Imágenes de páginas

hearken unto their voice: howbeit, yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the King that shall reign over them. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people, that asked of him a king.—Nevertheless, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel ; and they said, Nay, but we w ILL have a king over us: That we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.

[ocr errors]

Our Fathers had the Tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after, brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David. JWho found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house.

Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.

[ocr errors]

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Sampson, and of Jepthat, of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets. Who through jaith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, wared valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

WHATEVER be the views of man respecting the veracity of the scriptures, it must be admitted that the subjects of which they treat, and upon which they promise elucidation, are to the last degree interesting and important. If there be a God, it is of the first consequence, that we should understand our relation to him, the duties which we owe him, and the service which he requires. The question whether revelation has given us just views on this subject, cannot be solved, except it be in the first instance seriously received, and cautiously examined; and professing to give us decisive information upon these points, it demands respect, it should awaken interest, it should promote enquiry, and the investigation of it's claims, ought to be conducted under the influence of a sincere desire to serve the cause of truth. As it is professedly the production of men of real genius, and displays eloquence and beauty which extort unwilling praise from the lips of it's adversaries, it ought not to be treated either with indifference or with contempt. The wisdom manifested, and the good proposed in it, are vastly above ridicule. While it professes to be the word of God, and till the contrary be incontestibly proved, it should be approached with respect; and as the subjects it proposes are inseparably connected with our peace, it should be examined with care. It is exceedingly absurd to prejudge a cause which we have not tried, and to condemn a book which we have not read... And yet it is more than probable that the larger number of the opponents of revelation, have not taken the trouble to examine it's contents, much less to weigh it's evidences. What then are we to think of a man who could sit down to refute a book, which from his own confession he had not read for years; and which, if we may form a judgment upon his injurious and profane production, he had never consulted with attention? When he had occasion to refer to it's compositions, not possessing a Bible of his own, and not willing to re-examine the production which he so virulently, and on such slender ground, condemned, he was compelled to substitute a poetical paraphrase for the simple language of the scriptures! Is this candour? Is this liberality? Is this fair

and impartial criticism? If it be, may Infidelity ever enjoy the triumph of possessing it: we neither envy, nor desire to share such honours: we are satisfied that the glory shall be all their own. If we would find out truth, the pretensions of this book must be fairly examined, and that examination should be made with a mind removed, as remotely as possible, from the influence of prejudice. Wherever the truth shall eventually be found to lie, it's cause will not have been served by those on either side, who have prosecuted their researches with indolence, or drawn their conclusions without candour. The present Lecture is a resting-point, and from it's nature, induces us to survey the ground which we have already trodden. We have advanced step by step through the Jewish history, from the calling of their great progenitor Abraham, to their complete establishment in Canaan. What important lessons arise out of this long chain of historical events' what examples of piety' what trials of patience! what exercises of faith ! what elucidations of providence! what evidences of divine veracity!, Abraham received the promise of a son at the advanced age of an hundred years; and the accomplishment of the prediction was the dawn of the fidelity of God. When this patriarch died, he left behind him, for his son, no inheritance in Canaan, “no, not “ so much as to set his foot on”—the “cave of “ the field of Machpelah” excepted; and that, he held by purchase, and not as the gift of Heaven. Did this appear like the possession of the promised land by his descendants? Yet in tracing successive events through all their windings, revelation has furnished us with decisive evidences as the result of our enquiries, that all these promises were fulfilling in their order, and that they actually did receive their complete accomplishment. Through the envy of his brethren the favourite son of Jacob was sold into Egypt. By a most extraordinary combination of events, the little Hebrew captive was seated upon the throne of the kingdom, next to the monarch himself. A famine prevailing in Canaan drove his relatives into Egypt. There he had an opportunity of making himself known to those who had so grievously persecuted him; and his father, partly urged by necessity, and strongly impelled by parental affection, went down, with all his household, and settled in Egypt. This was the third generation from Abraham. The lapse of years swept them all away; and, according to the prediction, his “seed became strangers in a strange land.” As it had been foretold, their bondage was most severe and cruel; and at the exact period of

« AnteriorContinuar »