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David enumerates the particulars which constitute the character of the man who is most in favour with God, he draws a picture of the most diftinguished moral virtue, “ Pl. xv. 1. &c. " Lord “ who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall “ dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh up
rightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh “ the truth in his heart, &c.” Lastly, the apostle James says, ch. i. 13. « Let no man say when “ he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God “ cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he “ any man.”
A thousand passages in the scripture express the pleasure which God takes in good men, and the happiness which he reserves for them, Pf.cxlvii. 11. • The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, «' in those that hope in his mercy.” Pr. xxxvii. 23, 24.
“ The steps of a good man are ordered by " the Lord: and he delightech in his way. Though « he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for " the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” Pr. ciii. 13. Like as a “father pitieth his children: “ so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Pf. Ixxxiv. 11.
" For the Lord God is a fun and • shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no · « good thing will he with-hold from them that “ walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blefied is the
man that trusteth in thee.” On the other hand, the wicked are always represented as the sole objects
of the divine displeasure and vengeance, as Ir. xlviii. 22. and lvii. 21. " There is no peace, faith my “ God, to the wicked.” And all the judgments which the divine being is represented as interpofing to indict, are always said to have been on account of wickedness only, as in the case of our first parents, the inhabitants of the old world, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Canaanites, and
Whereas the favour of the heathen gods was supposed to be gained by the performance of certain rites and ceremonies, while moral virtue was feldom thought to be of any use for that purpose; the contrary is expressed in the strongest terms, with respect to the true Gods and admonitions of this kind are repeated again and again in the books of fcripture. David, confeffing his fins before God, says, Pf. li. 16." Thou desirest not facrifice, “ else would I give it: thou delightest not in “ burnt offering. - The sacrifices of God are a “ broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, “ O God, thou wilt not despise.” One of the finest passages in the facred writings to this purpose is, If. i. 13. &c. “ Hear the word of the Lord, ye “ rulers of Sodom, give ear unto the law of our “ God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what pur" pose is the multitude of your facrifices unto me? “ faith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings “ of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight Vol. II.
“ not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of " he goats. Whe: ye come to appear
me, “ who hath required this at your hand, to tread
my courts : Bring no more vain oblations, in" cense is an abomination unto me, the new-moons “ and fabbaths, the calling of assemblies I cannot “ away with, it is iniquity, even the solemn meet« ing. Your new moons, and your appointed 66 feasts my soul Fateth; they are a trouble unto me,
And when ye 66 spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes “ from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, " I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. " Wah ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of
your doings from hence before mine eyes, cease « to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment, re« lieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead 66 for the widow. Come now and let us reason “ together, faith the Lord : though your fins be
as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though " they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” The fame sentiment is also admirably expressed in Micah vi. 6. &c. " Wherewith shall I come be“ fore the Lord, and bow myself before the high 66 God ? shall I come before him with burnt of “ ferings, with calves of a year old ? Will the “ Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with « ten thousands of rivers of oil ? shall I give my “ first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my
« body for the fin of my soul ? He hath shewed “ thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the « Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to " love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy 6 God?” To the same purpose see also Pf. 1. Jer. vii. 2. Hos. vi. 6. and Amos v. 21.
In the New Testament, we find John the Baptift exposing the vain confidence of the Jews, on account of their having Abraham for their father, Matt. iii. 9. and our Saviour also, when they made the same boast, in his presence, says, John viii. 39. " If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. Ye are of
father the “ devil, and the lufts of your father ye will do." Again, speaking of his natural relations, he says, Matt. xii. 50.
" Whosoever shall do the will of my
father who is heaven, the same is my brother, 66 and fifter and mother.”
If we consider the great object and end of all the parts of the scheme of revelation, we cannot but fee that it was intended to promote the practice of moral virtue, in order to men's attaining to the greatest degrees of perfection and happiness· The ten commandments, which God spake from Sinai, are all of a moral, and most of them of a social nature. His earnest exhortations to the Israelites, through the whole of the book of Deuteronomy, enforces the practice of virtue in the strongest manner; and so do all the writings of the prophets.
The purport of their earnest exhortations is, « Cease to do evil, learn to do well; turn ye, turn ,
your evil ways; why will ye die, O « house of Israel.”
Repentance and works meet for repentance, was the chief subject of John the Baptist's preaching, and also of that of our Saviour. Our Lord's admirable sermon on the mount, confifts chiefly of precepts of the moft sublime moral virtue; and he represents the fate of all mankind at the last day, as determined by a regard to their moral character only, and especially their benevolence.
Whenever the general design of the gospel is mentioned, it is always spoken of as intended to reform and bless mankind. Thus the apostle Peter, in his address to the Jews, after the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, says, Acts iii. 26. “ God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him u to bless you, in turning away every one of you "s from his iniquities.” To the same purpose the « apostle Paul, Titus ii. 11. “ The grace of God 66 that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all
men; teaching us, that denying ungodliness and " worldly lufts, we should live soberly, righieously, “ and godly in this present world; looking for " that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of « the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Chrift: " who gave himself for us, that he might redeem “ us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a