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gall and wormwood ; or, if you please, the crime it self, and the principle which produced it. It is not enough to crop, we must eradicate. It is not enough to be exempt from crimes, we must exterminate the principle. For example, in theft, there is both the root, and the plant productive of wormwood and gall. There is theft gross and refined: the act of theft, and the principle of theft. To steal the goods of a neighbour is the act, the gross act of theft: but to indulge an exorbitant wish for the acqạisition of wealth ;....to make enormous charges ;x...to resist the solicitations of a creditor for payment ;....to be indelicate as to the means of gaining money....to reject the mortifying claims of restitution, is refined fraud; or, if you please, the principle of fraud, pro. ductive of wormwood and gall.... It is the same with regard to impurity; there is the act and the principle. The direct violation of the command, thou shalt not commit adultery, is the gross act. But to form intimate connexions with persons habituated to the vice, to read licentious novels, to sing immodest songs, to indulge wanton airs, is that refined impurity, that principle of the gross act that root which speedily produces wormwood and gall.
V. Moses lastly required the Israelites to consider the oath and execration with which their acceptance of the covenant was attended ; that thou shouldest enter into covenant, and into this path. What is meant by their entering into the oath of execration ? That they pledged themselves by oath, to fulfil every clause of the covenant; and in case of violation, to subject themselves to all the curses God had de. nounced against those who should be guilty of so perfidious a crime.
And, if you would have an adequate idea of those curses, read the awful chapter preceding that from which we have taken our text, If thou wilt not bearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and
do all his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee.' Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field; in the fruit of thy body, ini the fruit of thy land, in the increase of thy catile. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing and vexation, in all thou settest thine band for to do, until thou be destroyed; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. And thy heaven, that is over thy head, shall be brass; and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies, thou shalt go out-one way against them; and flee seven 'ways before them; and thou shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people. Thine
Thine eyes shall see it ; because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and gladness of beart, for the abundance of all things. Therefore thou shalt serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, nakedness, and want. The Lord shall bring against thee a nation swift as the eagle ; a nation of fierce countenance. He shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst. And abou shalt eat the fruit of thy own body, the flesh of tby sons and thy daughters, in the siege, and in the straightness. So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, bis eye shall be evil towards his brother, and towards the wife of his bosom ; so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom be shall eat, Deut. xxviii. 15, &c.
These are but part of the execrations which the infractors of the covenant were to draw upon themselves. And to convince them that they must determine, either not to contract the covenant or subject themselves to all its execrations, God caused it
to be ratified by the awful ceremony; which is recorded in the chapter immediately preceding the quotations I have made. He commanded one part of the Levites to ascend mount Ebal, and pronounce the curses, and all the people to say, Amen. By virtue of this command, the Levites said, Cursed be he lhat setleth light by his father or his mother ; and all the people said, Amen. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow; und all the people said, Amen. Curs. ed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly; and all the people said, Amen. Cursed be he that confirmcth not all the words of this law, to do them ;, and all the people said, Amen, Deut. xxvii, 16....26.
The words which we render, that thou shouldest enter into covenant, have a peculiar energy in the original, and signify, that thou shouldest pass into covenant. The interpreters of whom I speak, think they refer to a ceremony formerly practised, in contracting covenants, of which we have spoken on other occasions. On immolating the victims, they divided the flesh into two parts, placing the one op. posite to the other. The contracting parties passed in the open space between the two,; thereby testify: ing their consent to be slaughtered as those victims, if they did not religiously confirm the covenant contracted in so mysterious a manner.
The sacred writings afford examples of this. cus: tom. In the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, Abraham, by the divine command, took a heifer of three years old, and a ram of the same age, and dividing them in the midst, he placed the parts opposite each other : and behold a smoking furnace, and a burring kamp passed between those pieces. This was a sym, bol that the Lord entered into an engagement with the patriarch, according to the existing custom: hence it is said that the Lordmade a covenant with Abraham.
In the thirty-fourth chapter of the prophesies of Jeremiah, we find a correspondent passage. I reill
give the men thut" háve' transgressed' my covenant, which have not performed the coords of the covenant, thut they made before me, wöhen they cut the calf in twain, and passed bétioeen' the parts, the princes of Judah.... I will even give them into the hands of their enemies. If we do not find the whole of these cere. monies observed, when God contracted the covenant on Sinai, we should mark what occurs in the twenty: fourth chapter of Exodus: Moses sent the young nen of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offer: ings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blovd he sprinkled on the altur; and the other half he sprinkled on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you.
twith you. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people : and they said, All that the Lord hath said, we will do, and be obedient. What is the import of this ceremony, if it is not the same which is expressed in my text, that the Israelites, in contracting the covenant with God, enter into the execration-oath ; sub. jecting themselves, if ever they should presume deliberately to violate the stipulations, to be treated as the victims immolated on Sinai, and as those which Moses probably offered, when it was renewed, on the confines of Palestine.
Perhaps one of my hearers may say to himself, that the terrific circumstances of this ceremony regarded the Israelites alonė, whom God addressed in lightnings and thunders from the top of Sinai. What! was there'then no victim immolated, when God contracted his covenant with us? Does not St.
Paul expressly say, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins? Heb. ix. 22. • And what were the lightnings, what were the thunders of Sinai? What were all the execrations, and all the curses of the 'law? They were the just punishments every sinner shall suffer, who neglects an en
trance into favour with God. Now, these lightnings, these thunders, these execrations, these curses, did they not all unite against the slaughtered victim, when God contracted his covenant with us ;....I would say, against the head of Jesus Christ? O my, God! what revolting sentiments did not such complicated calamities excite in the soul of the Saviour! The idea alone, when presented to his mind, a little before his death, constrained him to say, Now is my. soul troubled, John xii. 27. And on approaching the hour; My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. 0 O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me, Matt. xxvi. 38, 39. And on the cross; My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ! Matt. xxvii. 46....Sinner ! here is the victim immolated on contracting thy covenant with God! Here are the sufferings thou didst subject thyself to endure, if ever thou shouldst perfidiously violate it! Thou hast entered, thou hast passed into covenant, and into the oath of execration which God has required,
My brethren, no man should presume to disguise the nature of his engagements, and the high charac ters of the gospel. Because, on the solemn festival. day, when we appear in presence of the Lord our God....when we enter into covenant with him; and after the engagement, when we come to ratify it in the holy sacrament... We not only enter, but we also pass into covenant, according to the idea attached to the terın : we pass between the parts of the victim divided in sacrifice; we pass between the body and blood of Christ, divided from each other to represent the Saviour's Death. We then say, “ Lord ! I consent, if I should violate the stipulations of thy
covenant, and if after the violation I do not recoa ver by repentance, I consent, that thou shouldest " treat me as thou hast treated thy own Son, in the