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forces, to range themselves for the fight, to ble, when we are speaking of the power and use every precaution and endeavour, as grace of Messiah. though success depended entirely upon them 1. How precious is this Saviour! How selves. Yet they obtained not the victory by justly is he entitled to the chief place in the their own sword, but it was the Lord who hearts of those who know him ! In the work fought for them, and trod down their enemies of salvation, from the first step to the last, he before them; and they had little more to do is all in all. If he had not died and risen than to pursue the vanquished, and to divide again, we must have died for ever. If he had the spoil
. And thus it is in the warfare not ascended into heaven, there to appear in which true christians maintain, not against the presence of God for us, we must have flesh and blood only, but against principalities been thrust down into the lowest hell. If he and powers, (Eph. vi. 12,) against the spirit did not plead for us, we would not, we durst of the world, and against Satan and his le- not offer a word in our own behalf. If he was gions. They fight in his cause, but he upholds not, on our part, engaged to keep us night and them and conquers for them. Their enemies day,our enemies would soon be too hard for us. are too many and too mighty for them to May we therefore give him the glory due to his grapple with in their own strength; but he re- name and cleave to him,and trust in him alone. bukes them, and pleads the cause of his people. 2. How safe are the people of whom he His gracious interposition in their favour is undertakes the care! While his eye is upon beautifully set forth, together with its effects, them, his ear open to their prayer, and his in the vision, which the prophet saw, when he arm of power stretched out for their protecwas sent to encourage the rulers and people tion; while he remembers that word of proof the Jews against the difficulties they met mise upon which he himself has caused them with when rebuilding the temple. He saw to hope ; while he retains that faithfulness Joshua the high priest, who, in that character, which encouraged them to commit their souls represented the collective body of the people, to him, it is impossible that any weapon or standing before the Lord, clothed in filthy gar- stratagem formed against them can prevail
. ments, and Satan standing at his right hand to There are many, it is true, who will rise up resist him, Zech. iii. 1–4. Such is our attire against them; but God is for them, and with as sinners, allour righteousnesses are as filthy them a very present help in trouble, Ps. xlvi. rags; and such are the attempts of our enemy, 1. They are full of wants and fears, and in to deter us from approaching to him who alone themselves liable to many charges; but since can relieve us, or to distress us when we ap- Jesus is their head, their security, their interpear before him. But when Joshua could not cessor, no needful good shall be with held speak for, himself, the Lord spake for him, from them, no charge admitted against them, claimed him for his own, as a brand plucked none shall condemn them, for it is God himout of the fire, silenced his adversary, clothed self who justifies the believer in Jesus. him with change of raiment, and set a fair 3. If these things be so, how much are they mitre upon his head. Thus David acknow- to be pitied, who hear of them without being ledged the Lord's goodness in providing him affected or influenced by them? Will you ala table in the midst of his enemies, (Psal. ways be content with hearing? “Oh, taste xxiii. 5,) who saw with envy his privileges, and see that the Lord is good.” Ps. xxxiv. 8. but were not able to prevent his enjoyment Should you at last be separated from those of them, Many a time the Lord thus com- with whom you now join in public worship; forts and feeds his people, while waiting on should you see them admitted into the kinghim in secret, or attending his public ordi- dom of God, and you yourselves be thrust out; nances; and were our eyes opened, like the your present advantages would then prove an eyes of Elisha's servant, to behold what is aggravation of your guilt and misery. As very near, though unseen, we should feel the yet there is room. Strive to enter while the force of the psalmist's observation. The gate of mercy remains open. Think of the powers of darkness surround us; their malice solemnities of that great day. Many will against us is heightened by the favour of our then be condemned, though they who believe food Shepherd toward us; they rage, but in in the Son of God will be justified. Consivain; for though they could presently. de- der who will condemn them, God himself, Ps. prive us of peace, and fill us with anguish, 1. 6. From his inquisition there can be no if we were left exposed to their assaults, they retreat; from his sentence there can be no are under a, restraint, and can do nothing appeal. And consider what the condemnawithout his permission. When he is pleased tion will be; a final exclusion from his fato give quietness, who then can make trou-vour; a never-ceasing sense of his awful ble? Job xxxiv. 29, He preserves and pro- displeasure ; a state of eternal horror and vides for his sheep in the midst of wolves. despair, without mitigation, without the
We may close this part of our subject with smallest ray of hope! Can you deliberately two or three reflections, which, though as to give up all claim to happiness, and determine the substance of them I may have offered to rush upon the thick bosses of God's buckyou before, are always seasonable and suita- ler, (Job xy, 20, to dery his power, and ta
THE SONG OF THE REDEEMED.
dare his threatenings, rather than forego the the redeemed before the throne, in which the transitory and delusive pleasures of sin ! And angels cannot share, though from their love can you do this with the gospel sounding in to redeemed sinners, and from their views of your ears! May the Lord prevent it! How the manifold wisdom and glory of God in viever, observe you are once more warned, siting such sinners with such a salvation, they once more invited. If now at last, after so cheerfully take a part in the general chorus. many delays, so much perverseness on your The redemption spoken of, is suited to the port, you will honestly and earnestly seek various cases of sinners of every nation, penhim, he will be found of you. But if you ple, and language. And many sinners of dipersist in your obstinacy, your condemnation vers descriptions, and from distant situations, will be inevitable and sure.
scattered abroad into all lands, through a long succession of ages, will, by the efficacy of this redemption, be gathered together into
one, John xi. 52. They will constitute one SERMON XLVIII.
family, united in one great Ilead, Eph. 111. 14, 15. When they shall tully attain the end of their hope, and encircle ibe throne, day
without night, rejoicing, their remembrance – Thou-hast redeemed us to God, by thy of what they once were, their sense of the
blood (out of every kindred, and tongue, happiness they are raised to, and of the grest and people, and nation.) Rev. v. 9. consideration to which they owe their deliver.
ance and their exaltation, will excite a perThe extent, variety, and order of the cre- petual joyful acknowledgment to this purport. ation, proclaim the glory of God. He is like. They were once lost, but could contribute wise maximus in minimis. The smallest of nothing to their own recovery. Therefore his works that we are capable of examining: they ascribe all the glory to their Saviour. such for instance as the eye or the wing of They strike their golden harps, and sing in a little insect, the creature of a day, are strains, loud as from numbers without numstamped with an inimitable impression of his ber, sweet as from blest voices, “ Thou art wisdom and power. Thus in his written word worthy—for thou wast slain, and hast redecinthere is a greatness, considering it as a whole, ed us to God by thy blood, out of every kiand a beauty and accuracy in the smaller dred, and tongue, and people, and nation." paris, analogous to what we observe in the But though this song, and this joy, will visible creation, and answerable to what an only be consummated in heaven, the comenlightened and humble mind may expect in mencement takes place upon earth. Belitto a book which bears the character of a divine ers, during their present state of wartare, revelation. A single verse, a single clause, are taught to sing it; in feebler strains inwhen viewed (if I may so speak) in the mi- deed, but the subject of their joy, and the croscope of close meditation, is often found to object of their praise, are the same which contain a fulness, a world of wonders. And inspire the harps and songs in the world of though a connected and comprehensive ac- light. May I not say that this life is the time quaintance with the whole scripture be desi- of their rehearsal ?' They are now learning rable and useful, and is no less the privilege their song, and advancing in meetness to join than the duty of those who have capacity and in the chorus on high, which, as death sure time at their disposal to acquire it; yet there cessively removes them, is continually inis a gracious accommodation to the weakness creasing by the accession of fresh voices. All of some persons, and the circumstances of that they know, or desire to know, all they posothers. So that in many parts of scripture, sess or hope for, is included in this ascription. whatever is immediately necessary to con I take the last clause of the verse into the firm our faith, to animate or regulate our subject. The words suggest three principal practice, is condensed into a small compass, points to our consideration : and comprised in a few verses; yea, some I. The benefit,-Redemption to God. times a single sentence, when unfolded and II. The redemption price,-By thy blood. examined, will be found to contain all the III. The extent of the benefit, -To a peogreat principles of duty and comfort. Such ple out of every kindred, and tongue, and is the sentence which I have now read to you. nation. In the Messiah it is inserted in the grand I. Thou hast redeemed us to God. - Rechorus taken from the 12th and 13th verses demption or ransom is applicable to a state of of this chapter. And as it may lead us to a imprisonment for debt, and to a state of bond. compendious recapitulation of the whole sub-age or slavery. From these ideas taken toject, and by the Lord's blessing, may prepare gether, we may form some estimate of the us to join in the following ascription of praise misery of our fallen state; a theme, which, to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the if I cannot insist upon at large in every disLamb; I propose to consider it in its proper course, I would never wholly omit. For we connection as a part of the leading song of can neither understand the grace, nor enjoy
the comfort of the gospel, but in proportion gality for pride. The strong one armed will as we have a heart-télt and abiding conviction maintain bis dominion, till the stronger than' of our wretched condition as sinners without he interposes and says, Loose him, and let him it. They who think themselves whole, know go, for I have found a ransom. Then, by vir. not their need of a physician, (Matt. ix. 12,) tue of the redemption-price, the prey is taken but to the sick he is welcome.
from the mighty, and the captive is delivered, If a man, shut up in prison for a heavy Is. xlix. 24, 25. Then the enslaved sinner, debt, which he is utterly incapable of dis- like the man out of whom the legion was cast, charging, should obtain his liberty, in consi- sits at the feet of Jesus, in peace, and in his deration of payment made for him by another, right mind, Mark v. 15. He becomes the he might be properly said to be redeemed from Lord's freed-man. imprisonment. This supposition will apply For he is not only delivered from guilt and to our subject. The law and justice of God thrall, he is redeemed to God. He is now have demands upon us which we cannot an- restored to his original state, as an obedient swer. We are therefore shut up, under the and dependent creature, devoted to his Crealaw, in unbeliet, helpless, and hopeless, till tor, conformed to his will and image, and adwe know and can plead the engagement of a mitted to communion with him in love. These surety for us. For a time, like Peter, we are are blessings which alone can satisfy the sleeping in our prison (Acts xii. 6—10,) re- soul, and without which it is impossible for gardless of danger. The first sensible effect man to be happy. While he is ignorant of of the grace of God, is to awaken us from his proper good, and seeks it in creatures, he this insensibility. Then we begin to feel the is and must be wretched. Madness is in his horrors of our dungeon, and the strength of heart, a deceived, disordered imagination our chains, and to tremble under the appre- turns him aside, and he feeds upon ashes, and hension of an impending doom. But grace upon the wind, Is. xlv. 20. But by grace he proceeds to reveal the Saviour and friend of is renewed to a sound judgment, his mind rebinners, and to encourage our application to ceives a right direction, and he is turned from him. In a good hour the chains fall off, the darkness to light, from the power of Satan bars of iron and brass are broken asunder, to God, Acts xvi. 18. and the prison doors fiy open. The prisoner II. What unspeakably, and beyond conunderstands that all his great debt is forgiven, ception enhances the value of this deliverblesses his deliverer, obtains his liberty, and ance, is the consideration of the means by departs in peace.
which it is effected. For it is not merely it We are likewise in bondage, the servants, deliverance, but a redemption. It is not an the slaves of a harder task-master than Pha- act of mere mercy, but of mercy harmonizing raoh was to Israel. Satan, though not by with justice. It is not an act of power only, right. yet by a righteous permission, tyran- but of unexampled and expensive love.-nizes over us, till Jesus makes us free, John "Thou has redeemed us by thy blood!" viii. 34, 36. The way of transgressors is The sentence denounced by the law against hard, Prov. xiii. 15. Though the solicitations transgressors, was death. And therefore when and commands of that enemy who worketh in Messiah became our surety, to satisfy the law the children of disobedience (Eph. ii. 2,) are for us, he must die. The expression of his in some respects suited to our depraved incli- blood, is often used figuratively for his death, nations, yet the consequences are grievous. perhaps to remind us how he died. His was A burdened conscience, a wasted constitution, a bloody death. When he was in his agony a ruined fortune and character, swiftly and in Gethsemane, his sweat was as great dropy closely follow the habits of intemperance and of blood, falling down to the ground, Luke lewdness; and they who seem to walk in a xxii. 44. His blood flowed when he gave smoother path, are deceived, mortified, and his back to the smiters, under the painful disappointed daily. If persons who live open- strokes of the scourging he endured previous ly and habitually in a course that is contrary to his crucifixion. It Nowed from his head, to the rule of God's word, speak swelling when the soldiers, having mocked his characwords of vanity (2 Pet. ii. 18, 19,) and boast ter of King by crowning him with thorns, by of their liberty, believe them not. We are their rude blows forced the thorns into his sure they carry that in their bosom which temples. His blood streained from the hourly contradicts their assertions. Yea, some wounds made by the spikes, which pierced times their slavery is so galling, that they at his hands and his feet, when they fastened tempt to escape, but in vain. They are soon him to the cross. When he hung upon the retaken, and their bonds made stronger. The cross, his body was full of wounds, and coverissue of their short-lived reformations, which ed with blood. And, after his death, another they defer as long as possible, and at last set large wound was made in his side, from about with reluctance, usually is, that their which issued blood and water. Such was latter end proves worse than their beginning. the redemption-price he paid for sinners, his At most, they only exchange one sinful habit blood, the blood of his heart. Without shedfor another, sensuality for avarice, or prodi- I ding of blood there could be no remission. Vol. II.
Nor could any blood answer the great design, tion for hope, and that, unless you love the but his. Not any, not all the bloody sacrifices Lord Jesus Christ, you must perish, some of appointed by the law of Moses could take our hearers account us bigoted, uncharitable, away sin, as it respects the conscience, nor and bitter. But if you could see what passes afford a plea, with which a sinner could in secret, how faithful ministers mourn over venture to come before the most high God, those who reject their message, how their disMicah vi. 6. But the blood of Messiah, in obedience cuts them to the heart, and abates whom were united the perfections of the di- the comfort they would otherwise find in your vine nature, and the real properties of hu- service; if you could believe us when we manity, and which the apostle therefore styles say (I trust truly) that we are ready to imthe blood of God, (Acts xx. 28,) this precious part unto you, not the gospel of God only, blood cleanses from all sin. It is exhibited as but our own souls also, because you are dear a propitiation of perpetual efficacy, by which to us, (1 Thess. ii. 8,) and we long for your God declares his righteousness, no less than salvation; then you would think more fahis mercy, in forgiving iniquities, (Rom. iii.vourably of us. But after all we cannot, we 24, 26,) and shows himsell just to the de- dare not, soften our message to please men. mands of his holiness, and the honour of his What we find in the word of God, we must government, when he accepts and justifies declare. It would be at the peril of our souls, the sinner who believes in Jesus.
to speak smooth things, to prophesy deceits If these things were understood and at- (Is. xxx. 10,) to you; and, so far as we preach tended to, would it be thought wonderful that the truth, it will be at the peril of your souls, this Saviour is very precious to those who be- if we are disregarded. lieve in him, and who obtain redemption by III. The benefits of this redemption extend his blood ? How can it possibly be otherwise? to a numerous people, who are said to be reGrace like this, when known, must captivate deemed out of every kindred, tongue, and naand fix the heart! Not only to save, but to tion. I have, upon a former occasion,* of die, and to die for his enemies! Such costly fered you my sentiments concerning the exlove, productive of such glorious conse- tent of the virtue of that blood which taketh quences, and to such unworthy creatures! away the sin of the world. But the clause Surely the apostle's mind was filled and fired now before us invites me to make a few adwith these considerations, when authenti- ditional observations upon a subject which, I cating an epistle with his own hand, he sub-conceive, it much concerns us rightly to unjoined this emphatical close, “If any man derstand. love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be The redeemed of the Lord are those who Anathema Maranatha !" 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Do actually experience the power of his redempyou think, my brethren, that the apostle took tion, who are delivered from the dominion of pleasure in denouncing so severe a sentence sin and Satan, and brought into a state of against all those wbo did not see (as we say) liberty, peace, and holiness. That the people with his eyes? Had he so little affection for of every kindred, nation, and tongue, are not sinners, that he could thus consign them to redeemed in this sense universally, is as cerdestruction by multitudes, for differing from tain as evidence of facts, and express declarahim in what some persons only deern an opi- tions of scripture can make it
. “ Without nion? Rather consider him, not as breathing holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Multiont his own wishes, but as speaking in the tudes, thus disqualified, will be found tremname and on the behalf of God. He knew bling, on the left hand of the Judge, at the it must be, and he declared it would be so great day. But a remnant will be saved, acIt was no pleasure to him to see them deter- cording to the election of grace. For they mined to perish. On the contrary, he had who differ, who are redeemed to the service great grief and sorrow of heart for them, of God, while others live and die in the love even for the Jews, who had treated him with and service of sin, do not make themselves to the greatest cruelty. Even for their sakes, differ, 1 Cor. iv. 7. It becomes the potsherds he could have been content to be made an of the earth to ascribe to their Maker the anathema himself (Rom. ix. 3) that they glory of his sovereignty, and to acknowledge, might be saved. But upon the whole, he ac- that, if they have a good hope, it is because quiesced in the will of God, and acknowledg- it pleased the Lord to make them his people ed it to be just, right, and equal, that if any who were once not his people, Hos. i. 23. man would not love the Lord Jesus Christ, Yet a way of conceiving of the doctrines of after all that he had done and suffered for sin the divine sovereignty, and of a personal elecners, he should be accursed. By this com- tion unto life, has often obtained, which seems parison of the apostle's severe language with to have a tendency to render the mind narrow, his compassionate temper, I am led to digress selfish, and partial
, and to straiten the exer: a little farther. It suggests an apology for cise of that philanthropy which the genius ministers of the gospel in general. When and spirit of the gospel powerfully inculcate. we declare the terrors of the Lord, when we issure you that there is but one solid founda
• Sormou xvi.
The best of us, perhaps, are more prone than have not yet received their full accomplishwe are aware of to assimilate the great God ment, and that a time is coming when many to ourselves, and to frame our ideas of him (perhaps the greater part of mankind) of all too much according to our own image. So nations, and people, and languages, shall know that often much of a man's natural disposition the joyful sound of the gospel, and walk in may be observed in the views he forms of the the light of the Redeemer's countenance. At divine perfections and conduct; as, on the present, I would confine myself to consider other hand, his conceptions of the character what ground the scripture affords us to hope of God strengthen and confirm him in his that there are many of every nation, people, own tempers and habits. There are persons, and tongue, even now, singing this song bewho being persuaded in their own minds (we fore his throne. would hope upon sure grounds) that they The revelations vouchsafed to the beloved themselves are of the elect, appear to be lit- disciple in Patmos, exhibit a succession of tle concerned what may become of others. great events, extending (I suppose) from the Their notions of God's sovereignty, and his apostles' days to the end of time. But while right to do what he will with his own, though only the learned can so much as attempt to often insufficient to preserve them from re- ascertain from history the dates and facts to pining and impatience under the common which the prophecies already fulfilled refer, events of human life, raise them above all or to offer probable conjectures concerning doubts and difficulties on a subject which the the events as yet future (in which the most apostle speaks of as unsearchable and un-judicious commentators are far from being traceable; where he acknowledges depths agreed,) there are passages interspersed which he was unable to fathom, (Rom. xi. 33,) which seem designed to administer consolaall appears to them quite plain and easy'; tion to plain believers, by representations suitwhere he admires and adores, they arrogant-ed to raise their thoughts to the state of the ly dispute, and determine ex cathedra, and church triumphant. Though they are unable harshly censure all who are not so eagle- to explain the particulars of what they read, sighted as themselves. Methinks they who there is a glory resulting from the whole, know the worth of a soul, from its vast capa- which animates their hope and awakens city for happiness and misery, and its immor- their joy. Of this kind I think is that vision, tal duration, cannot justly be blamed for al. (Rev. vii. 9, ad finem,) in which the apostle lowing no limits to their benevolent wishes saw the servants of God, who were sealed in for the salvation of mankind, but the will of their foreheads, in number a hundred and God, as it is plainly made known to us in his forty-four thousand; and besides these a great word. To this we are to submit, not as of multitude which no man could number, of all necessity only, but cheerfully, assured that nations and kindreds, and people, and tongues, his will is wise, holy, and good; that the stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, Judge of all the world will do right; and to clothed with white robes, and palms in their wait for the day when he will condescend to hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, clear up every difficulty, and give us that sa “Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon tisfaction which, in our present state of igno- the throne, and to the Lamb," &c. I confess rance and weakness, we are incapable of re- myself unable to expound this sublime pasceiving; Shall mortal man be more just, or sage, and to give the full or even the princan he be more merciful than God? It is a cipal sense of it with certainty. But that it false compassion, founded in a blameable dis- has some reference to what is now passing regard of what is due to the glory of his great within the vail, which bides the unseen world name, that prompts us to form a wish that his from our view, I cannot doubt. I propose my unerringly wise appointments could be other thoughts upon it with caution and diffidence. wise than they are. Yet it is a comfort to I dare not speak with that certainty which I think that his mercy, in which he delights, feel myself warranted to use, when I set bein which he is peculiarly said to be rich, and fore you from scripture the great truths which which is higher than the heavens, will, in its are essential to a life of faith in the Son of exercise, far exceed the bounds which some God; yet I hope to advance nothing that is fallible mortals would peremptorily assign to contrary to scripture, or to any deductions it. We must not indulge conjecture and hy- fairly and justly drawn from it. pothesis farther than the scripture will war Having premised this acknowledgment of rant; but while we humbly depend upon this my incompetence to decide positively, I veninfallible light, we need not be afraid to fol- ture to say, that by the hundred and fortylow it, though it should in some particulars, four thousand sealed in their foreheads (a delead us a little beyond the outlines of some finite for an indefinite number, which is frelong received, and in the main very valuable quent in scriure language) I understand human systems of divinity.
those, who, living to muture age, and where I have repeatedly expressed my belief, that the gospel is afforded, are enabled to make a miny prophecies respecting the spread and public and visible profession of religion, and slory of the king lon of Messiah upon earth are marked as it were in their foreheads, and