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who are unconscious of any malady can have no desire; as our Lord has said, “ They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick : I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance *." What then shall an unpardoned sinner do? If he look not back on his transgressions, to mourn over them before God, he rivets them all upon his soul, and ensures to himself the judgments of an offended Gody.] Nor is it a whit less necessary for a pardoned saint
[In a great variety of views it is desirable for him : first, for the deepening of his humility. Superficial views of sin, though they may suffice to bring us to the Saviour, will never produce that self-lothing and self-abhorrence which are the foundation of all that is good and great in the Christian character? Next, for the inflaming of his gratitude. Our gratitude will always bear proportion to our sense of sin. " The man that has been forgiven little, will love littlea :” but the man who is sensible, fully sensible, what his deserts have been, will be filled with such wonder and admiration at the goodness of God towards him, as no words can adequately express b Further, these views of sin are desirable for the confirming of his principles. Let him feel the extent of his guilt, and he will not need to be told that salvation must be altogether of grace, or through faith in Christ. He will see that a soul taken out of hell itself would not be a greater monument of grace
than he: he knows himself to be “ a brand plucked out of the burning®;" and that if there were not an atonement provided for him, and a free salvation offered to him, Satan himself would have as good a hope of mercy as he --- These views are yet further desirable for the augmenting of his care and watchfulness. Let a man see how he has fallen, and how, even though he may not actually have fallen, he has been tempted by sinful inclinations: he will then see what must have been his state to all eternity, if God had left him to himself; and what must yet be his state, if God should not continually uphold him
-- Lastly, they are necessary for the meetening of his soul for glory. Go up to heaven, and see the state of the saints there: see how they fall on their faces before the throne: hear with what incessant praises they ascribe salvation to God and to the Lamba. If you were to go
from one end of heaven to the other, you would not hear one self-applauding word, or witness one self-admiring thought. There is but one song throughout all the realms of bliss: and the deeper our
* Matt. ix. 12, 13.
y Luke xiii. 3.
d Rev. v. 14.
sense of obligation to God is for the wonders of redeeming love, the better we shall be prepared to make it the one subject of our thanksgivings to all eternity.] Before I conclude, let me Add a few words to those
who are either looking to God for acceptance through their own righteousness, or imagining that they have already found mercy on such ground as that
[Take a retrospect of your past lives, and call to remembrance the whole of your conduct in this wilderness world. Compare your lives with the requirements of God's law; and see whether even so much as a day or an hour has ever passed, that has not given you ground for the deepest humiliation. But if you will not remember your sins, know assuredly, that God will. He says, by the Prophet Amos; “ The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their workse.” In the day of judgment, too, will he remember them; yes, and bring them to your remembrance also: for they are all recorded in his book; and when set before you with all their aggravations, they will then appear to you, not light and venial, as they now do, but worthy of the deepest and heaviest condemnation. Stay not, then, till that day, but call them to remembrance now, and beg of God to set them all in order before your eyes. As for the pain which a sight of them will occasion, would you not wish to be pained with that which has so grieved your God? And is it not better to feel a penitential sorrow now, than to die in impenitence, and lie down under the wrath of God for ever? In recommending penitence, I am your best friend; and those who would encourage you to forget your sins are, in truth, your greatest enemies. Begin, then, to “sorrow after a godly sort?," and go to the Lord with all your sins upon you: so shall you have them all “ blotted out as a morning cloud," and
cast by God himself into the depths of the sea. Here is a great mystery: if you forget your sins, God will remember them: but if you remember them, God will forget them utterly, and “ remember them against you no more for ever 8.”]
e Amos viii. 7. f 2 Cor. vii. 11. 8 Heb. viii. 12.
THE REPLACING OF THE TWO TABLES OF THE COVENANT. Deut. x. 1, 2. At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee
two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood : and I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
THOSE to whom the modes of communication which are common in eastern countries are but little known, feel a jealousy respecting every thing that is figurative and emblematical. But even in the New Testament there is much that is hidden under figures. The whole life of our blessed Saviour is justly considered as an example: but it is rarely considered that in all its principal events it was also emblematical of what is spiritually experienced in the heart of the believer: the circumcision of Christ representing the circumcision of our hearts; the baptism, also, and the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Christ, marking our death unto sin, and our new birth unto righteousness. If then in the New Testament, where truth is exhibited so plainly, there are many things revealed in shadows, we may well expect to find much that is figurative in the Old Testament, where the whole system of religion was veiled under types and figures. The circumstances before us, we do not hesitate to say, have a hidden meaning, which, when brought forth, will be highly instructive. But in exploring the mysteries that are hid under these shadows, there is need of the utmost sobriety, that we impose not on Scripture any other sense than that which God himself designed it to convey. However some may gratify themselves with exercising their ingenuity on the sacred writings, and please themselves with their own fanciful interpretations of God's blessed word, I dare not proceed in that unhallowed course: I would put off my shoes, when I come upon this holy ground;” and be content to leave untouched what I do not understand, and what God has not enabled me to explain, with a good hope at least that I express only “the mind of his Spirit.” With this reverential awe upon my mind, I will endeavour, as God shall help me, to set before you what I conceive to be contained in the passage which we have just read. In it we notice, I. The breaking of the two tables of the law
God, after he had published by an audible voice the law of the Ten Commandments, wrote them upon two tables of stone, and gave them to Moses upon Mount Horeb, that they might serve as a memorial of what all who entered into covenant with him were bound to perform. But when Moses, on descending from the mount, found that the whole people of Israel were worshipping the golden calf, he was filled with righteous indignation, and “brake the two tables in pieces before their eyesa.” Now this action of his imported,
1. That the covenant which God had made with them was utterly dissolved
[Repeatedly are the two tables called “the tables of the covenant b;” because they contained the terms on which the Israelites were ultimately to find acceptance before God. But their idolatry was a direct violation of the very first precept of the decalogue, or rather an utter subversion of the whole: and as they had thus broken the covenant on their part, Moses by breaking the two tables declared it to be annulled on God's part. God now disclaimed all connexion with them; and by calling them “thy people,” that is, Moses' people, he disowned them for his; and threatened to “ blot out their name from under heaven.” All this was intimated, I say, by Moses, in this significant action. A similar mode of expressing the same idea was adopted by Jehovah in the days of the Prophet Zechariah. He took two staves, one to represent the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; and the other, the ten tribes. These he brake, the one after the other, in order to shew that as they were disjoined from each other, so they should henceforth be separated from him also, and that “his covenant with them” both was dissolved. Thus far then, we apprehend, the import of this expressive action is clear.
The further light which I shall endeavour to throw upon it, though not so clear to a superficial observer, will to a wellinstructed mind approve itself to be both just and important.]
It further imports then,
2. That that mode of covenanting with God was from that time for ever closed
[This, I grant, does not at first sight appear; though it may be inferred from the very circumstance of the same law being afterwards given in a different way. This mode of conveying such instruction repeatedly occurs in the Holy Scriptures. The Prophet Jeremiah tells the Jews that God would make a new covenant with them;" from whence St. Paul infers that the covenant under which they lived, was old, and“ ready to vanish away d.” The Prophet Haggai speaks of God " shaking once more the heavens and the earth:” and this St. Paul interprets as an utter removal of the Jewish dispensation, that “the things which could not be shaken," the Christian dispensation,“ might remaine.” Now if these apparently incidental words conveyed so much, what must have been intended by that action, an action which, in point of singularity, yields not to any within the whole compass of the sacred records?
a Deut. ix. 10, 15, 16, 17. b Deut. ix. 9, 11, 15.
c Zech. xi. 7, 10, 14.
But is this view of the subject confirmed by any further evidence? I answer, Yes; it is agreeable to the whole scope of the inspired volume. Throughout the New Testament we have this truth continually and most forcibly inculcated, that the law, having been once broken, can never justify: that, whilst under it, we are, and ever must be, under a curse: and therefore we must be dead to it, and renounce all hope of acceptance by it. And the breaking of the tables before their eyes was in effect like the driving of our first parents out of Paradise, and the preventing of their return to it by the menaces of a flaming sword. The tree of life which was to them in their state of innocence a pledge of eternal life, was no longer such when they had fallen: and therefore God in mercy prohibited their access to it, in order that they might be shut up to that way of reconciliation which God had provided for them in the promised seed. And thus did Moses by this significant action cut off from the Jews all hope of return to God by that covenant which they had broken, and shut them up to that other, and better, covenant, which God was about to shadow forth to them.]
But the chief mystery lies in,
Moses, having by his intercession obtained forgiveness for the people, was ordered to prepare tables of stone similar to those which he had broken, and to carry them up to the mount, that God might write upon them with his own finger a fresh copy of the law. He was ordered also to make an ark, in which to deposit the tables when so inscribed. Now what was the scope and intent of these directions ? Truly