Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

--With comfort and perhaps triumph ; having made our peace with God, being made his children, heirs of God, and having a lively hope of a future iuheritance and a foretaste of it.--It will tend to our everlasting advantage. We shall not only lose nothing by death, but gain much ; deliverance from toil, care, pain, sickness, temptation, and sin; the presence and enjoyment of GOD; the society of saints, angels, &c.

Hence the consideration of death will do us good in ETERNITY; as it will induce us to acquire holiness, and follow after higher degrees of it; usefulness, to our fellow creatures ; patience in suffering; and as it will increases our reward for ever.

[ocr errors]

The wisdom of considering our latter end will appear in a still more striking light, if we contrast therewith the folly and miserable consequences of not considering it. This may also be noticed,

In LIFE,-—which thereby becomes unwise. For these, rejecting the best interests of their rational, spiritual, and immortal nature for the sake of the things of time and sense,

“ Sink into slaves, and sell for present hire
Their rich reversion; and what shares its fate,
Their native freedom, to the prince who sways
This nether world.”-

They likewise become unholy ; unhappy; unprofitable ; (Ps. xxxix. 6 ;) “Man walketh in a vain shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain ;" in every particular the reverse of what was said above.

In DEATH,—which is thereby rendered dangerous, difficult, and destructive.

“At that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Raves round the walls of her clay tenement!
Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help ;
But shrieks in vain !
A little longer ! ah ! a little longer,
Might she but stay to wash away her crimes,
And fit her for her passage! Moving sight!
Her very eyes weep blood, and every sigh
She heaves is big with horror! but the foe,
Like a staunch murderer, steady to his purpose,
Pursues her close through every lane of life,
Nor misses once the track, but presses on,
Till forc'd at last to the tremendous verge,
At once she sinks!

[ocr errors]

Then all is lost, and everlasting misery incurred.

In ETERNITY.-Our lifebeing useless, sinful, hurtful, and all our sufferings not reclaiming us, we obtain an increased misery for ever.

III. WHY MEN ARE so AVERSE TO THE CONSIDERATION OF THEIR LATTER END, AND HOW

THAT A VERSION MAY BE OVERCOME?

E

This is implied in the text, “O that they were wise,” &c.

It arises from ignorance on the subjects of death and eternity.

“ Amazing state! No wonder that we dread
To think of death, or view the dead.
Thou’rt all wrapp'd up in clouds, as if to thee
Our very knowledge had antipathy.
Death could not a more sad retinue find,

Sickness and pain before, and darkness all behind.”
- From sin, its guilt and power.-From an inordinate love to the world.

To overcome it-Know what death is, viz. the gate of life. --Apply to him who died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.-Get suitable views of a better life after this.

[blocks in formation]

There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon

the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms : and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee ; and shall say, Destroy them! Israel then shall dwell in safety alone : the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine ; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people, saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt treat upon their high places.

These, it seems, are the last words of all that Moses, the earliest and one of the greatest of writers, ever wrote. They are, therefore, were it only on this account, very remarkable,

and well worthy the serious attention of all, who have a respect for the memory of that ancient and eminent servant of God. But they are still more remarkable for the excellent matter they contains which all must find more or less edifying, who carefully consider it with faith and prayer: Moses here magnifies; with his last breath, both the Goù of Israel, and the Israel of God; and who was ever better acquainted with either ? They are both incomparable in his judgment. Of the former he plainly affirms, not fearing to be contradicted, “ There is none like the God of Jeshurun.” And, concerning the latter, he speaks with no less decision, saying, “Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people, saved by the LORD!”

These words, you know, were originally spoken to the poss terity of Jacob, at the time when they had just finished their forty years' peregrination in the wilderness, and were about to pass over Jordan, and take possession of the promised land. In their primary, literal, and most obvious signification, therefore, they relate to the Israelites under these circumstances ; but, in a secondary sense, and that by no means far-fetched, or unnatural, this whole passage may be very justly applied to the true church and people of God in all ages ; and, thus taken, it is admirably calculated to illustrate some important branches of their characters duty, safety, and happiness. And, in some sense, though still more remote from their primary meaning, these words may be applied to those countries, in which the church of God is planted, protected, and encouraged, and where the true people of God are increasing, and possess singular privileges.

I shall explain the words with a reference to these particulars, in the order in which they stand.

In the preceding part of the chapter, we have an account of " the blessing wherewith Moses, the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.” Having given each tribe its particular portion, he addresses them conjointly, in the words which I have just read, in which, it seems, breaking out into a rapture, from the fulness of his heart, he celebrates God and his people.

66 There is none like the God of Jeshurun.”. Moses does not say, There is no God like him, for to have expressed himself so would have implied that there was some other god or gods, which Moses knew there was not; all that have been, are, or will be called gods, being mere pretenders to deity, and possessing nothing divine, but the mere name,-either the creatures of the true God, the workmanship of men's hands, or mere imaginary beings, having no existence, except in the fancies

of men.

But he says, “ There is none like the God of Jeshurun,” no being in the universe. All other beings are but creatures produced, upheld, preserved by the Creator, and, therefore, surely cannot any of them be compared to Him. He alone had no beginning, is self-existent, independent of all other beings, supreme over all, and immutable. He alone is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent; unsearchable in wisdom, almighty in power, boundless in goodness, of truth inviolable, of justice impartial, of mercy unspeakable. He alone inhabits, eternity, and fills immensity; he is the Creator of all, the Preserver of all, the Governor of all, the sole Judge of men and angels, the Author and End of all things. Well then might the inspired penman pronounce that none is like him. Thus also the prophet ; “ To whom then will ye liken God, or what likeness will ye compare unto him? Behold, he hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance. Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. Yea, all nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted by him less than nothing and vanity. To whom then will

ye

liken me, or shall I be equal, saith the Holy ONE? Have

ye

not known ? Have ye not heard ? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers ; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”

This God, thus incomparably great and glorious, is “ the God of Jeshurun," i. e. of the upright or righteous. It is here applied to Israel, the visible church of old, to instruct them what they ought to be, and to reprove them for what they were not; and because they had his oracles and ordinances among them. But we must not confine this to the Israelites of old. This God was, doubtless, their God; their God in covenant, who had separated them from other nations, and taken them to be his peculiar people. But he was not theirs only.' He is the God of the righteous in all ages. Having bestowed upon them true repentance for sin, and living faith in the Son of his love, he is reconciled to them after all they have done, and takes them into covenant with himself. He becomes their friend, their father, their husband, and they are esteemed his adopted children, his chosen people, his peculiar treasure. Being separated, by divine grace

from sin and sinners, and consecrated to the service of God, they conduct themselves as strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and hence “ desire a better country, that is, an heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Heb. xi. 16.) Towards this city they are travelling through the wilderness of this world, where they are beset with many snares, pursued by many enemies, exposed to many dangers.

As their God, he “ rideth upon the heavens for their help," &c.; words, which not only declare how glorious he is, who maketh the clouds his chariot, and rideth upon the wings of the wind ! how great he is in power, how extensive in authority, who manages the heavens, and the heavenly bodies, as a man does the horse on which he rides !_not only the earth, but the heavens also, yea, the heaven of heavens being subject to his sway, and full of his glory, and how comprehensive his knowledge, nothing certainly being hid from the all-seeing eye of him, 66 who sitteth upon the circle of the heavens," and from thence, as it were, surveys the inhabitants of both worlds, and all their actions, yea, sees at one glance, whatever is done, throughout his immense dominions ;-But what is here affirmed is, that he employs these attributes for the good of his people; he “rideth upon the heavens for their help.” How literally and wonderfully was this declaration verified in the various judgments, or “plagues," as they are called, brought upon their enemies the Egyptians, and in the blessings conferred on his people in the wilderness, by giving them bread from heaven, and bringing them flesh on the wings of the wind ! and, in after ages, when he cast down from heaven great hailstones upon the Canaanites, and made the sun to stand still, till they were avenged on their enemies ! when he caused the stars in their courses to fight against Sisera, and pestilential winds, through the ministry of the angel, to destroy the army of Sennacherib ! and other instances, too numerous to be mentioned. He rode upon the heavens for the help of this country in the days of Queen Elizabeth, when the Spanish Armáda, destined for the destruction of the country, was scattered by a storm, which gave occasion for"the medal then struck; afflavit Deus, et dissipantur.

And has he not frequently, since then, rode upon the heavens for our help;. send. ing prosperous gales to the aid of our fleets? And did he not, in a' very extraordinary and effectual way, ride upon the heavens to our help, and the help of all Europe, when he buried the French army, men and horses, and their allies, in the snows of

« PoprzedniaDalej »