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YOURSELVES. hand. But if

You may dwell forever at God's right

you continue to scorn the gospel and the salvation I preach, though you pain my heart, and the hearts of all believers by your conduct, yet the terrible evil of it, you must bear alone. Alone, solitary, desolate, ruined, you shall grope your dark way through the ages of eternal perdition, borne down beneath the guilt and the punishment of your own sin !

SERMON XVII.

The Wisdom of Moses's Choice.

HEBREWS XI. 25.

CHOOSING RATHER TO SUFFER AFFLICTION WITH THE PEOPLE

OF GOD, THAN TO ENJOY THE PLEASURES OF SIN FOR A SEASON.

The power of example is proverbially great. Its influence is visible in every grade of human society, and in every department of human pursuit. And although, from the state of the world and the general character of men, it becomes an instrument of evil, it is capable of the most valuable uses. Aside from its direct efficiency in the formation of character, it is employed to great advantage in laying open the intricacies and in explaining the difficulties of science, of philosophy, and the arts. Nor is its utility as an instrument of illustration, confined to these comparatively inferior points of inquiry. In morals and religion, it is made to furnish very striking illustrations, and, in this way, the most irresistible enforcements of truths, which otherwise could only have remained obscure and powerless. It is difficult, if not impossible, to convey to common minds, by simple description, clear ideas of any of those complex features of character which mark the pardoned and justified sinner. It would be a hopeless undertaking to attempt to describe to the full apprehension of such as have no personal experience of its nature, what the scriptures denominate faith. But a single instance of it, presented before us in real life, reveals to every mind what it is. The scriptures usually adopt this mode of teaching the great doctrines of grace. In the chapter containing the text, the apostle after a very concise description of true faith, introduces an extended group of examples, illustrating that description and showing in what respect, faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. This whole chapter has somewhere been denominated a grand historical picture of the power of faith in God. The personages are so admirably exhibited in appropriate light and shade, and so happily grouped together, that while each retains his own individuality, the whole seem blended in a common element, and pervaded by some great leading features; and thus each individual as an example of faith, is in some sort clothed with the moral power

of the whole. On one side is the first martyr to the cause of God, with his acceptable sacrifice. Near him is seen one who so closely walked with God, as to reach the gates of eternity by a new and mysterious path. Not far off appears the second father of the human family, who, moved with fear, prepared an ark, and became the connecting link between the old and new world. In a prominent place, stands the Father of the faithful in that terrible act of holy magnanimity by which he gained that appellation. There 'stand too, the long afflicted, yet finally triumphing Isaac and Jacob, uttering with their expiring breath the invaluable patriarchal benediction. Conspicuous among these splendid portraits, stands that chosen servant of the Most High, who chose RATHER TO SUFFER AFFLICTION WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD, THAN TO ENJOY THE

PLEASURES OF SIN FOR A SEASON.

Educated in all the arts, and sciences, and literature of a highly refined people, and an heir by adoption to the throne of the most powerful empire then existing on earth, he voluntarily renounced all these circumstances, so full of attractions to worldly minds—he cheerfully relinquished ease, affluence, honor, pleasure, and power, for the more pure and durable gifts of righteousness. This renunciation of what is highly esteemed among men—this unhesitating relinquishinent of all that the human heart naturally clings to, was the operation and evidence of his faith. It gave him extended views. It enabled him to look at things in their broad connexions and relations. While it enlarged his views, it expanded and purified his heart. While it planted him on that sublime summit of spiritual contemplation, from which he could at once survey the gladsome region of the promised land, and all the countless paths by which earth's wandering tribes seek it, it so elevated and purified his affections, and so governed and guided his choice, that he did not hesitate to cast in his lot with the people of God, though an afflicted, despised, and persecuted people, and to take their path to the land of promise, though a narrow, difficult and forsaken path.

As his choice in this case, is substantially in all the great principles it involves, the choice of every believer, it can scarcely fail to be interesting and useful to contemplate some of those considerations, which tend to evince the wisdom and prudence of such an election.

I. The affliction of the people of God is of short continuance. It may here be conceded, what is impliedly asserted in the text, that they are an afflicted people. The children of Israel who in their national capacity, were a designed type or representative of the spiritual Israel, the holy nation, the peculiar people of God, from age to age, were continually in circumstances of affliction. Every step of their course to their sought inheritance, was opposed. Dangers were on every side of them as they pursued their line of march. The enemies whose cruel dominion had aimed by various and protracted methods to crush and annihilate them, be

fore they had decidedly set their faces towards the goodly land, followed them with relentless fury in their earliest movements; and when by repeated defeats they were compelled to retire from pursuing them ; their spirit waked up other foes to besiege their path and dispute their progress. Nor were these guilty nations the only occasion of their affliction. They had occasions of calamitous reverses, instruments of the severest suffering, engines of the most desolating power within their own camps among themselves. These constituted their most painful scourges—these brought the most consuming afflctions upon them—these seemed to wither and waste their energies when outward calamities were withdrawn. And thus it is with the spiritual people of God. It is not the tyranny, the oppression, the slavery of the sinful world from which they have escaped—it is not its continued hostility and persecuting vengeance—it is not the seas, and mountains, and deserts that lie in their

prove most afflictive to them. It is something more closely entwined around their mortal existence. It is something that has been allowed to accompany them in their heaven-directed course. It is something that they have even admitted to a communion with their very hearts. It is that guilty and accursed thing, which invites and aids the assaults of outward foes; and which raises and arms with heavy and deserved violence, the chastening rod of their everlasting Friend. Because he is such a friend, he denies them rest on earth. The outward circumstances of annoyance which he permits, are only instruments of his unwearied, though often apparently severe kindness, by which he urges them beneath the shelter of his own omnipotent protection. The sicknesses, the losses, the bereavements, the disappointments which afflict them, are methods employed by the same kind hand to expel their inward foes, and thus to guard them against suffering evil from those without-to give them a spiritual purity which at once raises the soul above

way, which

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