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Thirdly, It should always be remembered that wickedness is · not the work of God. It is the work of that wicked, of whom Paul spake, and to whom God spake in the garden of Eden, when he said, “ Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed.”
Fourthly, What doth the spirit of God teach us by the word hell? Commentators unite in assuring us that the term scheol, which we render hell, is literally the grave. Jacob says, I will go down into scheol, into hell, to my son mourning. If mischief befall him, says the same patriarch, ye shall bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to scheol, hell.
Fifthly, Scheol or hell, is sometimes represented as the state of departed spirits, as a state of anguish. Ezekiel xxxi. 16, " When I cast him, Pharaoh, down to hell.” Again Chapter xxxii. 21, " The strong, among the mighty, shall speak to him out of the midst of hell.” And verse 31, “ Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude.” Again, Jonah ii. 2, “ Out of the belly of hell or scheol, cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” The Psalmist, speaking in his typical character, says, Psalm xvi. 31, “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in scheol, hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” The apostle Peter, Acts ii. 31, Refers to this testimony.
“ He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Chirst, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption." Thus, it is evident, the soul of the Redeemer was in hell, although it was not left there. It was in this hell, the spirits of those Antediluvians, were imprisoned, of whom the apostle Peter speaks, 1 Peter ïi. 18, “ By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison." And again, Chapter iv. 6, “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh.” Our Saviour in a variety of instances refers to this hell, as the state of soul and body, and the Holy Ghost by the apostle Peter emphatically says, 2 Peter ii. 4, "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment."
Sixthly, Into this hell, the wicked, and all the nations that forget God shall be turned. Does not this comprehend every sinner? Who liveth and sinneth not ? Does it not comprehend every unbeliever? But where is the believer, that was not once an unbeliever? This prophecy is fulfilled, or it is not.
Saviour said he came to fulfil the law, and the Prophets, and, if he did fulfil the law, and the prophets, when the sorrows of death compassed him about, when his soul was turned into hell, when the pains of hell gat hold upon him, then be fulfilled the law, and the prophets. In him the sinner died, for if one died for all, then were all dead. In him the wicked were turned into hell, and the scriptures were accomplished. But if you will not allow us thus to reconcile the scripture, if you still say the wicked, individually shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that forget God, I will join issue with your conclusion, and only remark, that these nations would remain in hell, through the wasteless of eternity, if Jesus were not the Saviour of all men, if they continued to forget God. But assuredly Jesus is the Saviour of all men, and assuredly all the nations of the earth will one day remember the God who made them. Hear the spirit of truth speaking by the mouth of the Psalmist. Psalm xxii. 27, “ All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the LORD : and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.” All that the Father hath given unto me, saith the Saviour, shall come unto me. These nations cannot remain in hell, for they were given by Jehovah to the Son, and the Son declares, all that was given unto him, shall come unto him, and he informs us, Revelations i. 18, That he hath the keys of hell, and of death. The nations cannot continue, through all eternity in a state of darkness, and consequent misery, because death and hell must deliver up the dead, which be in them, when both death and hell will be fast into the lake of fire, which is the second, that is the last death. The nations that forget God will remember him again, when they will turn to him, and worship him : for, saith that God who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, Hosea xiii. 14, “ I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death : O death, I will be thy plagues: 0 grave, scheol, I will be thy destruction." It is therefore the nations cannot remain in scheol, hell, because the ransomed of the LORD shall return to Zion, with songs, and because God, who cannot lie, declares, Revelations xxi. 4, “ He will wipe away all tears from their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more paiu : for the former things are passed away.”
There are perhaps, but two sorts of learers, those who do, and those who do not believe. The first will see, and seeing they will believe, and believing they will rejoice, and most joyfully will they set their seals to the truth of God. The second will be angry, exceeding angry, and they will hasten to speak evil of that they do not understand. We are prepared for ill treatment, we expect it, but we will endeavour in patience to possess our souls. When we are reviled, we will not revile again, we ought not, for we are believers in, and servants of, a meek and lowly Master ; and we are assured that at the period when there shall be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death, we shall see and hear every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, saying blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever, and ever, Amen, and Amen.
PSALM xxviii. 9.
Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance : feed them also, and
lift them up forever.
First, Who are God's people? The posterity of Abraham. Deuteronomy vii. 6, “ For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God : the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”
Secondly, The Gentiles are the people of God. Romans xv. 10, 12, “ And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles ; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”
Thirdly, And bless thine inheritance. What is the inheritance of our God ? Psalnı ii. 8, “ Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Psalm cxxvii. 3, “ Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord.”
VOL. III. 22
Fourthly, The prayer of David, of our spiritual David, Sare thy people. Save thy people from what? From sin. Matthew i. 21, “ And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus : for he shall save his people from their sins.” John iv. 42, “Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." Secondly, Save thy people from death, which is the wages of sin. Christ Jesus hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel. Thirdly, Save thy people from the curse of the law. Galatians iii. 13, “ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” Fourthly, Save thy people from ignorance. They shall all be taught of God, they shall no more die for lack of knowledge; for they shall all know God from the least to the greatest, and to know God is life eternal. Then shall they be blessed, then shall they be lifted up forever.
First, In what respect did not God require sacrifices and offerings ? 1 Samuel xv. 22, “ Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice." Psalm li. 16, “For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering." Isaiah i. 11, “To what purpose is the number of your sacrifices to me, saith the LORD ? I delight not in the blood of bullocks." Hosea vi. 6, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Matthew xii. 7, “For if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless."
Secondly, In what respect were sacrifices typical of the Redeemer? Hebrews ix. 12, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood; he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Thirdly, Jesus came to do the will of God, which will was the sanctification of the people, and the taking away their sin. Hebrews x. 10, “By the which will we re sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Fourthly, In the volume of the book it is written of me. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. In these scriptures, it will be found, that the law of God is within my heart, that I do indeed delight to do his will.
Psalm xl. 12, 13.
First, Who is it that thus speaketh? Undoubtedly, Christ Jesus. Search the scriptures, said our LORD, they testify of me.
Secondly, What were the evils which compassed him about? There are two descriptions of evil. First, Sin, this is said to be of the wicked one. Ye are of your father, the devil, for the works of your father you do. Secondly, Suffering is an evil. Job ii. 10, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?" Isaiah xlv. 7, “ I form the light, and create darkness : I make peace, and create evil : I, the Lord, do all these things.” To say that evil of this last description was sin, were to blaspheme God. But the Saviour could say, that by evils of both these descriptions, he was encompassed about. Isaiah liji. -3, 4, “He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Thirdly, Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me. These iniquities were the Redeemer's, because committed by his body, of which he was the head; while, as an individual, he was holy, and in him was no sin. · But Psalm xlix. 5, exhibits a complete explanation of our text. “Wherefore should I fear in the days