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divine law, God is glorified, and the whole earth is filled with his glory; and to speak of this his finished work, is the proper employment of every one in his temple. This is the subject of moral duty. But how vastly different is the work of rehearsing the mighty acts of a great king, from that of actually performing his deeds.
It is true, the address in this psalm is in the plural, ye mighty, or ye sons of might, and included the people of the holy covenant; but this properly considered, offers no objection to our view of the exceeding extensiveness of the divine law; for, in covenant, the people were one with Christ; and, federally, they possessed his strength. On this account, they were called anighty. The congregation of the Lord is, indeed, a congregation of the mighty, for God standeth in the midst of them.
The holy angels have obeyed the law of love perfectly, and the saints have loved the Lord their God supreinely; but the whole universe of mere creatures, is challenged for an answer to this, Give unto the Lord glory and strength, in the. least possible degree. Who haih first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? If thou be righteous, whai givest thou to him ? or what receivelh he of thine hand? In his temple doth every one speak of his glory. If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. But the Lord hath glorified himself.
6. To declare God, or to answer in the very dced the requirement of the law, Lebanon was not sufficient to burn, nor the beusis thereof sufficient for a burnt offering ; but to manifest good will, or to answer the requirement in the moral view, the choice bullock, the heifer without blemish, the firstlings of the herds and flocks, and the tenth part of the fruits, were altogether sufficient; and, in certain circumstances, a lanab of the
first year, and a young pigeon; yea less, a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons; an of fering, perhaps, of less value than the poor widow's two mites, was enough to shew the most perfect good will; and, in this respect, was a complete discharge of obligation. How infinitely short of the truth are the views of moralists, who consider the requirement of the law to be merely that of a right moral nature, or right affection of heart; 'which obedient will might have been found in the offering of two pigeons, whereas the
required deed could not have found in the freest and most cheerful sacrifice of all the treasures of Lebanon! The apostle, personating the man under the law, expresses this distinction in the piainest language, "for to “ will is present with me, but how to perform that “ which is good I find not.” These subjects being so distinct, it has often taken place, that men of
the purest moral views, and the strictest integrity of conscience, have been totally blind to the law of God, and ignorant of that righteousness which has fulfilled it.
7. If a proper expression of love to the glory of God, or regard to the divine manifestătion, was substantially the requirement of the law, how say the apostles, Acts xv. 10. That the law of Moses was a yoke, which neither their fathers nor themselves were able to bear? Was a requirement of good will supposed to be a weight which no mere man was able to sustain? Certainly not. For so much, indeed, is required in the gospel : Love to God, and love to men, in the fullest extent, the apostles enjoined upon the Gentiles, at the same time that they declared our freedom from the law, and confessed it was a yoke that overreached the human capacity. In relation to the law, the substantial work required, man is said to be without strength, but as it required his vincible upon
Jove, or his approbation of the work, this could not be said; for, in this case, he could not incur guilt, and could not be a proper subject of blame.
8. The friends of Job, like our present serious moralists, attempted to convict him, by holding up the subject of moral obligation; but their sermons did not reach bis heart; he was not con
this ground; the action would not stand against him. He was pure in his worship; had inade him no graven image; had not taken the name of God in vain; had not disregarded the sabbath; had not dishonoured his parents. He had committed no murder, no adultery, no theft. He had not borne false witness; had not defrauded his neighbour; had not known the wanderings of the eye, nor the concupiscence of the heart. There was no moral stain upon his conscience.
The sentiments of Job, and those also of his friends, were, in no respect, deficient as to the strictness and extensiveness of moral obligation; and he practised according to the purest views of duty. “He delivered the poor that cried, " and the fatherless, and him that had none to
help him. The blessing of him that was ready " to perish came upon him; and he caused the " widow's heart to sing for joy. He was eyes to “the blind, and feet was he to the lame. He “ was a father to the poor, and the cause which “ he knew not he searched out. He brake the
jaws of the wicked and plucked the spoil out “ of his teeth. At home and abroad; in the coun“cil and in the army; he was as one that com“ forteth the mourners. He made a covenant “ with his eyes, that he should not lust after a “ maid. He walked not with vanity, his foot " basted not to deceit. His step turned not es aside out of the way: His heart walked not
<c"after his eyes: No moral blot cleaved to his “ hands. He did not dispise the cause of his “ man servant, or his maid servant, when they « contended with him. He withheld not the “poor from their desire ; nor caused the eyes “ of the widow to fail. He had not eaten liis “ morsel himself alone, and the fatherless had “ not eaten thereof. He had not seen any pe“ rish for want of clothing, nor any poor without: “ covering. He had not made gold his hope, “nor said to the fine gold, Thou art my confi66 dence. He had not beheld the sun when it
shined, and the moon walking in brightness; “ and his heart lrad been secretly enticed, or his “ mouth had kissed his hand. He rejoiced not. « at the destruction of him that hated Irim; nor - lifted up himself when eril found him. Neitliu er did he suffer his mouth to sinr by wishing
a curse to his soul.' Nor were even the menu of his tabernacle allowed to entertain ilt will towards his enemy. The conscience of Job bare him witness, that he feared God, and eschewed. evil. He was throughly penetrated with a sense of moral obligation ; and was not accusable upon any part of the ground upon which his friends,.. in their ignorance of the law of God, had taken. him.
Elihu, however, as the liarbinger of God, ines tirely changed the ground. He followed neither the accuser nor the justifier, in any of their tracks of moral disquisition; but displayed a subject of infinitely greater weight. The wisdom of God, and the power of God, exhibited in a pork omnipotent and infinitely perfect; a work, answering every way to the law of God, as demanding a full manifestation of himself; and which has filled heaven and earth with his glory; this was the theme of Elihu. And whilst he ad mitted the facts, that Job had offered in his own.
favour; he boldly asserted that he stood, never theless, upon the most criminal and dangerous ground; for, instead of speaking to shew that the Lord is upright, he had opened his mouth, once and again, to shew rather his own uprightness. Instead of speaking on God's behalf, he had spoken rather to justify himself; which conduct, this faithful messenger maintained, was, in effect, going in company with the workers of iniquity, and walking with wicked men; and he assured Job, that if he persisted in this course, he would find himself, notwithstanding his eminence in 'religion, morality, and piety, in the hopeless case of a party standing out with God upon the tenderest point of his honour, in which his jealousy is all on flame. This brought Job to a solemn pause.
And when the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, his instruction was sealed. In this tremendous exhibition, though it was implicitly admitted that, for eminence in religion, there was none like him in the earth, still the moral subject was thrown wholly out of view. God demanded of him, if he would plead for himself, and mention his own righteousness, in his
presence, that he should bring forth his strong reasons, produce his record, that he was in the counsel, and working with God, when he laid the foundations of the earth, compassed the deep, and stretched out the heavens; shew, minutely, his skilful agency in all the operations of nature, and works of providence; his treasures must be prepared against the day of battle and war; he must deck himself with majesty, and thunder with a voice like God; array himself with glory, and break the head of leviathan; he must open the gates of death and of hell, and his own right hand must saye him ; in a word, he must perform a work omnipotent and infinitely perfect; nothing short of that by which the glory of God is de