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6. THE SANCTITY OF THOSE BY WHOM IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTERED

The sanctity of those by whom the word was first announced to men and by whom it was committed to writing, conduces to the same purpose—to prove its Divinity. For since it appears that those who were entrusted with the discharge of this duty, had divested themselves of the wisdom of the world, and of the feelings and affections of the flesh, entirely putting off the old man—and that they were completely eaten up and consumed by their zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of men—it is manifest that such great sanctity as this had been inspired and infused into them, by Him alone who is the Holiest of the holy.

Let Moses be the first that is introduced: He was treated in a very injurious manner by a most ungrateful people, and was frequently marked out for destruction; yet was he prepared to purchase their salvation by his own banishment. He said, when pleading with God, "Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." (Exod. xxxii. 32.) Behold his zeal for the salvation of the people entrusted to his charge—a zeal for the glory of God! Would you see another reason for this wish to be devoted to destruction? Read what he had previously said: "Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say? For mischief did the Lord bring them out to slay them in the mountains," (Exod. xxxii. 12,) "because he was not able to bring them out unto the land which he swear unto their Fathers." (Num. xiv. 16.) We observe the same zeal in Paul, when he wishes that himself "were accursed from Christ for his brethren the Jews, his kinsmen according to the flesh," (Rom. 9) from whom he had suffered many and great indignities.

David was not ashamed publicly to confess his heavy and enormous crimes, and to commit them to writing as an eternal memorial to posterity. Samuel did not shrink from marking in the records of perpetuity the detestable conduct of his sons; and Moses did not hesitate to bear a public testimony against the iniquity and the madness of his ancestors. If even the least desire of a little glory had possessed their minds, they might certainly have been able to indulge in taciturnity, and to conceal in silence these circumstances of disgrace. Those of them who were engaged in describing the deeds and achievements of other people, were unacquainted with the art of offering adulation to great men and nobles, and of wrongfully attributing to their enemies any unworthy deed or motive. With a regard to truth alone, in promoting the glory of God, they placed all persons on an equality; and made no other distinction between them than that which God himself has commanded to be made between piety and wickedness. On receiving from the hand of God their appointment to this office, they at once and altogether bade farewell to all the world, and to all the desires which are in it. "Each of them said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren; for they observed the word of God, and kept his covenant." (Deut. xxxiii. 9.)

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