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priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord. Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's people to transgress.
427 1 Sam. ii. 26. And the child Samuel grew on, and was in
favour both with the Lord, and also with men.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose
face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.-Rev. xx. 11, 12, 13.
IT is a solemn thing for a man to be judged of his own conscience. How sweet is the approving testimony of that bosom monitor and witness! but more bitter than death its upbraiding and reproaches. To stand at a human tribunal, with life or reputation, death or infamy depending on the issue, can never appear a light matter to one who understands and feels the value of either. Even conscious innocence and integrity, accompanied with good hope toward God, court not the eye of public inquiry; but prefer the secret, silent feast of inward peace, and of divine applause, to the public banquet of innocence proved and proclaimed by sound of trumpet. Serious it is to reflect that your name, your words, your conduct may become matter of record, and ages to come
mention them with approbation and esteem, or with indignation and contempt. But every feeling of this sort is lost in the certain and more awful prospect of judgment to come. It is a light thing to be judged of man, who can only kill the body, and blight the reputation, and beyond that hath nothing more that he can do; but how formidable is the judgment of him, who knows the heart, who records in the book of his remembrance" the actions of the life, the words that fall from the tongue, the thoughts which arise in the heart; who will bring every secret thing to light, and “render to every man according to his works;” and who, “after he has killed, has power to bestroy body and soul in hell."
Aided by the light which sacred history sheds on ages and generations past, we have ventured into the solemn mansions of the dead, and conversed with those silent instructors who know not either to flatter or to fear; and whom the Spirit of God has condescended to delineate in their true colours and just proportions, that they may serve to us “for doctrine, and for reproof, and for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” We have plunged into ages beyond the flood, and contemplated human nature in its original glory; “man;" as God made him, “perfect;” and man, as he made himself, lost in the multitude of his own inventions.
The “first man, by whom came death the figure of Him who should come, by whom is the resurrection of the dead; Adam, in whom all die: Christ, in whom all shall be made alive.”
We have attended “righteous Abel” to the altar of God, and beheld the smoke of his “more excellent sacrifice" ascending with acceptance to heaven: and " by which he, being dead, yet speaketh.”
We have seen the hands of " wicked Cain” besmeared with a brother's blood; and the earth refusing to cover that blood, but calling to Heaven for ven
geance on the murderer; and the guilty wretch rendered a terror to himself.
We have seen these, one after another, dropping into the grave; and in that, the triumph of sin and death. But in Enoch we behold the triumph of faith and holiness, the triumph of almighty grace over sin and death, and over him who has the power of death. Our eyes follow the holy man who walked with God," not to the “ dreary house appointed for all liv. ing,” but, through the higher regions of the air, toward the blessed abodes of immortality, till a cloud receives him out of our sight.
We sought shelter with Noah, and his little saved remnant, from that deluge which destroyed a world of ungodly men, in the ark which God commanded; which that“ preacher of righteousness prepared for the saving of his house:” and which Providence conduct. ed and preserved amidst the wild uproar of contending elements and with him perceived the wrathful storm spending its fury, and the dawning light of a day of mercy returning.
We have seen the renewed, restored world, again overspread with violence, ignorance, impiety and idolatry; and the hope of the human race ready to be extinguished in the person of a wandering, aged, childless man; that in the decay of exhausted, expiring nature, the world might be made to see, and to acknowledge the vigour, the infallibility, the unchange. ableness of God's covenant of promise. We removed with that illustrious exile from place to place, and with joy beheld his faith crowned at length with the promised seed, “in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed.'
From that “ tender plant,” that “ root out of a dry ground,” we saw a succession of fair and fruitful branches arise, while we studied the noiseless, seques. tered, contemplative life of Isaac, and the active, varie, gated, chequered life of Jacob, his younger son,
In the affliction of Joseph we felt ourselves afflicted, in his exaltation we rejoiced, and by his virtues and piety, in every variety of human condition, we received at once instruction and reproof.
The sweet historian, who had disclosed all these wonders of antiquity to our view, opened to us all these stores of knowledge, all these sources of delight, comes forward himself at last upon the scene, and continues to minister to our pleasure and improvement, by a faithful and affecting detail of his own eventful story, and a candid display of his own sentiments, character and conduct. What heart so hard as not to melt at sight of yonder weeping babe, a deserted, exposed, perishing Hebrew child, Aoating down the stream! What heart does not glow to see him the pride and ornament of Pharaoh's imperial court, instructed in all the learning of the Egyptians! What bosom catches not the hallowed ardour of patriotic fire from the intrepid avenger of his country's wrongs! In whatever situation or character we view him, whither. soever we follow his steps, we feel ourselves attracted, delighted, instructed.
He furnishes us with the history of his brother Aaron and his family, and of the establishment of the Levitical priesthood, a type of the everlasting and unchangeable priesthood of the Redeemer. We attended the venerable pair of brothers to the top of the mountain, and beheld Aaron stript of his pontifical robes, resigning his charge, closing his eyes in death; and heard Moses himself warned to prepare for his departure.
Not only by a display of worth and excellence, but by a delineation of vice, by the exhibition of a “ heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” has he conveyed to us the means of instruction and improvement; in presenting us with the portrait of Balaam, who “ loved the wages of unrighteousness. In the character of that bad man, we behold the hu. miliating union of great talents and a corrupted heart;