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The scripture tells us, that in the business of salvation we must "work together "with God;" and common reason assures us, that in the business and concerns of life if we do not exercise caution, vigilance, industry, and perseverance, we cannot expect the direction, guardianship, or protec tion, of that Being, who has been pleased to place us in a world full of dangers and full of duties; and has commanded us to use all watchfulness in avoiding the one, and all diligence in performing the other. Nor, more especially, can we expect the interference of Providence in our behalf, when our intentions are mischievous, or our actions criminal. God was with Joseph: He rescued him out of all his difficulties, and crowned him with many and precious blessings; but it was because Joseph was an holy, upright, and virtuous man; sincere in his heart, and honest in his doings; whose good principles were proof against temptation; and who, under all circumstances, whether prosperous or adverse, never wavered in faith, nor failed in obedience.
We are finally taught, by the doctrine which we have been considering, to receive all God's dispensations, which may affect ourselves, our relatives, or our concerns,
with humble submission and patient resig nation to the Divine will. We know that we are in God's holy keeping, and therefore must be dear and precious in his sight. We know that the Almighty hath said, "I am with thee, and will never for "sake thee;" and that this promise is sure and abiding to us as long as we continue to be "patient in well doing:" and we have the word of an Apostle for our security, that even the severest sorrows of mortality, however "grievous" they may appear to be at the time of their pressure, nevertheless afterwards yield the peace"able fruit of righteousness unto them "which are exercised thereby."
Let us, then, my brethren, in all our trials, and amid all our difficulties and privations, "humble" ourselves "under the
mighty hand of God;" and receive every chastisement as an instance of his mercy, and a token of his love; as a salutary though bitter medicine, to heal us of the evil of sin, to strengthen our faith, and invigorate our virtue; as a sacred pledge, on the part of our Father who is in heaven,' that if, like Joseph, we bear his afflictive providences with a contrite, bowed, and patient mind, and are "not weary in well
"doing," he will, in his own good time, out of our light affliction, which is but "for a moment, work for us a far more "exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
THE MORAL AND
DISPUTES AND ERRORS AMONG CHRISTIANS RESPECTING FAITH, AND THE MORAL AND CEREMONIAL LAW. THF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE Two LAWS; AND CHARACTER, End, and DESIGN OF EACH. MORAL INFERENCES.
EXODUS XXXi. 18.
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two Tables of Testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
T. Peter, in his second general Epistle
(chap. iii. 15, 16) has remarked, that in the writings of St. Paul are "some things hard to be understood, which they "that are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their "own destruction." The Apostle chiefly alludes, in this passage, to what St. Paul had written respecting the rejection of the
Jewish people; the acceptance of the Gentiles; the second coming of Jesus Christ; and the great day of the Lord: but the allusion may be extended, also, to those expressions in St. Paul's writings, wherein he treats of faith and works, and of the respective characters and obligations of the Moral and Ceremonial Law.
It is quite surprising to observe how many and how serious are the mistakes which Christians of all ages have fallen into, with respect to these two latter particulars.
Numberless have been the disputes which have agitated the Church of Christ, ever since the days of the Apostles, with regard to the nature of that faith which will obtain salvation; disputes which, it is lamentable to say, subsist in all their warmth, even to the present day.
Equally numerous and strange also are the notions which many ancient believers entertained, and which many modern ones now hold, in reference to the language in which St. Paul speaks of the LAW, its obligations, promises, and threatenings.
With respect to faith (the first of these subjects of altercation) one might naturally suppose that no difference of opinion could exist among Christians on this head, after such clear and express declarations made by