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ity enjoyed without purchase, the inhabitants of the land being driven out before them.
Gen. xxxii. 30. I have seen God, face to face, and my
life is preserved. Exod. xxxiii. 20. Thou canst not see my face; for
there shall no man see me, and live.
The difference here seems to arise from the phrase, face of God. In the first instance it is expressive of great familiarity, compared with former visions and manifestations of the Divine glory: in the last, of a fulness of knowledge of this glory, which is incompatible with our mortal state, if rot with our capacity as creatures. What Jacob said of himself, that he had seen God face to face, is repeatedly spoken of Moses, and as that hy which he stood distinguished from other prophets. (Deut. xxxiv. 10.) Even in the same chapter wherein it is said, he could not see his face and live," it is said that Jehovah spake unto him, face to face. (Exod. xxxiii. 1', 20.) He whom Jacob saw had at least the appearance of a man, who conversed and wrestled with him till day-break. Yet before they parted, he was convinced that he was more than nian, even God; who on that, as on other occasions, assumed a visible and tangible form to conmune with his servants, as a prelude of his future incarnation. The face which was scen on this occasion was human; though belorging 10 one that was Divine, Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face.” Thus also that which was be held by Moses is called the similitude of Jehovah," (Nun b. x'i. 8.) or a glorious Divine appearance; of which, though we are unable to form an adequate idea, yet we may be certain that it came short of what he was afterwards told he could not see and live.” Though, in comparison of other dark speeches and visions, it was seeing him face to face; yet when compared with a perfect knowledge of the glory of God, it was but seeing what among creatures would be called the shadow, or at most "the back parts” of a great personage.
2 Sam. xxiv. 1. The anger of the Lord was kindled
against Israel, and he moved David against them, to
say, Go, number Israel and Judah. I Chron. xxi. l. And satan stood up against Israel, and
provoked David to number Israel.
The English translators consider the pronoun he in the former of these passages as relating not to Jehovah, but to satan, referring in the margin to the latter passage as a proof of it. But this seems to be a forced meaning; for not only is the name Jehovah placed as the immediate and only antecedent to the pronoun, but also a reason why he did it.
1. It is certain that God did not so move David to sin as either to partake of it, or to become his tempter: for he cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man. (Jas. i. 13.) It was satan that tempted David to sin, not Jehovah.
2. It is equally certain that the providence of God was concerned in this affair; and that Isracl, having offended him he determined in this way to punish them.
3. God is said to do that which is done upon the minds of men by the ordinary influence of second causes, which causes would not have been productive of such effeets but for their depravity. The hardness of clay, no less than the softness of wax, is ascribed to the sun: yet the sun's producing this effect is entirely owing to the qualities of the object on which it shines. God hardened the heart of Pharoah by so ordering things by his providence that certain considerations should present themselves to his mind when placed under certain circumstances; and which (he being righteously given up of God) would be certain to provoke his pride and resentment, and to determine him to run all risks, for the sake of having his will. In other words, he was led in the course of Divine provi. dence into temptation; and there, in just judgment, God left him to its influence. With respect to David, it is probable his mind was previously lifted up with his great successes in war. It is after the relation of these that the story is introduced both in Samuel and the Chronicles. The Lord therefore providentially led him into temptation, and righteously left him in it; the certain issue of which was, that which actually took place.
If it be objected that this is ascribing sin to God indirectly, though not directly: I answer, it is no otherwise ascribing it to God than as any man is willing to have it ascribed to him. The conduct of a good father may, through the disaffection of a son, cause him
to go on worse and worse. His threatenings may harden him, and his kindest entreaties and promises excite nothing but contempt. What then? Is this to the father's dishonor? I trow not. It were strange, if God. must cease from doing what is right, lest sinful men should be induced by it to become more sinful!
The best use for us to make of such a doctrine is not curiously to pry into things too high for us: but when we pray, to say, Our Father lead us not into temfitation, but deliver us from evil!
Matt. vii. 7, 8. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and
ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be
opened. Luke xiii. 24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for
many I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Some have supposed a difference, in the latter passage, between seeking and striving; as though it were not enough to seek, without striving; even to an agony. But this does not reconcile the two passages: for seeking in the first is connected with finding, whereas in the last it is not.
The distinction appears to lie in the time and nature of seeking. Seeking, in Matthew, refers to the application for mercy through Jesus Christ, in the present life: but in Luke it denotes that anxiety which the workers of iniquity will discover, to be admitted into heaven at the last day. The strait gate in this latter passage does not mean an introduction to the kingdom of grace, but of glory; and striving or agonizing to enter in at it, does not describe an exercise of mind which is necessary to conversion, but to final salvation. The striving here exhorted to is the life's work of a Christain, in order that he may enter into the kingdom of heaven at last. All this is manifest from the context, which determines it to refer to what shall take place at the great day, when the master of the house is risen up, and haih shut to the door, and sinners shall begin to stand without, to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer, and say unto them, I know you not whence you are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity!
There is therefore no contradiction whatever in the passages. Every one that seeketh mercy in the name of Jesus, while the door is open, succeeds: but he that seeketh it not till the door is shut, will not succeed. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall scek me early, but they shall not find me.
Prov. xxvii. 2. Let another praise thee, and not thine
otun mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. 1 Cor. xv. 10. 2 Cor. xii. 11. I labored more abundantly than they all. In nothing am I behind the very
So near is the resemblance of good and evil, with respect to their outward expressions, that the one is very