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will do the work of Satan equally well. Is-, while one iota or one tittle of this book of rael was now at ease, with the promised God remains. land under their eye, and part of it already We shall have attended, however, to the in their possession. They were flushed with history of this singular man in vain, unless recent victory, assured of divine protection, we learn from it the infinite danger of being and thereby confident of farther success. A under the dominion of any one ungovernable situation full of danger; for then, when our passion; and unless we are persuaded to mountain seems to us to stand most strong, watch over, to resist, and to subdue, “the sin we are most easily liable to be moved, cast which doth so easily beset us." Of little down, destroyed. Balaam accordingly, deep avail is it that our vice is not the vice which read as he was in the book of human nature, governed, ensnared, and ruined Balaam, if it suggests to Balak the diabolical counsel of alienate the heart from God, dissolve the obattempting to decoy the people into idolatry ligations of religion, disorder the understandby means of female insinuation and address. ing, and lull the conscience asleep. One disT'he experiment is made, and fatally suc- ease for another, one vice for another, is but ceeds. And it is this counsel which stamps a miserable exchange. If the patient must the character of Balaam with intamy indeli- die, it will not alleviate one pang, that he ble; as it exhibits a dissolution of moral prin- perishes by the fever rather than the hydropciple, to be equalled only by him who is a sy, the consumption, or any other distemper. murderer from the beginning.
The unrestrained dominion of any one sinThink what it is to advise a father to es- ful appetite must become fatal at length. pose his daughter to prostitution : think what Covetousness, pride, lust, envy, malice, reit is to devise and to encompass the death of venge, are the mortal distempers of the soul, one fellow-creature, who has never oftended which, perhaps insensibly, but most certainly, us: think of the malice which aims its deadly are impairing its beauty, and wasting its shaft, not at the body, but at the soul : think strength. “ Lust," whatever be its particuof the presumption which flies directly in the lar name," having conceived, bringeth forth face of the great and terrible Jehovah, and sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth defies his power: and then think of the vile forth death.” Instead, therefore, of amusing wretch, recommending the prostitution of a or perplexing himself with inquiries into the whole nation : in cold blood plotting the de- general symptoms of disease, it concerns struction of myriads; and what is worse, in- every man to study his own particular case ; to finitely worse than any temporal evil, re- watch against the sin which doth so easily morselessly involving them in guilt which beset him;" to keep himself from his iniquithreatened eternal ruin: and all this under ty; to discover, and to rectify the disorder of the character of a prophet, whose office bound his own constitution, “ the plague of his own him to call the people away from their wick-heart.” That where he is naturally, or by edness, and to save perishing souls from habit, weak, he may become strong, “ through death; and all for what? “For so much the grace that is in Christ." trash as may be grasped thus."—Base pas Let us be instructed to value qualities, sion, what canst thou not make us do? “Sure whether natural or acquired, not from their ly the heart is deceitful above all things, and currency and estimation in the world, but from desperately wicked; who can know it?" their appearance in the sight of God. “ As
The history of Israel's seduction, in con- the heavens are higher than the earth, so are sequence of Balaam's horrid advice, falls not my ways higher than your ways, and my within our present design, and we are forbid thoughts than your thoughts."*
“ By him by decency to pursue it
. The guilt of this actions are weighed.” By his judgment we fåtal defection cost no less than twenty-four must stand or fall. Has Heaven blessed thee, thousand lives of them who died of the plague, O man, with extraordinary gifts ? Let it be besides those who suffered by the hands of jus- a motive to humility, not a source of pride. tice. So horrid are the sacrifices which It is a trust of which thou must render an acpride, ambition, and covetousness, are daily count; and to whom men have committed offering up! So dreadful the havoc which much, of him will they require the more." ungoverned passion makes amongst the works If he who buries his one talent in the ground of God !But short is the triumph of the most be criminal, what shall become of that man successful villany: remorse embitters the who dissipates and destroys ten in riotous enjoyment of it, and justice hastens to bring living ? it to a period.
There is but one road to a happy enda In the very first attack made upon Midian, holy life. There is but one ground of hope, we find Balaam in arms, supporting his per- in death, to a guilty creature-the mercy of nicious counsel by the sword; but it cannot God through a Redeemer. Abraham saw the prosper : Midian is discomfitted on the first Saviour's day afar off, believed and rejoiced. onset, and the hoary traitor falls unpitied in Balaam saw it afar off, persisted in impenithe field, leaving behind him a name to be tence and unbelief, and died without hope. detested and despised of all generations,
* Isaiah iv. 9.
On the one, “the Star of Jacob" darted a shine: for thy light is come, and the glory of mild and healthful influence, which cheered the Lord is risen upon thee.”. Beloved, the path of life, and dispelled the horrors of now are we the sons of God, and it doth not the grave. On the other, it shot a baleful yet appear what we shall be: but we know fire which drunk up the spirits, blasted pre- that, when he shall appear, we shall be like sent enjoyment, and increased the gloom of him; for we shall see him as he is."* For ye futurity.--Arise, O Star of Jacob, arise upon are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. my head with healing in thy wings! Let When Christ, who is our life, shall appear; me walk in thy light; let me “hasten to the then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”+ brightness of thy rising!" Christian, "arise, I
Col. iii. 3, 4.
*1 John iii. 2.
LECTURE LXXI 1.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled
away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. And the sea gave
the dead which were in it: and death and hell gave up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.--REVELATION XX. 11–13. It is a solemn thing for a man to be judged and whom the Spirit of God has condescendof his own conscience. How sweet is the ed to delineate in their true colours and just approving testimony of that bosom monitor proportions, that they may serve to us " for and witness! but more bitter than death its doctrine, and for reproof, and for correction, upbraiding and reproaches. To stand at a and for instruction in righteousness." We human tribunal, with life or reputation, death have plunged into ages beyond the flood, and or infamy, depending on the issue, can never contemplated human nature in its original appear a light matter to one who understands glory; “ man,” as God made him, “perfect;" and feels the value of either. Even conscious and man, as he made himself, lost in the innocence and integrity, accompanied with multitude of his own inventions. good hope toward God, court not the eye of The “first man, by whom came death-the public inquiry, but prefer the secret, silent figure of Him who should come, by whom is feast of inward peace, and of divine applause, the resurrection of the dead : Adam, in whom to the public banquet of innocence proved all die: Christ, in whom all shall be made and proclaimed by sound of trumpet. Serious alive." it is to reflect that your name, your words, We have attended "righteous Abel" to your conduct may become matter of record, the altar of God, and beheld the smoke of his and ages to come mention them with appro- “ more excellent sacrifice" ascending with bation and esteem, or with indignation and acceptance to heaven : and " by which, he contempt. But every feeling of this sort is being dead yet speaketh.” lost in the certain and more awful prospect We have seen the hands of " wicked Cain" of judgment to come. It is a light thing to besmeared with a brother's blood; and the be judged of man, who can only kill the earth refusing to cover that blood, but calling body, and blight the reputation, and beyond to Heaven for vengeance on the murderer; that hath nothing more that he can do ; and the guilty wretch rendered a terror to but how formidable is the judgment of Him, himself. who knows the heart, who records in "the We have seen these, one after another, book of his remembrance” the actions of the dropping into the grave; and in that, the life, the words that fall from the tongue, the triumph of sin and death. But in Enoch we thoughts which arise in the heart; who will behold the triumph of faith and holiness, the bring every secret thing to light, and "render triumph of almighty grace over sin and to every man according to his works;" and death, and over him who has the power of who, “after he has killed, has power to destroy death. Our eyes follow "the holy man who body and soul in hell.”
walked with God," not to the “ dreary house Aided by the light which sacred history appointed for all living," but, through the sheds on ages and generations past, we have higher regions of the air, toward the blessed ventured into the solemn mansions of the abodes of immortality, till a cloud receives dead, and conversed with those silent instruct him out of our sight. ers who know not either to flatter or to fear;| We sought shelter with Noah, and his
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 heard Moses which God commanded ; 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 Providence 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 wilful 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 hinself 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, defiled by the impurities of idolatry, see the hardened sinner, cased in sevenfold and by the imprudence and apostacy of him adamant, advancing with intrepid step, strirwho 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 diffused 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 ble under 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 man 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 raises 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; hypocrisy 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 hear 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 8 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 passes 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, treà 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 them 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 agein; " 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 overwhelmed 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 ; fed, “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 detal, 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 authoGod."
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.