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power.' Such is the Speaker who demands our that indignation which was due to their apostacy? attention. In connection with these views of his To these questions an answer will be found in the character let us advert to
devouring plagues which desolated the camp of The subject of his address. He comes to us Israel, and successively carried off thousands and with a message from God. He speaks the word tens of thousands from among the people. One of truth; it is the word of him who is the truth.' recorded fact speaks volumes on this subject. Of All other speakers are fallible, and, therefore, six hundred thousand persons who came forth what they say ought not to be taken on trust, with Moses out of Egypt, not more than two inbut should be received with caution, and ex. dividuals were permitted to enter into the proamined with care. But the Speaker here is the mised land. The whole, with these two excepfaithful and true Witness. There may be much tions, perished in the wilderness, as a memorial in what he says to us that we do not and cannot to every future generation of the solemn truth, fully comprehend; but there is nothing in it that that they escape not who refused him that spake we may not with safety and confidence believe. on earth. It is both 'a faithful saying and worthy of all “He that despised Moses' law died without acceptation. The communication which he ad- mercy. Punishment inevitably followed transdresses to us is not only true, but in the highest gression. No concealment could be practised. degree important. He declares to us the word of The offender, like Achan, might attempt to elude salvation. He tells us of our low and lost estate the stroke of justice, but, like Achan, he was as sinners, lying under a sentence of condemna- sure to be detected. No lenity was to be extion, exposed to wrath, and ready to perish. He pected. Moses had no discretionary power to declares to us that ‘God so loved the world, that remit, or even mitigate the penalty. The law he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever was, in all cases, plain, explicit, peremptory, and believeth in him should not perish, but have ever- inexorable. Every transgression received its just lasting life. He assures us that with God recompence of reward. From these facts the there is mercy, and plenteous redemption; a re- inference is too important to be overlooked, and demption exactly suitable, perfectly complete, too awful to be disregarded. We read it in the infinitely precious, and altogether free. He word of inspiration: 'If he that despised Moses' speaks to us, in short, all that is necessary to be law died without mercy, under two or three witknown, and nothing but what it supremely con- nesses : of how much sorer punishment, suppose cerns us to know, for the salvation of our souls. ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trod
To refuse such a speaker, addressing us on such a den under foot the Son of God, and hath counted subject, is to commit the most unaccountable folly, the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was and to incur the most aggravated guilt; the guilt sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite of base ingratitude, of daring impiety, of ruinous unto the Spirit of grace !' presumption : 'It is to dispute the sovereignty of It is our privilege to live under a dispensation God, to arraign his wisdom, to set his power at de- of grace. Christ, speaking to us from heaven fiance, to deny his truth, despise his grace, and rush in his word and ordinances, proclaims the messon the thick bosses of his buckler. «What shall age of reconciliation, and addresses the offer of the end be of them that obey not the gospel of forgiveness to the very chief of sinners. But God?' for if they escaped not who refused him there is no salvation in any other; and even he that spake on earth, much more shall not we can save those only who believe and obey him. escape if we turn away from him that speaketh To all who reject him “there remaineth no more from heaven.' This question appeals to the facts sacrifice for sin, but the fearful looking for of of Old Testament history, and embodies an- judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour
Argument that can neither be misunderstood the adversary. The sin of turning away from nor evaded. It bids us take warning from the him must, therefore, place the sinner beyond the experience of the people of Israel. They refused reach of mercy, and expose him to the accumuhim that spake on earth. On various occasions lated penalties of a violated law, and a rejected they rebelled against Moses, and what was the gospel, which admit neither of the possibility of consequence ? Did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, an escape, nor the prospect of a deliverance. But escape the punishment of their rebellion? Did to as many as receive him, to them he gives Nadab and Abihu escape the vengeance which power to become the sons of God, even to them their impiety had provoked? Did the congregation that believe on his name. "Let us, therefore, fear of Israel who refused Moses, desiring to be led lest a promise being left us of entering into his back again into Egypt, did they escape the effects of rest any of us should seem to come short of it.
was a prophet far superior to Moses. As a mercy or of judgment. “Hearken diligently prophet he infinitely surpasses Moses in the dig- unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let nity of his person, in the extent of his power, your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your in the excellencies of his character, in the value ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul of his ministrations, in the permanency of his shall live; and I will make an everlasting coveoffice, in the number and force of his claims. nant with you, even the sure mercies of David. If therefore the people of Israel were required under the most awful penalties to obey the word of Moses, how much more is it incumbent on us to yield obedience to the voice of Christ? FOURTEENTH DAY.—EVENING. Unto him shall ye hearken. These words declare—
Seeing that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for The sinner's duty. It includes the exercise of
if they escaped not who refused him that spaki considerate attention. This is the first step to con
on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we version. A most important point has been gained
turn away from him that speaketh from hea. when the mind of the sinner is awakened to
den,' Heb. xii. 25. serious concern about salvation, so as to make it We have here an admonition, and an argument
, the subject of earnest and prayerful inquiry. both of which, by alarming our fears, combine The gospel demands, and will bear the most to enforce a most important duty. But in order minute and scrutinizing investigation. It speaks to understand the meaning of the admonition, and to the understanding and the judgment, as well feel the force of the argument, it is necessary that as to the conscience and the heart, and says, we should be made acquainted with the charac• Whoso hath ears to hear, let him hear.' It is ter of the Speaker, and also with the subject ol the sinner's duty to hearken by
his address. Believing the word of Christ; for this,' says
The character of the Speaker possesses that he, “is the work of God, that ye believe in him highest claim to our attention. He is invested with whom he hath sent. And the faith which he supreme authority over us, and has an unques. requires is not a mere act of the understanding, tionable right to dictate to us in all matters both a but a principle of the heart, consisting in the faith and practice. It is his sovereign prerogativi exercise of a simple and affectionate confidence, to deal with us, and with every thing that belong working by love, and enforcing obedience. They to us, and every thing that concerns us, accordin that know his name put their trust in him, and to his sovereign pleasure. Besides he is a Being a whilst they believe all his doctrines to be true, perfect veracity. His word may be implicitly de they esteem his precepts concerning all things to pended on, 'for he is not a man that he should lie be right. To hearken expresses
When he speaks, it is with the voice of trat Submission to the authority of Christ: the and wisdom. Nothing, therefore, which proceed submission of the will to the guidance of his from him can be either erroneous and hurtful, o word, of the heart to the influence of his love, even trifling and unprofitable. For he unit and of the life to the demands of his law, and of infallible wisdom with infinite love. He has th the circumstances to the disposal of his provi- best interests of those whom he speaks to deepl dence. He demands an affectionate and unre- at heart. His design is to make them happy; an served submission; and he is entitled to it both he points out a way that will ensure their hay as a testimony of respect to his authority, and piness both in time and for eternity. And I an expression of gratitude for his redeeming can give full effect to every word he utters, by grace. All who live by him, he disposes to live power to which all things are possible. to him and for him. His love to them is speaks, and it is done; he commands, and evinced by their devotedness to him. They stands fast. In him all the promises of God a daily kneel at his footstool, and inquire, Lord, yea and amen ; for he is both faithful and able what wilt thou have me to do?'
perform. But his holiness constitutes the ch To us the word of his salvation has been sent. glory of his character. In him is no sin. It is his voice that speaks to us in every part of cannot look upon sin. And there is no sin it, and we are called on by every consideration heinous and so offensive in his sight as the sin of interest and duty to hearken to it with a refusing him that speaketh from heaven teachable, obedient, and prayerful attention, is a sin which he has expressed whether it addresses us in the language of doc- to punish with everlas trine or precept, of promise or threatening, of presence of thr
power. Such is the Speaker who demands our that indignation which was a
devouring plagues which deset
message from God. He speaks the word tens of thousands from amg 2 SOIL of truth; it is the word of him who is the truth.' recorded fact speaks volums as the same 1 All other speakers are fallible, and, therefore, six hundred thousand pesas what they say ought not to be taken on trust, with Moses out of Egr SE but should be received with caution, and ex. dividuals were permitted 2 amined with care.
But the Speaker here is the mised land. The whole vit face faithful and true Witness. There may be much tions, perished in the videns s. in what he says to us that we do not and cannot to every future generatie fully comprehend; but there is nothing in it that that they escape not the refuse we may not with safety and confidence believe. on earth. It is both “a faithful saying and worthy of all
He that despised Misce su acceptation. The communication which he ad- mercy.' Punishment in 1 dresses to us is not only true, but in the highest gression. No concealmes degree important. He declares to us the word of The offender, like Acum salvation. He tells us of our low and lost estate the stroke of justice, te as sinners, lying under a sentence of condemna- sure to be detected tion, exposed to wrath, and ready to perish. He pected. Moses han
declares to us that “God so loved the world, that remit, or even my he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever was, in all cas believeth in him should not perish, but have ever- inexorable. Der lasting life.' He assures us that with God recompense de there is mercy, and plenteous redemption ;' a re- inference is the demption exactly suitable, perfectly complete, too awfal sole infinitely precious, and altogether free. He word of inspire speaks to us, in short, all that is necessary to be law died with known, and nothing but what it supremely con- nesses: cerns us to know, for the salvation of our souls. ye,
To refuse such a speaker, addressing us on such a den under mbject, is to commit the most unaccountable folly, the blood and to incur the most aggravated guilt; the guilt sanctified
of base ingratitude, of daring impiety, of ruinousunto ste
that spake on earth, much more shall not we can
La from heaven. This question appeals to the facts see d Old Testament history, and embodies an
Argument that can neither be misunderstood file We evaded. It bids us take warning from the
revelaexperience of the people of Israel. They refused
d spake lim that spake on earth. On various occasiones literis
friend,' Hey rebelled against Moses, and what was the paper
But the onsequence? Did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
ape the punishment of their rebellion? Nadal and A bihu escape
e light Yeance ar impiety be ong
of the Israel w
Having received the Lord Jesus, so walk in and is therefore called the Mediator of it, having him.'
undertaken to execute its conditions by the obedience of his life, and the sacrifice of his death for the redemption of those whom the Father
had given him. But he is also the Messenger' FIFTEENTH DAY-MORNING.
or Angel of this covenant, having received a
commission from the Father to make known its • Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall provisions unto men, and to dispense them to his
prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom church and people throughout all ages to the end ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even of time. the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight
From the beginning of the world the coming in. Behold, he shull come, saith the Lord of of Messiah had been foretold and expected. hosts,' Mal. iii. 1.
Patriarchs saw it afar off, and were glad. The Two illustrious persons are here distinctly alluded whole system of Jewish worship and government to, each of them called by the name of messenger, evidently pointed to it. To keep alive the exbearing a very intimate relation to one another, pectation of it, holy men of God, speaking with yet widely different in the rank and character, the voice of inspiration, prophetically alluded to both personal and official, which respectively be- it. And Malachi, the last of these, made it the long to them. We know upon divine authority subject of a plain and most explicit prediction that the first part of this prophecy received its which expresses the certainty of the event, and accomplishment in the person of John the Bap- confirms it by a twofold repetition. Probably tist. Our Lord made this announcement to the there were then, as there are now, unbelievers, Jews, when he spake of John, saying, "For this who scoffingly asked, ' where is the promise of is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep all messenger before thy face, which shall prepare things continue as they were. To silence the thy way before thee.'
cavils of the profane, and alarm the fears of the But a greater than John the Baptist is here; secure, and establish the confidence of the doubtone whom John acknowledged to be incompara- ing, and animate the hopes of the pious—the bly his superior, and to whom he did not consi- inspired prophet declared that the Lord, the der himself worthy to perform the meanest office. Messenger of the covenant' would assuredly He it is, who coming after me, is preferred before come, and that not only soon, but suddenly to me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to un- his temple.' loose. It was customary for kings and conquerors In predicting the advent of Messiah, the proto be preceded on their march by persons who phets sometimes speak of him in his human naacted either as heralds to proclaim their approach, ture as the son of David, and tell us that he or as pioneers to remove obstacles out of their way. would come and sit on the throne of David his In like manner, the advent of Messiah was to be father, and exercise dominion “from sea to sea, announced beforehand by the voice of one crying and from the river to the ends of the earth.' in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the The highest place which a man can occupy is a Lord, make his paths straight.'
throne, but the lowest place which God can The names here applied to him by the prophet, accept is a temple. Accordingly, when the proexpressive at once of his supreme dignity, and of phets connect the advent of Christ with his his gracious character, show him to be pre-emi-divine dignity as David's Lord, they declare nently worthy of such honour. He is 'the Lord,' that he would come not to his throne, but to his the universal ruler, to whom all power belongs, temple, as the only fit and appropriate place for on whom all beings depend, from whom all bless- his reception. The temple was erected for his ings proceed, and to whom all homage is due. honour, and dedicated to his service. He had Like the forerunner who came to announce his said of it, “This is my rest for ever; here will I approach, he sustains the character of a 'mes-dwell for I have desired it. The visible symbol senger,' but in a far higher and more important of his presence had indeed been long withdrawn sense; for he is the Messenger of the covenant? from it. The Jews who were bound to protect The scriptures make mention of many covenants, its sanctity bad allowed it to be prostituted to but this is a better covenant, established on the vilest of purposes. But the Lord had not better promises, a covenant of peace, an everlast- finally deserted it; and the time was now aping covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.' proaching when he would return to it, and expel Jesus Christ is himself a party to this covenant, the profane intruders who had degraded it into a house of merchandise, and a den of thieves; they love, and long for, and haste unto; for as and when, by making it the scene of his per-Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, sonal ministrations, he would cause the glory of so unto them that look for him shall he apthe second temple to exceed that of the first. pear the second time without sin unto salvation.'
The event of Messiah's appearance was not Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, only expected by the people of Israel, but desired unmovable, always abounding in the work of and longed for. They understood not his true the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour character, and grossly misapprehended the design is not in vain in the Lord.' of his coming. Predictions and promises, which held forth to them the prospect of a spiritual redemption, were so misinterpreted by them as to engender the hope of a temporal deliverance.
FIFTEENTH DAY.—EVENING. A few there were among them, who, like Anna and Simeon, escaped the delusion which proved 'No man hath seen God at any time; the only fatal to the great body of their countrymen, and
begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the with an enlightened and well-founded confidence Father, he hath declared him,' John i. 18. 'waited for the Consolation of Israel. But all of God is to be seen in his works; "for the invisithem looked forward to his appearance as an ble things of him from the creation of the world object of ardent and delightful anticipation; and are clearly seen, being understood by the things therefore to all of them the prophet could truly that are made, even his eternal power and Godsay, ' The Lord whom ye seek shall come, even head. The heavens declare the glory of God, the Messenger of the covenant whom ye de- and the firmament showeth his handy-work. The light in.
earth is full of his riches. · He may be seen in This intimation, which assured them of the the operations of his providence; for what is speedy fulfilment of their hopes, loudly called providence but God manifesting his perfections them to the work of preparation. The design in the preservation and government of the creawas to awaken serious concern, to enforce self- tures he has made ? Above all he may be seen examination, to excite repentance, to induce in his word, which reveals to us his being and athumility, watchfulness, and prayer. The pros- tributes, his purposes and will. Every man, pect of Christ's coming had in it much that was therefore, who looks with attention and underfitted to console and animate, but it had in it standing into the world of nature, or the arrangemuch also that calculated to rouse and alarm ment of providence, or the record of scripture. them. For he was to be to them as a refiner may be said to have seen God. and purifier of silver; having his fan in his hand In the early ages of the world God was pleased that he might thoroughly purge his floor, and to discover himself in a visible manner to his sergather his wheat into the garner, but the chaff vants and people. He appeared to Adam im-. he would burn with unquenchable fire.' Know- mediately after the fall, and to Noah after the ing the terrors of the Lord, the prophet warned flood. He was seen by Moses and Manoah, by them of their danger, and anticipated the Bap- Samuel and David, by Elijah and Daniel. The tist's message, Repent, for the kingdom of people of Israel saw him in the cloud of glory which heaven is at hand.'
hung occasionally over the tabernacle, and which All that is here predicted of the first coming rested permanently on the mercy-seat. But he of Christ, may with truth be affirmed of his was seen only in his attributes and actings. His second advent. His second coming, like his essence is spiritual, and, therefore, invisible. first, will be personal and visible; for he shall this sense no man hath seen God at any time, nor come in the clouds of heaven, with his own and can see him. And how little was seen of God his Father's glory, and every eye shall see him.' amidst the shadows of the Old Testament revelaIt will be sudden and unexpected; for “the day tion. Even Moses, unto whom the Lord spake of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, and face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend, at such an hour as ye think not the Son of man desired a fuller manifestation of the divine charcometh. It will be full of terror to his enemies; acter, and prayed, “Shew me thy glory.' But the for ‘he will try every man's work, and render privilege which was denied to him has been conunto every man according to his work, indigna- ferred on us: for ‘God who commanded the light tion and wrath, tribulation and anguish to every to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our soul of man that doeth evil. But to his own hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the people it will be the day of redemption which glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.'