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labor six days in the week, as why you labor. You are not so much to inquire, whether you attend public worship one day in seven, as why you attend. You are not so much to inquire whether you do good to others, as why you do it. You are not so much to inquire whether you love God, as why you love him. You are to inquire into the nature of all your religious affections. And this you may very easily determine by the examples of real piety recorded for your instruction in the word of God. If your religious affections do not lead you to universal and disinterested obedience to the will of God, your faith and hope and love are false.
The supreme and final Judge has declared---- Not every one, that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he, that doeth the will of my Father, who is in heaven."
THE PRAYER OF MOSES,
EXODUS XXXII, 32.—Yet nou, if thou wilt, forgive their sin : and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book, which thou hast written.
About three months after the Israelites left Egypt, they came and encamped at the foot of Sinai. There God called Moses into the mount, to deliver to him the ten commandments, written with his own finger on two tables of stone. But when the people saw that Moses delayed to come from the mount, “ they gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us ; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” It is strange, that the people should make this request ; and stranger still, that Aaron should comply with it. For they had seen the miracles, which God had wrought in Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the wilderness of Sin and at Rephidim ; and had heard the voice of God speaking to them out of the thick darkness, which covered mount Sinai. To forget and to forsake God so soon and run into the grossest idolatry, was extremely displeasing to him. He therefore said unto Moses, “Go, get thee down : for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves : they have turned aside quickly out of the way, which I commanded them ; they have
made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people ; and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them and I will make of thee a great nation.” This alluring motive of personal preferment, instead of awakening the least selfish feeling in the heart of Moses, only excited his tender, disinterested desire for the good his sinful people, which he expressed with peculiar propriety and importunity. “ And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth ? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thy servants, to whom thou swearest by thine own self, and said unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land I have spoken of, will I give unto thy seed, and they shall inherit it forever.” Thus Moses interceded with God to spare his people, before he came down from the mount. When he came down and drew near to the camp, he cast the tables out of his hands and dashed them to pieces. Then he destroyed the graven image and severely reproved Aaron for making it. On the morrow, he said to the people, “ Ye have sinned a great sin ; and now I will go up unto the Lord ; per
adventure I shall make atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the Lord and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin ; and if ,
!; not, blot me, I pray thee, out thy book, which thou hast written.” In order to explain this difficult passage
of scripture, it is proposed,
I. To inquire to what book Moses here refers ;
II. To inquire what was the true import of his request;
III. To inquire whether it was a proper one.
1. We are to inquire to what book Moses refers in the text. He says to God,
to God, “ Blot me,
“Blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book, which thou hast written.” Various opinions have been entertained concerning this book.--But passing over the opinions of others, I would observe, that Moses could not mean the book of God's remembrance. The prophet Malachi speaks of such a book. “ Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another : and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them, that feared the Lord and that thought on bis
This is a figurative expression to denote, that God has as perfect knowledge of all the past actions of his people as they have of those things, which they write down, to assist their recollection.
ion. It would indeed have been a great act of self-denial, had Moses desired to be blotted out of God's remembrance and denied all tokens of his favor through life. But Moses must have known that there was not only a moral, but a natural impossibility of God's blotting his name out of the book of his remembrance. God cannot cease to remember, any more than he can cease to exist. It was naturally
impossible for God to forget Moses or any of his great and glorious deeds in teaching and guiding his people. We must therefore look for some other book, which God had written, in order to find that to which Moses refers. And there is another book of God, often mentioned in scripture, which is called the book of life and contains the names of all, whom he designs to save from the wrath to come and admit to heaven. David al}udes to this book in the sixty-ninth psalm, where he says, "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living and not be written with the righteous. The same book of life is mentioned in the twelfth chapter of Daniel. " At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince, which standeth for the children of thy people : and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time : and at that time thy people shall be delivered, erery one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Taking this whole passage together, there can be no doubt but the prophet meant, by “every one written in the book,” every one written in the book of life. Our Savior evidently referred to the book of life, when he said to the seventy disciples, who rejoiced in the success of their ministry, “ Notwithstanding, rejoice not in this, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, speaks of his fellow-laborers, “whose names are in the book of life.” Christ says in the third chapter of Revelations, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will