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men, who were celebrating a foolish feast in honor of their idol, and he replies to Joshua, who thought it was a war shout, Ah ! no, it is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome, but the noise of them that sing do I hear, Exod. xxxii. 18. Convinced by his own eyes, he trembles at the sight, breaks the tables of the law, on which God had engraven with his own adorable hand the clauses of the covenant, which this people were now violating, he runs to the gate of the camp, and cries, who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me. And when all the sons of Levi gathered themselves unto him, he said unto them, put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate, throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor, ver. 26, 27. See Phinehas. He perceives Moses and Aaron weeping at the door of the tabernacle, because the people had forsaken the worship of God, and gone over to that of Baal-peor; touched with their grief, he rises up, quits the congregation, takes a javelin in his hand, and stabs an Israelite with the immodest Midianite, who had enticed the people into this abominable idolatry. Bebold Elijah! I am very jealous, saith he, for the Lord God of Hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken his covenant, thrown down his alters, and slain his prophets with the sword, 1 Kings, xix. 10. Remark St. Paul. His spirit was stirred in him to see a nation, in other respects the most learned and polite, rendering to an unknown God such homage as was due to none but the Most High, whose glory the heavens declare, and rohose handywork · the firmament sheweth. Behold the royal prophet, Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate
thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise. up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred, I count them mine enemies, Psal. cxxxix. 21, 22. Mly zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not, thy law. Rivers of tears, tears of which my zeal for thy glory is the first cause.
II. Although the sinner be hateful as a sinner, yet as an unhappy person, he is an object of pity, and it is possible he may preclude future ills by repentance. As to love God with all the heart is the first and great commandment, so the second is like unto it, thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. Sin is a source of misery to a sinner, and it is impossible for a good man to see, without shedding tears of love and pity, the depths of woe into which people united to him by bonds of affection, plunge themselves by their obstinacy in sin.
Every thing favors this subject. In regard to the present life, a man living according to laws of virtue, is incomparably more happy than he who gives himself up to vice. So the holy spirit hath declared, godliness hath promise of the life that now is, 1 Tim. iv. 8. Though this general rule hath some exceptions, yet they cannot regard the serenity of mind, the peace of the conscience, the calm of the passions, the confidence of good men, their steadiness in the calamities of life, and their intrepidity at the approach of death. All these advantages, and many others, without which the
are only a splendid slavery, and a source of grief, all these advantages, I say, are inseparable from piety. A charitable man cannot see, without deep affliction, objects of his tenderest love renounce
such inestimable advantages, poison the pleasure of their own life, open an inexhaustible source of remorse, and prepare for themselves racks and tortures.
But, my brethren, these are only the least subjects of our present contemplation. We have other bitter reflections to make, and other tears to shed, and there is ex position of charity more just, and at the same time more lamentable, of the words of my text, rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
I am thinking of the eternal misery in which sinners involve themselves. We are united to sinners by ties of nature, by bonds of society, and by obligations of religion, and who can help trembling to think, that persons, round whom so many tendrils of affectionate ligaments twine, should be threatened with everlasting torments! Some people are so much struck with this thought, that they think, when we shall be in heaven, all ideas of people related to us on earth will be effaced from our memory, that we shall entirely lose the power of remembering, that we shall not even know such as I share celestial happiness with us, lest the idea of such as are deprived of it should diminish our pleasure, and embitter our happiness. It would be easy, in my opinion, to remove this difficulty, if it were necessary now. In heaven order, and order alone, will be the foundation of our happiness; and if order condemns the persons we shall have most esteemed, our happiness will not be affected by their misery. We shall love only in God; we shall feel no attachment to any who do not love God as we do; their cries will not move us; nor will their torments excite our compassion.
But while we are in this world, God would have us affected with the misery that threatens a sinner, VOL. V.
that our own feelings may excite us to prevent it. You have sometimes admired one of the most marvellous phenomena of nature : nature hath united us together by invisible bonds; it hath formed our fibres in perfect unison with the fibres of our neighbor; we cannot see him exposed to violent pain without receiving a counter blow, an unvaried tone that sounds to relieve him, and forces us to assist him. This is the work of that Creator, whose infinite goodness is seen in all his productions. He intends that these sentiments of commiseration in us should be so many magazines to supply what the temporal miseries of our neighbors require.
So in regard to eternity, there is a harmony, and, if you will allow the expression, there is an unison of spirits. While we are in this world, an idea of the eternal destruction of a person we esteem, suspends the pleasure which a hope of salvation promised to ourselves would otherwise cause. It is the work of the Creator, whose goodness shines brighter in religion than in the works of nature. That horror, which is caused by a bare appearance, that the man we so tenderly love, should be reserved for eternal torments, I say, the bare suspicion of such a calamitous event, compels us to flee to the aid of the unhappy object of our esteem, to pluck him from the jaws of destruction, by reclaiming him from his errors with the force of exhortation and the power of example. To combat these sentiments is to oppose the intention of God; to tear these from our hearts, is to disrobe ourselves of that charity, without which there is no religion.
Accordingly, the more a mind becomes perfect in the exercise of this virtue, the more it hath of this kind of sensibility. Hence it was that St. Paul so sharply reproved the Corinthians, because they had vot mourned on account of that incestuous
person, who had disgraced their church. Hence it was, that Moses, when he discovered that gross idolatry, of which we just now spoke, gave him
Oh, this people have sinned a great sin! Yet now, forgive their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book. Hence it was that Jeremiah said to the Jews of his time, who were going captives into a foreign land, where they would be destitute of the comfort of religion, give glory to God before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains. But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride, and mine eyes shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock is carried away captive. Hence this declaration of Paul to the Philippians, Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. Hence it was that Jesus Christ, the chief model of charity, when he overlooked the unhappy Jerusalem, and saw the heavy judgments coming upon it, wept over it, saying, O that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that velong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
Here I venture to defy those of you, who glory in insensibility, to be insensible and void 'of feeling. No, nothing but the most confirmed inattention to futurity, nothing but the wretched habit we have formed of thinking of nothing but the present world, can hinder our being affected with subjects which make the deepest impressions on the soul of the psalmist. Consider them as he did, and you will be affected as he was. You, hardest hearts, try your insensibility, and see whether you can resist such reflections as these! This friend, who is