Imatges de pÓgina

ed, in this state of fociety, is the brother of the flain, and the avenger of blood, and is folemnly bound to make the inquifition, lest the penalty of blood, by the Judge of all the earth, be exacted upon the whole community. God, the Judge of all, was pleased to take upon himself this charge of making inquifition for blood with the greatest folemnity, as it were, with an oath, faying, And furely your blood of your lives will I require.

A man's life is moft dear to him, and when taken away it cannot be reftored, and the lofs of life to him cannot be recompenfed by man; but it is obferved, that a ftill higher reafon is affigned by God for his making the blood of man facred, and for his fetting fuch a folemn and fearful guard over it, viz. For in the image of God made he man, Man, at first, as has been largely confidered, was made under a covenant, which put a fearful and wonderful folemnity upon his character; he was affociated with the Lord of Creation in his dominion and government; and, by sustaining this myfterious relation to the eternal purpofe of God in Chrift Jefus, he was fo elevated, and crowned with glory and honor, that the glory and honor of his Maker became connected, concerned, and deeply interested in his preservation and well being.

The reafon here affigned for God's taking fuch an intereft and care for the prefervation of the life of man, because he was made in the image of God, is of the fame import with that glorious declaration, fo often repeated, that his regards and infinite favors fhewn to man,

are all expreffed for his own name's fake. a the riches of wisdom and glory which, from the beginning of the world, have been hid in God, who created all things by Jefus Chrift!

When God thus placed man upon the bench of this high court of inquifition for the blood of man, and committed to him, according to his holy ordinance, the power of life and death, another intimation was giv en of his being deftined to the glory of the kingdom of Chrift, in his dominion and power over all flesh; and that affociated with the appointed judge, he is to appear in that adminiftration, and act a part with him in the molt folemn decifions of the great day. From fuch plain documents as thefe, the apoftle to the Corinthians, fays, Do ye not know that the faints fall judge the world?. and if the world fhall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the fmalleft matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?

Another reafon may be noticed, of the peculiar concern fhewn by the Lord of fabbaoth in this matter refpecting innocent blood; for as he was himself coming into the world to fuffer and die by wicked hands; and as thousands of his faints would be perfecuted unto the death for his fake; it was his own caufe a matter the most tender to him in relation to his own foul, and to the fouls of his people that were precious and tender to him as the apple of his eye. Ah! how heavy is the guilt of blood; and how forceably does vengeance purfue the murderer, that he fhould not be fuffered to live! A man that

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doth violence to the blood of any perfon fhall flee to the pit, let no man fay him.

Though fome cafes have been particularly exempted, by the fovereign Lord of life, from the operation of this inquifition of blood; yet they must not be fuppofed to effect the ge. neral law-the cafe of David is one-but though the prophet, by the authority of the Higheft, faid to him, when he had confeffed that he had finned against the Lord; and to fin against the Lord is death-The Lord hath caufed thy fin to pass over; thou shalt not die -yet it may fcarcely be confidered as an exemption, when he was four-folded in blood, and the forfeiture was required in one, and another, and another, and fill another of his children; and the unlheathed fword was ne, ver to depart from his houfe. In like manner alfo, fome of the betrayers and crucifiers of the Prince of life, when they were pricked in the heart, and crying, what fhall we do? were faved by fovereign mercy, and the fin and blood-guiltinefs paffed over them; but, Oh! how fearfully did it fall upon their children, and upon their city; and, being a public act, how widely, how heavily, and how laftingly was the wrath poured out upon the whole nation?

From the word of God, as well as from obfervation upon the ways of providence, confidering the fubject upon a large fcale, there can be no doubt that it will go well or ill with individuals, families, focieties, and nations; and finally, with the whole world; as they fhall obferve to keep and obey, or

shall difregard and tranfgrefs these most wife, benevolent, and facred ordinances. That they are of univerfalextent, and binding upon all men under every difpenfation, is apparent not only from their general nature, and from their being delivered to Noah and his fons, ftanding at the head of the whole family of man; but also, from the manifest reference to them in the letter of the apoftles to the converted Gentiles; who, agreeably to the mind of the Holy Gholt, required of them no more than these necessary things, viz. that they should abstain from all pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things firangled, and from blood.

The final and moft dreadful catastrophe, which is expected to come upon the world; will not take place until after there be an apoftacy, a departure from and violation of this covenant of the ordinancies, fo general and overfpreading, that the whole head becomes fick, and the whole heart faint. The prophet, in behalf of the righteousness of the great Judge, affigned exprefsly this reafon for the folemn and awful event: Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it wafte, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth a broad the inhabitants thereof. And it fhall be, as with the people, fo with the priest; as with the fervant, fo with his mafter; as with the maid, fo with her miftrefs; as with the buyer, fo with the feller; as with the lender, fo with the borrower; as with the taker of ufury, fo with the giver of ufury to him. The land fhall be utterly emptied, and utterly fpoiled; for the

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Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourn eth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away; the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth alfo is defiled under the inhabitants thereof: because they have tranfgreffed the laws, changed the ordinances, broken the everlasting covenant.Therefore hath the curfe devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are defolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. Ifai. xxiv. 1-6.—It is plain that the laws, ordinances, &c. referred to in this paffage, are thofe great principles. laid down in this early establishment--and that they respect mankind univerfally.

The importance of the ordinances come into view in every state and condition in which men are placed in the world; for, as in them is the knowledge of Chrift, they are the bond of union, or bar of feparation, and mark the line of grace and difgrace between Chrift and men; they are the unalterable rule whereby they who keep them, are made of God partakers of the divine virtue, and of the promifes in Chrift Jefus; and they who keep them not, are doomed to fuffer the eternal judg. ment. In relation to the ordinances of the covenant, as they contain the evidence of things not feen, we are faid to ftand by faith; keeping them, with a regard to the truth of which they are the vehicle, is fidelity or keeping faith; and neglecting or breaking ing them, is infidelity or breaking faith. The ordinances, alfo, are the vifible badge of grace, and with refpect to them wholly, in

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