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And his very Angels, thofe refined and exalted
Afp. Very majestic Defcriptions!—And pray let Us obferve the Impreffions, which fuch Beamings of the divine Effulgence made upon the Saints of old.-Mofes, drawing near the cloudy Pavilion, the Presence-chamber of the HOLY ONE of Ifrael, fays, with Emotions of uncommon Dread; I exceedingly fear and quake+!When Job is favoured with fome peculiar Manifeftations of the omnipotent GOD, fee his Pofture! Hear his Words! I abbor myfelf, and repent in Duft and Afbes ‡. How strong is the Language! How deep the Abasement!-When Isaiah faw the incomprehenfible JEHOVAH, fitting upon his Throne; and the Princes of Heaven, adoring at his Footstool; feized with a Pang of reverential Fear, He cried out; Woe is me! I am undone ! For I am a Man of unclean Lips || !—When Ezekiel beheld an emblematical Representation of HIM, who dwelleth in Light inacceffible: When the ANTIENT of Days, veiled under a human Shape, appeared to Daniel: though One was a devout Priest, and each was an eminent Prophet; yet, overwhelmed with a Mixture of Veneration and Terror, they both fell down at his Feet as dead §. And this, not before
fob. iv. 18. Ifai. vi. 5.
+ Heb. xii. 21.
‡ Job. xlii. 6. Dan. x. 8, 9.
before a full Display, but only before a Glimpfe of the GODHEAD. Which, though partial and tranfient, was too dazzlingly bright, for an Eye of Flesh to bear.
O my Friend! my Theron! what Figure must our mean Performances, our low Attainments make, before this immensely glorious GOD? -Let Us examine the Behaviour and Spirit of Job, a little more particularly. He is one of your favourite Examples; and indeed very defervedly. For, in Piety He had no Superior, and no Equal; there was None like Him in the Earth. Yet, when He has to do with the MAKER of all Things, and the JUDGE of all Men, He pours out his abashed Soul in these very remarkable Profeffions: If I juftify Myfelf, my own Mouth fhall condemn me: if I fay, perfect, it shall also prove me perverse He declares yet farther; If I wash myself in Snow-water, and make my Hands never so clean, yet fhalt Thou, O righteous and eternal GOD, plunge me in the Ditch; manifeft me, notwithftanding all this Care and Circumfpection, to be a guilty and a filthy Creature; yea, so very guilty and filthy, that my own Clothes, were they fenfible of the Pollution, could not but abbor me.
This He confeffes, not because He was an habitual Sinner, or chargeable with any fcan
See Job. ix. 20, 21-30, 31, 32.
dalous Immorality; but because his Mind was filled with the most affecting Sense, of GOD's inconceivable Holiness, and infinite Glory. For, adds the venerable Sufferer, He is not a Man as I am; but a BEING of fuch extenfive Knowledge, that nothing can escape his Difcernment; of such exalted Purity, that every Spot of Defilement is lothsome in his Sight. For which Reason, it is abfolutely impoffible, that I should anfwer Him, with reference to my own personal Righteousness: or that We Should come together in Judgment, on any fuch Footing, without Confusion to myself, and Ruin to my Cause.
To all this He fubjoins, what is still more memorable and exemplary: Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my Soul, I would deSpife my Life. He supposes Himself in a higher State, than your moft advanced Chriftian; though I were perfect. Yet, even in fuch a State, were it attainable and attained, I would not know my Soul; not dwell upon, not plead, no, nor so much as cherish a Thought of, my own Accomplishments and Acquirements. In the important Business of Justification, they should stand for Cyphers; they should be thrown into Shades; they should intirely difappear.-Nay more; I would defpife my Life; my Life, with all its most shining Actions and most distinguished Virtues, fhould be reckoned in
infignificant and despicable. Just as infignificant and defpicable, with refpect to this great Tranfaction, as a wandering Spark would be, if appointed to diffuse Day amidst the Darkness of Night, or produce Spring amidst the Depths of Winter.
Ther. These are alarming Hints, Afpafio, I muft confefs.-A Law, which requires an exact and univerfal Obedience, both in Heart and Life!-A GOD of fuch Majefty, Purity and Glory, that Men of the most approved Integrity, are overwhelmed with Confufion, in his Prefence?-I fhall confider them, at my Leifure, with the Attention they deserve.-At prefent, I believe, Opportunity is giving Us the Slip. Yonder Coach seems to be moving this Way, and the Livery looks like Philander's.
Afpafio, defirous to fix thefe Convictionswhich are of the laft Confequence to our Faith and Salvation-very defirous to fix them on his Friend's Mind, replied.
Afp. As your Vifitants are at a Distance, give me Leave to obferve; That the wifeft of Men, attending to the first of these Particulars, has poured Contempt upon all human Excellency; There is not a juft Man upon Earth, that doeth Good, and finneth not *. The Apostle of CHRIST takes Shame to Himself, on the fame Account;
*Ecclef. vii. 20.
Account; and teaches all Mankind to ftrike the Sail of Self-Conceit; In many Things We offend all-David, confidering the latter of these Points, prays with the utmost Earneftnefs; Enter not into Judgment with thy Servant, O LORD! And affigns this humbling Reafon for his Petition; For, in thy Sight, shall no Man living be justified. This induced Nehemiah, who had been fo nobly zealous for the Honour of his GOD, not to confide in his own valuable Services, but make Application to forgiving Goodness. Spare me, O LORD, according to thy great Mercy ‡.
Had I fet before You the Example of the poor Publican, who fmote upon his Breaft; durft not lift up his Eyes to Heaven; but cried from the Bottom of a polluted Heart, GOD be merciful to me a Sinner! Self-Love, might poffibly have whispered; Surely, I <c am not to be ranked with that abominable "Wretch. I ftand upon fome better Footing, than fuch an infamous Offender.”With respect to the Enjoyment of eternal Life, We ftand upon no better, upon no other. And when low as that obnoxious defpifed Creature, We are upon the very fame Ground with the moft exalted Saints. They all appear before the MAJESTY of HEAVEN, in the fame Attitude of unfeigned Humiliation, and with
Neh. xiii. 22.
* fam. iii. 2, + Pfal. cxliii. 2.