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VARIETIES, FROM MISTAKES.
this way of setting hope before us, seems mystery, if not mockery, to a sad spirit, when sadness has been long indulged. “Would not God show some 'token for good' at once, (it is said) if he intended to be gracious ? But He sealeth up even the stars !" Yes ; but just that the desponding may look at the sun. It is not breaking a “bruised reed,” to say so. She will never hope, who does not see that the command to pray, is a Sun “shining in its strength.” How truly Paul says, “We are saved by Hope !"
ALLEGORY. No. 3.
When they arrived at the Tent in the wilderness, Esrom spread the skin of the young Lion, which had perished in the swellings of Jordan, for a couch to Sheshbazzar. The Patriarch said, as he sat down upon it, “ An old lion would not have rushed over the precipice after his prey, when the Jordan had overflowed all its banks. He would have couched
when he heard the roar of the waters; or
hunted in another direction, until they had subsided. Esrom! you have often pursued your speculations into the swellings of a river, which, like the Jordan, discharges itself into the Dead Sea. It is of the Lord's mercies, that you were not swept by the wild waves of conjecture, into the dark Asphaltic of idolatry. * You may well say with David, of the God of your fathers,—'He sent from above, he took me—he drew me out of many waters.' But for this, the proud waves' of Philistia, Egypt, or Babylon, had come into thy soul : for all their billows went over thee, and even their water-spouts had thee often under their wings. You despised idols; but you worshipped the powers of Nature, and all but consulted the powers of Darkness. You would have divined with the cup of Pharaoh, or stipulated with the witch of Endor, for the secrets of the Future ; and for the secrets of the Invisible, you would have questioned, alternately, the oracles of Babylon, the graves of the Dead, or the stars of Heaven."
the master-spirit of Sheshbazzar, and the meek spirit of Rachel, threw their joint spell over his prying curiosity. Even then, he bowed his head only, to Judaism. His understanding yielded to the arguments of the Patriarch, and his heart to the influence of the virgin of Beersheba : but upon his spirit, the truth, not the grace of Judaism, had all the power. It was the logic of the system, not the mercy of the dispensation, that affected him. Its external evidence was a hook in his jaws; but its internal glory, as the only hope of a sinner, had no charms for him. The rays of that glory fell upon the scales of his self-righteousness, as the winds of heaven on the scales of Leviathan, and the bones of Behemoth, unfelt ; “one was so near to another, that no air could come between them.” Job xli. He had bowed at the side of Sheshbazzar, amidst the thousands of Israel, when the High Priest went
within the veil with the interceding Atonement; but, although the veil of the Temple shook with the intensity of their emotion, Esrom's heart neither beat with suspense before, nor burned with gratitude after, the answer of peace came from the Mercy-seat. system must be true ; and therefore it ought to be respected,”—was the whole amount of his worship. “ Its miracles counterbalance its mysteries,”—was his only reason for believing. The eyes of his understanding, like the eyelids of the morning, opened without fear; and his hopes, like the wings of the morning, expanded without effort; whether he thought of life or death, time or 'eternity. He was too rich, to feel dependent on Providence ; and too proud to be a debtor to grace.
He took for granted,. that the little mercy he needed (for, how could it be much, after all his morals?) must, as a matter of course, be quite sure. For, what had