« PreviousContinue »
mises, threatenings no less clear and specific were added. They were not only warned in general, that punishment would, in consequence of disobedience, be inflicted, but they were particularly instructed in the nature of the punishments ordained.
The history of the Jews, from this period until the coming of the Messiah, informs us how punctually, how literally, these promises and threatenings were fulfilled. Notwithstanding the demonstrations which God had given of his power and wisdom, his justice, mercy, and truth; notwithstanding the powerful impression these demonstrations made upon the senses, was such as to give to this rude and otherwise unenlightened people more sublime conceptions of the power and majesty of the Supreme Being than any other nation ever possessed; notwithstanding all
this, they yielded to temptation. They, to whom God had revealed himself as a God of righteousness, turned aside from him and from his worship, and bent their knees in reverence to the idols of other nations. They made themselves images from the metals which they had dug from the bowels of the earth, and fell down before them, and worshipped them! you will doubtless think this a very strange infatuation. But, my dear Lady Elizabeth, let us not follow the example of Miss Gloss. Let us remember, that in the world idolatry was then the fashion; that they who thus forgot God, could plead the exsample of the great, and the mighty, and the powerful of the earth! Let us remember, too, that knowledge does not operate as a preserver of the heart, until it has been converted into an active principle. "Hear ye E 6 "this!" "this!" saith the Prophet, "ye "which are called by the name of "Jacob, which swear by the name of "the Lord, and make mention of the "God of Israel, but not in truth nor "in righteousness /"
Let us, however, do justice to the descendants of Abraham. Though the multitude did indeed become corrupt, there were, even in the most degenerate times, a chosen few who worshipped the God of their fathers in sincerity, and, in spite of every obstacle, continued to have respect to all his commandments. Such persons inquired, as we are now inquiring, into the nature and purpose of all that God had revealed to man, from the creation of the world to their own times. They perceived that "the "law of the Lord was perfect, rejoicing the heart;" that "the law "of the Lord was pure, enlightening
"the simple j" and that "in keeping "his statutes there was great reward." They perceived that the punishments denounced against disobedience, and the blessings promised upon obedience, had in all times past never failed of being fulfilled: and wisely concluded, that he who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, would, as he had done in times past, continue to do in times to come. They laid these things to heart. "They covered "themselves with integrity as with a "garment," and " washed their hands "in innocence;" and in this left us an example, that we should follow their steps.
A GAIN, my dearest Lady Elizabeth, again I must request you to accompany me into the regions of antiquity, to trace, if I may so express myself, the footsteps of Providence throughout all generations. Were it a subject in which we had no personal interest, it is surely in itself so extraordinary as to awaken curiosity and command attention. But when we consider that the consequences of every special act of grace and mercy