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"will judge"-"Let no man go beyond "and defraud his brother in any matter, "because that the Lord is the avenger of all "such"-" I have learned in whatsoever "state I am, therewith to be content""Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time;" " and he shall lift "you up."
Does the arch deceiver endeavour to shame the disciple of Jesus, from the honest profession and zealous practice of his religion, by derision or contempt? A single assurance from scripture will be his shield against the temptation : "Fear none of
those things which thou shalt suffer be “thou faithful unto death, and I will give "thee a crown of life."
Finally, would the Devil take advantage of the season of sickness, infirmity, and decay, to infuse into the humble believer's soul doubts of God's goodness; fear of his wrath; or despair of his mercy? The Gospel does not desert him in this his time of greatest need, but enables him to "maintain his integrity," (like Job of old,) by pouring into his soul this rich stream of divine assurance, support, and comfort: “ I "am persuaded that neither death, nor "life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to "come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from "the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus "our Lord."
Such, my fellow-christians, is the condition of man. He is fallen from his original righteousness, and become a very imperfect being. He has lost the bright qualities with which he was originally gifted-innocence, and that unbroken happiness which only innocence can bestow; and is become prone to error, and liable to sin. His intellectual and mental powers are diminished; his resolution weakened; his estimates perverted; and his views of solid good and real felicity distorted and to increase the difficulty, danger, and misery of his fallen condition, he has a secret, silent, but desperate enemy about his paths," ever vigilant to obstruct his way, and ever anxious to ruin his soul. But, on the other hand, to defend and animate him, under this pressure of jeopardy and distress; to guide his feet, and to support his spirit; he has a mighty deliverer, 'Jesus Christ the righteous; he has a light from Heaven, "the Word "of God;" and he has a divine counsellor and comforter, the Holy Ghost. These are all offered to him by God, of free
mercy and grace, if he will but seek duly, and apply properly, "the unspeakable gift."
Let not man, therefore, be wanting to himself, and despise that "great salvation," which his necessity and wretchedness, his infirmity and sin, so much require. Clothed in the armour of God," he will have power to oppose his spiritual foe; but in the nakedness of his own sinful nature he is insufficient for the warfare. If by pride and presumption, by carelessness and neglect, by wilfulness and obstinacy, he render himself unworthy of the divine succour, without doubt he will be conquered here, and lost hereafter: But if by repentance and faith, by supplication and prayer, by an hearty endeavour to fulfil his duty to God and man, he humbly strive to perform his part of the covenant of salvation; the snares and attacks of his spiritual enemy, though they may " bruise his heel," will be unable to hurt his soul, or to deprive him of the promise which is graciously afforded by his glorified Saviour to the triumphant christian, "To him that over"cometh will I grant to sit with me in my "throne; even as I also overcame, and am "set down with my Father in his throne."
Subject. THE ORIGIN OF
THE DIFFICULTIES OF SCRIPTURE, AND SOLUTION. APPLICATION OF THIS REASONING TO THE CASE OF CAIN AND ABEL. SACRIFICES UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES.
THE CHRISTIAN SACRIFICE.
THE NATURE OF
GENESIS iv. 4, 5..
And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering: but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect.
HAT the reader of the holy scrip
tures, however serious, earnest, and attentive he may be, should occasionally meet with difficulties in his study of them, is not a matter of reasonable surprise; since there must be, in the very nature of things, many subjects and passages in these sacred and ancient records, not only "hard to be "understood," but absolutely "past find
ing out," by a being so imperfect in his
knowledge, and so limited in his experience, as man, for "the things of God knoweth "no man; but the Spirit of God."
All that relates to our duty, indeed, as religious, moral, and accountable creatures, is revealed with a clearness not to be mistaken, and a force scarcely to be withstood; and, we may add, all that is to be believed essential to salvation is made equally intelligible to the humblest capacity. But, independently of the objects of faith, and the rules of practice, there are divers other particulars, of an historical and narrative description, which as they speak of facts quite contrary to our observation, and of manners and practices to which we have never known a parallel, are of course, at times, causes of perplexity to the mind and tempt us to ask with the wonder, if not the doubt, of the Jewish Rabbi, "how "can these things be?"
A little reflection, however, will satisfy us, that the difficulties in Scripture, to which we have alluded, arise necessarily out of the nature of these very ancient writings, and the peculiar circumstances under which they were written.
With respect to the mere historical facts, the Holy Bible (more especially the book of Genesis) contains, and was intended to