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act of treason to question his authoritya crime to disobey his commands. Let any one of us deny the faith, or pervert it - let any one pursue a course of systematic disobedience, and is it not troubling Israel? Is it not introducing innovation into the commonwealth ? is it not attempting revolution, and bringing in, to the utmost, commotion and discord ? Yes—it cannot be doubted, this is the character of sin. It is chargeable with all that may spring from it. When it has spread error and licentiousness far and wide, and at length a warning voice is heard inviting a corrupted generation to return to truth and holiness; if then the public attention is roused even to actual disturbance, and peace is banished before dispute and controversy; it is not the righteous monitor who troubles Israel, but those who have given occasion for his admonitions, and made it his duty to plead for righteousness and God. To do that which must provoke the opposition of the wise and good, is to cause trouble. If error is propagated, though it be done in honied words, and invoking the while the honoured names of charity and liberality, it matters not: to spread error is to trouble Israel. If crimes be done, whether in wantonness, or upon calculation and with a regard to appearances, it matters not: to “ forsake the commandments of the Lord, and follow Baalim," is to trouble Israel. It is mere hypocrisy in him who knows very well that he is himself the real disturber, to affect to regard the man of principle as the cause of disquiet. His object is to restore peace, and banish what cannot but cause disorder. And if the process be attended with some agitation, the responsibility does not rest with him, but upon those who have made it necessary.
But I have, I trust, said enough for the argument; and will now detain you only by a few words to press the inquiry whether we are imitating the part of the tyrant or the prophet? Do we hear the charge directed against us, of troubling Israel ? Is our conduct such as to provoke the world to make our conduct a matter of reproach? Are we shining as lights before
it, furnishing by our principles and our lives such a contrast to what it loves, as to lead it to “revile us, and persecute us, and say all manner of evil against us falsely for Christ's sake ?”
If, while we are acting with Christian meekness and prudence, we meet in some degree with such treatment; if we are scorned as visionaries, and reproached as disturbers, it is but a testimony to our consistencyit is part of what we have been called to endure. And if we seek grace of Him who bore the contradiction of sinners against himself, we may cheerfully endure it. But let us not deserve the charge. Let us not resist the claims of the Gospel, and introduce disorder by our sins, or perpetuate it by our carelessness. May God give us grace to pursue the old paths of truth and holiness; to walk by faith in the Saviour, humbly seeking the preventing and supporting grace of the Holy Spirit, and doing the will of our Father in heaven; that we may never justly bear the charge of troubling Israel, from having forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and followed Baalim !
JUDGES xvi. 28-30.
“ And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O
Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might ; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”
THE striking passage in which St. Paul enumerates the triumph of faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews, has saved us from a mistake into which we might otherwise very easily have fallen with respect to the ancient worthies of Israel. In reading the narrative of the remarkable transactions which are related in the book of Judges, we might glow with patriotism, or kindle in admiration, at the history of the heroic deeds of the extraordinary men, who so often arose to deliver their countrymen from foreign oppression : but while we were affected by the deepest interest, and felt all the influence of sublimity, we should have seen little in what we read, which would tend to the improvement of our moral being. The persons of whom we read, would strike us by their courage and daring ; and we should, if we read as we should read every thing, see in the events in which they were raised up to be actors, memorable proofs of God's interference in the affairs