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the most unbending integrity. It bids us lay tion or inducement to violate. But it is at our aside all malice, and guile, and hypocrisies, and peril that we bring down the high standard of envies, and evil speakings, and all lying, holding obligation from the strict requirements of the our neighbour's reputation as dear to us as our commandment which is spiritual and exceeding own. Finally, it requires of us that our conver- broad—the claims of which are founded on divine, sation be without covetousness, and that we be unchangeable righteousness, and which is stable content with such things as we have. And in as the pillars of Jehovah's throne, immutable and all these things it requires us to continue always, eternal as Jehovah's existence. Sooner shall hea with constant, unremittting, persevering diligence. ven and earth pass away, than one jot or one tittle It demands of us, that this perfect obedience be pass from his holy law; sooner shall the Deity ceas perpetual, reaching from the beginning of life to to be than cease to demand a perfect ubediene its close,—the same in youth, in manhood, and in to that perfect law, by which satan is as much old age—the same under all circumstances of bound in moral duty to-day, as at his first crea temptation, difficulty, and danger—the same in tion-however disinclined he may be to atten our days of sickness and poverty, as in our days to any one of its injunctions. of health and wealth ; and in addition to all Such being the law's demand, let us now this, it utters, with stern rigour, the announce- look at the penalty it threatens in the event o ment, 'He that once offendeth in one point is disobedience. It is a curse, even the curs guilty of all;' because by that one act of offence which stands written at the end of the sam he shows that he is destitute of that love to God, book; Cursed be he that confirmeth not all th * with all the heart, and soul, and strength, and words of this law to do them; and all the peopl mind, which is the fulfilling of the law.' shall say, Amen,' The curse is opposed to th
Now be it carefully noted, that this statement blessing; and as a blessing implies the enjoymer of the extent of the law's demand, cannot be at all of good, so a curse implies, not only the privati affected by the question of the creature's inclina- of good, but the endurance of evil. When H tion or disinclination, or his consequent ability or who is the Source and Bestower of all happine disability to fulfil what it requires. The provi- blesses a man, that man cannot fail to be happ sions of the law are one thing—the character and when He curses a man, even by simply wit of those who may be under it is another; and be holding his blessing, that man cannot fail to that character what it may, it cannot, in the least, miserable. For the malediction of God is not impair the law's integrity, detract from its author- mere imprecation of evil, which, in the mouth ity, nor relax its obligations. If their character a creature, might be only a vain and impote be good, the law requires nothing more than wish. As his curse is never causeless, so it obedience—if bad, it will be satisfied with nothing never fruitless. It always carries its effects alo less. In matters of human legislation, shall we with it, and ensures every misery which it d propose to ascertain what is legal or illegal by nounces or foretells. consulting, not the statute-book of the realm, but Among the Hebrews, however, this wo the diversified opinions and feelings, inclinations curse would call up certain more definite ideas and conduct, of those for whose government the punishment, which took their rise in the irrevod law is designed ? The laws of inan, indeed, are ble nature of votive offerings. When a gift w constantly undergoing change, and frequently presented to the Lord by any worshipper, 1 prove inoperative in consequence of human im- only was the thing offered separated from a con perfection; but as the Deity is perfect, we cannot mon to a sacred use, but it was pronounced to suppose Him to promulgate an imperfect law, nor irredeemable, and thus became as really lost to be satisfied with imperfect or temporary obedi- the offerer as if it had been actually destroy ence. Nor is there any part of his word, which Hence arose the two ideas of separation and • gives the least countenance to the idea, that since struction, as connected with the word devoted the fall, or by reason of the death of Christ, the law accursed; and both are included in the curse of t is relaxed in its requirements, so as to be accom- broken law. There is the curse of sepuration— modated to the weakness of man. Had such an being excommunicated from God's holy and hap intimation been given, it is evident, that every creation—the being expelled, like the first mu man would have interpreted the latitude to which derer, from the presence, and deprived of t he might indulge in sin, according to his peculiar friendship of God himself. Your iniquit and besetting propensities; and the only thing have separated between you and your God.' A which would have remained as law, would have is there no curse in that?—to have him, who w simply been what nobody felt any strong disposi- our kindest Father, for our greatest foeto be
prived of a parent's blessing, driven from his by having been himself made a curse upon the door, and left to wander as disinherited outcasts tree. far from our native home to hear the dread The allusion here is obviously to the kind of words, “ Depart, ye cursed !' and to see a great death which Jesus died, when he hung a selfand impassable gulf fixed, cutting us off for ever devoted victim upon the cross. Nothing had, at ia the society and the bliss of heaven—in a one time, been more unlikely, than that the people werd, to be banished with everlasting destruc- would allow him to be put to death at all; nor tix from the presence of the Lord, and from the could it well have been anticipated, that, in the glory of his power
event of his being cut off by an oppressive judgFor there is the curse of destruction as well as ment, he would suffer a punishment which was ef separation. A thing devoted was irrecoverably scarcely known among the Jews, but was peculiar bost
; and to prevent even the possibilityof redemp- to the Romans, and was by them inflicted only tion, if it was a living thing, it was surely to be on robbers, rebels, and such like notorious put to death. It is even so here. The man who criminals. It was a death held by the Jews in forfeits the favour of the God of happiness, is the greatest possible execration, being reckoned devoted to certain destruction. They who are not merely ignominious, but for a special reason far from God shall perish. Not, however, that accursed. That reason is to be found in a proviwe are to understand by this the annihilation of sion of their criminal code, which, while it inflicted the sinner's being. No; but the annihilation of no punishments that would stamp perpetual diskis happiness, the destruction of that which alone grace upon the living, yet allowed in certain cases deserves the name of life, that which alone is a brand of infamy to be affixed to the bodies of worth the living for, namely, peace and enjoy- those who had been punished with death. One ment. Hence it is called the being lost,' the of these was the suspension of the corpse upon a ering the second death. The exact quality of gallows or tree; and the person thus suspended the punishment we may be unable fully to under- was called the curse of God,' or the accursed of stand; its undefined nature invests it with un- God, being deemed an abomination in his sight. known horrors; but the plainest testimonies of In this the vilest class of infamous punishments God's word leave us no room to doubt, that it the Jews reckoned death by crucifixion, inasmuch will consist in inconceivable anguish both of soul as, after the body was dead, it hung upon a and body. And it will be coeval with the hap-1 tree.' piness of the righteous, for the self-same word is How may we escape the wrath and curse of God employed to describe the duration of both; that due to us for sin ? Can we deliver our own souls word is everlasting.
by any works of our own performing? No! we To beings so circumstanced, how cheering ought can hope for no redemption from the curse by our by be the announcement, that there is one who own doings, because we cannot obey perfectly and medeerns from the curse of the law, by being made perpetually in the future, any more than we have a corse for them.'
done in the past; and even though we could, still our future obedience could no more atone for past sin, than the ceasing to increase a debt will cancel
a debt already contracted. Nor can we hope for Second Day.-EVENING.
redemption from the curse by our sufferings, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the alty of one transgression is eternal death.
any more than our doings, seeing that the pen
Nor lax, being made a curse for us : for it is writ- could the most exalted seraph, the highest archiz, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,' angel, have redeemed us from the curse, for if
he could have done so, God needed not to have We have seen the extent of the law's demand, sent his Son. None but Christ was sufficient perfect and perpetual obedience; we have heard for this great work, but he has proved all-suftithe awful sanction by which this demand is en-cient. He assumed our nature, occupied our faced, namely, a curse from God, implying the place, met all the claims of law, satisfied all the loss of his fatherly blessing, and everlasting de-demands of justice. Did the law insist on comstruction from his presence. It is only in so far plete obedience? He has yielded it, by working to we are rightly impressed with these facts, and out and bringing in an everlasting righteousness. perceive clearly our own personal demerit as Did justice threaten us with the law's penalty, Fansgressors, that we shall cordially welcome the the curse? «Christ has redeemed us from the nad tidings of a Redeemer from the law's curse, curse of the law, being made a curse for us.'
Gal. ii. 13.
Here is an assertion no less clear than authori- | expiation for sin ; so that while in the one w tative, of the grand doctrine of substitution, im- see the curse of separation into an uninhabited putation, redemption by suffering and sacrifice. desert, in the other we see the curse of being de That we might live Christ died; that we might voted to destruction. Now, in both these respects be happy he became miserable; that we might Christ was made a curse for his people. “H inherit the blessing, he submitted to the curse. his own self bare our sins in his own body oi He was our Redeemer by becoming our Surety—the tree. “God made him to be sin for us wh acting, enduring, dying for us, and that not merely knew no sin, that we might be made the righte in a general way as our Benefactor, but in our ousness of God in him.' As the bodies of thos room and stead.
beasts, whose blood was brought into the sand *He that is hanged is the curse of God. We tuary by the high-priest for sin, were burnt with found that the curse to which we are exposed as out the camp, so Jesus also, that he might sanctif transgressors, includes separation from God, and the people with his own blood, suffered withou destruction from his presence. To both these the gate.' As the scape-goat was sent fort horrible evils was the innocent Lamb of God into the wilderness, far from the commonwealt subjected on behalf of sinners. He was emphati- of Israel, so Christ, our substitute, was expelle cally called the Nazarene, “the isolated one, the from Jerusalem, the type of the congregation Joseph separated from his brethren. He left the the living, and was led forth to Golgotha, “th seat of glory, his Father's house, his eternal place of a skull;' to Calvary, a hill of infamy, home, and dragging himself away from its holy desert of death. He was treated as one lyin joys and high communions, became an exiled out- under the heaviest excommunication—as one wh cast in this world of misery. How often was was accursed to the death—as not only unfit 1 he a solitary wanderer, spending whole nights live, but as unworthy to die within the precinc alone upon the mountains, far from the busy of the holy city, unworthy even to look with h haunts of men, who "hid, as it were, their faces closing eyes toward's God's holy temple. from him! How few companions had he here Learn from this, Christian soul, that if t1 below! and at the last, even they all forsook him Christ was made a separated, devoted curse, and fled. And when the closing scene of his was for you; that voluntarily, and from tl agony and death arrived, “he looked for com- love he bore to you, he consented to be cut forters, and there was none.' Not only was he from the communion of the blessed. He le driven forth from the holy city, and excommuni-Jerusalem, the city of peace, in order that y cated from the congregation of Israel, but as he might enter in, and find there safety and establis hung upon the accursed tree, severed at once ment for ever. He went forth to Golgotha, t/ from earth and heaven, he was excluded from the place of public execution, the spot where w gracious presence and blissful fellowship of his raised the accursed tree, the dismal abode of i Father, God; and while the surrounding dark- famy and death, in order that you might esca ness was a fit emblem of the state of his own eternal death and endless infamy, and be rais soul, deprived of heaven's light, bereaved of hea- to life and honour everlasting. Yes! and it ven's comfort, he exclaimed, out of the depth of even there, when surrounded with all deatl his forlorn desolation : My God, my God, why hideous memorials, and when enduring deat! hast thou forsaken me?'
severest pangs and most degrading ignominy, th His, too, was the curse of destruction,' in- he redeems his church from death's sting, whi asmuch as he was devoted to death, as well as to is sin, and from the curse of the strength suffering. «The Messiah was cut off, but not for sin,' which is the law. Even then and the himself ;' he was cut off
, not out of the congre- with the cold dews of death upon his brow, gation only, but 'out of the land of the living;' for raises the standard of the once accursed but ne the transgression of the people was he stricken. honoured cross ; for the very shame of the pu This grand truth had been typically represented ishment serves but to evince the love and ex under the ceremonial law, by what was done on the glory of Him who submitted to it-enduri the day of atonement. The high-priest took two the cross, despising the shame. goats ; over one of them, called the scape-goat, The enjoyment of this redemption, howev he confessed all the sins of the people, "putting is not co-extensive with exposure to the cur them upon the head of the goat,' and sent him He only that believeth shall be saved. “D away into the wilderness; and the goat bore thou believe on the Son of God ?' If any m upon him all their iniquities into a land not in- love not the Lord Jesus, he shall be · Anather habited. The other goat was sacrificed to make Maran-atha'-accursed at his coming!'
justice. Dissipation and licentiousness not only
waste the substance, but ruin the health, clothe * The wages of sin is death,' Rom. vi. 23.
a man with rags, and bring him to a piece of Tae labourer is worthy of his hire, and the sol- bread. Habits of sensual indulgence visibly dier of his wages; but the hire of iniquity is undermine the bodily constitution; and in the pmishment, the wages of sin is death. •When bloated countenance, the emaciated form, or the ist hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and trembling gait, you at once read the sin in the is, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.' punishment. To how many fatal accidents does What fruit had ye then in those things whereof intemperance expose its votaries? How many Fe are now ashamed! for the end of these things bodies are found dead or drowned, that are is death?'
recognized as the bodies of drunkards, who have There is the death of the body. No sooner administered to themselves the slow but sure did our first parents commit sin, than they re- poison? Nor are these the only methods in ceived in themselves the sentence of death, and which this life, so short at the best, is by the that sentence has also been executed upon all sinner rendered shorter still. Lazy inactivity their sinful offspring, with only two exceptions. and luxurious ease enervate the body as well as The law of mortality is universal and unavoid the mind, and are as prejudicial to health as to able, because all have sinned.'
happiness. •Envy,' says the wise man, “is the How frequently has a holy God inflicted in- rottenness of the bones.' Fretful peevishness, stant death on the presumptuous transgressor in corroding worldly cares, and vexing anxieties, 3 way of judgment! Remember Lot's wife, and the habitual indulgence of anger, malice, revenge, Korah and his company, and the sons of Aaron —all these tend more or less to shorten life; for and Eli, and Ananias and Sapphira, and many though the results may seem more remote and others, whose awful fate is recorded in the book are less easily traced, the effect is no less cerof God, and acknowledge, as you read, that verily tain. Not one in a thousand is supposed to die there is a reward for the wicked as well as the a purely natural death; the greater number righteous, that verily there is a God who judgeth either directly or indirectly hasten on their dison the earth! The same truth has been exem- solution. How many have we known who, there plified in the history of communities as well as is every reason to believe, would have lived a of individuals. Look at the world before the longer life had they lived a better! They might tood, at the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, at the have enjoyed a good old age, had it not been for Egyptians who perished in the sea, and the Is- their dissolute youth, and their profligate manraelites who perished in the wilderness. They hood. Some, indeed, of a similar character you al toiled laboriously in the service of sin, and may see dragging on their miserable existence for they reaped its stipulated wages.
years, but their appearance lamentably testifies And if we could trace the avenging progress of that they are filled with the sins of their youth, the angel of death now, we should find the de- which shall lie down with them in the grave. struction of many a sinner effected in the self- In all such cases, therefore, the sinner may justly satne manner. Liar! swearer! Sabbath-breaker! be regarded as a self-murderer,-acting as if he slutton! drunkard !—what security have you that wished to anticipate his final judgment,-forcing the next time you utter words of falsehood, or for himself a passage into hell
, that in its flames take God's name in vain, or profane his sacred he may be tormented before the time.' day, or abuse his good creatures to the fulfilment For that, after all, is sin's final wages;-not of your base lusts—you shall not receive, in the the death of the body only, but the death of the very act of sinning, the just recompense of your soul, the destruction of both soul and body in
hell-fire. That is the ultimate hire of those who But even when sin is not immediately followed toil to life's end in the service of iniquity; as is by death as a judgment from God, it often, in evident from its being here placed in contrast various other ways, does work out death as its with the “life eternaľ given by God through certain consequence. There is a natural tendency Christ to those who, being made free from sin, la many vices to hurry on the perpetrator to an become the servants of righteousness. arly, premature grave. We read in the bible And what is the second death? We cannot that · bloody and deceitful men do not live out tell. It is one of those tremendous realities, half their days. Sometimes their passions impel which must be experienced in order to be dethem to the commission of crimes, which bring scribed; it is one of those facts which our faith there to an untimely end by the hands of public admits without being able to explain. We do
not know-God forbid we ever should—the limited view, were we to regard this as implying feelings of the impenitent soul, as it passes out of merely the restoration of animal life and immorthe body through the gloomy valley of the sha- tality to the body at the last day. Looking at the dow of death into the broad day-light of eter- word in its fullest and highest acceptation, it must nity, and discovers in the full blaze of that light be held to include the spiritual life of the soul --that it is lost! This only do we know, that here, and the immortal life of soul and body in it will be for ever dying without ever becoming that glorious state of endless happiness which reextinct,—that it will be for ever living in misery mains for the people of God; it is · life eternal. and for ever seeking annihilation, but shall not Death, we saw, is the wages or hire of sin, but find it; for the punishment will consist not in the it is not said that life is the merited wages,
the extinction of being, but of happiness and of hope. deserved reward, of righteousness. No! it is a This death is as certainly due to the sinner as gift, a free gift of the grace of God.
True, inare wages to the labourer; it is sin's appointed deed, it is bestowed only on certain characters, but and appropriate recompense.
Were not this the the formation of that character is itself the work of due reward of evil deeds, the God of justice the Spirit of God, and to him, therefore, belongs would not have assigned it; and were it not to all the glory. “Now, being made free from sin, be actually inflicted, the God of truth would not and become servants to God, ye have your fruit have threatened it. If we knew fully all the unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Yet obligations sin has violated, all the excellencies there is no proportion between the obedience of it has insulted, all the dire effects it has produced, the highest saint, and the boundless, endless bliss and will yet produce, throughout the universe, of heaven, which could entitle him to any such we should then have some adequate conceptions reward. It is a reward not of debt, but of grace, of its odious malignity and its deep demerit. and the very holiness which qualifies for its enBut there is One who knows these things full joyment, yea, and even the faith which humbly well, and in his judgment respecting sin's ex- receives it, are not of ourselves—they are the gift ceeding sinfulness, namely, that they who do of God. such things are worthy of death' let us humbly The perfect freeness of this gift is farther apacquiesce, believing that it cannot but be accord-parent from the medium through which it is coning to truth. In the great day of the revelation veyed, viz., through Jesus Christ our Lord. “As of his righteous judgments, His awards shall be by man came death, by man also comes life.” “This made known and vindicated before an assembled is the record, that God hath given to us eternal world; the convinced and condemned sinner will life, and this life is in his Son,' as a treasure sealed then be speechless; and the Judge of all the earth up and secured—life hid with Christ in God. will be justified when he speaketh, and clear And, therefore, as he who has the field has the when he judgeth.
treasure, as he who has the fountain has the “The wages of sin is death. Nothing our water, as he who has the garden has the fruit
, fancy can picture, or our fears apprehend, can so he that hath the Son hath life. Yes! it is a exceed the amount of misery which is represented sublime and solemn truth, that the eternal Son by the being 'bound hand and foot and cast into of God is possessed in the highest and most imouter darkness, where there is weeping, and portant sense, not by the worlds that are upheld wailing, and gnashing of teeth—where their worm by his power, not by the heavens that display his never dies, and their fire is never quenched- glory, not by the angels that worship before hi where they have no rest day nor night-and face, but by the lowly heart that bows to hi where the smoke of their torment goeth up for grace, and rejoices in his salvation. To such he ever and ever. May the God of mercy have is the Resurrection and the Life—the resurrec mercy upon every reader, that he die not the tion of the body, and the life of the soul; for second death!
transforming the spirit by the energy of his grace he shall, in due time, change the vile body also and fashion it like unto his own glorious body
according to the working whereby he is able ever THIRD DAY.-EVENING.
to subdue all things unto himself.' Thanks b
unto God for his unspeakable gift! But the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus
This eternal life is “through Jesus Christ,' in Christ our Lord,' Rom. vi. 23.
asmuch as he purchased it for us by his death LIFE for our Death! the very blessing we re- To us it comes in every sense free, without mone quire. Yet it would be a comparatively low and and without price, but dear did it cost our suffer