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IX. ON VIEWING THE BODY OF A DEAR
“Ah! lovely appearance of death,
What sight upon earth is so fair ! Not all the gay pageants, that breathe,
Can with a dead body compare: With solemn delight, I survey
The corpse, when the spirit is fled ; In love with the beautiful clay,
And longing to lie in its stead.
How blest is our Sister, bereft
Of all that could burden her mind! How easy the soul, that has left
This wearisome body behind! Of evil incapable thou,
Whose relics with envy I see : No longer in misery now,
No longer a sinner, like me. This earth is affected, no more,
With sickness, or shaken with pain : The war in the members is o'er,
And never shall vex her again :
Shall redden this innocent clay:
This languishing head is at rest,
Its thinking and aching are o'er:
Is heave’d by affliction, no more :
Of trouble and torturing pain:
It never shall flutter again.
By sorrow forbidden to sleep,
Have strangely forgotten to weep!
These hollows from water are free:
WESLEY. [A faithful transcript.-EDITOR.]
X. THE FIVE DOCTRINAL POINTS;
The Younger Clergy are most respectfully reminded of the
solemn Service for the 30th Instant. No. II., for FEBRUARY, will be published on the last day of
TEXTUARY AND RITUALIST, &c.
I. GOD'S NOT CLEARING THE GUILTY. Numbers, ch. xiv. vv. 17-20.* “And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
“18 The Lord is long suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation.
“ 19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people,from Egypteven until now.
“ 20 And the LORD said, I have pardoned, according to thy word.”
The sense, in which that clause of v. 18, (" and by no means clearing the guilty,”) which is now to be examined, is meant to be understood; and, in fact, is understood ; will appear from the marginal references made on the parallel passage, which is, Exodus, xxxiv. 6,7. These references are as follow:
Exodus, xxiii. 7. “I will not justify the wicked.” 21. “For he will not pardon your transgressions."
• As few, in this age, feel sufficient interest in a criticism to take the trouble to turn to their Bibles, the whole passage will always be given in full. NO, 11. VOL. I.
Joshua, xxiv. 19. “The LORD is a jealous God: he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins."
Job, 8. 14. “ Thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.”
Micah, vi. 11. “Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?" Or, (says the margin, “Shall I be pure with," fc.
Nah.i. 3. “The Lord wilt not at all acquit the wicked.”
These references not only abundantly prove the doctrine, that God will not pardon the guilty,(which no believer in the Bible can deny,) but they also assert, that this is the sense of the clause above referred to. This, and not the doctrine, is the subject of the present inquiry.
As to the doctrine, that“ God will not clear the impenitent guilty,” nothing can be more true.
6. Without holiness, faith, and repentance, no man can see the Lord,"
flesh shall be saved :” Luke, xiii. 3. Heb. xi. 6; xii. 14. “The soul, that sinneth, it shall die :" "the holy and jealous God” “ will not at all acquit,” much less will he "justify," the finally impenitent and wicked. The wilful, presumptuous, daring, transgressor, who “hardeneth his heart,” and “goeth on still in his wickedness," if he dies as he has lived, must perish : death makes no change : the grave gives no repentance: as time closes upon him, so eternity opens to his view : “as the tree falls, so it lies:" as death leaves, so judgment finds, and eternity fixes : “he, that is filthy, will be filthy still :” where God is, there the unconverted and impenitent sinner can come: he has “ fitted himself for destruction :" he has “nourished himself as unto a day of slaughter.” James, v. 5. Heaven, moreover, would be no heaven to the
unconverted, even if " flesh and blood” could, which it “cannot, inherit the kingdom of God :" he, to whom “the sabbath is a weariness,” would think heaven a prison. Sin is the sinner's food and element: Satan is his lord and master : the world is his idol : death, eternal death, is his wages; and hell -awful to say it—is “his own place !” Acts, i. 15. O! righteous retribution of God! Hell and destruction, with all their dread concomitants, are for ever in the sinner's mouth: by them, or with them on his lips, he buys and sells, he praises and blames, he denies and affirms: “by his words he shall be condemned :” “he has the delusions he has chosen :" his awful prayer is heard : his wish is granted : he delighted in cursing, it shall happen unto him : he loved not blessing, it shall be far from them. Righteous art Thou, O Lord !
So true is the doctrine, abstractedly considered, and indeed, elsewhere stated, that God will not acquit him, in whom sin is found, out of Christ: i. e. sin unconfessed, unlamented, unrepented of, and unforgiven.
But, while this is granted, and indeed maintained, it is, at the same time, contended, that this is not the sense of this present passage ; and that it is not the meaning of the original: that there is, in fact, an interpolation, (which will be shewn hereafter,) and one most incongruously placed, being both preceded and succeeded by “merciful and gracious” attributes and assurances; and followed by a result, so different from what we should have anticipated, (that is, taking the clause,“ clearing the guilty,” as it now stands,) from the use made of God's character of Himself, by Moses, who pleaded it in prayer; as to detract from the cogency