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reconciled to him, and disposed to the fame interceffions against the rejoice in him as our portion, we wicked. « Pull them out like can never be happy. For “there sheep for the slaughter, and preis no peace, saith the Lord, unto pare them for the day of Naughthe wicked.” If we continue ter."
Paul used the same prayimpenitent and unreconciled to his
ers or imprecations againit Alexholy character, we must be for- ander the coppersmith, saying, ever excluded from his blissful “ Alexander the coppersmith did presence, and have our portion me much evil : the Lord reward with hypocrites and unbelievers him according to his works." in the regions of woe and despair. The scriptures abound with such As therefore we regard our pre- imprecations. We find them in sent or future good, let us choose the old testament and the new, God as our portion---acquaint and particularly in the Psalms. curselves with him, and be at As an example of the whole, the peace with him, and thereby good, reader is requested to stop here, eternal good, will come unto us. and carefully read the whole of
H. E. the 35th Pfalm.
On the imprecations of David, and barrassed in reading these passages
Many have been greatly emother Saints, recorded in the scrip of the scriptures, and could not tures, against the enemies of the
so understand them, as to recon. church.
cile them with Christian benevo. MPRECATIONS are pray- lence, and cordially adopt the
ers for evils to be inflicted upon sentiments expressed, and enter in. those against whom they are made. to them, as they do into the oThere are many
ther prayers, which they find in corded in the holy scriptures. the holy scriptures. An attempt David, the man after God's own will now be made to remove these heart, used them freely, on all oc- difficulties from the minds of serieasions, when the situation of the ous Chriftians. Should the wrichurch, respecting its enemies, led ter fucceed, his success will be him to apply unto God in its be considered as an abundant reconihalf. The fervency, importunity pense. Two unsatisfactory meand perseverance with which these thods to relieve these difficulties imprecations are made, and the will first be mentioned. Some of strong and unreserved language in the learned tell us that the originwhich they are expressed, renders al language would have admitted it cvident, that he was sincere in that these imprecations should them, and earnest that they should have been translated as prophe. be accomplished. “ Let death cies, and instead of the expression, seize upon them, and let them go “ Let destruction come upon him down quick into hell ; for wick. at unawares, and let his net that edness is in their dwellings.” And he hath hid catch himself, into again, “ Add iniquity to their in- that very detruction let him fall,” iquity ; let them not come into as it is in the 8th verse of the thy righteousness ; let them be Pralın noticed, it might have been blotted out of the book of the rendered, Destruction shall come living, and not be written with upon him at unawares, his net the righteous.” Jeremiah made that he hath hid shall catch him.
self, into that very destruction he, which should come upon the wickThall fall. It is said, that mere ed at unawares. And if we aprophecies are, in the Hebrewdopt the same spirit in reading, as original, often expressed in the he did in writing it, we also shall form of prayers, and that, if this for the same reasons rejoice in the had been so translated, it would destruction which is coming on the have removed every difficulty.- wicked.' This amounts to the But it is conceived, that the men same thing, and is no less difficult, whom God in his providence has than to unite with the Pfalmift in employed to translate the Bible, praying against the wicked. It for the use of his church, have removes no embarrassment.-Bebeen so far under the guidance of sides, David uses the same form his spirit, as to make no essential of speech when praying against his
If the translation may enemies, as he does when praying not be depended on as having for himself, and for those blessings, been made under a special divine for which he promises to givethanks. superintendence, so that no essen. It therefore appears evident that tial mistakes have been committed, these passages are direct imprecahow has God provided for his tions on the wicked, and that any church? None but the learned, other construction is unnatural and who can read the bible in the ori- strained, and inconsistent with the ginal languages, can have any rulo fimplicity of the scriptures, and if for faith or practice. But the admitted, would relieve us of no learned well know that our trans- difficulty. lation has no such errors, and Others, sensible that these are that these imprecations are ren- imprecations, and unwilling to dered consistent with the original. suppose that they can be consistIt is then very wrong to insinuate, ently adopted by Christians, have that the difficulty cannot be re- inattentively conceived, that things moved but by a translation, which of this nature were lawful under the Hebrew may indeed bear, but that dispensation, which are conwhich is so essentially different trary to the present. They may from ours, as to contain very op- suppose that our Saviour had repolite sentiments. It tends to ference to this, when he said, Thake the confidence of the un “ Ye have heard that it hath been learned in the only rule of direc- faid, thou shalt love thy neightion which God has given them.bour, and hate thine enemy ; but But allowing that these passages I say, unto you, love your eneare only prophecies of evils which mies.” But the direction, hate are coming on the wicked, it re- thine enemy,' is not in the law. lieves us of no difficulty, for the It was a perverse tradition or conPsalmist evidently spoke of them struction of the Pharisees. The with approbation and pleasure, as old testament, as well as the new, the means of deliverance and bles- directs, “If thine enemy be hunfing to the church. This appears gry, give him bread to eat, and if by the next words after the im- he be thirity, give him water to precation already quoted, “And drink." The religon of both my foul shall be joyful in the dispensations is essentially the Lord ; it shall rejoice in his fal- the same, they are by no means vation.” That is, in the salvation effected by the destruction § Prov. xxv. 21.
opposite to each other. The same , piety, and because God had thus spirit is required towards both exalted him to feed his people. friends and enemies, and the pas- Their mischievous devices were sages in question may be adopted really aimed at the kingdom and by the faints now, with the same glory of God. It was therefore propriety as in ancient times. a fervent regard to the kingdom Therefore this expedient fails, and and glory of God, which David affords no relief.
expressed, and it was his piety and That all difficulties may be re- benevolence, which led him to moved, it should be remarked, pray that these enemies should not that these imprecations were not succeed in their wicked designs ; produced by revenge, malice or and that God should be glorified, personal resentment. This ap- and his church prospered, though pears from the strains of devo- it should take place by means of tion with which they are inter- the destruction of his enemies. mixed, and from the spirit which Besides, it was only on the suppo. the Psalmist manifested in the 13th fition that they would continue in. and 14th verses. “ But as for corrigible, that he prayed for me, when they were fick, my their destruction ; for he asked it clothing was fackcloth : I hum- only on account of the injury they bled
my soul with fasting, and my were doing, and that the cause of prayer returned into my own bo- | Zion might not be hurt by them; som. I behaved myself as though and before he closes the Psalm, he he had been my friend or brother: prays, saying, “ Let them shout I bowed down heavily, as one for joy and be glad, that favor that mourneth for his mother." my righteous cause,” which all His conduct towards Saul might but the incorrigible will do, and so also free him from any such impu- become the objects of his intertation. Befides, so good a man ceflions, instead of imprecations. as David, could not have
so Further, it should be confidered often, with such solemnity, with that these imprecations coincide a revengeful spirit, into the pre- with the penalties of God's law, sence of God. Nor would re- and with the predictions of his vengeful imprecations have been wrath upon the incorrigible eneadmitted into a book of hymns mies of his church, which he ofand spiritual songs, which God ten mentions to his people for has given to direct and assist the their encouragement and comfort, devotions of his church, much less and are conformable to his actual could any thing so contrary to the dealings with the finally impenicommands of God, have been tent. Their deitruction is necef dictated by divine inspiration. fary to the support of law and
Therefore these prayers are not government, the glory of God, the effusions of malice, but are and the safety and welfare of his consistent with benevolence, and kingdom. The wrath of God are well pleafing to God, and giv-against the wicked does not proen for the use of the church. ceed from malevolence, but is an
It should also be remarked, expression of love to the universe, that God had made David the vic in the destruction of its enemies. fible leader of his church, and the The friends of God are called to enemies againit whom he prayed, acquiesce in the justice of God, were his enemies on account of his from the same benevolence of
heart, and these imprecations are may be remarked, that these di. but the expressions of the fame rections require the fame spirit spirit which God manifests in his and conduct as David exercised law and justice, and of entire acqui- towards Saul. They do not reesence in his government. Christ quire us to with that the enemies himself says, I pray not for the of Christ and his people should world, but for them which thou fucced in their attempts to ruin hast given me.
An opposite fpir, the church, or that we should be it, in favor of incorrigible finners, enemies to the justice of God, which would defire that they and pray that final impenitents might fucceed in their mischief might be saved. The gospel conwith impunity, would have been demns them, no less than the law : opposing God. These prayers Christ himself pronounces them against the wicked, on the suppo accursed. But the directions of sition that they were irreclaimable, Chrift forbid all personal refentwhich David had all reason to be. ments, and require our prayers lieve was the case, shows that he that his enemies may not remain had a spirit conformed to God, incorrigible ; but be converted and felt intereited in the same over to his cause. They do not cause.
oppose the imprecations of David, Besides, the object which the who himself prayed for his enePfalmift had in view, was the mies, but require us to be benevoprosperity of the great cause, lent to the enemies of Christ and which seems to have fo absorbed his people, while like David, we his mind with its magnitude and pray that God would interpose importance, that it became his for his own cause, as he has told single object, and the concerns of us he will, though it should be neindividuals did not at all come in- cessary to do it, by the deftructo view ; and he regarded other tion of his enemies. persons and things only as they It is hoped that these obfervaappeared in favor, or opposition tions will relieve the pious, from to this cause, and of course, most any difficulties which they may heartily prayed for every thing in have had on this subject, and enits favor, and against all oppofi- able them to enter molt cordially tion to its prosperity.--It is pre- | into the true spirit of those pfalms, fumed, that no one can consistent. and other portions of scripture, ly cbject against such a spirit, as which God has given to direct and tho' it was contrary to the spirit aid their devotions. They will of the Christian dispensation, and teach us, that neither the benerthat every Christian will find his olence of God, nor of his people, heart drain forth in the same des are inconsistent with the final de fires, for the profperity of Zion, Itruction of his implacable en. which dictated these prayers.
emies, that God punishes the Should any one after all, be wicked, and the saints rejoice in unable to reconcile these impre. it, from a spirit of real benevolence cations with the directions of to the universe, which shows that Chriit, “ Love your enemies, justice is not malevolence, manibless them that curse you, do fests its glory, and cxtinguishes good to them that hate you, and all grounds of hope in the case of pray for them that despitefully fuch as remain in their fins; and use you and persecutc you ;' it 'these observations will show, that
we ought to wish and pray that and misery of this nature are not God would reclaim his enemies ; selfish motives, do not affect minds but that if they continue his ene- which are governed only by intermies, they may be cast down from eft and self love, and are regardall that authority and influence, ed only by the pure and disinterwhich they exert to oppose God, ested among men. and depress and overthrow his Mofes, “had respect unto the cause and kingdom in the world. recompense of the reward.” But How dreadful to oppose the king- was it a felfish reward ? No ; a dom of Christ !!!
selfish carnal man could not have MIKROS. been influenced by that reward.
What was it? The love of the The gospel is prefed upon us, by the glory of God, constituted this re
confiderations of obtaining the compense. But this is, in its very blessedness of heaven, and escap- not ftrike carnal minds, and which
nature, an enjoyment which does ing the misery of hell. Are these is regarded only by fuch as have felfish inctives
their hearts purified from selfith
scribed in the holy fcrip. So Christ, “ for the joy that tures, they are motives which can was set before him, endured the have no operation upon a selfish, cross.” But what joy? The joy carnal mind. They can apply which flows from the exercise of only to pure, holy and benevo- benevolence. The joy which is lent beings.
the result of fupreme love to God, The gospel is constructed upon and regard to his glory, and the a benevolent plan, and its motives general good.
Christ was not are such as can have their proper bribed or hired by the joy that influence only upon minds, which was set before him. It does not are of a benevolent, virtuous caft. imply that he was of a mercenary Its main intention is not to apply spirit. Far from that, the joy to our intereft, as our own, or our to which he aspired was a holy private self love. For in this case, joy, such as is connected with beit need barely to hold forth hap nevolent views and services, and piness and misery, disconnected such as is had only in the presence from cvery thing else. And, then, of God. all minds, however selfish, might Did the gospel propofe fimply, be affected with such motives. deliverance from misery, and the Still, the gospel allows us to pay enjoyment of happiness, without a suitable regard to our own in- describing the nature of that hapterests.
piness, finners would like it. It It actually holds forth happi- would hold forth motives adapted ness and misery of a peculiar na to operate upon felfith minds. ture, and so qualified as to have | And men of the most corrupt influence only with benevolent views would be led to embrace a minds. The happiness to which gospel of this nature. All would the gospel would allure us, is that be glad to be delivered from misewhich is connected with holiness. ry, and placed in happiness suited And the misery from which it to their present tafta ; and would would deter us, is that which is be moved to embrace any plan, connected with fin.
Happiness which held forth these encoura