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the prophet and say–Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, even the living God: when shall I come and appear before the presence of God? Doth he not rather say, « let me never come near him, for I have
no relish for his ways or his worship. I wish “ there were no church, no' sacraments, no “ preaching, no praying. I was baptized to be “ a member of Christ, but I never desire to be « in his company. Let me continue to be one “ of the swine of Egypt, as I have hitherto “ been, and let my latter end be like theirs." Such is the language which passes in many 'hearts when it is put into plain English. Men are called by different names at distant periods of time; but the workings of their minds are the same in all ages. The devout Christian follows the calling of God at this day, on the same motives of faith as the Patriarchs did of old, and considers this life as a pilgrimage; while others are drawn away by the world and flesh just as they were whose carcases fell in the wilderness. They were made examples to us, with this intention, as the apostle instructs us, that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted *. If we look to their history in the
book of Numbers, we find how discontented, and miserable they were under the way of life to which God had brought them: The children of Israel wept again and said, who shall give us flesh to eat? It was well with us in Egypt, but now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all besides this manna before our eyes. Then we read that God complied with their murmurings, and sent them meat to the full; but sent a plague after it, whereby many were destroyed; and the place received its name from the graves of those who were buried for their lusts.
Here the child of this world may see his own picture. It is his object to gratify himself at any rate, without considering the consequences. His Paradise is this Egypt: self-denial is a meagre doctrine, and there is nothing to be got, which he can relish, by the service of God. You will therefore see people as fretful and cross when devotion and self-denial come in their way, as the weeping Israelites, who complained that they were dried up with eating manna. And the
consequence is as it was of old, God is not well pleased with them: and sooner or later, every man will feel the effect of setting God against him by his indifference and disaffection. Some have their punishment in that fulness which they have desired. Who amongst us cannot recollect many, who have died before their time, by following some ungoverned appetite ; and come to the same end, by the same means, as they who were buried at Kibrotli Hattaavah? If they live long to enjoy that for which they thought it worth their while to murmur against and despise the ways of God, they suffer miserably in another respect: as it is said in the Psalm, he gave them their desire, and sent leanness withal into their soul*: so that while their bodies were thriving their souls were starving. If it were possible to see the souls of some such people, they would look worse than skin and bone; wasting and perishing for lack of that grace by which the inner man is renewéd. He then who wishes to find death, misery, and the displeasure of God, which is worst of all, let him turn back from his Christian profession, and demand satisfaction for all his lusts. But let him who wishes to find Canaan at last, be content to find a wilderness in the way to it, and there take with thankfulness what God has appointed for him.
HISTORICAL FIGURES OF THE SCRIPTURES
In the preceding Lecture, we have seen how the dangers of the Christian warfare are set before us, in the history of the Militant State of the Jewish Church in its translation from Egypt to Canaan. St. Paul hath expressly taught us, to consider that history as prophetical of our own situation as Christians; and hath shewed how it is to be applied as an admonition or warning to us, that we may not fall after the same example of unbelief. We have seen how the people who had been baptized under Moses, and had passed through the Red Sea, afterwards preferred the slavery of Egypt to the serVOL. IV,
vice of God in the wilderness ; becoming weary of his ways, and despising the better for love of the worse.
But we followed them only on'a part of their journey. Other circumstances are yet behind, from which the like instruction is to be gathered: and in treating of them, I shall observe the same order as the Apostle hath done in the 10th chapter of his first Ep. to the Cor. where he warns us not to be idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. This refers us to the occasion of their making a golden calf, and worshipping it with the riotous mirth of idolaters; which shewed that they had forsaken the true object of their worship, and had forgotten the design of their redemption from the bondage of Egypt. While Moses was in conference with God upon the mount, their folly had taken up an opinion, that he would not return to them; and consequently, that they might fall into licentiousness, wirhout the fear of being called to an account: so they danced before a golden calf, and gave themselves up to eating and drinking and playing, as if they had totally forgotten the design of their journey through the wilderness. Are these the people whom God, with so mighty a hand,