Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

second man; in multiplied sorrows had the first mother brought forth her first-born, and Adam had surely witnessed death in sacrifice, and had previously felt the effects of the sentence of the Deity, which existed even in the promised land, and which exists unto this very hour over the whole earth; cursed be the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.

Could the Israelites have indeed been blind to all these clear evidences which must engage the attention and belief of every considering mind, were there no other sacred Scriptures but the Pentateuch? Or, did he, who carried this people as a nursing father beareth the sucking child in his bosom *, -who, in his lowly meekness exclaimed, woulu God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them f who, prayed in love strong as death towards them, yet now if Thou wilt, forgide their sin, and if not blot me,I pray thee, out of thy book !—did he record these evidences with no view of use to his own kindred, his own people, his own nation—did he actually conceal from them the knowledge of life æternal-he, who in every passage where the patriarchs of his nation are mentioned, himself confessedly speaks of them as still existing in a blessed æternity with their Almighty Father?

* Numb. xi. 12.

+ xi. 29.

It is useless to multiply proofs, nor should the writings of Moses's cotemporary Job be left unconsulted. There are many beautiful and deeply interesting traces to be found throughout sacred Scripture of the meroy of his Creator unto man, in not leaving Himself without witness amongst the nations, but in proclaiming to them all his will, and that to Him belonged vengeance, and recompense infinite and æternal. The true faith was by no means confined unto Abraham, we find in the book of Genesis, or to his descendants. Melchisidec the king of Salem, and his people, were recorded in Abraham's age amongst the faithful, and even the uncircumcised Philistines had not yet learned to defy the living God :-on the contrary, Abimelech the king of Gerar, and his people, are borne witness to as a righteous nation. Noah, the common father of all, had preached righteousness and the everlasting word to all his descendants. From him too, the knowledge of Enoch’s translation (the probable origin of the custom of deifying heroes amongst the Gentiles) had been spread amongst the nations, and the warning of a future state had thus been widely disseminated, and is doubtless, from this very origin now universally retained throughout the earth. The Almighty, we may be convinced, has never been wanting unto man, to whose own wilful withdrawal from the light of revelation the darkness and shadow of death, which now overspread the nations, will be, one day, too surely traced. Thus again, we find that Job, and his friends also, the leaders probably of other tribes and nations, were fully aware of man's future fate. In this book, the final destruction of the world is alluded to,—the Redeemer is preached, and the resurrection through Him is proclaimed :--As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down and riseth not. Till the Heavens be NO MORE they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret Until thy wrath be past; that thou wouldest appoint me a set time and remember me. If a man die, (he adds) shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait TILL my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire unto the work of thine hands! Here we find death represented, as it is, throughout the Old Testament, as a sleep, from which, however, man shall awake when bis CHANGE cometh, though that shall not be until the Heavens be no more. Again, the Patriarch saith, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God whom I shall see for myself and not another. The redemption of the body from the grave, through the great spiritual Redeemer, is here clearly proclaimed, as it has doubtless been proclaimed from the first institution

of sacrifice, even unto this very hour. It has been asserted that the introduction of this remarkable passage distinguishes it as a direct revelation: -Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! But the revelation of the Redeemer was even from of old; it had been previously made, not only to our first

parents, but also unto Abraham, and the words of Job may mournfully point to the rebellious ingratitude (for such was the sin of Cain in his sacrifice) or the wilful ignorance and forgetfulness with which man hath always received, even from the Fall, the knowledge of the same facts, to his own æternal destruction :- Ephraim is joined unto idols; let him alone. Foreseeing the future darkness to this awful and essential truth, Job here but solemnly breathes through the Spirit the wish that the appearance of the Redeemer in the latter day, in all his blessed attributes, might be indelibly recorded as a perpetual warning to his kindred and people, and an æternal witness of the mercy and justice of the Almighty. He, sees his Redeemer's day, and is glad, rejoicing in it, even amidst all the melancholy details of his own deep misery! Glorying in the firm faith of his own future immortality, through the means of his blessed Saviour, he triumphs over all those adversities which he knows are but for a moment, and anchors his soul in hope and patience

upon his God!

So

may it be with each of you, my beloved brethren; may no temptation, no trial, no misfortune, ever separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord! May you, through joy and misery, through good report and evil report, through life and death, cleave stedfastly, resisting, if ye be called upon, even unto blood, to the cross and faith of your Redeemer! Behold! he who loseth his life for my sake, saith our Saviour, shall find it ; for HE IS YOUR LIFE, who created, who died for you, who liveth to cause you to triumph over death and the grave, and to reward you with æternal blessings conferred by no less than Almighty Power! The time is short! watch and pray, then, for ye know not at what hour

your

Lord cometh, that your lamps may be trimmed, and your lights burning—so, shall ye also, be numbered amongst those blessed ones who love His appearing, expecting earnestly to be redeemed for ever from sin, and death, and misery!

And thou, who darest to stand in rebellion, worm as thou art, against the Almighty, and the word of his truth; Thinkest THOU, O man, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Darest thou, after thy hardness and impenitent heart to TREASURE UP unto THYSELF WRATH against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of

M

« PoprzedniaDalej »