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and confirm them in the faith. To God be all the glory.
WHEN the mourning women sought
The tomb where Jesus lay,
To anoint his lifeless clay;
Love's last tribute thus to pay,
“ Who shall roll the stone away ?".
Through the peaceful sabbath day;
To the grave in which he lay?
For the first approach of day;
“ Who shall roll the stone away?”
Still they pause not on their way;
Nought their eager steps can stay:
Seek the spot wherein he lay;
Lo, the stone is rolled away!
Meet with hindrance in their way,
When thy word they would obey.
How can they their service pay?
“ Who shall roll the stone away?”
Like the women on their way;
More than all thy word can say;
When we work and when we pray ;
“ Who shall roll the stone away?”
Though we wait and though we pray,
Dark is oft our pilgrim way.
Lighted by a heavenly ray;
THE FIERY SERPENT. WHEN the Lord sent fiery serpents among the children of Israel in the wilderness to bite them, so that many of them died, it was no wonder that they should come to Moses to confess that they had sinned against the Lord by their murmurings, and to implore him to pray for them that the serpents should be taken away; the only wonder is that the lovingkindness of the Lord should have been extended to them after their monstrous unthankfulness and ingratitude.
Blind must have been their eyes not to have seen the goodness of God to them, and hard indeed must have been their hearts, not to have been moved and melted by the judgments and mercies of the Lord. They had been brought out of Egypt with a high hand, they and their wives and their little ones, and their hocks and their herds. They had seen the plagues which had been brought on their oppressors ; the Aowing river had been turned into blood; and frogs, and lice, and flies, and locusts had well nigh destroyed the land of Egypt; a murrain had swept away the cattle; boils and blains had vexed the hearts of the Egyptians; fire and hail had affrighted them ; darkness had overwhelmed them with consternation; and the slaying of their first-born had driven OCTOBER, 1848.
them to extremity. The children of Israel knew not only that these things had been done, but that they had been done for their express benefit ; and yet, after all, they could murmur against the Lord.
They had seen Pharaoh and his host, with his chariots and horses, drowned in the sea, through which the Israelites themselves had passed dryshod, so that they were at liberty, and delivered from the cruel wrath of their pursuing enemy; yet this did not restrain them from murmuring against the Lord.
The cloudy pillar by day, and the fiery pillar by night, had been to them unerring guides ; quails and manna had been rained from heaven to satisfy their hunger, and the hard rock had been cloven to quench their thirst; God had manifested to them his glory on Mount Sinai ; he had given them his holy law, and delivered their enemies, the Canaanites, into their hands; and yet, after these mercies, they still murmured against the Lord.
The judgments of Jehovah had been among them, fire from the Lord and the plague had destroyed them; they had seen Miriam smitten with leprosy, and had stood by when the open earth swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram ; but even these righteous judgments kept them not back from murmuring against the Lord. Surely the lovingkindness of the Lord is great, and his mercy endureth for ever!
« 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,” Num. xxi. 8, 9.
And now such as had been brought near to death by the winged serpents of the wilderness came seeking life. Strange that the sight of a brazen serpent should arrest and subdue the poison that was burning in their veins ! How efficacious are the most simple means in the hands of the Most High ! The people came and looked on the symbol that had been set up as a banner among them, and were healed.
They who had been bitten of the tribe of Reuben came with those of Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun. There came, too, of the tribe of Joseph, and Benjamin, and Dan, and Naphtali, and Gad, and Asher, for the serpents had sorely troubled them. The aged Israelite came, he who was a man when Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, and
others with him, were sent from Kadesh-Barnea to spy out the
and he who was lusty, and strong, and able to go out to war came, they and their wives and their children, for the and the
young, and the middle-aged had felt the venomous tooth of the desert serpent, the fiery scourge that had run through the camp. They came; they saw the brazen symbol that Moses had commanded to be erected, and departed to their tents in peace.
More than three thousand summers and winters, since then, have visited the earth; kingdoms have risen and fallen ; and the twelve tribes of the children of Israel been scattered into all lands. Prophets have prophesied; the Lord of life and glory has suffered on the cross; and apostles have borne witness to the truth, sealing their testimony with their blood. But not yet has that brazen serpent erected in the wilderness lost its signification. It was but the type, the symbol, of what was to take place in after years; for “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,” John iii. 14, 15.
If the serpents of the wilderness stung their thousands, the serpents of sin have stung their ten thousands. The whole race of Adam have been bitten. “ All have sinned,” and the righteous sentence of the Eternal has gone forth, “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” To the cross, sinner! to the cross ! The Son of man is lifted up; the Saviour of the world is the only cure !
To the cross without delay, ye highminded and proud ! for your disease is deadly, and your danger imminent. “ Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall," Prov. xvi. 18. The pride of your hearts has deceived you ; ye are bitten, and the fiery venom is flowing in your veins.
Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord,” Obad. iii. 4.
“Vain-glorious sinner, let this truth suffice,
Bled, groaned, and agonized, and died in vain.” To the cross, ye bruised and broken, who knowing your disease and danger are smiting on your breasts, and crying aloud, “ God be merciful to me a sinner !” To you sin is exceedingly sinful, but there is balm in Gilead, and there is a physician there, and both will be found at the cross. Your 66 Seek ye
plague will be stayed, your leprosy will be healed, and the venom of your serpent-bite be taken away. 66 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him,” Dan. ix. 9. To the cross ! the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near,” Isa. lv. 6.
To the cross, ye covetous and worldly-minded, who bow down to mammon and worship wealth! Know ye not that “the love of money is the root of all evil ?” The fangs of the serpent, sin, have infected you from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. The herbs of the field cannot heal you, the waters of the river cannot cleanse you. Every other way is hedged up; you must renounce your worldlymindedness, and hasten to the cross. Seek, and
To the cross, ye careless ones! who know not the mortal malady with which you are seized. There is madness in your mirth, and weakness in your apparent strength. The time is short, and
have need to pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Away to the cross ! If you say that you have no sin, you deceive yourselves, and the truth is not in you; but if
confess your sins, the Saviour is faithful and just to forgive your sins, and to cleanse you from all unrighteous
To the cross, ye unbelievers and scoffers, lest ye
be mocked when your fear cometh! You, too, have been sin-bitten, and the malignant poison, if not counteracted, will bring about your eternal woe. The word of God is true, whether believed or doubted; and death, and judgment, and heaven, and hell, are realities that cannot be scoffed away. Cover your sins, and ye shall not prosper ; confess, and forsake them, and ye shall find mercy.
The cross is your only refuge. Remember that the Lord cometh as a thief in the night: and what if he should find you unprepared !
To the cross, ye bold blasphemers, who give up yourselves to work iniquity with greediness, fearing neither God nor man, and glorying in your shame! for why should ye perish in your sins ? Remember that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night, and while you are saying, Peace and safety, sudden destruction may come upon you. The serpent sin has bitten you without mercy, and the contagion is raging in your hearts. But look to the cross; for “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live