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little saved remnant, from that deluge which his pontifical robes, resigning his charge, destroyed a world of ungodly men, in the ark closing his eyes in death; and beard Moses which God coinmanded; which that “preach-himself warned to prepare for his departure. er of righteousness prepared for the saving Not only by a display of worth and exof his house;" and which Providenee con- cellence, but by a delineation of vice, by the ducted and preserved amidst the wild uproar exhibition of a “heart deceitful above all of contending elements--and with him per- things, and desperately wicked," has he conceived the wrathful storm spending its fury, veyed to us the means of instruction and and the dawning light of a day of mercy re-improvement; in presenting us with the turning.
portrait of Balaam, who “ loved the wages We have seen the renewed, restored world, of unrighteousness.” In the character of again overspread with violence, ignorance, that bad man, we behold the humiliating impiety, and idolatry: and the hope of the union of great talents and a corrupted heart; human race ready to be extinguished in the prophetic gifts and moral depravity; knowperson of a wandering, aged, childless man; ledge of the truth, and wiltul adherence to that in the decay of exhausted, expiring na- error; admiration of virtue, and fixed habits ture, the world might be made to see, and to of vice; an earnest wish to “die the death acknowledge the vigour, the infallibility, the of the righteous,” with a deliberate determiunchangeableness of God's covenant of pro- nation to live the life of the wicked; and mise. We removed with that illustrious all this mystery of iniquity explained in one exile from place to place, and with joy beheld short sentence; his heart went out after its his faith crowned at length with the promised covetousness. seed, " in whom all the families of the earth All these have passed in review before us; should be blessed.".
and their existence, in succession to one From that “ tender plant,” that “root out another, occupies a space of two thousand of a dry ground,”: we saw a succession of five hundred years. But the text collects fair and fruitful branches arise, while we them, and us, and all succeeding generations studied the noiseless, sequestered, contem- of men, into one great co-existent assembly, plative life of Isaac, and the active, varie- to undergo a judgment infinitely more solemn gated, chequered life of Jacob, his younger than ever was pronounced from human tri
bunal! a judgment infallible, final, irreversiIn the affliction of Joseph we felt ourselves ble; which shall bring to trial, and condemn afflicted, in his exaltation we rejoiced, and by all hasty, rash, erroneous judgments of men, his virtues and piety, in every variety of clear injured innocence, bring to light and human condition, we received at once in- reward hidden worth, abase insolence and struction and reproof.
pride, detect and expose hypocrisy. Let the The sweet historian, who had disclosed prospect of it direct all our inquiries, animate all these wonders of antiquity to our view, all our exertions, dictate all our decisions on opened to us all these stores of knowledge, the character and conduct of other men, and all these sources of delight, comes forward influence, form, and govern our own. Thus hiiaself at last upon the scene, and continues the review of preceding personages and to minister to our pleasure and improvement, events, and the prospect of those to come by a faithful and affecting detail of his own shall be animated, improved, sanctified; thus eventful story, and a candid display of his shall we feel our interest in, and connexion own sentiments, character, and conduct. with the church of God universal, of every What heart so hard as not to melt at sight age, and converse with Moses and the proof yonder weeping babe, a deserted, exposed, phets as our contemporaries, countrymen, perishing Hebrew child, floating down the and friends, whom we shall shortly join, and stream! What heart does not glow to see be united to them in bonds of pure and everhim the pride and ornament of Pharaoh's lasting love. Recollecting times past, anticiimperial court, instructed in all the learning pating ages to come, let us draw near and of the Egyptians! What bosom catches not consider this great sight, and may God grant the hallowed ardour of patriotic fire from the us to feel and improve its influence. intrepid avenger of his country's wrongs ! The imagery of the scene is sublime and "In whatever situation or character we view striking. “I saw a great white throne.” him, whithersoever we follow his steps, “ A throne,” royal state, established empire, we feel ourselves attracted, delighted, in- acknowledged sway, the right and power of structed.
judgment united, universal, everlasting, unHe furnishes us with the history of his controllable dominion. A “great" throne. brother Aaron and his family, and of the The seat of kings is raised a little above the establishment of the Levitical priesthood, a people ; that of Solomon had six steps; ivory type of the everlasting and unchangeable and gold lent their combined aid to enrich priesthood of the Redeemer. We attended and adorn it. But what is the glory of Solothe venerable pair of brothers to the top of mon? his throne, once the seat of wisdom, the mountain, and beheld Aaron stript of to whose oracular voice foreign potentates
and their nations listened with admiration Observe the difference; mark the changes and respect, was at length dishonoured, de- which these undergo, as they draw nigh; graded, detiled by the impurities of idolatry, see the hardened sinner, cased in sevenfold and by the imprudence and a postacy of him adamant, advancing with intrepid step, strive who sat upon it; and thus deprived of one of ing to make assurance pass for innocence. its firmest supporters, it shook under him, But, lo, the rays of that white throne have and he at length dropped from it, a monu- fallen upon him; the spots begin to appear, ment of the nothingness and vanity of human they grow blacker and blacker, he gradually grandeur, wealth, and wisdom. Ten of its becomes abominable and more abominable; twelve props slipt from beneath it, through odious to the beholder, a terror to himself, the imprudence of his son ; and, after a few he shrinks from inquiry, darkness is ditlused convulsive struggles, it sunk at length into around from the brightness of that light; he the dust, a poor, precarious, subordinate calls upon the mountains to fall upon him, throne, subject to the lordly state of an and upon the hills to cover him. Assyrian prince. What is the glory of angels Not so the humble follower of the Lamb. that excel in strength? Delegated power, His countenance becomes more and more derived splendour, imparted wisdom, dignity serene, his confidence increases, every bleunder authority. But, behold on yonder mish disappears, “the glory of the Lord is radiant throne, one “made so much better risen upon him,” his lustre brightens as he than the angels, as he hath by inheritance proceeds, at length he is united to, he is lost obtained a more excellent name than they." in the fountain of joy. “He maketh his angels spirits, and his “I saw him that sat on it." “No ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son hath seen God at any time.” Remove that he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever cloud, that vapour, and I am unable steadand ever; a sceptre of righteousness, is the fastly to behold the face of the sun; how sceptre of thy kingdom.” “Sit on my right much more, the face of Him who arrays the hand until I make thine enemies thy foot- sun in all his effulgence! If he raise his stool.” Behold “the Lord sitting upon a voice a little louder in the whirlwind, or in throne, high and lifted up," surrounded with the thunder, I am overwhelmed and lost. the seraphim, crying continually unto one Ah! it is conscious guilt that appals me, another, and saying, “ Holy, holy, holy is that clothes the face of God with terror, that the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full roars in the tempest, that ràises the voice of of his goodness.”
the mighty thunder: but, “reconciled unto “A great white throne,” the emblem of God,” “ justified by faith," I " have peace purity, truth, and righteousness; itself un- with God," I see as I am seen, I know as I sullied, and purifying all that approach it. am known; “ beholding with open face as in “ Righteousness and judgment are the habi- a glass the glory of the Lord,” lo, the betation of his throne; mercy and truth go be- liever is gradually “changed into the same fore his face.” “Shall not the Judge of the image, from glory to glory, even as by the whole earth do right?" With the purest Spirit of the Lord.” “ The only begotten intention, with the highest degree of human who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath sagacity, with the most extensive knowledge declared him.” of the law, and the most determined resolu Did the pomp and wisdom of an earthly tion faithfully to apply it, earthly tribunals potentate dazzle and delight the eyes of a are not secure from error; craft may over- sovereign like himself, and constrain one reach wisdom; hy pocrisy may disguise the inured to scenes of magnificence to cry out, truth, or cover falsehood; the stream of “It was a true report that I heard in mine justice may be diverted or forced out of its own land, howbeit I believed not the words, channel, and the pellucid tide undergo a until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and temporary pollution. The princes of this behold the half was not told me!" What then world must see with the eyes and heap with will it be to see, with the beloved disciple, the ears of other men; the worthy and the “a great white throne, and him who sits wise may, of course, be kept at a distance, upon it,” with the myriads of the heavenly while demerit, wickedness, and folly bask in host bending before it, rejoicing without the sunshine of royal favour. But yonder trembling. radiant throne applies an infallible test to all Grant me, gracious God, now to see thee that approach it: hypocrisy drops the mask, in these thy lower works, in the wonders of the windings of deceit and cunning stand thy providence, in the exceeding riches of exposed, the brazen, imposing forehead of thy grace, in the face of thy Son Christ Jesus, impudence is covered with a blush, and the and thereby prepare me for seeing thee as stony, unfeeling, unrelenting heart is dis- thou art, and for being made like unto thee! solved into water-modest worth rears its Place me with thy servant Moses upon a drooping head, conscious integrity expands rock, put me in a clift of the rock, cover me its glowing bosom, and purity seeks the with thy hand while thou passest by, remove source from which it sprang.
thy hand, that I may trace thy presence in
the blessings thou hast left behind thee, that illiterate, the slave and his master. But I may be strengthened to meet the direct these marks of difference are for ever aborays of thy countenance, when thou comest lished. Indeed they were long before aboto " be glorified in thy saints, and admired in lished. Before that great and notable day all them that believe. “From whose face of the Lord came, before the judgment was the earth and the heaven fled away, and there set, or the books were opened, disease and was found no place for them."
death, and the grave had levelled all the dis“ All these things shall be dissolved. The tinctions of this world; had reduced the scepheavens shall pass away with great noise, trea monarch to the condition of the peasant, and the elements shall melt with fervent annulled the difference between the slave heat, the earth also, and the works that are and his master. The decisive hour is now therein shall be burnt up." They shall come which is for ever to determine who is perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of henceforth to be accounted small, and who thein shall wax old like a garment; as a ves- great: the hour that shall bring to light hidture shalt thou change them, and they shall den worth, and thrust presumptuous pride be changed. But thou art the same. God | into outer darkness; that shall exalt the good “ spake and it was done; he gave command to the throne of God, and plunge the wicked ment and it stood fast.". " At his word into the depths of hell. earth and heaven rose out of chaos," and lo, The dead small and great. Even the awhe looks them into nothing again; they shrink ful distinction between the dead and the from his presence, they vanish at his nod, living shall then be done away. They were they cannot abide the brightness of his com- dead, but are alive again; " for all live to ing. They have fulfilled their day, they him.” Behold the mouldering earth, before have accomplished the purpose of him who it be for ever dissolved, restoring to existence made them, they have contributed their aid every particle of itself which once entered toward the rearing of a more glorious fabric, into the composition of a human being, which and having become unnecessary, that mo was once animated with the breath of life. ment disappear.
Behold the spacious sea, before it be for ever The local and transient effects of an earth- dried up, surrendering its hidden treasure, quake, a hurricane, an inundation, are strik- not the silver, and gold, and jewels which its ing, impressive, and permanent: proud cities vast womb contains, but the innumerable levelled to the earth, or swallowed up of it: myriads of men and women it had been infertile plains oyerwhelmed with a briny or a satiately devouring during so many ages, fiery tide; the glory of man sought, but not and whom it can no longer cover or conceal. to be found. But what is this to the dissolu- The sound of the last trumpet has dispelled tion of a globe ? Surely the balance must be their long slumber. See, they emerge from destroyed, a blank in nature take place, and their watery bed, they spring up into newwild uproar ensue. No, the vision repre- ness of life, their eyes again behold the light, sents a whole system passing away; that the light of an eternal day, they swim through sun, and all the surrounding planets, and in- regions of transparent air, they can die no numerable other“ planets circling other more, they hasten to appear before their suns,” lost, yet not missed; fled, “as the Judge. Behold the grim king of terrors, baseless fabric of a vision," and not a wreck faithful to his trust, giving in the exact releft behind; and yet no schism, no deficiency gister of his wide domain, resigning his awin the body; for the promise of the Eternal ful empire, restoring his captives to life and immediately repairs the loss; he makes “ all liberty, and their rightful Lord; not one lost, things new;" * new heavens and a new not one detained: and the great destroyer is earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." at length himself destroyed.
With the heavens and the earth, the little, And for what purpose this mighty prepafading interests and distinctions of the world ration, this second birth of nature, this new vanish also. Before his face all is reduced creation of God? Behold an assembled world, to one level, all is composed and tranquil- from the father of the human race down to lized; every one reads his doom in the face the youngest of his sons, stand before God. of the sovereign Judge. The heavens and They stand as subjects in the presence of earth have fled away, but the rational beings their Sovereign, as expectants before the which peopled them remain; they are of a eternal Arbiter of their destiny. In his eyes, more enduring substance, they partake of in their own consciences they read their the nature of God himself, they are immor- doom; they stand to hear the irreversible de tal, eternal like him. “I saw,” says John, cree; their posture speaks acknowledgment " the dead small and great stand before of the right of judging, submission to autho God."
rity, acquiescence in the wisdom and justice When time was, these were distinctive of the Julge. But that erect attitude must characters. There was the infant of days, quickly change into the prostration of dutiful and the hoary head, the inhabitant of the pa- and grateful children, or of foes subdued, of lace, and of the cottage, the learned and the wretches condemned: for lo.
The books are opened, and judgment be In meditating on this subject, let us learn gins. It is spoken after the manner of men. to forbear from exercising this dread preroga. Earthly judges refer to statutes as the rule tive of the Eternal, let us refrain from judging. of their decisions; men are tried by the laws God has challenged this right with emphatic of their country, and because human facul- solemnity as his own : “ Judgment is mine, ties are lunited and imperfect, the memory I will repay, saith the Lord.”
All judg unretentive, the understanding liable to error, ment is committed unto the Son.” “ Therethe heart warped by partial affections, facts fore thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever, must be preserved in written documents, to thou art that judgest : for wherein thou judg. prevent alteration or mistake, the law ex- est another thou condemnest thyself; for thou pressed in clear and distinct terms, and the that judgest doest the same things. But we cause, not the person, of the party, held up as are sure that the judgment of God is accord. the object of judgment. But what need of ing to truth, against them which commit such books or of records to assist the memory of things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that Ilim who is omniscience, to whom are known judgest them which do such things, and doest all his own works, and all the ways of men the same, that thou shalt escape the judg. from the foundation of the world; whose will ment of God? Or despisest thou the riches is the law; and who knows no distinction of his goodness and forbearance, and longbut that between truth and falsehood, right suffering, not knowing that the goodness of and wrong? What need of external evidence, God leadeth thee to repentance? But after of the testimony of others, when every man thy, hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest carries the evidence in his own bosom, and up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, is acquitted or condemned of his own con- and revelation of the righteous judgment of science? What, ( man, are the contents God; who will render to every man accordof these awful books? The words thou art ing to his deeds : to them who by patient connow speaking, the pursuits in which thou art tinuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and now engaged, the spirit by which thou art honour, and immortality; eternal life : but now actuated. Thou art every day filling unto them that are contentious, and do not up the record, with thy hand enrolling thine obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; own honour or shame; and the unfolding of indignation and wrath : tribulation and anthat day shall reveal that only which thou guish upon every soul of man that doth evil, thyself hast written. On thyself it rests, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. But whether the last solemn discovery is to cover glory, honour, and peace to every man that thee with everlasting contempt, or to crown worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to thee with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: the Gentile. For there is no respect of perwhether the opening of the book of life is to sons with God."* display thy name in golden characters to But while by every serious consideration angels and men, or the register of condem- thou art restrained, ignorant fallible creature, nation consign thee to everlasting punish- from judging another,—by every serious conment. The book that shall be opened is none sideration thou art encouraged, constrained other than the book of scripture, the infalli- to examine and to judge thyself. It may be the ble rule of faith and manners, and according means of preventing, ofaverting the righteous as thou art conformed unto, fallest short judgment of God. It will lead thee to the of, or exceedest that standard, so shall thy discovery of thy own weakness, and thereby doom be.
become a source of wisdom and strength. They were judged every man according It will unfold the deceitfulness of sin, and the to their wocks. In this mixed and imperfect treachery of thine own heart, and lead thee state, it frequently happens that the guilty in trembling hope to the blood of sprinkling, escape, and the innocent suffer. • The fa- which taketh away the sin of the world. It thers eat sour grapes and the children's teeth will render thee compassionate and gentle are set on edge.” Princes play the madman, to the infirmities of others, because that thou and quarrel, and fight, and myriads of unof- also hast sinned. It will produce “ godly fending wretches pay the forfeit of that folly. sorrow, which worketh repentance unto salBut before yonder tribunal every one appears vation, not to be repented of.” It will render to answer for himself; every one comes to the promises of " mercy to pardon, and of reap the fruit of his own doings. “Enter grace to help in every time of need," precious not into jadgment with thy servant, O God, to thy soul. It will help to regulate thy path for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justi- through life, and diminish the terrors of fied.” “ If thou, Lord, shouldst mark ini- death quities, O Lord, who shall stand ?" “ Have Finally, habitual and rooted impressions mercy upon me, O God, according to thy of a judgment to come, will serve as a suploving-kindness, according unto the multi-port under the rash censures and the unjust tude of thy tender mercies blot out my trans- decisions of men. From the strife of tongues, gressions." “ Behold, O God, our Shield, from the hatred of a merciless world, you can and look upon the face of thine Anointed.”
* Rom. ii. 1--11.
retire to the silent feast of a conscience void | unto our God, which sitteth upon the throne, of offence; and with confidence appeal from and unto the Lamb.” “What are these which the angry tribunal of a creature like thyself, are arrayed in white robes ? And whence to Him who knoweth thy heart, who seeth in came they?" “ These are they which came secret, and will reward thee openly. “ Bless- out of great tribulation, and have washed ed are ye when men shall revile you, and their robes, and made them white in the blood persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, throne of God, and serve him day and night and be exceeding glad : for great 16 your re- in his temple: and he that sitieth on the ward in heaven." “ Who shaj / lay any thing throne shall dwell among them. They shall to the charge of God's elect! It is God that hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neijustifieth : who is he that condemneth ?" Be- ther shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. hold that “great multitude which no man For the Lamb which is in the midst of the can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and throne shall feed them, and shall lead people, and tongues, standing, before the them unto living fountains of waters; and Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with God shall wipe away all tears from their white robes, and palms in their hands, and eyes.' crying with a loud voice, saying, Salvation
* Rev. vii. 9-17.
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 ser. pents 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 discon- and thus the very misery we feel is a presentent, which men are continually expressing, timent of the felicity which we were created prove at once the degeneracy and corruption to enjoy. But alas ! our dissatisfaction with of human nature, and furnish a strong pre- sublunary good things, “the things which sumption of the immortality of the soul. To are seen and temporal,” is not the result of behold one generation after another, of mo- experience, nor the resignation of a mind ping, melancholy, sullen, surly beings, in the humbled to the will of God. No, it is the midst of an overflowing profusion of blessings, miserable effect and expression of insatiable charging God foolishly, tormenting them- desire, of unmortified pride, of disappointed selves unnecessarily, and disturbing others ambition. If we arrive at our object, with maliciously, clearly demonstrates, that man is ease, its value is diminished by the facility of alienated from his Maker, at variance with acquisition ; if obstacles lie in the way, and himself, and unkindly disposed towards his possession be removed by distance of time brother: in other words, that he is a fallen, and space, we are quickly discouraged, and corrupted creature. To behold men, what- timidly give up the pursuit. When empty, ever they have attained, whatever they pos- there is no end of our complaints ; when full, sess, forgetting the things which are behind, we loathe and reject the best things: if we and eagerly reaching forward to those which succeed, our prosperity destroys us with folly, are before, the eye never satisfied with see- insolence, and self-indulgence; if we fail, we ing, nor the ear with hearing, is a presump- are undone through shame, chagrin, and retion at least, if not a proof, that we are de- sentment; if we shun the rock of vanity" signed of our Creator for something this world on the one side, we are sucked into the whirlhas not to bestow; that some principle in our pool of “ vexation of spirit” upon the other. nature is superior to the gross and grovelling The history of Israel is, in truth, the hispursuits in which we are warmly engaged, tory of human nature. Did they discover a but in which we find and we take no rest : stubbornness which no calamity could tame, 2 T