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Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgression.” “Behold, O God, our Shield, and look upon the face of thine Anointed.” In meditating on this subject, let us learn to forbear from exercising this dread prerogative of the Eternal, let us refrain from judging. God has challenged this right with emphatic solemnity as his own: “Judgment is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” “All judgment is committed unto the Son.” “Therefore thou art inexcuseable, O man, whosoever thou art, that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemneth thyself; for thou that judgest, doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth, against them which commit such things. . . And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immor1ality; eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; indignation and wrath: tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God,” Rom. ii. 1–11. But while by every serious consideration thou art restrained, ignorant fallible creature, from judging another—by every serious consideration thou art encouraged, constrained to examine and to judge thyself. It may be the means of preventing, of averting the righteous judgment of God. It will lead thee to the discovery of thy own weakness, and thereby become a source of wisdom and strength. It will unfold the deceitfulness of sin, and the treachery of thine own heart, and lead thee in trembling hope to the blood of sprinkling, which taketh away the sin of the world. It will render thee compassionate and gentle to the infirmities of others, because that thou also hast sinned. It will produce “godly sorrow, which worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of.” It will render the promises of “mercy to pardon, and of grace to help in every time of need,” precious to thy soul. It will help to regulate thy path through life, and diminish the terrors of death. Finally, habitual and rooted impressions of a judgment to come, will serve as a support under the rash censures and the unjust decisions of men. From the strife of tongues, from the hatred of a merciless world, you can retire to the silent feast of a conscience void of offence; and with confidence appeal from the angry tribunal of a creature like thyself, to Him who knoweth thy heart, who seeth in secret, and will reward thee openly. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth?” Behold that “great multitude which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and crying with a loud voice, saying, Salvation unto our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” “What are these which are arrayed in white robes?
and whence came they?” “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” Rev. vii. 9, 10, 13–17.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And they journeyed from mount Hor, by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom; and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came, to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.—NUMBERs xxi. 4—9.
THE restlessness, peevishness and discontent which men are continually expressing, prove at once the degeneracy and corruption of human nature, and furnish a strong presumption of the immortality of the soul. To behold one generation after another, of mop
ing, melancholly, sullen, surly beings, in the midst of an overflowing profusion of blessings, charging God foolishly, tormenting themselves unnecessarily, and disturbing others maliciously, clearly demonstrates, that man is alienated from his Maker, at variance with himself, and unkindly disposed towards his brother: in other words, that he is a fallen, corrupted creature. To behold men, whatever they have attained, whatever they possess, forgetting the things which are behind, and eagerly reaching forward to those which are before, the eye never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing, is a presumption at least, if not a proof, that we are designed of our Creator for something this world has not to bestow; that some principle in our nature is superior to the gross and grovelling pursuits in which we are warmly engaged, but in which we take no rest; and thus the very misery we feel is a presentiment of the felicity which we were created to enjoy. But, alas! our dissatisfaction with sublunary good things, “the things which are seen and temporal,” is not the result of experience, nor the resignation of a mind humbled to the will of God. No, it is the miserable effect and expression of insatiable desire, of unmortified pride, of disappointed ambition. If we arrive at our object with ease, its value is diminished by the facility of acquisition; if obstacles lie in the way, and possession be removed by distance of time and space, we are quickly discouraged, and timidly give up the pursuit. When empty, there is no end of our complaints; when full, we loathe and reject the best things: if we succeed, our prosperity destroys us with folly, insolence and self-indulgence; if we fail, we are undone through shame, chagrin and resentment; if we shun in the rock of “vanity” on the one side, we are sucked into the whirlpool of “vexation of spirit” upon the other. The history of Israel is, in truth, the history of human nature. Did they discover a stubborness which W OF.. I II. E. -