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The book of Deuteronomy marks the end of the Pentateuch, commonly called the Law of Moses; a work every way worthy of God its author, and only less than the New Testament, the Law and Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Its antiquity places it at the head of all the writings in the world; and the various subjects it embraces render it of the utmost importance to every part of the civilized world. Its philosophy, history, geography, and chronology entitle it to the respect of the whole human race; while its system of theology and religion demonstrably proves it to be a revelation from God. The Law of Moses is more properly the Law of Jehovah, יהוה [Strong’s H3068] תורה [Strong’s H8451], torah yehowah , the grand title of the Pentateuch. Could we conceive Moses to have been the author of this system, we must consider him more than mortal - no wisdom of man has ever yet invented such a Code of Laws. His merit, however, has been disputed, and his laws severely criticised, by persons whose interest it was to prove religion a cheat, because they had none themselves. To some, whose mental taste and feeling are strangely perverted, everything in heathenism wears not only the most fascinating aspect, but appears to lay claim to and possess every excellence; and hence they have called up Confucius, Menu, Zoraster, and Mohammed himself, to dispute the palm with Moses! On this subject in general, it may be just necessary to add, that the utmost that can be said of all laws, merely human, is, that they restrain vices, through the terror of punishment. God’s law not only restrains vice, but it infuses virtue. It alone brings man to the footstool of his Maker; and keeps him dependent on the strong for strength, on the wise for wisdom, and on the merciful for grace. It abounds with promises of support, and salvation for the present life, which no false system dared ever to propose . e very where, Moses, in the most confident manner, pledges his God for the fulfilment of all the exceeding great and precious promises, with which his laws are so plentifully interspersed; and while they were obedient they could say, “Not one word hath failed us, of all the good things which the Lord our God spake concerning us.” Who that dispassionately reads the Pentateuch, that considers it in itself and in its reference to that glorious Gospel which it was intended to introduce, can for a moment deny it the palm of infinite superiority over all the systems ever framed or imagined by man? Well might the Israelitish people triumphantly exclaim, “There is none like the God of Jeshurun!” and with what striking propriety does the glorious legislator add, “Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee? O people, saved of the Lord!” Finally, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, which are amassed in these five books, have enriched the whole civilized earth, and, indeed, greatly promoted that very civilization. They have been a kind of text-book to almost every writer on geology, geography, chronology, astronomy, natural history, ethics, jurisprudence, political economy, theology, poetry, and criticism, from the time of Moses to the present day - books to which the choicest writers and philosophers in Pagan antiquity, have been deeply indebted; and which were the text-books to all the prophets - books from which the flimsy writers against Divine Revelation have derived their natural religion, and all their moral excellence - books written in all the energy, and purity, of the incomparable language in which they are composed; and lastly, books, which for importance of matter, variety of information, dignity of sentiment, accuracy of facts, impartiality, simplicity, and sublimity of narration, tending to improve and ennoble the intellect and ameliorate the physical and moral condition of man, have never been equalled, and can only be paralleled by the Gospel of the Son of God! Fountain of endless mercy, justice, truth, and beneficence! How much are thy gifts and bounties neglected by those who do not read this law; and by those who having read it, are not morally improved by it, and made wise unto salvation!
the Seventh Sunday after Easter