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THE SECOND HOUSE DESTROYED.
plicity, to one man as to another. “Whether you came in by right means or by foul; whether you are a legitimate heir or a conspirator God has made you a prince. Your crime is your own. Your power is His. Trying to be something in yourself, you pronounce your own sentence. When you think to make gods, God unmakes you.” The principle is again affirmed, that a regular succession, a sure house, is a blessing to a land ; that a man who desires to found such a one, desires a good gift; but that it is a gift; that as a witness of God's permanence and presence it is good; that succession apart from Him is a mere transmission of curses. The particular phrase “provoke me to anger," is used here as it is used every where else in the Bible. God is contemplated as jealous over His people, feeling like a husband or a father to a rebellious wife or child. It is presented with all boldness to men who had the lowest, most grovelling conceptions of the divine nature, not to flatter them but to counteract them, to destroy the fiction that God is indifferent to His creatures or hates them, which is the foundation of all idolatry, to prepare the way for the full revelation of that truth which interprets His jealousy, and is the ground of all right faith in man, “God is Love.”
I may have many opportunities hereafter of pointing out the difference between the rude monotonous utterances of these first prophets to the ten tribes, and the various manysided teachings of those who were at once the poets, preachers, and statesmen of the two. But another still more striking contrast is suggested to us on this day. When one thinks of St. Paul now speaking to the savages of Lycaonia, now holding converse with the Stoics and Epicureans of Athens, adapting himself perfectly to the feelings of the one respect
ing a sender of rain and fruitful seasons, entering into the heart of the pantheism and hero-worship of the other; one moment a Hebrew of the Hebrews, versed in all rabbinical and cabalistical lore, then writing to the Ephesians in the dialect of commerce; to-day penetrating the different party tendencies at Corinth, to-morrow addressing himself to the sense of law and righteousness which had been cultivated through many generations and was not yet extinct in the mind of the Romans—one may be disposed to think very meanly of the Man of God who came to Bethel, or of Ahijah, or of Jehu the son of Hanani. Still more when one thinks that all the intellectual gifts of St. Paul were united with and subordinate to that beautiful play of the affections, which made him burn with every one who was angry, and wish himself accursed from Christ for the sake of his kinsmen after the flesh, and feel all the slights of the Corinthians, and never bow the knee to the Father of the whole family in Heaven and earth without thinking of his converts and of their sins or sorrows—one may half despise the narrow circle of sympathies in which these men of the old time revolved, with the perversities, inconsistencies, sometimes insincerities, into which they fell. No such feelings, we may be sure, ever dwelt in the mind of St. Paul himself. These heroes of his nation were to him dear and venerable names, the recollection of which cheered him in lonely hours and went with him to the tribunals of kings and governors. In all essentials he will have felt that their hopes were one, the end, the source of them the same. While he was denouncing the exclusiveness of his people, “enemies to God and contrary to all men,” he was in fact denouncing an idolatry, a separate worship, which though
maintained in the Temple at Jerusalem, was more at variance with the mind of the God of Abraham than the worship of the calves of Bethel, than the sacrifices offered by the priests of the high-places. When he went before Nero, and no man stood with him, he was in fact crying out, not to a single altar, but to all those at which Rome and the world were offering incense, “ You shall be rent in pieces, your ashes shall be strewed upon the earth, and the hands, pontifical or imperial, which serve before them shall be withered.” When he was preaching the everlasting Gospel, the Gospel of Christ's full redemption of mankind, to all kindreds and. nations and tribes, he was saying to that age and to all ages, "Fear the true God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of love, and give glory to Him. For all who give glory to any but Him, to any earthly, brutal, sensual power, shall share its certain downfall and perdi
And we too brethren, we need not the glorious company of the Apostles only, but the goodly fellowship of the Prophets, to strengthen us in the faith of God's elect, to inspire us for the work which we have to do. We need to believe that they, different parts of the same family in Heaven and earth, are watching us in our race and strife here below. We need to hear the voices of old Prophets testifying in broad and simple language, that every petty tyranny and superstition of the earth which lifts itself up against God and against man, shall be put down; as well as to hear the full cry of the Saints beneath the altar, who have triumphed by the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony, “ How long O Lord, faithful and true, wilt thou not judge and deliver the earth !" We need it because we ought to
BOTH ARE OUR HELPERS.
be prepared to resist unto blood striving against sin—the sin which defied the Law—the sin which rejected the Gospel,--the sin which is rebelling against both now, in ourselves and in the world.
AHAB AND ELIJAH.
LINCOLN'S INN, 4TH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.-FEB. 1, 1852.
2 KINGS, I. 3.
But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise,
go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go up to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?”
The worship of the calves which Jeroboam set up in Bethel and in Dan, is carefully distinguished in Scripture from the worship of Baal, which was introduced by Ahab into Samaria. Jeroboam wished to separate the ten tribes from those which followed the house of David, by giving them sacrifices and priests of their own. From the words which he is said to have used, “ these are thy gods, oh! Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,” it is probable that he affected to restore the idolatry which Aaron had sanctioned in the wilderness. He or his priests would suggest the thought to the people, or their own hearts would suggest it to them, that what the high priest approved could not be very wrong, that Moses had no right to break the calf in pieces, that the people in Jerusalem who followed