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apostacy at the foot of Horeb, as if idolaters were now to be treated by us, in the same manner, they were then treated by the command of God.-Mankind are not at present, nor have we any reason to suppose, they will ever again be placed in similar circumstances. The Ala mighty was himself, as the prophet Samuel emphatically styled him, the king of Israel, at that time; and reigning in such a manner, that all the people had daily proof of his superintending power and goodness, in his miraculously preserving them from the bands of their enemies, and from the painful effects of drought and famine.—They bad likewise been long accustomed to a manifestation of his immediate presence, by the appearance “ of the pillar of “ cloud at the door of the tabernacle”; and knew that the coinmands which Moses issued, were dictated by their supreme governor and director.-If they had not been perfectly convinced of this, they would never have obeyed him ; especially, when his orders affected the lives of thousands of their nearest friends and relatives.-If they had discovered any thing like dishonesty in him ;—if they had not been certain, that he could, with a pure heart and clean hands have said to them, “whose ox have “I taken or whom have I defrauded ? “ whom have I oppressed, or of whose hand “have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes " therewith?”—if they had suspected him of ambitious and tyrannical designs, they would
have conspired against, and slain bin; for, it the rebellious house of Israel, there were always men as jealous, suspicious, and vindictive, as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.-The commands of their king, were, therefore submitted to, on this occasion, without opposition :-they had been guilty of a capital offence, and the punishment of it, was from God. -Kings, Princes, and magistrates, who profess to live according to the laws of Christ, are as much bound to observe his plain precepts and injunctions against false worship, and those wlio obstinately, and against their better knowledge persist in it, as Moses was to obey the commands, and execute the laws which he had received from heaven, against idolaters and idolatry:-For, under whose authority did the christian lawgiver issue his precepts ?- The same gracious and powerful being, that spoke by Moses, spoke also by Christ-Now, it is allowed by all, tbat Christ altered none of the moral laws of God:and it would be an absurdity to suppose, that he abrogated the decrees of his Almighty father against the vices and corruptions of the false systems of religion, he was sent to overthrow, and which, bis doctrine went directly to destroy.In teaching the people, to worship God in spirit and in truth, he virtually confirmed those decrees; and shewed them the danger of any other kind of religious service; and in condemning the apostacy of “the man of sin,” by the mouth of his beloved apostle, and in
commanding his followers to shun and avoid it, or to "come ont of it," if they had uofortunately been seduced into it unawares, that they might not be partakers of the sins belonging to it, nor receive the plagues that would fall upon it, he has testified his indignation against, and abhorrence of it, and taught us how we ought to conduct ourselves towards the infatuated members of it. There is no de. cree of heaven,—there is no language in the old testament against idolatry, stronger than the commands, and the words of Christ against the idolatrous apostacy of Roine, already in part recited, and to be found in the writings of St. John.- Are then, Christian Princes to pay any attention to these things, or, are they to disregard every thing said in the Scriptures upon this subject, and like the timid Aaron, to indulge the wishes of idolaters, and favour a cause, which God has coudemned —Are they to open their aims and receive within them, the friends and lovers of that apostacy, which they are ordered to use their utmost endeavours to destroy? No.—This would be rebellion against Christ, the head of our religion :-and, it would be a very high offence against God, “ to go beyond his word,” and approve what he condemns, and “ bless what he has cursed."
“Living without God,” and legislating without any regard to him, are equally dangerous to an individual, and to a nation ;-and, theretore, are equally to be deprecated.—Israel fell, monarchies, raised by human wisdom, and supos ported by physical strength, soon perished, like the short lived beasts, under which, they were represented to the mind of the prophet, by the deity ;-leaving behind them, little more than the traces of bloodshed and slaughter, oppres-, sion and tyranny, that generally followed their actions. If this was the case in the empires, whose rulers knew nothing of the Creator :-if their strength was changed into weakness, when their princes boasted“ of the might of “their power, and the honor of their majesty," as if,“ the most high ruled not in the kingdom “of men ;-and gave not dominion to whomso“erer he thought proper ;" -men, who are ap. pointed to carry on the affairs of a great nation, professing the principles of Christianity, ought to be careful, how they enact laws, which are not in union with those of God. It is an easy thing to ridicule the idea, that God interferes in the affairs of the world; it is not a difficult matter to represent a person as a " visionary," who asserts that God takes notice of the differ. ent acts of kingdoins and nations:-but, when a state is reduced from independence and freedom, and is compelled to submit to the power of a conquering enemy :-or, wher, a monarch is hurled from his throne, like the proud king of Babylon, because he paid no attention to the will of God;—the idea of the divine government, may be smiled at, but it will be admitted, without hesitation, that the liberty of the
one, and the crown of the other are seldoin recovered, without great difficulty and exertion.If the deity is excluded, according to the opinion of many modern statesmen, from taking any interest in the political affairs of a kingdom, does not such an exclusion trench deeply upon one of the attributes of God; his omniscenceFor, if the deity knows every thing, he can at no time be ignorant of what is doing for the good or injury of his creatures, by the wise or unwise counsels of men in power;-and must approve or condemn accordingly.-It it is supposed, that religious, and not political subjects, pass under his observation and notice, this does not extricate us from difficulty. But, there is a much closer connection between religious and political subjects, than some men are disposed to allow.What is politically right, or really beneficial to a state, will seldom be religiously wrong.-Many things which ap. pear advantageous to the political interest of a country, are directly the contrary, because they are not founded upon the principles of justice :—both history and experience shew this ;-consequently, whatever is wrong, when tried by the religion of justice and truth, bestowed upon man by his maker, can never be politically right, or really and lastingly beneficial to the interest of any government or nation.-In other words, no government can be considered good and lasting, unless it is founded upon a basis corresponding with the divire