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catecumen's being instructed to identify himself with the elect, is a sufficient proof, that this term is not used with a reference to any abstract question, concerning eternal decrees in the divine mind: for how could it have been expected of every baptized person, to be thus ascertained of "the secret things of God?" The term originated in the appellation given to the Jews, of being God's chosen (or elect) people; chosen to be in covenant with him, agreeably to what St.. Paul says, that their advantage over others consisted in this chiefly, that "to them were committed the oracles of God."* Under the influence of this familiar idea, the same apostle addresses several Churches, as the elect in Christ; Elect (or chosen) as a people, in calling upon and being called by his name; although in their individual capacities, there might be a mixture of the worthy and the unworthy. And that this was actually the case, appears in reproofs given in the very epistles addressed to the elect, to some among them whose walking was not worthy of their vocation; and who therefore could not have been contemplated as the elect, in the sense here excluded. But there is another sense-and it is the one here affirmed that of being elect, in an application of the term to all who have been duly initiated into the Church; as was explained in the preceding lecture.
Having gone through the subject proposed to be explained, I will not conclude without an exhortation to my hearers in the words of St. Paul, and applying them to the precious summary which has been before us-"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith, without wavering." To go into a demonstration of its heavenly origin, would be wide of the design of these exercises; neither would time permit. They who have been baptized into it have evidently reason to be aware, how they set light by a treasure, which has become theirs, either by inheritance or by choice; and much more, how they sacrifice it to the
* Rom. iii. 2.
† Heb. iv. 14.
an object of adoration, with all the consequences involved in it. There will be noticed, as we go along, some other rules of construction, similar to this. Lest it should seem too great a liberty of interpretation, we should remark, that it grows out of the circumstance, of there being a further unfolding of the matter of the ten commandments, in the other books of the Pentateuch; and especially in Deuteronomy. The admirable precepts contained in that book are declared to be delivered under divine command: and therefore the laws of the two tables-as they are called-can no otherwise be considered as an entire code; than under ' the presumption of its containing in substance, what was elsewhere to be more largely opened and more specially applied.
On the subject of the Creed, we considered the existence of a divine Being, as that to which there should be referred whatever concerns his agency in nature, in providence, and in grace. Here, it will be more to the purpose, to consider his will, as the paramount rule of whatever is obligatory on man, in regard to what he is to be, or to what he is to perform. There are too many ways of setting up another standard, as in moral fitness; or in the beauty of virtue; or in social good; or what is the most common of all and the oftenest prostituted-in the law of honour. It is not here meant, that these principles are without their use; on the contrary, they are all excellent, as subsidiaries. What is affirmed is, that man, as a moral being, is the subject of a law; that there can be no law without a sanction; and that the sanction, in the present case, is the approbation on the one hand, and the disapprobation on the other, of the Almighty lawgiver. Concerning every scheme of morals, which rests them on any other ground, we need not hesitate to affirm-not that it is absolutely Atheism, but-that it contains whatever of that dark system has a tendency to corrupt the conscience, and to demoralize the conduct. Under such a scheme, there may remain some motives to the abstaining from injuries, and even to the perform.
situdes of life, and how they either drive men on to high-handed wickedness, or make them sink into des. peration; there are continually occurring many mournful instances. And then, there can hardly be overlooked the connexion of the whole subject, with the uncomfortable condition in which it leaves men, as to prospects into futurity; and how, by a natural train of thought, it either reconciles them to a dying like the beasts which perish, or determines them to banish from their anticipation the sure event of death; which yet, whatever may be their pains to that effect, will be forced on them by frequent occurrences of the world.
The matter is far otherwise, with those who che rish the faith which has been before us, not as barren theory, but as exercising a commanding influence over the conduct of life. That code which has enured so many in former days to the exercising of the sublimest virtues and the enduring of the extremity of suffering on trying and extraordinary occasions, is yet competent to the same effects, and of course, under ordinary circumstances, to the "living soberly, righteously and godly in this present world;" and in case of being pressed by any of the vexations and disappointments of life, to bring the heart to vent itself in submission under the visitation of a gracious Father; who sends no sorrow, for which he has not provided abundant consolation in his Word. What is still more important; in the deplorable event of being the dupe of the deceitfulness of sin, here is the only preservative from the being hardened by it; and the only ground of expecting to escape from any entanglements into which man may fall, from the neglect of watchfulness and prayer.
But above all, the faith in question is competent to the lightening of our path through the dark vale of death, by a glimpse of the eternal day, which shines beyond it; enlivening the present by the prospect of that better state of being, in which there will be no more sin, no more trouble, no more danger of "falling
short of the prize of our high calling;" but there will succeed a measure of bliss, of which we read, that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart conceived it."*
OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
Introductory Remarks.-First Commandment.-Second.Third. Fourth.--Fifth.-Sixth.-Seventh.-Eighth.
IN the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Exodus, which immediately precedes the account of the delivery of this code of duty, we find directions to the people of Israel, designed to prepare them for the transaction that was to ensue. There were bounds prescribed; within which none was to come, under the penalty of being "stoned, or thrust through with a dart." The whole congregation were "sanctified;" that is, there were interdicted to them the ordinary employments of life, and satisfactions otherwise lawful: and even their clothes were to be cleansed, in preparation for the tremendous display which was to be made to them, of the glory of the divine Majesty. On the completion of this arrangement; "Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly." Even then, it was not until after "the voice of the trumpet had sounded long, and waxed louder and louder," that the occasion was ripe for the delivery of a law; of the descent of which
* 1 Cor. ii. 9.
from heaven to earth, all the circumstances recited are no more than suitable accompaniments.
A heathen poet has laid down a rule, to be regarded in a work of fiction-That a god is not to be introduced into the performance, unless on an occasion worthy of his interposition. If the principle of this rule be extended to what we are to expect of the great God of heaven and earth, revealing himself to mankind; we cannot conceive of a crisis more worthy of the display of the awful ensigns of his Majesty; than when they were to give dignity to a moral code, which is a transcript of his own great perfections; and which needs only to be compared with the precepts devised by sages and by legislators, the most distinguished in their respective days and countries, to demonstrate, that it must have been, as it professes to be, from heaven.
But when we read the relation of what appears to have so overpowered the senses of the Israelites, and cannot be realized to our minds, without putting our imaginations on the stretch; we ought to be aware, that there must have been higher reasons for the whole procedure, than such as are visible in the letter of the record of them. Doubtless the cleansing of the congregation, and what is called the sanctifying of them, were typical of the moral purity, which becomes those who listen to the high commands, once issuing from the divine glory hovering over Sinai; but since, the ordinary fund for instruction to the Jewish and Christian Churches. The quaking of the mount, the smoke by which it was enveloped, and the increasing sound of the trumpet, were to instil mental reverence of the law, not only on the day of the delivery of it, but in all time succeeding. It was probably under the influence of both of the sentiments here given, that the compilers of the service of our Church have preceded the reading of the Ten Commandments, by a prayer to the great Being "to whom all hearts are open," that he would "cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, by the inspiration of his