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I believe to have been inspired of God, the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ'.
The same thing was intimated by the very partial appointment of sacrifices. There were many sins, as adultery and murder, for which no sacrifice was appointed. Indeed, presumptuous sins, of whatever kind they were, if remission was to be obtained by sacrifices, could never be forgiven; because no sacrifice was appointed for them. Nor, in truth, was any man made perfect as pertaining to the conscience by any of the sacrifices; because every man had a secret suspicion at least, if not conviction, that the blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sin. Still, however, the great end was answered of directing the eyes of all to the appointed sacrifices, and through them to the Lord Jesus Christ, the great sacrifice, whose blood alone can cleanse from sin, and who is "a propitiation for the sins of the whole world.”
Dear Brethren, it was to this better sacrifice that David looked, when, after the commission of adultery and murder, he prayed, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Let your eyes be directed to the same sacrifice, even to your Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the Prophet Isaiah says, "He was wounded for our transgressions:" and again, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all." This is He whom your forefathers pierced, and nailed to the cross; and through whom thousands of those who crucified him, found peace with God: and, if you also could now be persuaded to look unto him for salvation, you would immediately experience the effect produced by the brasen serpent in the wilderness, and be healed every one of you. O that you would obey the direction given you in the writings of your own prophets, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." You would no longer continue strangers to peace and joy; (for strangers ye must be to these divine sensations, whilst ye are condemned by the i See Heb. x. 1-4. k See Heb. x. 1-4.
1 Ps. li. 7.
law, and ignorant of the way in which your guilt is to be removed:) on the contrary, your "peace should flow as a river," and, as "children of Zion, you should be joyful in your King."
But further, it is declared in your law,
III. That all who are thus saved, must be holy in heart and life.
God, as you know, requires you to be "holy as he is holy;" and to be "a peculiar people unto him above all the people upon earth." And I the rather bring this to your minds, because you are ready to think that we wish to proselyte you to Christianity, that we may have to glory in such an accession to our cause. But I beg leave to assure you, that I would not move a finger to proselyte your whole nation to our religion, if I did not at the same time raise them to be better men, fitter to serve their God on earth, and fitter to enjoy him for ever in heaven. And this I entreat you to bear in mind. It is to the divine image that we wish to bring you, and to the full possession of that blessing promised to you by Jehovah himself; "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. And I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and to keep my judgments and do them." This is necessary for you, as it is also for us: nor have we ourselves any other rule of conduct than that which was prescribed to you in the Ten Commandments. The advantage we have in the New Testament is not that new things are revealed to us, but that the things originally revealed to you are made more clear and intelligible. Not that in your Scriptures there is any obscurity in relation to this matter: we may truly say, "It is not far off, nor is it hidden from you; but it is very nigh unto you, even in your hands and in your mouth:" I pray God we may be
m Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27.
able to add, as Moses did in my text, that it is "in your heart" also!
And now permit me to ADDRESS a few words to you, MY JEWISH BRETHREN
It is to your own Scriptures that I wish in the first instance to direct your attention: for you yourselves know that they testify of your Messiah, and are intended to direct you to him. It is greatly to be lamented, that they are not studied amongst you as they ought to be; and that your Rabbis for the most part pay more deference to the voluminous commentaries with which your Scriptures are obscured, than to the Scriptures themselves. But let it not be so with you. Begin to search the Scriptures for yourselves: search them as for hid treasures; and pray to God to give you his Holy Spirit, to instruct you, and to guide you into all truth. When you take the blessed book of God into your hands, lift up your heart to God, and say with David, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law!" Then compare your Scriptures with ours, the Old Testament with the New; and mark how exactly they correspond with each other, even as the vessel with the mould, or the wax with the seal. Then I fear not but that you will soon acknowledge Him of whom the Law and the Prophets do speak, even Jesus of Nazareth, to be the true Messiah, the Saviour of the world. Yes; he whom you have hitherto rejected will become precious to your souls; and you will, in a far higher sense than you have ever yet been, become the children of Abraham, and the sons of God. To the CHRISTIAN part of this auditory I will also beg leave to ADDRESS a few words
You have seen that with care and labour I have endeavoured to establish the true import of my text from the writings of Moses himself. But, if I had been speaking to you only, I might have spared that trouble, having the text already explained to my hand by God himself. St. Paul tells us, that the commandment which was nigh to the Jews, was the Gospel
itself, even that word of faith which declares, that whosoever with the heart believes in Christ, and with the mouth confesses him, shall assuredly be saved". How thankful should we be for such a light! and having been favoured with it, shall we conceal it from our Jewish brethren, from whom, under God, we have received it? What would you think of a man, who, being stationed in a light-house for the purpose of warning ships in its vicinity to avoid some rocks, and of directing them into a safe harbour, should, when he saw a whole fleet approaching, conceal the lights, and leave the whole fleet to perish on the rocks; and, when called to an account for his conduct, should say, 'I did not think it right to create any alarm among the crews and their passengers?' Would you think his excuse valid? Would you approve of his pretended benevolence? Would you not rather be filled with indignation against him, and say, that the blood of all who perished should be required at his hands? Do not ye then act in a way, which, under other circumstances, you would so severely condemn: but, as God has given you a light, improve it carefully for your Jewish brethren. This is what their fathers did for you, when you were bowing down to stocks and stones. Do Do ye it then for them, if peradventure you may be the means of enlightening some amongst them, and of saving their souls alive.
At the same time remember, that St. Paul applies the passage unto you; and tells you from it, that you must believe in Christ with your hearts, and confess him openly with your mouths. The word is, in the strictest sense, "very nigh unto you:" read it then, and ponder it in your hearts, and treasure it up in your minds, and live upon it, and glory in it: so shall it be a light to your paths, and make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
n Rom. x. 5-13.
A FAITHFUL MINISTER'S APPEAL.
Deut. xxx. 19. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
HOWEVER long a minister may continue with his people, he must part from them at last, and be summoned to give up his account of all his ministrations to them. Moses had now presided over Israel for the space of forty years: and the time was come that he must die". But, before his death, he warned them with all fidelity, setting life and death before them: and, in the words which I have just read, he appealed to them, that he had discharged his duty towards them fully in these respects; and urged them to improve the privileges which they had so long enjoyed.
Let me call your attention to,
I. His appeal
It is justly said of him, both in the Old Testament and in the New, that "he was faithful in all his house"." And, indeed, not even Paul himself laboured under greater disadvantages, or persevered with more unwearied diligence than he. The whole of God's laws, moral, ceremonial, judicial, did he make known to the people, enforcing the strict observance of them all (whether "commandments, statutes, or judgments") on the penalty of death. The violating of any one of them wilfully and presumptuously, was declared to be such an act of rebellion against God, that nothing less than utter excision was the punishment annexed to it. On the other hand, he promised to them, that, if they were observant of God's blessed will, they should live, and long enjoy their promised inheritance. And so uniformly had he devoted all his time and strength to their service, that he could call both
a Deut. xxxi. 2.
b Numb. xii. 7. Heb. iii. 2.