« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
continued as an ambassador of children in gospel ordinances Christ among us. The other As to earthly connexions, I seem children God was pleased to to be left alone. But I would look upon in mercy, I trust, in not say, that I am alone, for the their last sickness, and to afford almighty Father, I trust, is with me comfortable hope respecting me, and has been my helper. them. Oh that I could praise And I feel a comfortable hope, the Lord for his goodness, and that he will never forsake me. bless him for his wonderful Blessed be his holy name, for works. But I fail in the atenabling such a vile creature, as tempt. Make up, blessed Jesus, I am, to trust in him. In him my deficiency, and glorify thy. I hope for happiness, through self; and let saints and angels the glorious Mediator, whose ascribe to the sacred Three all blood is sufficient to take away honour and glory forever. all my sins, so that I may be
These dispensations of Provi- presented spotless before a hodence I have thought worthy of ly God. My unworthiness is no thankful remembrance. When bar to my salvation, since Christ I review God's dealings with me Jesus my Lord is infinitely worin the various scenes of life, I thy. My anchor of hope has am filled with wonder and amaze- been, for many years, cast withment. Great has been his in the veil. My faith rests on goodness, and great my unwor the Rock of Ages, against which thiness. I view him as my cov- the gates of hell can never preenant God, who foresaw these vail. Though winds and waves trials, and was graciously pleas- have often beat heavily upon me, ed to prepare me for them, by my anchor never has been, and, taking me into covenant with I trust, never will be moved. himself. He has upheld and Notwithstanding the various trisupported me under all my tri- als of my life, I have never been als; so that I have abundant rea- left to renounce my hope, or to son to say, he has ever been a murmur against God, but would present help in time of need. I justify him in all he has laid uphave reason, as it seems, more on me, considering his mercies than any one on earth, to acknowl- to be much beyond all my afflicodge God's goodness, which has tions. For his mercies have been so abundantly manifested been new every morning ; great towards me,
even from my has been his faithfulness every Fouth.
night. And now unto him, who I am now seventy-six years has wrought all my deliverances, ald. Through the goodness both spiritual and temporal, be af God I enjoy a comforta- ascribed the whole praise of my ble state of health, and am able salvation. Amen. generally to attend the worship of God, and to unite with his Georgetown, June 6, 1798.
LETTER TO A FRIEND, heaven, when such judgments Showing that David's imprecations
were executed. But by the fu, against his enemies were consistent ture rendering of the verb, eve. with pious benevolence.
ry objection is precluded at
once.” Dear Friend,
Scott, in his excellent com: Your inquiry is important mentary, shows himself to be of and difficult. The following ob- the same opinion. “ These servations are offered in free- parts, (the imprecations) must dom. If they contribute any be considered, either as direct thing toward a satisfactory an- prophecies, or as divinely inspir, swer, I shall be more than re, ed declarations of the certain quited for my attention.
doom awaiting all the opposers In the first place I shall cite a of Christ.” He gives it as his passage from Horne's preface to opinion, that " where the literal the Psalms, in which he attempts rendering contains simply a preto solve the difficulty you have diction, and changing the future presented. “ The offence taken for the imperative or optative at the supposed uncharitable and implies an imprecation or a wish, vindictive spirit of the impreca- the literal version is certainly țions, which occur in some of preferable. Yet,” he says, “it the Psalms, ceases immediately, cannot be denied, that the form if we change the imperative for of imprecation is often used, as the future, and read, not " Let implying that the impenitent enTHEM be confounded,” &c. but, emies of God and his Christ will "THEY SHALL BE confounded,” perish, with the approbation of &c. of which the Hebrew is all holy creatures, and that the equally capable. Such passages very prayers of believers for will then have no more difficul- themselves and the church, will ty in them, than the other fre- be answered in the destruction quent predictions of divine ven- of their enemies.” geance in the writings of the But whichsoever of the interprophets, or denunciations of it pretations is adopted, we may in the gospel, intended to warn, argue from David's general conand to alarm sinners, and lead duct and acknowledged characthem to repentance, that they ter, that his imprecations were may fly from the wrath to come. uttered with benevolent feelings. If the imprecatory form be still View his treatment of Saul, his contended for, all that can be persevering and mortal enemy, meant by it, whether uttered by when God delivered him into the prophet, by the Messiah, or his hands, and he was solicited by ourselves, must be a ratifica- to put him to death. Had Da, tion of the just judgments of the vid been actuated by revenge, Almighty against his impenitent how quickly would he have deene nies, like what we find as- stroyed him. But he nobly recribed to the blessed spirits in fused, and treated his implacable
enemy with respect and tender- vid, not merely as a private perDess.
son, but as a servant of God, and How benevolent was his con: a very distinguished character in duct toward his enemies in the church. His cause was the their afflictions.“ As for me," cause of God and his people. he says, " when they were sick, Hence he prayed; “ Stir up thy. my clothing was sackcloth ; I self and awake to my judgment, humbled my soul with fasting, even unto my cause, my God, and my prayer returned into and my Lord. Let them shout mine own bosom. I behaved for joy and be glad, that favour myself, as though he had been my righteous cause.” Opposed my friend or brother, I bowed to all holy beings, the enemies down heavily, as one that mourn of David deserved destruction. eth for his mother." This is He cordially acquiesced in it, as an excellent comment on the just. He felt benevolently todivine command ; Love your en. wards them, and had a deep sense emies, bless them that curse you, of their awful doom. But he as do good to them that hate you, deeply felt that they deserved and pray for them, who despite endless punishment. Accordfully use you and persecute you. ingly he said ; let them be destroy
Such being David's habitual ed. I have fervently prayed, character, can it be supposed, that they might repent. But as that his imprecations were dic- they remain incorrigible, I acquitated by malevolent feelings? esce in their ruin ; for it is per. Can a person of such benevolent fectly just. In this view, my conduct express any other than friend, ought not we to feel, as benevolent desires in his prayers? David did? Do not the wicked It is common to abound more in deserve endless destruction ? friendly wishes, than in kind and Shall our hearts rise in opposigenerous deeds. It is many tion to the Judge of all the earth, times easier to pray for others, and object to their doom? Or than to do them good. But to
shall we submissively say, let suppose that David's impreca- justice take place. tions were expressive of malev Contemplate the perfect beolence, would make his prayers nevolence of the Redeemer. less friendly than his conduct. How tenderly did he weep over Indeed the supposition is con- Jerusalem ! How graciously did trary to the whole tenor of he pray for his murderous foes ! Scripture respecting his charac- Father, forgive them, for they ter. He is uniformly represent- know not what they do. He even ed, as a man of distinguished pi- laid down his life for the salvaety, a man afler God's own heart. tion of sinners. Yet he denounc
Why is it not reasonable to ed awful woes against the Scribes consider David's imprecations, and Pharisees, and gave them up as the dictate of pure benevo- to final ruin, as incorrigible lence? The enemies of David transgressors. “ Fill ye up the were the enemies of Jehovah. measure of your fathers. Ye They opposed the glory and serpents, ye generation of vipers, government of the Most High. how can ye escape the damnaThey set themselves against Da- tion of hell ?”
Paul could wish himself ac- rupt the earth with her fornicasursed from Christ for his breth- tion, and hath avenged the blood ren the Jews. Still he approved of his servants at her hand.” the final ruin of Christ's enemies. As the inhabitants of heaven exIf any man love not the Lord Jer press perfect benevolence in sus Christ, let him be anathema, praising God for the destruction maranatha. The same regard to of his enemies ; so David was justice disposed him to say; truly benevolent in praying for Alexander, the coppersmith, did the same event. How will it be me much evil. The Lord reward at the final judgment, when all kim according to his works. the wicked will be separated
The truly benevolent from the righteous, and receive may desire the destruction of their awful doom? In the exerthose, who are finally rebellious. cise of perfect benevolence the Benevolence supremely regards righteous will say, amen, to the God and his kingdom. The irrevocable sentence, depart, ye glory of God and the blessedness cursed. of his kingdom are infinitely My dear friend, how complete, more desirable, than the happi- how remediless must be the ness of individuals. No one in destruction of the wicked, if it the exercise of benevolence tri- fulfil the desire of all holy beings. fles with the happiness of others, Let David's imprecations remind or desires their misery for its us of our awful doom, if we own sake. The virtuous citizen die impenitent.
All the wise desires that the murderer, the and good will unitedly say of us, robber, and the midnight assassin let them be punished with evermay be detected and receive their lasting destruction. How can we just deserts ; not because he is hope for salvation, except in the malicious and desires their mis- present life ve repent, and beery for its own sake, but for the come reconciled to God, so that peace of society, and the honour we can rejoice not only in his of its just laws. So, while the mercies, but in his judgments. Psalmist had no direct pleasure And let us also remember that in the punishment of others; the same benevolence, which yet for the glory of God and the will dispose us to acquiesce in good of his people, he prayed for the just punishment of sinners, divine wrath upon the wicked. will lead us, by fervent prayer, He knew that the glory of God and zealous, unwearied exertion, required the destruction of his to seck their salvation, while it incorrigible enemies. As God is an accepted time and day of would be honoured by that mercy.
ZETA. event; so would the blessedness of saints and angels be promoted. This accords with the language of the heavenly hosts ; Alleluia, THE PERFECTION OF CHRIST'S salvation, glory, and honour, and
EXAMPLE power unto the Lord our God; Jesus Christ came into the for true and righteous are his world, not only as a Redeemer, judgments, for he hath judged but also as an Instructor. The ihe great whore, which did cor religion which he taught to men,
he exemplified in his own life. This may operate to the good of And his example is perfect. It its objects ; but not to the injuis such as had never appeared in ry 'of others. Though there the world before, and has never are some particular virtues, or appeared since.
branches of virtue, which his It is a comprehensive example. worldly condition never called There are, indeed, some virtues, into action, yet he has exempliwhich he could not directly ex- fied all the radical & fundamental emplify, as there were some re- virtues of religion. If we introlations, which he did not sustain. duce these into our practice, othBut be exbibited other more gen- ers will follow, when occasion eral virtues, which, being form- calls. ed in the heart, and drawn into There are many examples repractice, will lead to the exercise corded in Scripture for our imiof all. That universal benevo- tation. These, though excellent lence, which appeared in him, in the main, were not perfect in will, in all our intercourse with every thing. They were chiefly mankind, dispose us to justice, eminent for single and particular fairness, and fidelity ; virtues virtues. Moses was celebrated which he could not so directly for his meekness ; Job for his paexhibit in his life, having never tience ; David for his devoutness ; made a secular profession his Elijah for his zeal ; John for his business, nor worldly gain his suavity of temper. But in the object. By his attention to life of Christ every virtue is disfriends, by his affection to breth- played in its full lustre. It is a ren, and by his care for his dis- great advantage to see our whole ciples, he has shewn parents and duty marked out in a single life, heads of families, how they ought and to contemplate it in one to walk in their houses, though view, without the trouble of sehe never sustained the natural lecting from a number of examrelation of a father. He ex- ples the best things, and putting pressed a particular affection for them together in one character. natural relatives and chosen This is done to our hands in the friends ; but he never shewed pattern of Christ. His example any exceptionable partiality to is suited to the case of all Christhem. Natural affection in him, tians, in all times and places. It as a man, had its just operation ; is designed for universal benefit ; but it had no influence on his and therefore is abstracted, as conduct in the capacity of a Sa- much as possible, from peculiar viour. To his relatives he of- situations, and adapted to cirfered no easier terms of salva- cumstances common to mankind. tion, and no higher advantages If he had appeared as a temporal to obtain it, than what he offer- prince, or an opulent nobleman, ed to others. And indeed, his he might have given an excelbrethren were not the first who lent pattern of justice and liberbelieved in bim. Those were ality to the rich and powerful ; . his brethren, sisters and parents, but he could not so well have exwho did the will of his heavenly hibited the duties of those in Father. Thus he has stated the private life, or in a moderate contrue bounds of natural affection. dition. His example therefore *