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The metaphor is pertinent. In every crime, we consider both the plant and the root productive of gall and wormwood; or, if you please, the crime itself, and the principle which produced it. It is not enough to crop, we must eradicate. It is not enough to be exempt from crimes, we must exterminate the principle. For example, in theft, there is both the root, and the plant productive of worinwood and gall. There is theft gross and refined; the act of theft, and the principle of thest. To steal the goods of a neighbour is the act, the gross act of theft: but, to indulge an exorbitant wish for the acquisition of wealth ;-to make enormous charges;

-to resist the solicitations of a creditor for payment ;-to be indelicate as to the means of gaining money ;-to reject the mortifying claims of restitution, is refined fraud; or, if you please, the principle of fraud productive of wormwood and gall.-It is the same with regard to impurity; there is the act and the principle. The direct violation of the command, thou shall not commit adultery, is the gross act. But to form intimate connexions with persons habituated to the vice, to read licentious novels, to sing immodest songs, to indulge wanton ajrs, is that refined impurity, that principle of the gross act, that root which speedily produces wormwood and gall.

V. Moses lastly required the Israelites to consider the oath and execration with which their acceptance of the covenant was attended : that thou shouldest enter into covenant, and into this oath. What is meant by their entering into the cath of execration?

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That they pledged themselves by oath, to fulfil every clause of the covenant; and in case of violation, to subject themselves to all the curses God had denounced against those who should be guilty of so perfidious a crime.

And, if you would have an adequate idea of those curses, read the awful chapter preceding that from which we have taken our text, “ If thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and do all his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field; in the fruit of thy body, in the fruit of thy land, in the increase of thy cattle. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing

. and vexation, in all thou settest thine hand for to do, until thou be destroyed; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. And thy heaven, that is over thy head, shall be brass; and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies, thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them; and thou shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeih in darkness. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people. Thine eyes shall see it; because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things. Therefore thou shalt serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, nakedness, and want. The Lord shall bring against thee a nation swift as the eagle; a nation of fierce countenance. He shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thy own body, the flesh of thy sons and thy daughters, in the siege, and in the straightness. So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, bis eye shall be evil towards his brother, and towards the wife of his bosom; so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat,” Deut. xxviii. 15, &c.

These are but part of the execrations which the infractors of the covenant were to draw upon themselves. And to convince them that they must deter

. mine, either not to contract the covenant, or subject themselves to all its execrations, God caused it to be ratified by the awful ceremony, which is recorded in the chapter immediately preceding the quotations I have made. He commanded one part of the Levites to ascend mount Eba), and pronounce the curses, and all the people to say, Amen. By virtue of this command, the Levites said, “ Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother; and all the people said, Amen. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow; and all the people said, Amen. Cursed be he that siniteth his neighbour secretly; and all the people said, Amen. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them; and all the people said, Amen;" Deut. xxvii. 16–26.


The words which we render, that thou shouldest enter into covenant, have a peculiar energy in the original, and signify, that thou shouldest pass into covenant. The interpreters of whom I speak, think they refer to a ceremony formerly practised, in contracting covenants, of which we have spoken on other occasions. On immolating the victims, they divided the flesh into two parts, placing the one opposite to the other. The contracting parties passed in the open space between the two; thereby testifying their consent to be slaughtered as those victims, if they did not religiously confirm the covenant contracted in so mysterious a manner.

The sacred writings afford examples of this custom. In the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, Abraham, by the divine command, took a heifer of three years old, and a ram of the same age, and dividing them in the midst, he placed the parts opposite each other: and behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp passed between those pieces. This was a symbol that the Lord entered into an engagement with the patriarch, according to the existing custom! hence it is said, that the Lord made a covenant with Abraham.

In the thirty-fourth chapter of the prophecies of Jeremiah, we find a correspondent passage. I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant, that they made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed betrieen the parts, the princes of Judah,I will even give them into the hands of their enemies. If we do not find the whole of these ceres



monies observed, when God contracted the covenant on Sinai, we should mark what occurs in the twentyfourth chapter of Exodus: Moses sent the young men of the children of Israel, which offered burntofferings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons : and half of the blood he sprinkled on the allar ; and the other half he sprinkled on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people : and they said, All that the Lord hath said, will we do, and be obedient. What is the import of this ceremony, if it is not the same which is expressed in my text, that the Israelites, in contracting the covenant with God, enter into the execrationoath; subjecting themselves, if ever they should presume deliberately to violate the stipulations, to be treated as the victims immolated on Sinai, and as those which Moses probably offered, when it was renewed, on the confines of Palestine.

Perhaps one of my hearers may say to himself, that the terrific circumstances of this ceremony regarded the Israelites alone, whom God addressed in lightnings and thunders from the top of Sinai. What! was there then no victim immolated, when God con: tracted his covenant with us? Does not St. Paul expressly say, that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins ? Heb. ix. 22. And what were the lightnings, what were the thunders of Sinai ! What were all the execrations, and all the curses of the law? They were the just punishments every sin

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