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by his own scanty line and measure. Thus the apostles, as they contrasted their own little store with the mighty multitude whom Jesus commanded them to feed, exclaimed, “Two hundred penny-worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” They forget the Almighty Saviour who could feed the thousands whom his hand had made. While we are called upon to behold and pity these instances of imperfect faith, this infirmity of spirit in those upon whom the correcting and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit most largely rested, we should learn the double lesson-to cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; expecting perfection in God alone: and to rely, with a more implicit confidence, upon the promises of his word, the fidelity of his character, and the omnipotence of his arm. Jesus said, as he stood by the grave of Lazarus, “ Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? And when he had thus spoken he cried

with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth : and he that was dead came forth.”

III. The Judge of all the earth will assuredly do right, as THE CONDUCT Of God in the instance before us will abundantly prove.

(1.) He pardoned Moses : because, although the prophet spake unadvisedly with his lips, yet his heart was filled with an ardent desire for the divine glory, and a sincere affection for the people committed to his charge. We hear no language of rebuke or anger from the Lord, when Moses uttered the unrestrained and immoderate feeling of his heart. And when faith could not maintain its ground against unbelief, after the promise of supply was given, the Most High vouchsafed simply to appeal to that which should happen, as the removal and condemnation of his servant's infidelity. “The Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord's hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now, whether my word shall come to pass or not.” Thus graciously does our compassionate Father condescend to the infirmity of human nature ; excuse the suggestions of involuntary doubt; and give stability to the exercise of future faith, by the sure record of experience. And certainly, when the confidence which a Christian ought to maintain in the word and promise of God, is shaken and interrupted, by the intrusion of unbelieving fear, it is a mild and merciful rebuke, which yet should deeply abase him in the sight of heaven and in his own eyes, that his kind and compassionate Father not only pities his feebleness, but, “ with the temptation, also makes a way for him to escape, that he


be able to bear it." (2.) Not thus however, did the insulted majesty of Jehovah bear with the obdurate rebelbellion of his ungrateful people. They had their desire. The quails fell around the camp, in profusion beyond imagination miraculous. They saw their unholy wishes fulfilled. They had required, and they now possessed, meat for their lust, in unstinted abundance: and each man, as he congratulated himself on the success of his opposition to the usual order of providence for his daily supply, might be disposed to say, “Soul, take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” But the pleasures of sin are but for a

“While the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people; and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.” The joy was brief, the retribution terrible. They did eat indeed, and were well filled : “for he gave them their own desire.” What a judgment of wrath is here! They coveted that which it consisted not with the purposes of heaven to com


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municate, or with their own welfare to receive; and the request of their lips is given them in vengeance. O, if there be any here seeking sensual and forbidden indulgences with an insatiable cupidity, and murmuring against heaven because they are not bestowed, let them tremble, lest that prohibition and salutary restraint which alone stands between them and the mischievous affection which exercises its mastery over them should be withdrawn; and the word should go forth in merited judgment, Be it done unto thee even as thou wilt.

The very satiety of the supply would soon have made the quails loathsome to the senses and palates of the men of Israel: even as every sinful enjoyment serves only to mock its possessor with the mere shadow and semblance of the anticipated delight. But vengeance outran even the quick advance of this disgust. And what was the satisfaction which the quails so passionately sought produced, when the commissioned plague did its dreadful office upon them, and smote them in the midst of their guilty revel? They who ate the manna contentedly and gratefully, lived and were happy: but the prosperity of those who loathed it, destroyed them. It is true, that punishment may not immediately be yoked to sing—as the lightning flash is coupled with the thunder : but the connexion is never

broken,--the chain that binds them to each other can never be unclosed. Repentance will come at last. The mocked and self-deluded offender who cleaves to his transgression, receives it as his portion, and honours it as his god, will be fearfully undeceived, when death or judgment shall pour the light of truth upon his soul, and scatter the delusions by which it hath been misled to make eternal shipwreck of every hope. Look backward, my brethren, and consult the eventful histories of years now passed, and living only in your recollection. How many thoughtless, wilfiul transgressors can you remember, on whom the plague fell, because they preferred the gratification of their own evil desires to holy moderation and self-denial ; and who have gone down with an awful and untimely speed to Kibroth-Hattaavah, the graves of lust? The terrified Israelites gladly struck their tents, and journeyed from this scene of death. Imitate their conduct. Be warned by your experience of sin which others have committed, and the judgments they have endured in the body; and by your assurance of the woes which shall eternally be inflicted upon impenitent offenders, in body and soul, in the recompence of the eternal day. Thou, O man of God, flee these things. Escape for thy life. Little will the objects of sensual delight avail in the extremity of that

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