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CHA P. IX.
Of God's Jealousy over His Laws.
HIS title may be said to form a
considerable part of the subject of boly writ, and indeed to pervade, and, like the warp through the woof, to run throughout the whole. The more we contemplate those authentic records of the mind and will of God, the more awfully shall we find this truth illustrated both by precept and example.--I the Lord thy God 'am a jealous God, visting the fins of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. Exod. xx. 5.-and again, Nah. i. 2. God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the LORD revengeth and is furious, the Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He referveth wrath for His enemies.
An exemplification of this character of the holy God, began with the first act of man's disobedience-By one man fin entered into the world, and death by fin. Rom. v. 12.
-The -The wages of lin iš death. Rom. vi. 23.
In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Gen. ii. 17. Nor was this death a mere personal punishment, inflicted merely on the person of the first offender but on his whole posterity:--In Adam all die. I Cor.xv. 22.
¿ag, When men multiplied on the earth, transgression multiplied, till God's I jealoufy was awakened and provoked to destroy the whole world, except eight perfons, (1 Pet. iij. 20.) by a flood of waters.
Afterwards were with the five cities of the plain, together with their inhabitants, destroyed by fire, and brimstoné rained down upon them from the LORD out of heaven. Gen. xix. 24.
Not to dwell on general topics, let us for a while descend to particulars, and we shall find God's jealousy oper His laws displayed throughout the Içripture. Even the ceremonial institutions furnish us with examples of this. For instance, in the case of Nadab and Abibu, Lev. x, 1.-of Korab, Dathan, and Abiram, and all that appertained unto them; Numb. xvi. 32,33: who were swallowed up by the earththe 250 who were consumed by fire, for burning incenfe—and beside these, 14,700 who died of the plague. ver. 35: 49. In
1 Chr. xiii. 10. we see Uzzą struck dead for only touching the ark, which belonged alone to Aaron and his fons to do. Numb. iv. 5, 15. To these instances may be added that of 50,070 * men struck dead for looking into the ark at Bethshemesh, 1 Sam. vi. 19. Comp: Numb. iv. 19, 20. See 1 Chron. xv. '13. So that, even respect of breaches of the ceremonial law, the men of Bethsemesh might well say— who is able to stand before this holy LORD God!
Likewise on the breach of pohtive precepts, though but occasional and temporary, the jealousy of God over his laws is terribly manifested; as in the case of Acban, Josh. vii. 25:--in the case of Saul, king of Israel, 1 Sam. xv. 23:-of the disobe, dịent prophet, i Kings xiii. 21.--of Ahab, king of Israel, 1 Kings xx. 42.
From hence let us look to the moral law, which was ordained to be å rule of life to all nations, people, and tongues.
* Thus it ftands in our translation : but there is not any absolute necessity to understand it of lo many, or of more than 70 men out of 50,000 men Septuaginta viros quinquaginta millia virorum, Mont. - which may certainly be looked upon as a fair rendering of the Hebrew.
See some ingenious remarks on this passage in Leta ters of certain Jews to M. de Voltaire, vol. i. 320-1.
upon the face of the earth, whithersoever the word of God jould come. never vary nor decay, because it is founded in the very nature of that relation which men bear to God and each other. The commandment which stands firft, and is evidently the ground of all. the fest, faith-Thou shalt bave no other Gods but me. How all contempts of this law were punished, may be seen in the fearful destruction of the seven nations in the land of Canaan-also in God's delivering the Gentiles into the hands of those worst of tyrants and destroyers, their own vile affe&tions, fo strikingly described by the apostle, Rom. i. 21, &c.--As to what the Yews suffered for turning from God to idols, it is so often mentioned, as to form a chief part in the history of all the calamities which were brought upon thenı by the righteous judgment of God. Not only the actual breach of this commandment, but even the enticing another to it, whether the enticer prevailed or not, was punished with death, and that without mercy, even though the enticer was a man's dearest friend, his nearest relation, the wife of his bofom. See Deut. xiii. 6, &c.
As the first commandment was to les cure God's honour, as the only object of worship, so the second was like unto it, for it was to secure that worship’s being paid Him in the way which He Himself had appointed. Hence the worship of Him under the form of images, molten or graven by art and man's device, was expressly forbidden.
What His jealousy over this law was, may be learned from Exod. xxxii. when the people changed their glory into the fimilitude of an ox that eateth grass. (Pl. cvi. 19, 20.) And there fell in that day, about 3000 men, (ver. 28.) besides what fell by the plague afterwards, ver. 35. Nay God would have destroyed them (all) had not Moses His chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away His wrath, lef He should destroy them. Pl. cvi.
23: All image-worship was absolutely forbidden by this law, whether the idol was meant as representative of the true God, as in the case of the golden calf (see Exod. xxxii 4, 5-) or of the deities of the Heathen, as was the case of the Ifraelites in the matter of Baal- Peor. · The apostle (1 Cor. x. 8.) alludes to this, when he says -Neither let us commit fornication, as fome of them committed, and fell in one day 23,000.