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We have now to survey what is made known on the subject of angelic triumph, when the final overthrow of all that impeded the universal extension of Christ's kingdom on earth, shall have terminated this dispensation and here indeed we trace the beautiful union once before displayed in their heavenly chorus, of "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men!" The twenty-fourth Psalm contains a sublime foretaste of what we look for, while describing that glorious scene, the ascension of the Lord Jesus on high, leading captivity captive. There, the heralding angels cry, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye, everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Those from within the gates inquire, "Who is this King of glory?" Not that they needed to be told; no, they knew the Babe of Bethlehem, who from his lowly birth had been " of angels," of all the angels of God, and well were they prepared to celebrate his return to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was: but they
loved to draw forth the answering shout, ascriptive of praise to their God, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle."
And again the summons is sounded from those majestic and resplendent legions, advancing as they sing, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in." The shining multitude, the seraphim, the cherubim, who throng around those eternal gates, and perchance the spirits of the faithful resting there, once more demand, "Who is this King of glory ?" and once more the thundering song peals out, "The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of glory." It is wonderful how habit familiarizes the human mind to what is calculated to overpower it. The grandeur of this passage, the imagery that it teems with is such, that man's lip might well falter in appropriating the lofty strain, and his knee bow in unpremeditated adoration of the ascended King of glory; but we hear it until we can scarcely bestow a thought on its surpassing splendour; and yet in the pride of our cold, unthankful hearts, affect to look down upon the glowing creatures who cease not day or night audibly to pour forth the ardent devotion of theirs before the throne, as though their rank were somewhat below ours. But the proudest heart will be humbled, and the coldest kindled into flame, when that awful hour arrives for the seventh angel to sound, and great voices in heaven proclaim, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever:" when the Church in glory, that so
long awaited the day of vengeance, the year of the redeemed, takes up the strain, and says in prostrate adoration, "We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned." When a voice shall come out of the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great," and the call shall be responded to by the myriads of the holy angels, the innumerable multitude of ransomed souls, the whole company of that rejoicing heaven and renovated earth, bursting forth," the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Allelujah : for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
That hour will come and in the body, or out of the body, every soul of man shall witness its coming. How near it may be, we know not, but far distant it cannot be. A veil, the veil of our own darkened understandings, as yet conceals from us the glory that shall be revealed: and neither angel nor devil shall longer be invisible to our awe-struck gaze. The latter will pass into their fiery prison, and Satan will be cast fettered into his dungeon, and while heaven pours forth its dazzling legions, earth will be purified from all things that offend.
When John saw the multitude arrayed in white robes, with palms in their hands, standing before the throne, and heard them loudly ascribe salvation to God and to the Lamb, he saw all the angels fall upon their faces, and worship God, as their God. Wherever
a note of praise is uttered by the Church, it awakes an echo throughout the untold legions of heaven. This sympathy will never cease; and with what delight God's angels contemplate the approaching triumph of their glorious King, we are told in many ways. That magnificent strain of holy exultation, descriptive of the final ruin of the great harlot city of Rome, is repeated as being uttered by a voice from heaven; probably of an angel also, for it is called another voice from heaven, immediately following that of an angel having great power, and lightening the earth with his glory, who cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen." It was an angel also, one of the seven who had poured forth the seven last plagues on the earth, who showed to John the heavenly city, guarded at its twelve gates, by the same number of angels.
Here we may pause, to consider for a moment what is meant by this mysterious city! It is often named in Scripture, as a place actually existing, but not on earth. Paul speaks of it to the Galatians, in direct contradistinction from the earthly Zion: "Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children;" and "Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.” Gal. iv. 25, 26. It is difficult to conceive how, while one is indisputably a real, an existing, a material city, the other should be a visionary thing, a mere name; or, that while Hagar is repre. sented as the figure of a reality, Mount Sinai in Arabia, and that again of another reality, Jerusalem in Palestine, Sarah should only be the figure of a figure
which has no substantial antitype.
Again, in Heb.
xii., he names it the city of the living God; the heavenly Jerusalem and John, in Rev. xxi. says the angel “carried me away in the Spirit, to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God." Our Lord also distinctly mentions it: "I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God." Rev. iii. 12. Though not so plainly named, this Jerusalem is clearly intended also by Paul, when he says, Abraham "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Heb. xi. 10. And again, "God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city." Heb. xi. 16. In the beautiful discourse addressed by the Lord Jesus to his disciples, immediately before his betrayal, he says, "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John xiv. 2, 3. Paul too says, "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens: for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. Is not this the "holy Jerusalem" which John saw?
The name im
ports "peace;" or rather, it imports "where peace is