever; and the intercourse between such persons can be only one of mutual reproaches, and suspicion, and hatred. An eternal restlessness, and eternal evil passions, mark the everlasting portion of the enemies of God; just as an eternal rest, and a never ending life of love and peace, are reserved for those who remain to the end His true children. It is true that we see not this state of misery, and may therefore, if we choose, disbelieve it. And so did the Israelites disbelieve their threatened misery; they said that the pestilence should not come unto them, neither should they see sword nor famine; and if refusing to believe that so great a misery as did actually overtake them should ever be their portion, they had, no less than we, the excuse that experience had never hitherto recorded a fate so dreadful. But what no former experience had ever witnessed, did come to pass in that day of God's earthly vengeance; and no less shall all former experience, and even all our conceptions of evil, be outdone in the great day of God's eternal vengeance.
That earthly visitation on Jerusalem was well called the “ coming of the Lord.” It was His earthly judgment for the final breach of His earthly covenant. Jerusalem after the flesh had had her privileges and her day of trial, and her time being come to its end, she underwent her final sentence. And we, too, citizens of the spiritual Jerusalem, we have our privileges, we have our day of trial, we too have our covenant, not with earthly blessings promised, and no more than an earthly forfeiture incurred; but with a higher stake on both sides, an everlasting crown, or everlasting misery. For this second covenant the judgment is coming-when, we know not; but this we know, that to each one of us the day of trial will be over soon, and then we shall be kept to wait for the judgment, with no further power to alter it. The judgment is coming not less surely, than that whose fulfilment is before our eyes, but infinitely more important when it does come.
March 11th, 1832.
NUMBERS xxii. 20—22.
And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If
the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them : but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God's anger was kindled because he went.
Such is described to have been the way in which God dealt with the prophet Balaam, and the following words from the fourteenth chapter of Ezekiel will show that it is the way in which He will deal with all men.
“Then came certain of the elders of Israel before me, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face : should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore