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we shall not be disowned and rejected by Him in the great and terrible day of the Lord, when God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.93 Let us then consider seriously our baptismal obligations, and pray earnestly for Divine grace to enable us to fulfil them, that we may receive the benefits connected with them, both in this world and in eternity
The apostle speaks further of the Israelites partaking of another sacrament besides that of baptism; one which corresponds with the Christian ordinance of the Lord's supper. They did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink ; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. They ate of the manna which was given them from heaven day by day; and was a type or representation of the living bread which came down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.94 They drank of the water which flowed from the smitten rock, which was a type of Christ smitten for the sins of the world; wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, having the chastisement of our peace laid upon Him, that with His stripes we might be healed.95 We have the privilege of the Lord's supper being administered among us, in which we are called upon to commemorate the wonders of redeeming love; and to “feed on Christ in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving," while we partake of the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace which is signified by it. Do we with gratitude of heart receive these tokens of the love of Christ our Saviour to us sinful creatures? Or, do any who call themselves Christians refuse the spiritual food and the spiritual drink which is provided for the nourishment of our souls by faith in the redemption of Christ ? If our bodies are not supplied with food, we die; and therefore we are taught to pray to our heavenly Father, Give us this day our daily bread. If our souls are not supplied with the spiritual food of “the body and blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's supper,” they cannot be strengthened and refreshed, they cannot be alive to God. If the means of grace be despised or neglected, we must be destitute of the benefit which is to be derived from the use of them. It is in vain that we call ourselves Christians, if the ordinances which Christ enjoined upon His people for their observance be disregarded by us; for we can have no part or lot in His salvation. We may however partake of the outward ordinances without deriving spiritual benefit from them, if we rest in the external performance without seeking the promised blessing. Let us beware of deceiving ourselves in these matters, either by disregarding, or by not using rightly, for a right end, the ordinances of the house of God. The Israelites are set before us as an example in this matter. It is said of them, that with many of them God was not well pleased ; the proof of which was, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. And it is added, in language similar to the text, Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. This observation of the apostle may lead us to consider,
93 Eccles. xii. 14.
94 John vi. 51, 50.
95 Isaiah liii. 5.
Secondly, Their conduct in the wilderness, which is said in the text to have been written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Notwithstanding the goodness of God was manifested in providing for them spiritual meat and spiritual drink; giving them bread from heaven to eat, and supplying them with water from the rock which followed them; yet while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them ;96 and they were overthrown in the wilderness at various times on account of their repeated transgressions. The apostle mentions some of their offences, and the judgments which these sins brought upon the people. He speaks of them in the language of admonition. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. This was while Moses was in the mount with God, receiving from Him the ten commandments, and the statutes and laws which they were to observe. They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image, 96 even under the mount which burned with fire, in the midst of blackness and darkness and tempest.97 Their image was intended to be a visible representation, by means of which God was to be worshipped. It was a feast to the Lord,98 which they proclaimed as to be observed by the worship of this image. But this was no excuse for their idolatry. They were threatened with being consumed for it; but Moses interceded for them and prevailed. Yet still three thousand mengs fell by the sword of the Levites, in consequence of it. So displeasing is all idolatry and image worship in the sight of God. Yet the church of Rome has dared to set it up again, with the utmost impiety; and to teach that images are the books of the unlearned, whereby they may learn to worship God aright; and thus makes idolaters of those who call themselves Christians, and brings down the wrath of God upon them.
The apostle proceeds, Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. The opportunity for this was afforded by the evil counsel of Balaam to the king of Moab, as the
96 Ps. lxxviii. 30; cvi.19. 97 Heb. xii.18.
98 Exod. xxxii. 5, 28.
only means which that wicked prophet could devise for bringing the wrath of God upon the Israelites to their destruction. Well would it be for society were this admonition needless in the present day. It is the crying sin of the world now, as it has been in former ages; notwithstanding the Divine judgments which attend it in many instances; and which were manifested most especially when God spared not the old world on this account, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.99
The next admonition is, Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. This was when the manna, with which they had been fed day by day, was loathed, as light bread ;- instead of being received with gratitude as the daily gift of Divine bounty to undeserving creatures. While their wants were miraculously supplied by the gift of manna, they complained that they had been brought up out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness. This is called tempting God. They were dissatisfied with what He gave them, and desired supplies of another kind. Instead of being discontented with the blessings we enjoy, we ought to be thankful for them, and to pray that we may be enabled to use the gifts of God to His glory.
The last admonition here given from the con
99 2 Peter ii. 5.
i Numbers xxi. 5; xvi. 41, 49.