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These unsearchable provisions of grace are sufficient for unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. the holiness of every sinner before me. Nothing can ever My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house; change the heart of man but the gospel of Jesus. Philosophy with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and and moral precepts labour in vain to renew the character of not in dark speeches; and the similitude
of the Lord shall he the sinner. But where the gospel is truly preached, and truly behold.”—Num. xii
. 1–8. This “similitude of the Lord," received, the passions of men are subdued, their lusts are or the apparent glory of the divine presence, Moses saw mortified, their habits are changed, their dispositions are continually while he was receiving the law from God on the made new, and they are turned from the power of Satan unto mount. The cloud into which he then entered was the cloud God. The gospel can make you all holy; it reveals to you a of divine glory that overshadowed the mountain. The request dying Saviour in all the wonders of his love, and thus will of our text was made after his having been forty days in the create in your souls a desire to love and serve him. It shows mount. It was presented at the door of the tabernacle. you that you are bought with a price! and then, for this Moses had pitched the tabernacle without the camp; and reason, gives you a desire to glorify God in your bodies and when he went forth to enter into the tabernacle, the cloudy spirits, which are his. To carry these new desires into effect, pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle; and it brings down the Holy Spirit into your souls, and thus the Lord talked with Moses, speaking to him face to face, or strengthens you with might in your inner man, and works in the most free and intimate communication as a man talketh within you every good work; sanctifies you in soul, body with his friend. and spirit
, and renders you meet to become partakers of the The conversation which was then held, includes the request inheritance of the saints in light. It will fill you with new of our text. principles, and impart to you new powers, and give you And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, purposes and dispositions to which you have been entire Bring up this people, and thou hast not let me know whom strangers. Your characters may be entirely purified and thou wilt send with me, yet thou hast said, I know thee by cleansed if you are willing to embrace these unsearchable name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. riches of merey which are offered you in the gospel of Jesus. “Now therefore I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy
And finally, these provisions of grace are sufficient for sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I your full and complete salvation. You cannot be placed in may find grace in thy sight, and consider that this nation is a situation in which they will not afford you strength equal thy people. to your day. They will make you conquerors, and more than “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will conquerors. They will render your very troubles a source of give thee rest. joy, and your conflicts an occasion for more exalted triumphs. “And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me,
Like Paul, you may glory in infirmities while the power carry us not up hence. of Christ rests upon you. Like him you may rejoice in the "For wherein shall it be known here, that I and thy peoprospect of death, when to depart is to be with Christ. Like ple have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest him you may triumph in the inseparable love of Jesus, and with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from the complete salvation which he affords, if you are ready to all the people that are upon the face of the earth. count every thing but loss for his sake; and with him the “And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also gospel shall so carry you through things temporal, that you that thou hast spoken; for thou hast found grace in my sight, shall in no wise lose the things eternal.
and I know thee by name. And now let me beseech you to receive these unsearchable " And he said, I beseech thee show me thy glory." riches of Christ. Here is bread from heaven for the famish- Moses' petition here, pointed to some more clear and sig, ing, and living waters for the weary and thirsting soul. Would nificant exhibition of the divine character than he had yet to God you all felt your need of them, and would hunger and received. What he had seen of God's purposes and govthirst for no other supplies than these! O let none despise ernment, in the revelations which had been made to him, this gracious supply. "Whether you are old or young, learned impressed the conviction upon his mind that there was to be or unlearned, rich or poor, Christ is alike needful for you, a further manifestation of God to man than any which he had and will be alike sufficient for you. Do not persuade your- yet distinctly understood, and excited the desire in him to selves that he is unnecessary to you. Do not pour contempt behold these peculiar exhibitions of divine glory which upon him, as unsuitable. Do not attempt to add to him, as should be made to God's people in subsequent ages. All insufficient; but accept him, and live upon him as all your that had been made known to him was in preparation for salvation and all your desire. Gather this bread of heaven some future development of the glory of God; and that glory as your daily portion, and refresh yourselves by this living to which his institutions were thus an introduction, he longed fountain as your whole delight; and in the strength of this to witness: “And he said, I beseech thee show me thy food, go on your way rejoicing. And as ye have received glory.” Jesus Christ the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built In answer to this prayer God promised to give him the up in him, and stablished in the faith as ye have been taught, exhibition of his glory which he desired ; and in complying abounding therein with all thanksgiving,
with his promise, he revealed to him, as the highest possible manifestation of his glory, those purposes of grace and love which were to be made known and accomplished by the gospel.
These remarks naturally lead me here to announce the par
ticular subject which I design to consider, as connected with LECTURE XVI.
the prayer of Moses.
The glory of the gospel as an exhibition of the divine character. THE GLORY OF THE GOSPEL AS A REVELATION OF GOD. That I do not here go aside from the real intention and
meaning of the passage, it will be my object first to show. And Moses said, I beseech thee show me thy glory. And he said, Moses' desire was for some fuller exhibition of the characI will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim ter of God. In promising compliance with this desire, God the name of the Lord before thee.--EXODUS XXXIII. 18, 19. does not direct him to the works of creation; although, from
them the invisible things of him are clearly seen, even his The privileges granted to Moses in his communications eternal power and Godhead. He does not tell him to look with God were altogether peculiar. It is said the Lord spake upon the sun as it shined, and the moon walking in brightunto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend; ness, and there behold the glory of the Lord who hath creand the testimony is added after his death, that there arose ated these things; who bringeth out their hosts by number; no other prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord who calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the for that he is strong in power, and not one faileth. Lord sent him to do in the sight of all Israel.
He does not tell him to look upon the awful thunders and God revealed his will to other prophets before and after earthquakes, and unearthly sounds with which the lau had the time of Moses. But no one had the same view of the been given upon Mount Sinai, still trembling beneath the divine character, and knowledge of the divine purposes which footsteps of a descending Deity; upon the solemn and awakwas allowed to him.
ening displays which were there made of the holiness of a This difference in his communications, God refers to in God who cannot look upon iniquity; although here, as well the controversy which arose from Aaron and Miriam against as in the wonders of creation, it had been often declared that Moses. “And he said, hear now my words: If there be a God had shown his glory to men. prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known Neither the glory of divine power displayed in the creation,
nor the glory of divine holiness exhibited in the law, was Lord is called a glorious - rest; a glorious high throne; a that manifestation of the Deity, which God chose to style house of glory, of beauty, of holiness; and it is said, that peculiarly his glory. And, passing by both these, were there at the dedication of it, “the glory of the Lord filled the no notice of what he did intend, we should be left to settle house of the Lord.” This glory was the cloud which maniupon the gospel as the only remaining manifestation of the fested the especial presence of the Lord. But yet the glory divine character which has been made to man.
of the latter house was to be greater than the glory of the But the Lord describes his purpose and design most former house, because there the sun of righteousness was to significantly. He says, “I will make all my goodness pass arise, with healing in his wings, and the gospel was to be before thee." But where has all the goodness of the Lord preached, with the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven. been exhibited, but in that wonderful dispensation in which In the gospel of Jesus, the dispensation of grace and mercy was manifested the love of God, in that he sent his Son to which has been made through him to man, God has revealed die for us? and how could all the goodness of the Lord pass his character and will to us, in a peculiar degree, and there before any mind, from which the riches of gospel grace were fore it is styled, in the highest possible language of honour, concealed ? " And I will proclaim the name of the Lord be- " The glorious gospel of the blessed God." fore thee; and I will be gracious on whom I will be gra- In all the works of God there is glory, because they are cious; and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” his. David for this reason employs the terms glory and hanBut the name of the Lord, as bestowing sovereign grace and dywork, promiscuously for the same thing. * The heavens mercy, can be proclaimed only in that gospel which announces declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his hanGod manifest in the flesh for sinners, and the fulness of the dywork." Whatever he does is glorious from his own chaGodhead dwelling bodily in a man of sorrows and acquainted racter. But the more he communicates of himself to any of with grief. Under no other dispensation can God be gracious his works, the more glorious they are; and therefore, in the and merciful to sinners, for no other one makes atonement very passage in which David celebrates the glory of creation, for sin.
he shows the higher glory of the divine revelation and law. Still more minutely describing his purpose, God assures": The law of God is perfect, converting the soul; the staMoses, that it would be impossible for any mortal to behold tutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart." the full glory of his presence. “No man can see my face Men stand in higher rank than brutes, and the angels in and live." He dwells in light inaccessible which nó man heaven mount up in loftier grades than men, simply upon this can approach unto. No man hath seen God at any time; the principle, that the more of his own image God has bestowed only begotten Son that dwelleth in the bosom of the Father, upon any of his creatures, the higher in station and the more he hath manifested him; and referring to this new and last- glorious in appearance they are. ing way of intercourse between himself and sinful men, God Now, of all the manifestations of himself which the Deity says, “There is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a has made, there is none in which he may be so fully known, rock, and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, I communicated with, depended upon and praised, as the goswill put thee in the cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with pel of Jesus. This is a glass, in which the angels who surmy hand while I pass by." That rock was Christ, and here round his throne, see and admire the unsearchable riches of his is presented the perfect security with which the glory of God grace; and in which they behold, in his mercy to men, a revis beheld under the gospel. 'The believer is hidden in a cleft elation of his character, that they never elsewhere witnessed. of the rock; while even there, but partial displays are yet In creation and providence, God is seen clearly and wonmade of divine glory. “I will take away my hand, and thou derfully; but it is only as a God of power and wisdom, proshalt see my back parts, but my face shall not be seen.” ducing and upholding all things to promote the glorious end We know not yet what we shall be, but we know that when for which he has designed them. he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as In the law, God is displayed solemnly and truly; but it is he is; and even now, though we see him not, yet believing only as a God of vengeance and recompense, threatening and in him, we rejoice with unspeakable and glorified joy. executing wrath upon those who offend against him.
Thus in answer to the request of Moses, the Lord promised But in the gospel he is exhibited as a God of boundless to make known to him the rich grace which he had prepared compassion, as a God of love; and his power and his wisand designed to reveal to men, in the gospel of Jesus, as the dom, and his faithfulness, all come in as subservient to his peculiar glory of his character, and thus made known that bounty and grace. Here we behold his glory, full of grace all-important truth, which angels united to repeat on the eve and truth. We see him humbling himself, that he might be of the incarnation, that the dispensation which brings peace merciful to his enemies ; suffering in himself, that he might on earth, and proclaims good will to men, brings " glory in bear the punishment of their transgressions; and removing the highest," to the character of God.
every obstacle to their forgiveness and acceptance, that he This was the promise to Moses. It was to be fulfilled on might not only offer them pardon, but beseech them to be the ensuing day; and early in the morning Moses rose up pardoned and reconciled to him again. and went up unto Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded In the creation, he is a God above us ; in the law, he is a him. “ And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with God against us; in the gospel alone, he is “Emanuel;" him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the God with us, God like us, God for us. Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, The Lord, the It is the gospel which reveals God to us as he is. He is Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant invisible in himself; we cannot see him but in his Son. He in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiv- is inaccessible in himself; we cannot approach him but ing iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no through his Son. Would we therefore behold his glory, means clear the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of the fathers we must seek it in the acceptance and study of that disupon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the pensation which proclaims him to be “the Lord, the Lord third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, abundant in and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.” goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving
Here the Lord proclaimed his name and his glory, and to iniquity, transgression and sin!", do it he revealed his purposes of grace, which were to be ac- But while I make these general assertions of the gospel, complished in his Son Christ Jesus, recording it forever, that as a revelation of the character of God, and proclaim its in nothing is the glory of the Lord so wonderfully displayed, glory as a dispensation, on this account, it will be more as in the grace which passes by transgressions and sins, ac- satisfactory to look into its contents more minutely, and see cording to that exclamation of the prophet, in looking forward how the gospel exhibits in their full glory the different perto the gospel revelation, “Who is a God like unto thee that fections of the divine character. pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the The great object which God designed to secure by the remnant of his heritage?' He retaineth not his anger forever, gospel, was the salvation of men. To the attainment of this because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again and object, the attributes of God interposed serious obstacles. In have compassion on us; he will subdue our iniquities, and the dispensation of the gospel, these obstacles have been rethou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. moved, and the attributes of God displayed in consistent and
If then God preached the gospel to Moses as the peculiar glorious operation. Just in proportion in which there was manifestation of his glory, which I think has been made ap- difficulty in reconciling the divine perfections, does the gosparent, I am warranted in speaking from this passage of the pel which has accomplished this reconciliation display their glory of the gospel, as the clearest and most glorious exhibi-glory and manifest its own excellency. tion of the Deity which has been made to man. The Old By it the perfections of God are far more gloriously exTestament is filled with predictions and types, all pointing to hibited than they could be in any other method. For inthe same glory in the gospel of Jesus. The temple of the stance, suppose that man, with all his descendants, had been Consigned to misery as the consequence of his sin. The jus- and truth, and you will see sufficient reason why, in answer tice of God would have appeared, and his truth would also to the prayer of Moses, "Show me thy glory," God should have been seen ; but it would not have been known that preach to him the unsearchable riches of Christ. there existed in the Deity any such attribute as mercy; or God had surely threatened death as the punishment of sin. that if it did exist in him, it could ever find a fit scope for When therefore man had sinned, what remained but that exercise, since the exercise of it must necessarily involve in the penalty denounced should be executed immediately? The it some remission of the rights of justice, and some encroach- word had gone forth; it could not be revoked, nor could its ments upon the honour of the law.
sentence be reversed, consistently with the sacred rights of On the other hand, if free and full remission of sins had truth. What then shall be done? heen granted unto man, it would not have been seen how If the sentence be executed on man, the veracity of God is such an act of grace could be consistent with the rights of undoubtedly displayed and honoured. But how can man be justice and holiness and truth. In either of these alterna- spared, and God's truth be preserved inviolate? In no other tives, the character of God would have been but partially way than the substitution of God's own Son in the sinner's displayed, and his creatures would never have seen him as place. This proposal truth willingly accepts, gladly transhe is. But in the method of salvation which the gospel refers the penaliy to him, and joyfully inflicts on the voluntary veals, not only are all these perfections reconciled, but they sufferer the sentence denounced against the offender: Here are all enhanced and glorified; and a tenfold lustre is thrown“ mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and upon them from the gospel
, beyond what could ever have peace have kissed each other." All the perfections of God beamed forth in any other way. We will consider some of are made to harmonize in the salvation of man, and all are these distinctly.
displayed in a more clear and glorious manner than they The gospel exhibits the divine justice far more gloriously could be in any other method. Justice is exercised in a way than it would have been displayed in the condemnation of of mercy; mercy is exercised in a way of justice; and both the whole human race. Behold the view of justice which it of them are manifested in the way of holiness and truth. presents. The Lord Jesus Christ, “God over all,” puts This is one view of the glory of the gospel as a divine himself in the place of sinful man, and undertakes to endure dispensation. The clear and sublime manifestation which it for man all that the sins of the whole world have merited. makes of the character of God. While all his works praise But will justice venture to seize on him ? Will it draw its bim and his saints give thanks to him, it is this dispensation sword against him who is Jehovah's fellow? Will not the which proclaims his name and his honour: “The Lord, the sword of justice, stretched out against him, refuse to execute Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abunits appointed work? No. Sin is found on our incarnate dant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, God. It is true, it is in him only by imputation ; yet being forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin;" and for this reveimputed to him, he must be answerable for it, and endure all lation of his character, it is well called “ the glorious gospel that it has merited from the hands of God. Behold, then, of the blessed God.” for the honour of God's justice, the cup is put into the hands While this glory of the gospel should lead us to speak of our blessed Lord, and the very dregs of its bitterness are with all boldness, and never to be ashamed to declare its given him to drink; nor is he released from his sufferings power and its worth, it should lead you to remember how until he can say, “It is finished. I have completed the worthy it is of all men to be received. This faithful saying work thou hast given me to do.” Contemplate this myste- is worthy to be accepted with all readiness of mind; worthy rious fact. The God of heaven and earth becomes man. By to be welcomed, like the star of the wise men, with exceedhis obedience and death, he satisfies the demands of law and ing great joy; worthy to be enamelled in the crowns of justice, in order that God may be just, and yet the justifier of princes, and to be written in the soul of every Christian with them that believe in Christ Jesus. With nothing less than a beam of the sun, “ that Christ Jesus came into the world this could justice be satisfied. It could not consent to the to save sinners.” The faithful have ever been ready to unite salvation of a single human being on any other terms. Be in the exclamation of the inspired prophet, “How beautiful hold, then, how exalted is its character! how inalienable are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth are its rights ! how inexorable are its demands!. In all that peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth it inflicts upon men and angels, it is not so highly glorified salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth.” What as in this stupendous mystery.
man of sorrow would not open his heart and welcome the But if the gospel so gloriously exhibits divine justice, see embraces of that messenger who was coming to him with how it displays the divine mercy. This attribute would have more lovely and acceptable news than the very wishes of his been displayed, if man, by a mere sovereign act of grace, had heart could have framed for himself? been pardoned. But it would then have triumphed over the When Joseph was sent for out of prison to Pharaoh's concealment of all other attributes of the Deity. It shall be court, and when Jacob saw the chariots which were sent to brought to light, but only in such a way as shall consist with carry him to his long lost son, their spirits were revived and the honour of every other attribute, in a way by which God comforted after their long distress. When Caligula, the may be " a just God and a Saviour.” God's dear Son shall Roman emperor, sent for Herod (that Herod who was afbe substituted in the place of sinners. The Creator of the terwards smitten by an angel of God), whom Tiberius had universe shall become a man. He shall have the sins of a bound in chains and cast into prison, and placed a diadem rebellious world laid upon him, that man, worthless man, upon his head, and for his chain of iron gave him a chain of may be spared. Shall mercy be exercised with such a gold of equal weight, the historian says, “Men could not sacrifice as this? Yes. Every thing but God's honour believe the reality of a change so wonderful.” shall give way to it; and when that can be secured, no sa- Now what are all good tidings to the gospel, which is a crifice shall be esteemed too great to save a perishing world. word of salvation, which opens prisons and releases cap
Go now to Bethlehem, and see that new-born infant, your tives, and gives a joy with which the world intermeddles incarnate Lord, “God manifest in the flesh.” Who sent not? “Your joy no man shall take from you.” O how him thither? Who brought him from his throne of glory worthy is such a gospel to be accepted and improved. into this world of wretchedness and sin? It was mercy If we suffer the loss of every thing for Christ, godliness is struggling in the bosom of Almighty God, and prevailing great gain after all. In a shipwreck, I throw my goods for its development in this mysterious way.
overboard, and count myself happy to get my life in exGo again to Gethsemane and Calvary ; behold that inno- change. O how willingly, then, should the man who is cent sufferer prostrate upon the earth, bathed in a bloody convinced of the danger of his soul, cast off every thing sweat, suspended on the cross, agonizing under the load of which presses him down; and rejoice, with unspeakable joy, his creatures' guilt, crying, in the depths of sorrow, “My to have his soul saved from an eternal shipwreck, and to be God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
brought before God in peace! Who has brought him to this state? It was mercy. Have you no desires to see the glory of God displayed in Mercy would not rest; it would break forth; rather than not the face of Jesus Christ, or to enjoy the presence of God, exercise itself towards mankind, it would transfer to God made peaceful and happy for you by the sprinkling of the himself the penalty due to them; and write, in the blood of blood of Jesus? Can you deliberately make the choice, that an infinite and holy Saviour, the pardon it designed for sin- while hereafter myriads of ransomed sinners rejoice in the ful man. How glorious is this display of mercy; and where glories of a full salvation, your souls should see God only as but in the gospel of Jesus could it be beheld so honourably an avenger of blood ? It is a painful alternative which is and so clearly exhibited.
presented to you, bat it is the only possible one. Add to this glorious exhibition of justice and mercy, the God is dwelling among you in the riches of gospel invitamanifestation which the gospel makes of divine faithfulness tions and in the fulness of spiritual strength. In the persons
of the Son and the Spirit, he would be received into your bo- have ever heard before, who comes to proclaim to the waiting soms, and rule over all your affections and purposes. But if people of God, the tidings that their God, Emanuel, reigns as he be rejected by you to the end, you will be constrained to the Author of salvation, and the Prince of everlasting peace. see him appearing in the glory of his government, to take The text contains an extensive exhibition of the excellency vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gos- and glory of the gospel, as a dispensation of God's goodness pel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
to man. The particular view of this glory, however, which The glorious gospel which is offered you now, forms the it leads me to propose to your present consideration is, highest honour of your souls. It brings you a king having The glory of the gospel arising from the method of its publisalvation, and makes you with him, kings and priests for cation. ever. Happy are the people that know the joyful sound, In considering this subject, I shall speak they shall walk in the light of his countenance; and blessed 1. Of the character of its various preachers. will you be, though in the midst of reproaches and tribula- II. Of the providence which has attended its publication. tions, if you are led to welcome salvation to your hearts, and III. Of its triumph over every species of opposition. to wash your robes and make them white in the blood of the I. In speaking of the preachers of the gospel in various Lamb.
ages, the exclamation, "how beautiful, how glorious," may be most equitably applied.
The gospel has been at all times highly glorious and exalted in this aspect of its publication.
God himself, who commanded the light to shine out of
darkness, who created the world, visible and invisible, by the LECTURE XVII.
word of his power, was the first preacher of these good ti
dings of good. On the very day of man's transgression he THE GLORY OF THE GOSPEL FROM ITS METHOD OF PUBLICATION. descended with a promise of grace. In that promise he held
forth to view a Saviour who should be miraculously conHow beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bring-ceived as man, and should be a bruised and yet a finally trieth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings umphant Saviour. This promise contained the elements of of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God the whole gospel dispensation. And while Adam, as a sinner, reigneth.-ISAIAH LI. 7.
trembled before the visible glory of his Creator, as a believer
he was enabled to see with rejoicing a glory in this exhibiNo one would be led to doubt, probably, in the most cur- tion of the gospel far more excellent. sory reading of this text, that it was intended to refer to the Through the whole patriarchal and prophetic ages the publication of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But if there should gospel was administered to the faith of men, by those who be such a doubt, St. Paul has decided the proper application spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; and was gloof the passage in his epistle to the Romans, by adducing it rious in its ministry from its being the peculiar subject and as a reason for sending preachers of the gospel throughout end of all intelligence from God to man. the world. Speaking of the messengers of the gospel, he In the personal ministry of Jesus, a Saviour miraculously says, “ How shall they preach except they be sent?" as it is born, a God incarnate for man, the most exalted glory was written, “ How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the connected with the gospel. “Never man spake like this gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things." man,” said they who were sent to apprehend him for punish
It is then the gospel of Jesus, the ministry of which is ment. All wondered at the gracious, or becoming and ensaid to be so excellent and desirable. This gospel, in its nobling words which proceeded from his mouth. very name, is glad tidings; it is a publication of peace be- All creation listened to his voice and obeyed his irresistitween God and his alienated creatures. It is good tidings ofble commands. Things animale and inanimate alike yielded everlasting good through the mediation of a crucified Re- to his control; the sea heard him, and was still; the earth deemer to those who return unto God and live. It is salva- heard him, and opened; the dead heard him, and awoke to tion, full, free, eternal salvation to every one who accepts its life; the blood-thirsty multitude of the Jews heard him, and tidings with a thankful heart; salvation from present despair went backward and fell to the ground; the spirits of darkand misery; salvation from everlasting sorrow and punish- ness heard him, and departed from men. ment, the just wages of sin. It is a glorious annunciation to All this exercise of power elevated the character of the Zion, or the people of the living God, that their God, an gospel dispensation, because it displayed his rank and glory incarnate God, a justifying God, reigneth for ever more. who had come to the earth solely to declare it. Jesus ap
He who proclaims to a ruined world that Jesus reigns aspeared simply as the great preacher of gospel grace, and all a Prince and Saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of the honour which appertained to his character as a messensins, in the proclamation of this one great truth, tells the ger, was reflected upon the message with which he was whole system of gospel grace, publisheth salvation, bringeth charged. And highly glorious and excellent indeed was that good tidings of good, publisheth peace. The people who dispensation which brought the Deity to earth, as a preacher hear the joyful sound are a highly privileged people; the of its truth. heart that embraces the glad intelligence is a converted and His ministry was honoured by the annunciation of angels, thankful heart. The man who welcomes the precious truth, and by the proclamation of a divinely appointed herald; and finds it all his salvation and all his desire. And the com- though he was despised and rejected by a portion of men, yet munity and nation upon which its beneficial influence is ex- honour was paid to him in his humiliation by 'heaven and erted, is converted from a wilderness into the garden of the earth. Lord, a place in which the Lord delights to dwell.
But during his earthly ministry he was comparatively in a In the text the prophet rejoices in a view of their happiness cloud. His real glory was eclipsed by the burden of man's and glory who are allowed to minister this gospel of peace. afflictions, temptations and sins; and it was in the subsequent He derives the figurative expression,“ how beautiful upon ministry of his apostles that his divine power and sufficiency the mountains,” from the local situation of Jerusalem. That were really displayed. city was surrounded by mountains, which were consi- Then, when the gospel was preached with the Holy Ghost dered alike its glory and its defence. The Psalmist adduces sent down from heaven, and the Lord confirmed his word this peculiarity of its location as an illustration of divine with wonders and signs following, the honour of the Son of protection to the people of God. “As the mountains stand man was gloriously exhibited. The apostles acted in the round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his peo- name of Jesus of Nazareth ; and this name was every where ple, from henceforth, even for ever." From whatever direc- the signal of divine and unlimited power. The miracles tion a messenger came to this city, his path crossed the which Jesus wrought in person, while on earth, they wrought mountains. In the text the prophet is carried forward to in his name after his ascension to glory. And in addition hear the publication of gospel mercies; and in the glorious to all these mighty signs and wonders, the conversion of prospect of this publication of grace, the circumstances of myriads of immortal souls from the power of Satan unto God, his own city furnish him an illustration of his feelings. did honour to that dispensation of the gospel which had been
As the sight of a bearer of any joyful tidings to Jerusalem committed unto them. was delightful to those who watched him crossing the sur- How beautiful, then, in the eyes of the multitudes throughrounding mountains, so in a still higher degree, beautiful out the earth, who were asking the way to life, were the feet upon the mountains, i. e. beautiful at the most distant point of those who published with such authority and effect, glad from which they can be seen, are the feet of him who comes tidings of peace and salvation through the merits of a cruwith more joyful and valuable intelligence to men than they cified Lamb! And how glorious in their ministry was that gospel of the blessed God which triumphed over error, par- set up among them; in the universal empire which Rome doned sin, consoled the disconsolate, and gave life from the had been permitted to establish through the known world, dead, in the name of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, giving such free course to the divine word, and such opportuto every believer in its truth.
nities and protection to the preachers of the gospel, as no age But while through all these periods of time the glory of before or after could have afforded; in the establishment of the gospel was displayed in the character and rank of its a general language through all civilized nations, and that the preachers, can we adopt the same assertion of the present language in which the New Testament was written; in the ministry of the gospel ? Now, the excellency of this divine great literary cultivation and wisdom of that period, affording treasure is committed to fallible, weak and sinful men; they the most certain and scrutinizing examination of the claims have no miraculous powers entrusted to them; they have no of the new religion, which made such large demands upon signs and wonders to follow their utterance of the name of men; all these are remarkable arrangements of that ProviJesus; they have no power to overrule or punish the diso-dence which was ordering events to co-operate for the estabbedience of those who obey not the gospel; and, generally lishment of the kingdom of Christ among men. speaking, they have no excellency of speech or of wisdom to In the whole period of time which has since elapsed, all command the attention of those who cannot be attracted by human changes have been made to work together to promote the truth.
the same intended results. The gospel of Jesus, its proIs the gospel still glorious in the character of its preachers ? gress, its establishment, its triumph in the world, have And are the feet of those who publish it still beautiful upon formed the all-sufficient reason for the most wonderful alterthe mountains ?
nations among the children of men. In the embracing and Yes, there is still a preacher of the gospel among men, cultivation of this gospel, savage nations have been raised to without whose influence, signs and wonders would be power-civilization, prosperity, and temporal happiness and power. less, and the tongues of men and angels utterly unprofitable. In the neglect and contempt of it, civilized nations have been He follows the sinner with a boldness which is always un- reduced to degradation, barbarism, and ignorance. All desidaunted, and tells him hourly in his face, “thou art the man.” rable earthly blessings have been made to follow in the train He carries glad tidings with a forbearance which will not of the Redeemer's gospel; and while no nation has been exbe wearied, and beseeches, “to-day, after so long a time, alted without it, the sin of its rejection has been a permanent if ye will hear, harden not your hearts." He grasps the reproach to every people who have been guilty of it. conscience with a hold which will not be shaken off, and The great commotions of the world, the wars and tumults awakens the transgressor with a solemn cry, "escape for which have agitated the sons of men, have all been made to your life.” He binds up the heart which he has broken, prepare the way for Jesus, as the fire, and the wind, and the with more than a mother's tenderness, while he leads the earthquake in Horeb, introduced to Elijah the still, small soul to Jesus, and says, “ believe, and he will give you rest." voice of divine commands.
There is none who teacheth like him; and while we preach The present overturning of the nations of the earth, though the gospel with the Holy Ghost and with much assurance, its feeding the plant of liberty and virtue with human blood, are ministration is glorious, and brings honour to the truth which overruled to establish the more widely the kingdom of the it declares. This divine Spirit will be the great preacher of Saviour. Men fill the atmosphere with noise and confusion Christ crucified unto the end of the gospel dispensation. to gratify their own ambition. God rides upon the storm, His power is unceasingly displayed in the instant conversion and makes the clouds the dust of his feet, to bring to pass of the man who came under the word, cold and ignorant and his great designs. They think to destroy nations not a few; careless; in the extensive revival of the power of godliness, he purposes to establish a dominion under another King, one in the community which has settled down into a dark and Jesus, from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the lifeless state ; in the spreading before an individual sinner earth. the startling view of his own iniquities, and in causing great This same Providence is to carry the gospel to a final searchings of heart among those who have held the truth in triumph. The north and the south are to give up the victims unrighteousness. And while the ministry of the gospel has of ignorance and idolatry, that they may be made the children such power, though the earthly minister be weak and igno- of God; and even now commerce has for this purpose brought rant, the gospel is glorified in the character of its preachers. together the ends of the earth, and the peaceful galley of the
For nearly sixty centuries God the Father, God the Son, merchant has carried the ministers and the books of truth to and God the Holy Ghost, have united to publish these glad most of the remotest nations of men. tidings of peace, of good, and of salvation. In this divine This continued providence of God, watching over the gosministry, great honour has been brought to the gospel dispen-pel, preparing the way for its propagation, establishing it sation, and it has been made glorious in the method of its upon the ruins of human ignorance and vice, has thrown unpublication.
ceasing honour upon it as a dispensation from God to man. II. The glory of the gospel in the method of its publica- That God, by whom and for whom all things were made, is tion is exhibited in the Providence which has always ut- for this reason glorious God, and that gospel for which the tended it.
earth has been preserved and governed, and the promotion of It is perfectly evident from scripture, that the existence of which among men has been the object of a sleepless Provithe human race, after their apostacy from God, was permitted dence, is for this reason a glorious gospel, and is honoured only as a display of God's grace in their redemption ; and the and made beautiful in the method of its publication. whole divine government of man has been a comment upon III. The glory of the gospel, in the method of its publicathat promise, which was given to Adam, of a coming Sa- tion, has been displayed in its constant triumph over every speviour. Four thousand years were employed in preparing for cies of opposition. this manifestation of God in the flesh. During this period In every age Satan has sought to destroy it among men, the Divine Providence was unceasingly displayed in watch- and to defeat the divine purpose to redeem and to bless them. ing over the great purpose of redemption, and making provi- His triumph over our first parents led to the promulgation of sion for the fulness of time.
this glorious scheme of grace; and from that period his purThe division of nations in preparation for the final triumph pose has been to pervert its operation, and to destroy its of truth and grace; the call of Abraham to be the father saving efficacy. and spiritual representative of all believers, the depositary He buried the nations in ignorance and vice in the antediluof that everlasting covenant, which was in all things well or- vian world, until the Creator was provoked to cleanse it with dered and sure, and the head of the earthly line from which an universal deluge. the desire of all nations should be born; the separation of He involved the Israelites in the deepest and most dethe Israelites, to keep those precious truths and promises, grading idolatry, until sometimes, as in the reign of Josiah, which constituted so much the treasure of the world; the the divine law had become quite forgotten. He led them to a various dispensations and revelations which were made to repeated forsaking of God, and despising of his ordinances, them, all pointing to more excellent things to come; the di-that he might annihilate the truth which had been entrusted versified events of their history and their relations to other to their keeping. nations of the earth; all these were arrangements of Divine But notwithstanding all his power, the purpose of God to Providence to prepare the way of the Lord and a highway accomplish man's redemption kept a steady and undeviafor our God.
ting course; all things were made ready for its development When the fulness of the appointed time was come, the same in the appointed time; and though the heathen raged, and Providence was displayed in the subjugation of the tempo- the people imagined a vain thing, God did set his King upon ral power of the Jews, that there might be no rival to that his holy hill of Zion. kingdom not of this world, which the Lord God designed to When the Saviour was manifest in the flesh, he attempted