Page images

or cherub, whose residence is near to the throne of Jehovah, and from whom is reflected no inconsiderable semblance of his perfections and glory. If we admire the artist, who executes upon canvass the likeness of another, when the original form is exhibited immediately before him; or the architect, who rears an edifice, when the materials from which it is framed, and the implements with which it is constructed, are furnished to his hand; what must be our conceptions of the perfections of that Being, who originally gave existence to matter, and at a single word could create this world, with the infinite variety and magnificence of its furniture. The heavens declare the glory of God, reflecting upon


every intelligent beholder, his wisdom, and power, and immensity; and the firmament showeth forth his hand work. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard; they have carried conviction into the bosom of the most rude, illiterate inhabitant of our globe, that there is a God. The human mind, after losing just apprehensions of the divine Being, has regarded these luminaries of heaven as divinities, and offered homage to them as such. Some nations have worshipped the sun, others the moon, and others the stars, as their deities.

The regular revolutions of the seasons, and the extraordinary phenomena of nature which occasionally appear, may also be considered as the name of Jeho. vah; they are constant and impressive displays of his perfections and glory. The sun rising in the cast, morning after morning, imparting in his course light and joy to every thing that hath being; the genial showers of spring, which descend softening the earth and reanimating the vegetable world after the decay


[ocr errors]

of winter, the lightning, which cleaves, in an instant,

the loftiest: cedar;, or the hurricane, whose proud Inarch.prostrates with resistless force every interven'ing object: ."these in their turn are but the varied God;" they are ever new exhibitions of his goodness, and omnipotence, and grandeur. '* While hel contemplates these vicissitudes of the seasons, the royal poet kindles into rapture and exclaims, Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night showeth forth knowledge; and viewing the more awful visitations i of the Almighty, in the occurrences of providence, he adds, The voice of the Lord is full of majesty, the God of glory thundereth, the voice of the Lord shaketh the cedars, yea, the Lord shaketh: the cedars of Lebanon. The Lord sitteth upon the floods, yea, the Lord sitteth king forever. ..:-But there is another interposition of Jehovah, in which his name is inscribed in characters still more legible, and from which his glory is reflected with a lustre more visible and commanding, the redemption of our world through the degradation and death of his own Son. This is the name, to which the prophet more immediately alludes in the passage before us. This dispensation of God is in Scripture emphatically called his name, his way, the mystery of his will, the riches of his glory, the depth of the riches--both of his wisdom and power, because in it there is a manifestation not merely of one perfection, but of all his perfections, collectively, which he has been pleased to afford in no other interposition. His wisdom, in the constitution of Messiah's person, by whom this redemption was accomplished, bringing into a union the most intimate natures essentially and infinitely different; his sovereignty, in the restoration of man, while

sinning angels were passed by; in selecting this earth, although degraded by sin, as the theatre on which the wonders of his love should be exhibited, rather than any other part of his immeasurable empire; in restoring a portion of the human family, while they were all equally involved in rebellion against their rightful prince; in restoring this portion not merely to the friendship, but also to the most intimate fellowship of their offended Sovereign; in advancing them to immunities more exalted than man had enjoyed in his primitive state, or even angels participate, who remained loyal to the Eternal King; in bringing the favoured objects of redemption to the possession of all these privileges in perfect consistence with the honours of his government, and without the possibility of future forfeiture; in effecting this recovery by the death of another in their room, by the death cven of the Prince of life, the Lord of glory, his own co-equal, co-eternal Son; these are manifestations of wisdom, and condescension, and sovereignty, which surpass, in importance and majesty, all other manifestations; they are mysteries, which will be forever unfolding, but never fully unfolded; the dimensions of which plan, the capacities of no created being, whether man, or angel, or archangel, are able to comprehend. These things the angels desire to look into, and after they have pursued their researches through the lapse of ten thousand ages, they will ever be constrained to exclaim, How inconsiderable a part of its breadth, or length, or depth, or height, can be conceived! The results of this scheme now appear interesting, and through eternity will remain interesting, beyond the comprehension of our limited understandings. The very earth on

which we reside, as the scene where sin was 'expiated by the 'obedience and blood of the Prince of life, appears hallowed, and consecrated, and raised to the highest conceivable importance. Towards it the eyes of allérational spectators;" who throng the immense empire of God, are eagerly directed; and on this they gaze with delightful astonishment, as the theatre on which the Lord of glory veiled; in the frailties of månhood, the uncreated' glories of 'his Godhead: where, travelling in the greatness of his strength, he encountered and spoiled principalities and powers, liberating from their 'usurped dominion; man, their insulted and degraded captive; 'where, dying, he rose a conquerer, and established a kingdom broad, in its foundations, as the inhabited globe, and lasting, in its duration, as eternity. This earth, although inconsiderable in its dimensions, compared with other planets and wörlds, is probably frequented more by intelligences from different parts of the divine dominions, than any other spot in the universe.' Here principalities and powers in heavenly places frequently resort, and learn, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God. And perhaps it is not unwarrantably bold or presumptuous to conjecture, that this earth, on which sin was expiated by the sacrifice of the Son of God, after being purified by fire at the consummation of time, will be selected as the theatre where the glories of the Godhead will eternally shed their brightest radiance to the admiration of all holy Beings throughout the universe, and where the favoured objects of divine mercy will be admitted to the clearest vision, and most intimate fruition, of their Father and God."

[ocr errors]

This is the name of Jehovah which shall become great from the rising to the setting of the sun:

the dispensation of his mercy, which is to be made known to all the families of the earth; to be revealed for the eternal glory and happiness of all who acquiesce in it, and the endless perplexity and horror of those, who either reject or neglect it.

But what assurances have we, that this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world? This was proposed as the second subject of inquiry, and on this part of our discourse it is altogether unnecessary to enlarge. The universal extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, is taught by all the imagery under which it is represented in the Old Testament and the New. It is compared to a little leaven, which leavencth the whole lump; to a grain of mustarıl sced, which, although the least of all scculs, becometh a tice, so that the fowls of the air lodge in the branches thereof; to a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which shall fill the whole earth, and stand forever. All this variety of emblem expresses the same elevating truth; it instructs us that the Gospel shali yet lie propagated through the whole earth; that its sound shall spread to the south, and to the west, and to the nortlı, and to the cast, until all the nations have seen its glory, and felt its regenerating and healing influence.

The same interesting truth is obvious from all the characters, by which the Redeemer is set forth in the oracles of truth. He is denominated the Saviour of the world; the desire of all nations; a propitiation for the sins of the whole world; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be for salvation to the ends of the earth; and the event of his nativity was pronounced by the

« PreviousContinue »