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be the condition of that man who, when he finds, as we shall find, the earth and all that it contains receding from him, can with equal tranquillity take his leave of it and its concerns; and, turning his eyes to that heavenly country to which he is going, can exclaim, or feel with silent joy, that is my home, there shall I find a resting-place, there are my treasures laid
my heart also: “ for me," therefore, “ to die is “ gain." Neither will it be inferred from this reasoning that, because those objects which inflame the passions or tempt the desires of vain man in his passage through life are without any essential value, human life itself is therefore of no importance. On the contrary, the dignity and inappreciable excellence of our nature is only thereby rendered the more evident when such things are shown to be unworthy of our chief attention or more serious pursuit. This life is the passage to eternity, and we must so wind our way through its various seductions as not to be corrupted by them : we must so "pass through things temporal that we finally lose not the things eternal.” It is from conflicts about those objects of which the real worth is so trivial to a being of such excellence, and which has but a short time to continue among them, that all the evil passions are kindled; that we hate, instead of loving each other, that we injure, instead of promoting each other's good, and that we degrade and deprave our own souls, instead of purifying, adorning, and fitting them for eternity. “From whence “ come wars and fightings among you ? come they not hence, even of your lusts that
members : ?" Lastly, amidst the insecurity that attends all human possessions and concerns there is, perhaps, nothing more frail or insecure than human virtue. He, therefore, that standeth has at all times occasion to “take “ heed lest he fall.” But, when the end shall be come, we are secure ; we under no further liability to err; our conflict closes. Well, therefore, may the good man say,
“For me, to die is gain.” He no longer prays that he enter not into tempta
s St. James iv. 1.
It is clear that there was not any period subsequent to the death of Moses in which these books could be palmed upon a whole race, as having long been in their hands, without instant detection : it is no less obvious, as they for the most part speak of transactions that had but recently occurred when they were first published, that the relation was substantially true. What, for example, would be said by the whole French nation at this time, if a history containing the principal events of their revolution were now first presented to them, no such revolution having taken place ? Yet this would not be more absurd than the supposition that Moses, having written the account of the flight from Egypt, and the recent journeyings of the Jews in the wilderness, should have presented them to that people for their approval and belief, if the events themselves had not taken place.
These writings, then, being thus authenticated, what an internal evidence is further rendered to their truth, by observing that, whereas all profane histories crowd the early time with absurd or insipid fables, with dis
figured or half-forgotten facts, Scripture, that is, without doubt, the most ancient of all books, carries us back by an unbroken chain to the true principle and cause of all things, that is, to God, who has made them all; marks out to us the formation of the world, that of man in particular, the happiness of his first estate, the causes of his weakness and misery; the corruption of the world and the deluge, the origin of the arts, and that of nations, the distribution of the earth, and lastly, the propagation and dispersion of the human race ! of which facts other histories are either silent, or worse than silent, and oblige us to seek elsewhere for information. If we further also consider what idea the religion, of which we thus revere the antiquity, gives us of its author, that is, of the first Being, we may avow that it infinitely surpasses human conception, and may on every account be considered as having come from God himself. The God whom the Jews and Christians have always served has nothing in common with the Divinities (Divinities full of imperfections, and even
vices) which the rest of the world has adored. “ The Lord our God is one God.” He is infinite, perfect, alone worthy to punish crimes and reward goodness; for He only is good, or goodness itself. This description of the Almighty is extracted from the Mosaic records, and what other writings of antiquity contain such a description of the Divine Nature ?
II. To follow now the history of the creation as given us by Moses, we find that the great architect, to whom the production of all nature need have cost so little labour, chose to divide and appropriate his work to a succession of days. For this there may
be various reasons assigned : one probably was to lay deep in the heart of his chosen people and of man the reverence due to the Sabbath, without the observance of which a sense of true religion cannot be preserved. “ And on the seventh day God ended his “ work which he had made, and he rested
on the seventh day from all his work which “ he had made. And God blessed the se“ venth day, and sanctified it, because that