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the princes of the congregation, receive the so-lemn responsibility with which his soul is charged! An awful portion of this responsibility attaches to many of you. Your circumstances, and relations, and influence, are in
many cases of a character so extensive, and so important,-such numbers must look up to you to give them examples, and a tone of conduct which may have a mighty bearing upon their everlasting bliss or woe, that I should be inexcusably faithless to my office, did I not anxiously and affectionately beseech you to be clear from the blood of all men. Through your example Almighty God must be glorified or dishonoured. Through your example and conversation the cross of Christ must become more or less a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death unto death to others. Through your walk and demeanour the converting and renewing work of the Holy Ghost must be honoured, or lightly esteemed. Ye are epistles known and read of all men. Shall then, they who regard you, behold in you that opposition to the law of God, that contempt for his authority, that dishonour of his day, that insensibility to his love, that proud defiance of his inconceivable goodness, in the work of salvation, which may become watchwords and incentives to their own disobedience? Or shall they see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven; Why was the woe pronounced upon Chorazin and Bethsaida ? Why should their condemnation be greater than that of Tyre and Sidon ? Because they had received more largely of the Saviour's mercy, than their less favoured neighbours, and had not improved it. To whom much is given, from him will much be required. Were an opinion asked from any individual in this assembly concerning the guilt of Korah, one answer only would be returned. His sin was charged with a deeper malignity, because he was a chief in Israel. Do not believe, that elevated station is a licence for sin. God is no respecter of persons. If he have respect at all, it will be to a comparison of the means of usefulness, with the mischief which their abuse may have perpetrated. Korah must answer for his individual sin. And how heavy, in addition to the burden, would he feel the weight of Dathan and Abiram, the two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, and the fourteen thousand seven hundred men of the congregation who died in the plague! If ye have indeed ten talents, employ them faithfully to the master's use, -so shall ye avoid condemnation. So shall every one of you, having earnestly endeavoured, (through the Spirit obtained in answer to prayer,) to discharge the vast obligations which the salvation of a crucified Saviour has laid upon him, hear that award which will be his passport to everlasting blessedness, Well done, good and faithful servant ; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
(2.) St. Jude in his dark catalogue of transgressions, speaks of those who are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts. St. Peter, in nearly the same words, foretels a woe and judgment upon those who walk after the flesh, in the lust of uncleanness, and are presumptuous, self-willed, and not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Such were these conspirators; and the character of the offence requires consideration. If ever power were unenviable, it was surely the authority of Moses and Aaron: yet was it impatiently borne by men who knew its difficulties, and who ought to have given an example of ready, chearful, universal, holy submission. They gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, “Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Wherefore then, lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?” What was the authority of Moses and Aaron usurped ; or had it not been conferred immediately by God himself? Deeply then, was the Lord dishonoured by so flagrant an opposition to his own appointment, and to the magis
trate who carried the sword by his especial direction. And how unworthy, how mean, how servile was the gross flattery of this sinful people !-They holy! Witness the number and character of their offences, committed in an unbroken succession of murmurs and rebellions. Alas, contempt of lawful authority too frequently exhibits itself in the same manner, and condescends to aim at power and distinction by calumniating the governors, and flattering the governed. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, were resisting the ordinance of God: and the same disposition to cast off his yoke, and to become independent of his government, and to say of his glorified Son, “We will not have this man to reign over us," is a crime of an original too remote to be traced. It commenced with that eventful period, when the angels who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, were reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Man in paradise committed the sin, when, tempted by Satan, he would become as God knowing good and evil. Ever since the deep pollution of that fall, has the guilty creature, until renewed in the spirit of his mind, opposed the government of God over him, and said to the Almighty in every effort to restrain his sins, to bring him into a salutary submission to the divine law, and an acquaintance with the merciful restraints and pure salvation of the everlasting gospel. Depart from us ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. A guilty ambition of becoming more than the unsearchable decisions of eternal wisdom has seen good to make them, prompts men to disturb the peace and harmony of the church and the community. Diotrephes loved to have the pre-eminence; and therefore would not acknowledge the apostolic authority, or listen to the pastoral counsels of the beloved John. Korah was not contented to remain a Levite, while Aaron was the priest. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Reuben, envied the advancement of Moses; and therefore brought guilt, rebellion, and death among the people of the Lord. Alas, the spirit that is in us lusteth to envy. O, for the chastized feeling, the wise submission, the unruffled peace of that man's soul, whose delight was the law, whose one desire was the salvation of Christ; and who therefore looked with an eye of equal regard upon every outward condition of life, and cried, I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Ashamed to be a Levite ! ashamed to be employed in the inferior services of the tabernacle! and to approach God in the more humble department of its daily ministrations ! Little indeed could