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justice is a capacious quiver, stored with innumerable poisoned arrows, to shed the blood, to drink up the spirits of his adversaries. Think, in how many parts art thou vulnerable? In every particle of thy frame, in every faculty of thy soul. Every sense opens a passage for the entrance of an avenging GOD. The understanding at his command, expands to the dreadful perception of justice that will not bend; of severity that knows not to relax; of vengeance that admits not of pity. Memory, roused by that trumpet which awakes the dead, gives new form and substance to the hideous spectres of transgressions long since departed, and which were vainly imagined to be laid in the grave forever; and the guilty wretch is dragged to the bitter recollection of what he once dwelt on with unhallowed delight, and now would fain bury in eternal oblivion; or which he gladly would, at the price of worlds, redeem from the history of his wretched life. As memory, to fulfil the righteous judgment of GOD, can readily summon up all that is past, in order to awaken remorse, and inspire terror so fear launches forth into the boundless, endless regions of futurity, and rouses despair; and in the very abysses of burning hell, shudders at the thought of a deeper gulph, and of a hotter flame. Read, O sinner, the history of the plagues of Egypt, and tremble! Suppose, for a moment, the cup wherewith thou art ready to quench thy burning thirst, instantly turned into blood, to the loathing of thy soul and thy flesh. Suppose thy body struck with an universal leprosy, or the dust under thy feet quickened into abominable virmin: the air around thy head impregnated with swarms of noisome insects; thy sun extinguished for three tedious lingering days, and the thunder of an angry God rolling over thy guilty, devoted habitation; and suppose all this to be but the beginning of sorrow; the mere threatenings of wrath to woe that may be endured, torment that may expire for ah! from yonder fearful pit arises the smoke of a fire that shall not be quenched; smoke that shall ascend forever and ever. I hear groans bursting from the bosom of despair; and the rattling of everlasting adamantine chains. Behold the wild looks, the agonizing pangs of that poor rich man, when, from the flames of his torment, he beholds Lazarus in Abraham's bosom: when he beholds heaven removed to an inaccessible distance: heaven disjoined by an unpassable gulph. Heaven, the rest of the weary, and the reward of the faithful, affords to him a momentary glimpse of its joys, only to embitter remorse, only to pierce the soul with keener pangs, and to heat the furnace seven times hotter than it was before. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
After serious reflection upon these things, our second observation would seem ill founded, and destitute of all probability and truth, did not all history, and daily experience confirm the woeful certainty of it. It is this: that by frequent iudulgence, and inveterate habits of sin, the heart may at length become quite callous; may be rendered equally insensible to the calls of mercy, and the alarms of justice. We are struck with astonishment, at the sight of a poor, infatuated wretch like Pharaoh, repeatedly braving that power which returned to crush and humble him, and slighting that grace which as often relented and afforded space and means for repentance. Would to God there were room to think the representation more unnatural than it is, and that the character of Pharaoh were a rarity in the world. But alas! what is the life of most men, but an habitual fighting against God? Upon whom falls the weight of our remark? Upon a few thoughtless, hardened wretches only, who have found out the secret of lulling conscience to rest; who, having conquered the sense of fear and of shame, commit iniquity with greediness; who "hide not their sin, like Sodom, but publish it like Gomorrah?" Let us not deceive ourselves, but watch over our own hearts, and "exhort one another daily, lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." "There stands
Pharaoh, the daring, the presumptuous sinner: whom goodness could not mollify, nor judgments subdue; and let him who is without sin cast the first stone at him. Who can flatter himself with the thought, that the errors of his life were the mere inadvertencies of haste and inattention? Who can say of himself, "This fault I corrected, as soon as I discovered it? Having been once made sensible of the danger and wickedness of that sinful course, I instantly forsook it, and have returned to it no more. Smarting from the effects of my folly, I have never again dared to provoke the lash of my Father's chastening rod. The resolutions which I made in the day of sickness, and sorrow, and calamity, I have faithfully remembered, and diligently kept. Vows made at the Lord's table, I have made conscience to perform. The threatenings of God's word I have not disregarded; the longsuffering of my God I have not abused." Alas! alas! the reverse of all this is the truth which condemns every one. Not a single, but repeated acts of intemperance, injustice, impurity, impiety; not casual and undesigned expressions, but deliberate and indulged habits of falsehood, malevolence, selfishness and uncharitableness, place us as criminals at the bar, by the side of Pharaoh, and forbid us to condemn him, because we also have sinned. What avails it me to say, that my offence is not the same with his? Perhaps I had neither power, nor inclination, nor opportunity, for committing that man's transgression. Have I therefore washed my hands in innocence? Can I therefore plead, guilty?" The great question is, Have I kept myself free from mine own transgression? And, spared of God to make the inquiry-let Pharaoh's impenitence, and Pharaoh's doom, awaken us to a sense of our danger; and urge a speedy flight from the wrath that is to come.
Thirdly, this history leads us to remark the great difference between the slow, reluctant, partial submission of fear, and the prompt, cheerful and unreserved compliance of a grateful and affectionate heart. Pharaoh, like a sullen, sturdy slave will not move a step, till stimulated by a fresh application of 'the whip; the moment that the pain of the stripe ceases, he stands still, or turns back. The first summons is treated by him with insolence and scorn; and he resolves that Israel shall not have a single moment's relaxation from their burthens. Brought to himself by a few strokes of the rod of God's anger, he yields a tardy consent to the intermission of their labours for a little while, and to their doing sacrifice to their God: but it must be " in the land where they dwelt, even in Egypt." That alternative being rejected, and a new demand made, backed with a new threatening, and followed with a new plague, he agrees to permit the male part of Israel, who were arrived at man's estate, to resort to the place appointed; but he is determined to detain their wives, children and cattle as hostages for their return. Constrained, at length, by dint of judgments, to let the whole congregation depart, he endeavours to stipulate, that they should not go very far off; and not till broken by the last dreadful plague, can he be brought to resign his usurped authority over the freeborn sons of God.
We often find men pretending to make a merit of giving up what it is no longer in their power to retain. After a man has squandered away his means, in riot and extravagance, deserves he praise for living sparingly? Another has ruined his constitution by intemperance; is his forced continence an object of admiration? By no means. He has discontinued his debaucheries through disability, not from inclination and conviction of his error. Old age has debilitated a third! is he therefore virtuous? No, no: his vices have forsaken him, not he his vices. When a man serves through fear, he does no more than he needs must; but love is liberal and generous, and stands not questioning, "yea hath GoD said?" but, ever on the watch, ever on the wing,
the moment that the voice of God is heard, it is ready to reply," Here am I, Lord, send me." This leads me to remark,
Fourthly, The wisdom of giving up, at the command of God, with alacrity what we must give up at last, whether we will or not. What a pitiful figure does Pharaoh make in the end! baffled in every attempt, driven out of every fortress, dishonoured in the eyes of his own servants, transmitted to latest posterity a monument of pride and impotence. Were not the proud man blind and infatuated, he would yield through self-love; he would submit to preserve his own consequence, at least the appearance of it. Unhappily for us, our will stands but too often in opposition to the will of God. When they come to clash, who ought in reason to give way ? Who must of necessity submit? Knowest thou not, O man, that to destroy thyself, thou needest but to follow thy own headstrong inclination: knowest thou not, that the gratification, not the disappointment of illicit desire, is ruinous? But who ever made a sacrifice of inclination to duty, and had reason to repent of it? Who knows not, that to yield submission is to obtain a triumph? In a contention where there is a probability, or even a possibility of our prevailing, it may be worth while to risk a combat; but who, except a madman, will seek to encounter a foe by whom he is sure to be defeated? And yet, in that mad, that ruinous strife, see how many are engaged! Behold the stars in their courses ranged on the part of their Creator; behold all nature standing in arms to espouse his cause; and who must be overcome? Against whom is this formidable, preparation made? There stands the enemy, in all his weakness and folly; a crawling worm on a dunghill provoking his fate, tampering with eternal ruin, hardening himself against GOD, and yet thinking to prosper. The influence of no malignant star is necessary to blast him; there is a necessity for no earthquake to swallow him up: no archangel armed with a sword of fire, need descend to cut him asunder: his breath is in his own nostrils; he is sinking into his dust; his own ridiculous efforts are wasting and consuming him. Foolish creature and unwise! why wilt thou contend longer? "Wherefore shouldst thou be stricken any more?" Constrain not HIM to be thy foe who has towards thee the disposition of the best of friends, and who is mighty to save, even "to the uttermost, them that come unto him."
Fifthly, In the course of these dreadful plagues, we observe, not only the pride of man effectually humbled, but the power of Satan trampled in the dust, under the feet of the Most High. It is highly interesting to observe, by what gradual steps the enemy and the avenger is laid low, till he is at length destroyed. Presumption, at first, induces him, in confidence of a permitted power, to enter the lists and to try his strength with God. Aaron's rod is turned into a serpent. The magicians attempt the same, and succeed. Their rods also become serpents. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. and by the water of the river is turned into blood, and the fishes die. magicians, by their enchantments, madly assist the plague, and acquire a little transitory reputation, by doing mischief. Flushed with this farther success, they go on to imitate the miracles of Moses and Aaron; but, to their confusion, they fail there, where it seemed most probable that they should with greatest ease support their fame. That loathsome vermin, lice, is to be produced miraculously, which slovenliness and filth naturally produce without any effort. At the word of Moses the dust of the land is transformed into this noisome, nauseous insect. But the whole power of hell cannot effect, at the time, and in the manner which it would, what time and carelessness alone, in the usual course of things, would certainly have produced: and they feel themselves attacked with a plague which their art could not bring upon others. Finally, after having become the subjects of a miraculous calamity which might be borne, they are at length attacked with one absolutely intolerable, Vol. III.
which drives them from the competition: they give up their silly arts of sorcery, and attempt to rival the true God no more. And thus, when the mystery of godliness shall be finished, an astonished world shall behold the sleight and devices of Satan falling upon his own head, his momentary triumphs covering him with more accumulated disgrace, and his infernal malice and diabolical craft made ministering servants to the wisdom and goodness of God. A good reason, among many others, why we should judge nothing rashly before the time till the Lord cometh, who shall bring light out of obscurity, and fully vindicate his ways to men.
Sixthly, We observe how unlike the latter ends of things are to their beginnings. The world laughs at the idea of two feeble old men, issuing forth from a desert, the patrons of liberty; to force a mighty prince, and a powerful nation, to listen to the dictates of justice and humaniy, and to liberate a million of wretched creatures, whose spirits were totally broken by their miseries, and who seemed to have lost even the inclination of vindicating their own rights. Pharaoh despised them; the magicians defied them; Israel distrusted them; they themselves are ready to sink under the difficulty and danger of the enterprise. But, conducted of Heaven, they attempt, they proceed, they prosper, they overcome. They invade Egypt, two solitary, unsupported individuals! They leave it at the head of six hundred thousand men, fit to bear arms, with a corresponding number of females, besides old men and children, and a mixed multitude of non-descript persons; bidding defiance to the whole force of a wise and populous, and warlike country. And we see them in the course of a few years taking forcible possession of one of the strongest, most impracticable and best defended countries in the world.
I need but hint to you the counterpart of this. Behold the unconnected son of a carpenter, at the head of twelve simple, illiterate fishermen, attacking the religious establishments of the whole globe, and prevailing. Behold him, armed with a few plain facts, and a few doctrines as plain, overturning the whole fabric of heathen mythology and worship; ingrafting on the stock of Moses, and the legal dispensation, a scion from a nobler root; which has swallowed up the parent tree, has filled the earth with its branches, is feeding the nations to this day with its fruit, and is likely to maintain its place till all the gracious purposes of Heaven are accomplished. "It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes." "When the world by wisdom knew not GOD, it pleased GoD by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe." The next Lecture will, by divine favour, exhibit the institution and celebration of the first passover, with the event which gave occasion to it. May God bless what has been spoken. To him be glory and honour forever and ever.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
EXODUS XII. 1, 2, 3.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house.
In the history of all nations, there are eras and events of peculiar importance, which extend their influence to future ages and generations, and are fondly commemorated by latest posterity. Hence, every day of the revolving year becomes, in its course, to one people or another, the anniversary of something memorable which befel their forefathers, and is remembered by their sons with triumph or with sorrow. Most of the religious observances which have obtained in the world, when traced up to their source, are found to originate in providential dispensations; and history thereby becomes the best interpreter of customs and manners. It is a most amusing employment, to observe the operation and progress of the human mind in this respect; and to consider how variously different men, and at different periods, have contrived to transmit to their children the memory of similar achievements, successes, or disasters. A great stone set up on end, a heap of stones, a mound of earth, and the like, were, in the earlier, ruder, simpler state of the world, the monuments of victory; and to dance around them with songs, on an appointed day, was the rustic commemoration of their rude and simple posterity. The triumphs and the death of heroes came, in process of time, to be remem bered with conviviality and mirth, or with plaintive strains and solemn dirges. The hoary bard varied and enlivened the feast, by adapting to his rough voice or rougher harp the uncouth rhymes which he himself had composed, in praise of departed gallantry and virtue. As arts were invented and improved, the wise, the brave and the good were preserved from oblivion by monuments more elegant, more intelligible, and more lasting. A more correct style of poetry, and a sweeter melody were cultivated. Sculpture and painting conveyed to children's children an exact representation of the limbs and lineaments of the venerable men who adorned, who instructed, who saved their country. And thus, though dead, they continued to live and act in the animated canvass, in the breathing brass, or the speaking marble. At length, the pen of the historian took up the cause of merit, and diffused over the whole globe, and handed down to the very end of time the knowledge of the persons and of the actions which should never die.
We are this evening to bestow our attention upon an institution altogether of divine appointment, intended to record an event of singular importance to