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DIVINE SIMILITUDE, No. II.
THE CONVERSION OF A SINNER REPRESENTED BY THE
ROTATION OF THE EARTH.
Job. xii. 22. “He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth
out to light the shadow of death;” or “He turneth round the lower parts (i. e. of the earth) from the darkness; and bringeth out to light the shadow of death;" as the earth turns from west to east.-Bate's Lexicon.
JEHOVAH divided between the darkness of night and the light of day. The dividing partition is our globe of earth. Darkness is in the earth's shadow. That part of the earth which is turned from the sun, is the Deep, or Lower Parts; and when that part is turned to the sun, as in the morning, then is the shadow of death brought out into light."
The natural estate and conversion of a sinner, are represented by this metaphor:- Mankind, as fallen creatures, are turned away from the Lord; and so in a state of darkness. Satan, the God of this world, hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.
Their understandings are darkened through the ignorance that is in them. Hence, though the light of Divine truth shines in darkness, the darkness comprehends it not. But as Jesus Christ came into this world, “to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death,”
-So he orders his gospel to be preached, "to open blind eyes, and to turn men from darkness to light.” When the Lord sends his word, with divine power, to a sinner's conscience, it carries light with it. As it is written, “The entrance of thy words giveth light.” As light makes manifest, when that God,who commanded the light
to shine out of darkness, shines into the heart, the sinner sees his sinfulness and dangerous state; and when he is turned from the error of his ways, and from the power of Satan unto Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness and Light of Life, then is he “brought out of darkness and the shadow of death,” into the Lord's marvellous light; and the man being thus made light in the Lord, he walks as a child of the light in the light of the living. Following Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, he no longer walks in darkness; but casting away the works of it, and putting on the armor of light, he shines as a light in the world, in the midst of a crook. ed and perverse generation.
Reader, is thy face turned towards Jesus, or from him?
We are assured from Revelation that, though hand join in hand, sin shall not go unpunished; for God, the Lawgiver and Judge, is just, and able to destroy. So, likewise, we find in Nature the irresistible power of FIRE, which dissipates and destroys whatever it acts upon and which, in many instances, hath been applied as the instrument of vengeance on wicked men. With this tremendous element of nature God destroyed the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, &c.; shewing the world thereby, that, in a future day, he will rain burning coals, fire, and brimstone, upon all the wicked; which, indeed, will be a horrible tempest. Sacrifices were consumed by fire, to signify that wrath from heaven is due to sin, and would fall upon the sinful offerer himself, if the victim did not receive it for him by substitution. When the law was given on mount Sinai, the heavens flamed with fire, and the mountain' burned below, to give the people a sense of the terrors of Divine judgment; with allusion to which exhibition, and other displays of his wrath, mentioned in the scriptures; God is here called a CONSUMING FIRE. As the earth came under the curse by sin, the "earth and the works therein shall be burnt up." There remaineth, likewise, a fearful vengeance of eternal fire. Happy the people who duly consider the awful character of Jehovah ,and flee from his wrath, like Lot from the flames of Sodom, to Jesus Christ, the covert from the storm.
THE VALUABLE RECORD.
UNDER the various difficulties of the present state, it affords the greatest consolation to a good man, when he can look above, and, with the eye of faith, read his name written in the book of life. Thus Job, distres. sed and persecuted, observes, “Behold, my witness is in heaven, my record is on high."* What Job said of himself, may apply to all the children of God; their citizenship is in heaven, and their names enrolled in the book of life. There are several things may be said of this record worthy of our attention.
1st. It is a record of antiquity. “According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the
* Job xvi, 29.
world."* Antiquarians appreciate their collections in proportion to their age; and think themselves happy in obtaining and preserving the remains of antiquity. Christians may rejoice in having a record older than the world itself; and which all the revolutions of time, and the vicissitudes of human affairs, have not affected. Like its Author, it remains the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
2d. It is a record of gratuity. In human records the parties must often possess certain qualifications, or pay considerable sums of money before their names can be enrolled; but this is without money and without price.” “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”+ This arises entirely from sovereign goodness, without any merit in, or recommendation from the creature; it will, therefore, be ever distinguished as the record of grace.
3d. It is a record of remembrance. It is said, “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.”! Those, therefore, whose names are written in this record, shall never be forgotten:-their circumstances, trials, wants, situations, prayers, and conflicts, shall come up in remembrance before God: “I will not forget,"'S saith the Great Jehovah, "I earnestly remember thee still."
4th. It is a record of distinction. Things are often recorded, that they may be distinguished and separated
Eph. i. 4. 7 Eph. ii. 8,9. # Mal. iü. 16.
§ Isa. xlix. 15. f Jer. xxxi. 20. VOL. III.
from others. So God's people were recorded, on purpose to be distinguished. They are said to be "a chosen generation, a peculiar people.” Their principles, their feelings, their views, their dispositions, their characters, their end, are all different from others; and, finally, they will be separated from the wicked, and for ever be distinguished as the objects of Divine favor.
5th. It is a record of security. Property, writings, names, and
many other things are secured by records. This heavenly record runs thus: "I give unto my sheep eternal life, and none shall pluck them out of my hand." Believers, therefore, cannot be lost: they are bought with a price, and, as valuable property, they are secured by infinite goodness and power. They may lose sight of this record themselves, for a time, but it remains the same. “The foundation, or bond,* of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.”+
6th. It is a record of honor. Among the dignified of the earth, titles, arms, distinguished offices, &c. are given and recorded as insignia of honor. Believers are recorded and characterized as kings and priests unto God. They are invested with the highest privileges, and signalized by the greatest honors; they bear the image of, and have communion with, the King of kings; they rise superior to the world, and are more excellent than their neighbors."
7th. It is a record of perpetuity. Many records are made on the most durable materials, such as vellum, stone, brass, marble, &c. for the purpose of preserva
So Dr. Ilammond thinks Euér. O, iu John xii. 28, may be
+ 2 Tim. ü. 19.