Page images

thousand, 2 hundred.-At fifty, to 36 thousand, 5 hundred.-At sixty, to 43 thousand, 8 hundred. -At seventy, to 51 thousand, 1 hundred.—At eighty, to 58 thousand, 4 hundred.

Quest. We must go farther still. What if a man's ́sins keep exact pace with every hour of his life? i. e. we will suppose him to sin 24 times a day.

Answ. His sins will then amount, in a life of ten years, to 87 thousand, 6 hundred.-At twenty years of age, they will accumulate to 175 thousand, 2 hundred. At thirty, to 262 thousand, 8 hundred. -At forty, to 350 thousand, 4 hundred.-At fifty, to 438 thousand.-At sixty, to 525 thousand, 6 hundred. At seventy, to 613 thousand, 2 hundred. -At eighty, to 700 thousand, and 8 hundred.

Quest. Is there a single minute, from the first of our existence to the very article of death, wherein we come up to the whole of that inward and outward holiness which God's all-perfect law requires ? Answ. Most certainly not.

Quest. Of how many sins, then, is each of the human race guilty, reckoning only at the rate of one sin for every minute?

Answ. At ten years old, we (according to that method of calculation) are guilty of no fewer than 5 millions, 256 thousand sins.-At twenty, of ten millions, and 512 thousand.-At thirty of 15 millions, 568 thousand.-At forty, of 21 millions, and 24 thousand. At fifty, of 26 millions, and 280,000.— At sixty, of 31 millions, and 536 thousand.-At seventy, of 36 millions, and 792 thousand.-At eighty, of 42 millions, and 48 thousand.

Quest. May we not proceed abundantly farther yet? Sixty seconds go to a minute. Now, as we never, in the present life, rise to the mark of legal sanctity; is it not fairly inferrible, that our sins multiply with every second of our sublunary duration?

Answ. It is too true. And, in this view of the matter, our dreadful account stands as follows.-At

ten years old, each of us is chargeable with 315 millions, and 36 thousand sins.-At twenty, with 630 millions, and 720 thousand.-At thirty, with 946 millions, and 80 thousand.-At forty, with 1261 millions, 440 thousand.-At fifty, with 1576 millions, and 800 thousand.-At sixty, 1892 millions, and 160 thousand.-At seventy, with 2207 millions, and 520 thousand.-At eighty, with 2522 millions, 880 thousand.

Quest. When shall we be able to pay off this immense debt?

Answ. Never. Eternity itself, so far from clearing us of the dreadful arrear, would only add to the score; by plunging us deeper and deeper, even to infinity. Hence, the damned will never be able to satisfy the justice of the Almighty Creditor.

Quest. Will not divine goodness compound for the debt, by accepting less than we owe?

Answ. Impossible. Justice, holiness, and truth, will and must have their own, even to the very uttermost farthing. God himself (with profoundest veneration be it spoken) must become an Antinomian, and renounce himself, ere he can forego his essential attributes, and repeal his inviolable law, by offering violence to those, and by making void the claims and the threatnings of this.

Quest. Who then, can do us any good, in this respect?

Answ. Not all the angels in heaven, nor all the men that ever did or ever shall exist. Others cannot help us, nor can we help our own selves.

Quest. If so, are we not lost, without remedy, and without end?

Answ. In ourselves, we are. But (sing, O heavens!) God's own arm brought salvation.

Quest. How so? What is there, wherewith to counterbalance such an exceeding and astonishing weight of guilt?

Answ. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law; being made a curse for us." Gal. iii. 13.-This, this will not only counterbalance, but infinitely overbalance, all the sins of the whole believing world.

Quest. If the personal short comings and misdoings of each sinner in particular, amount to so vast a multitude, who can calculate the extent of the whole national debt, the entire aggregated sum, which (abstracted from her union with Christ) lies on the church at large, that elect nation, whom he has redeemed from among men?

Answ. The arithmetic of angels would be unable to ascertain the full amount.

O thou covenanting, thou incarnate, thou obeying, thou bleeding, thou dying, thou risen, thou ascended, thou interceding Son of God! not all the seraphs thou hast created, not all the innumerable saints thy love hath ransomed, will be able to comprehend, much less to display, along the endless line of eternity itself, the length, the breadth, the depth, the height, of a sinner's obligations to thee.

Quest. If, on one hand, we are each constrained to cry out, with the believers of old, Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justified by works of human performance;-Who can tell how oft he offendeth? -How shall man be just with God? If thou contend with him for his transgressions, he cannot answer thee for one of a thousand ;-My sins are more in number than the hairs of my head ;-Forgive us our debts, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea; what has faith to say?

Answ. Faith, on the other hand, can reply, in the very words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin: and there is now no condemnation [dev xaranga, not one condemnation] to them that are in Christ Jesus. So that we may sing with Dr. Watts,

Believing sinners free are set,

For Christ hath paid their dreadful debt.”

We may add, in the words of another sweet singer in Israel,

"Who now shall urge a second claim?
The law no longer can condemn ;
Faith a release can show:
Justice itself a friend appears;
The prison-house a whisper hears,
Loose him, and let him go!"

Quest. What return can believers render to the glorious and gracious Trinity, for mercy and plenteous redemption like this?

Ans. We can only admire and bless the Father, for electing us in Christ, and for laying on him the iniquity of us all :-the Son, for taking our nature and our debts upon himself, and for that complete righteousness and sacrifice, whereby he redeemed his mystic Israel from all their sins;-and the coequal Spirit, for causing us (in conversion) to feel our need of Christ, for inspiring us with faith to embrace him, for visiting us with his sweet consolations by shedding abroad his love in our hearts, for sealing us to the day of Christ, and for making us to walk in the path of his commandments.


The manner of Stoning a criminal to death, among the ancient Jews.

STONING WAS one of the four capital punishments, among the Jews, inflicted for the greater and more enormous crimes: especially, for blasphemy and idolatry.

The malefactor was led out of the consistory (where he had received sentence); at the door whereof a person stood, with a napkin in his hand, and a man on horseback at some distance from him: that, if any one came, and said he had something to offer for the deliverance of the criminal, the horseman (on the other's waving the napkin) might give notice, and cause the offender to be brought back to a farther hearing.

He had two grave persons to go along with him to the place of execution, and to exhort him to confession by the way. A crier went before him, proclaiming who he was, what his crime, and who his witnesses. When arrived at the fatal spot, which was raised two cubits from the ground, he was first stript, then stoned, and afterwards hanged. He was to continue hanging, until sun set: and then, being taken down, he and his gibbet were buried together. [See Cave's Life of St. Stephen, sect. 19.]

Manner of Whipping among the ancient Jews. THIS punishment was not to exceed 40 stripes: and therefore, the whip, with which it was to be inflicted, being made of three thongs, and each blow giving three stripes, they never laid on any criminal, more than 13 blows. Because, 13 of those blows made 39 stripes and to add another blow, would have been a transgression of the law, by adding two stripes over and above 40. [See Prideaux's Connect. part ii. book v.]

« PreviousContinue »