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society so long as they do not interfere with a more fixed and everlasting order ; but which will derive fresh evidence and authority from their dissolution if they should claim for themselves some independent worth, and set at nought the blessings which God has intended for all His creatures. I said, ye are gods, and are children of the most High, your authority is God-given, and deserves all reverence while you
use it as if it were. But if you will be gods in yourselves, if you pretend to some absolute right over your fellow-creatures, if you will not acknowledge that they, the meanest of them, are children of the most High, redeemed by the blood of His Son, endued with His Spirit, then shall ye fall like feeble men as you are, and die like one of those princes whose fate has been set before your eyes as a spectacle and warning to yourselves. The Book we have begun to read to-day is full of terrible threatenings and prophecies ; let us not forget them or apply them to others rather than to ourselves. Assuredly they will be executed upon us if we choose some separate way of our own; not that way which God has intended for us all. But if we will walk in that good way, His word remains sure. The land which the Lord our God has given us will be a good land. We shall be able to rejoice in the prosperity of it. We shall be able to leave it an inheritance to our children's children. And with it we shall leave them also the blessing which God in His old covenant and His new pronounced upon the poor ; the sign of fatherly love which Solomon and St. Paul alike
saw in God's chastisements; the assurance that here
; we are in the presence of an innumerable company of saints and angels, and of God the Judge of all, and that Christ desires that we shall enter into the fuller enjoyment of that society, into a deeper apprehension of His Redemption, when death is swallowed up in victory.
THE NATION AND THE CHURCH.
Lessons for the day, Deuteronomy VI. and VII.
Preached at Lincoln's Inn, on the Fourth Sunday after Easter,
May 18, 1851,
DEUT. VII. 22-26. And the Lord thy God will put out those nations
before thee by little and little : thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven : there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing. N my last sermon I tried to shew you that the
Old Testament does not differ from the New, because the rewards which it proposes are transitory or earthly, or because it exalts prosperity,
and does not recognize adversity as a blessing. But I did not deny that there was a very striking difference between them. I hinted that one evil of these widely-diffused notions was, that they concealed the true character of it. The obvious and admitted distinctions, that one contains a partial, the other a complete revelation of the Name and nature of God, that one presents to us a peculiar Nation, the other a universal Church unfolding itself out of that nation, explain, it seems to me, the facts which the inventors of these theories have unsuccessfully attempted to explain. I am quite aware, however, that questions of a very serious kind arise out of this view of the subject. Have we any right to say that the Christian Church is a mere expansion of the Jewish nation, a perfect flower coming out of a bud ?
Are they not contradictory in their very nature ? Are not exclusion, war, persecution, extermination, set forth as principles of the one ; comprehension, peace, forgiveness, regeneration, of the other? Is it possible to speak of the same Being as the Author of both? Is it possible for any one heartily to sympathise in the fruits of the Gospel, who does not shrink with a kind of horror from the acts enjoined by the Israelitish Law? Have not the great evils of the Church, in fact, arisen from the effort to combine in itself two opposite natures, to be at once loving and hateful, destructive and life-giving? Is not the time come when this unnatural combination must cease, when the new must expel the old, or be swallowed up by it ?
The lessons which we have read to-day force these enquiries upon us. They bring out before us in all their strength and fulness those characteristics of the Jewish dispensation which one class of our popular teachers openly denounce as cruel and hardhearted, which another rejoices to think were right once, but have become utterly wrong now, from which a third seeks to derive reasons for holding no communion with the members of an idolatrous Church, though it shrinks from adopting the Jewish precedent as an actual guide to ourselves. I wish to consider, first, what, according to the statements we have been reading, the Jewish nation was to be and to do; secondly, how far its principles and acts are in accordance with those which our Lord enjoins upon His disciples ; thirdly, in what sense we inherit or do not inherit Jewish obligations.
I. There can be no doubt that these passages represent the Jewish nation as bound to a perpetual conflict with idolatry. The resistance was primarily an internal one. The members of the nation were not to meddle with the accursed thing ; they were never to bow down to natural or human symbols. This was the tenure of the nation's existence; losing this it lost itself. So Moses teaches in these chapters; the doctrine comes out still more distinctly, minutely, awfully, afterwards. But the Israelite was not merely to be tenacious of the true worship, and watchful against any intrusion of the false; he was to go forth against the idolatrous people, to break in pieces their gods, to