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requiring the same interpretation ; which ob
servation will be of much use to us in applying ! the words of the text to Christ and the Chris
tian Church ; of whom the person of Moses, and the camp of Israel in the wilderness were the most considerable figures the world ever saw.
The Lord, mentioned in the text, is without all doubt the Lord Christ; who said of himself to his disciples, ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am. As the Israelites were redeemed from the bondage of Egypt, then passed through the Red Sea, and encamped in the wilderness ; so we Christians have been redeemed from the powers of sin, and conducted, through the waters of baptism, into the church of Christ, the camp of the true Israelites, which is
progress through the wilderness of this world to the heavenly land of promise. As Moses, who was their Lord, left the camp for a time, and went up into the Mount, to receive a law, which he was to deliver to the people : so Christ, our Lord, ascended up on high, that he might send a new law into the world by the hands of his Apostles. He is now absent from us at the right hand of God, and we his servants are here below in this wilderness. With respect to this his ab
sence from the day of his ascension to his return in judgment, he represents himself to us as a Samaritan upon a journey; who, after a certain time, was to come again and reckon with the host. In another place he describes himself as a bridegroom ; who tarried for a while, but at length should return from the wedding. Again he is signified to us by a man travelling into a far country; who, after a long time, should come back again to reckon with his servants.
If we go on with the comparison, we shall conclude, that the behaviour of the faithless Israelites, in the absence of Moses, will be accomplished in the people of the Christian world; of whom it is but too apparent, that the far greater number now do, and will continue to corrupt themselves, as the evil servant in the parable. He used the absence of his master as an opportunity of indulging his own vicious nature, and of acting as if he had no master but himself. And are we not all of us
nesses, that Christians make the same use of the absence of Jesus Christ, as if their Lord would never return to require any account of them? Within the compass of a few years the people of this nation seem far advanced in all sorts of wickedness; and from the principles
which prevail, the next generation may be worse than the present. And what is the beginning of all this? What but a neglect of the great doctrines of faith, and a consequent inattention to the judgment that must shortly come upon us ? Does not the world cry out as it were with one common voice, my Lord delayeth his coming ? Or, in the language of St. Peter, who set down the words which should afterwards be used by the scoffers of the last days, where is the promise of his coming ; for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the creation of the world ? If you should go amongst a large company of people, commonly called by the name of Christians, and should mention the coming of their Saviour, as an event soon to be expected, and greatly to be wished for ; some would be ready to laugh at your simplicity; others would look grave, and be out of countenance for you ; and it is to be questioned whether one single person, in any polite assembly, would have either the courage or the inclination to go on with the subject. And is not this a melancholy proof that they say in their hearts, though they do not declare it openly with their lips, my Lord delayeth his coming; and that they have a secret satisfaction in putting away all thought
of their Master's second appearance in the world?
If you proceed to consider their life and manners, you will discover them to be of such a sort as can agree only with an evil heart of unbelief. When the people had forgotten Moses, they fell to making a molten image, and were given up to all kinds of excess in eating, drinking, singing, and dancing in the worship of it. So it is now : when faith is gone, then the heart is given up to the service of the world ; and idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, gaming, a multiplicity of theatres, and places of public diversion, extravagance, debauchery, profaneness and sedition, are the sad marks of its apostacy. Is not the Christian world over-run with these corrupt practices ? Have they not first said in their hearts, and then have they not proceeded to act, as the evil servant in the text ? This being the case, it is easy to pronounce what will follow : for it camot possibly be long before the Lord of such sertants shall come in a day réhen they look not for him, and in an hour that ihey are not uvure. When Moses was forgotten by the Israelites, he came upon them, and surprised them in the midst of their idolatry. Thus it hath been and thus it will be : it is an invariable rule in the order of God's providence,
that when men say peace, then sudden destruction cometh upon them. Such was the state of the world in the days of Noah, that preacher of righteousness. He declared publicly to the world, that God would bring a flood upon
them to destroy them; and they had an opportunity of seeing him prepare the ark for an hundred and twenty years : yet they believed nothing of the judgment which hung over their heads; but continued all their evil practices till the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away. So also in the days of Lot, they were secure in their pleasures; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded : but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. So will it be with the Christian world, at the coming of Christ: their hearts will be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares, and pleasures of this life, so that the day of their visitation shall come when they look not for it: and if we consider what state the world is even now in, we cannot believe it will be long before the Gospel will be accomplished. And then, how dreadful will be the consternation of a thoughtless and profane world! their mirth