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when he says,
know to whom they belong, by their open and the gospel, have a prevailing dominion and habitual separation from the spirit and customs influence. What can be more deplorable, in of the world which lieth in wickedness. And the view of an enlightened and benevolent the exceedinz great multitude, contradistin-mind, than the general state of the Roman guished from these, I conceive to be those who and Greek churches! where the traditions, are elsewhere styled the Lord's hidden ones; inventions, and doctrines of men, a train of and that these are a great multitude indeed, pompous and burdensome ceremonies, a degathered by him, who knows them that are pendence upon masses, penance, and pilgrinhis, out of all nations, and kindreds, and peo- ages, upon legends and fictitious saints, ple, and tongues. I may distribute them into form the principal features of the public rethe following classes
ligion. Many nations are involved in this 1. Infants.—I think it at least highly sro- gross darkness, but they are not wholly desbable, that when our Lord says, “Sutter little titute of the scripture; some portions of it children to come unto me, and forbid them are interwoven with their authorized forms not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven," of worship; and we cannot with reason doubt (Matt. xix. 14,) he does not only intimate the but a succession of individuals among them necessity of our becoming like little children have been acquainted with the life and power in simplicity, as a qualification without which of true godliness
, notwithstanding the disad(as he expressly declares in other places) we vantages and prejudices of their education. cannot enter into his kingdom, but informs | There are likewise amongst Protestants us of a fact, that the number of infants who schemes of doctrines, supported by learning are effectually redeemed to God by his blood, and by numbers, which are not more conformso greatly exceeds the argregate nuniber of' able to the standard of the New Testament adult believers, that, comparatively speaking, than the grossest errors of Popery; and yet his kingdomn may be said to consist of little here and there persons may be met with, children. The apostle speaks of them as not who, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, enhaving "sinned after the similitude of Adam's abling them to understand the scriptures, are transgression," (Rom. v. 14,) that is, with the made wiser than their teachers; and who, consent of their understanding and will. And though still fettered by some mistakes and
* We must all appear before prejudices, give evidence in the main, that the judgment scat of Christ,” he adds, “ that their hopes are fixed upon the only atoneevery man may give an account of what he ment, that they are redeemed to God, and has done in the body, whether be good or
are partakers of that faith which worketh by bad,” 2 Cor. v. 10. But children who die in love, purifies the heart, and overcometh the their infancy have not done any thing in the world. body, either good or bad. It is true, they are 3. I will go one step farther. The inferby nature evil, and must, if saved, be the ences that have been made by some persona subjects of a supernatural change. And from the apostle Peter's words, that "God is though we cannot conceive how this change no respecter of persons, but in every nation, is to be wrought, yet I suppose few are so he that feareth him, and worketh righteous rash as to imagine it impossible that any in-ness, is accepted with him,” (Acts x. 34, 35,) fants can be saved. The same power that are, undoubtedly, rash and unscriptural. They produces this change in some, can produce it would conclude from thence, that it is of litin all; and therefore I am willing to believe, tle importance what people believe, provided till the scripture forbids me, that infants of all they are sincere in their way; that the idolanations and kindreds, without exception, who trous Heathens, even the most savage of die before they are capable of sinning after them, whose devotion is cruelty, who polluto the similitude of Adam's transgression, who their worship with human blood, and live in have done nothing in the body of which they the practice of vices disgraceful to huinanity. can give an account, are included in the elec- are in a very safe state, because they act, as tion of grace. They are born for a better it is supposed, according to their light." But world than this; they just enter this state of if the light which is in them be darkness, tribulation; they quickly pass through it; how great is that darkness !" Such a lax their robes are washed white in the blood of candour as this tends to make the gospel unthe Lamb, and they are admitted, for his sake, necessary; if they who have it not are therebefore the throne. Should I be asked to draw fore excusable, though they neither love nor the line, to assign the age at which children fear God, and live in open violation of the begin to be accountable for actual sin, it would law of their nature. The declaration, that give me no pain to confess my ignorance. “ Without holiness no man shall see the The Lord knoweth.
Lord,” (Heb. xii. 14,) holds universally, and 2. A people hidden among the most de- without a single exception. But if we sup. generate communities, civil or ecclesiastical, pose a Heathen, desiitute of the means of that bear the name of Christian; where ig- grace, by which conversion is usually wrought, norance and superstition, or errors, which, to be brought to a sense of his misery, of the though morc refined, are no less contrary to emptiness and vanity of worldly things to a
conviction that he cannot be happy without , report they have heard of him is their sub the favour of the great Lord of the world, to ject, their song, and their joy, while they are a feeling of guilt, and a desire of mercy; and on their journey, and their great support, that though he has no e.splicit knowledge of under the difficulties they meet with on the a Saviour, be directs the cry of his heart to road. What then will it be to see him as he the unknown Supreme to this purport, “ Ens is ? As yet, the one half is not told them. Or entium, miserere mei, Father and source of at least they are not yet capable of conceivbeings, have mercy upon me!"—who will ing the half, or the thousandth part, of what prove that such views and desires can arise they read in the scripture, concerning his in the heart of a sinner, without the energy wisdom, his glory, and his grace. We weakof that Spirit which Jesus is exalted to be- en, rather than enlarge, the sense of such a blow? Who will lake upon him to say, that passage as this, by our feeble comments. We his blood has not sufficient efficacy to redeem must die before we can understand it. To to God a sinner who is thus disposed, though the bulk of mankind, Wait the great he has never heard of his name? Or who has teacher death,” is colu, is dangerous advice. a warrant to affirm, that the supposition 1 If they are not taught by the gospel while have made is, in the nature of things, impos- they live, the teaching of death will be too sible to be realized ? But I stop-1 do not laté. Dreadful will be the condition of those often amuse you with conjecture. And who cannot be convinced of their mistakes, though for want of express warrant from till repentance and amendment will be imscripture, I dare not give the sentiments 1 practicable. But death will be a great teacher, have now offered, a stronger name than pro. indeed, to a believer; he will then know more bable, or conjectural, I hope I do not propose by a glance, and in a moment, of the happithem for your amusement. They will prove ness he is now expecting, than by all he to your advantage and my own, if they are could collect from the inquiry and experience helpful to guard us against a narrow, harsh, of a long course of years in ihis world. and dormatical spirit; and if, without abating The scenery of this chapter, if attentively our reverend submission to the revealed will considered, is sufficient to snatch our thoughts of God, they have a tendency to confirm our from the little concernments of time, and to views of his goodness, and the power and give us some anticipation of the employments compassions of the great Redeemer. and enjoyments of heaven. Come, all ve that
are wearied and I urdened with affiictions and temptations, look up, and for a while, at least, forget your sorrows! The I amb is upon his
throne, surrounded by a multitude of his reSERMON XLIX.
deemed people, who once were afflicted and burdened like yourselves; but now all tears are wiped from their eyes. They have a song
peculiarly their own, and are represented as Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to re-taking the first and leading part in worship
ceive power, and riches, and wisdom, and and praise. The angels cannot sing their strength, and honour, and glory, and song, they were not redeemed to God hy his blessing !-Rev, v. 12.
blood; but they are interested in the sulject.
Their bigbest views of the manifold wisdom It was a good report which the queen of of God are derived from the v.onders of reSheba heard, in her own land, of the wisdom demption. Therefore they join in the chorus, and glory of Solomon. It lessened her at- Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to retachment to home, and prompted her to un-ceive power, and riches, and wisdom, and dertake a long journey to visit this greater strength, and honour, and glory, and Hessking, of whom she had heard so inuch. She ing." If you have a humble hope of bearing went, and she was not disappointed. Great a part in ihis immortal song, will you hang as the expectations were which she had down your heads like a fulrush, because you formed from the relation made her by others have the honour of following your lord they fell short of what she saw and heard through many tribulations to his kingdom? herself, when she was admitted into his The number of the angels is expressed presence. Good, likewise, is the report of indefinitely, ten thousand times ten tborirand, the gospel. It has a powerful effect upon and thousands of thousands; myriuds, and those who receive it by faith. It is abund- millions; to intimate to us, that, with respect antly sufficient to convince them of the com to our capacities and corceptions, tiry are parative insignificance of all that they most innumerable. Their number is known to him admired and esteemed in this world. 'Frogi who telletli the number of the stars and callthat hour they become strangers and pil- lith them all by their names, (Palm cxlvii. grims upon earth. They set ont, in the way 4,) and to him only. The scripture intimates which God has prescribed, in hopes of seeing a diversity of ranks and orders among them, him who is greater than Solomon; and the Thrones, dominions, principalitics, and pow
THE CHORUS OF ANGELS.
ers; but as to particulars, there is little said II. Their praises are heightened, when that might gratify our curiosity. It is enough they consider, How he was slain. He did for us to know, that the highest of them, and not die a natural death. He was slain. Nor that all of them, worship him who is clothed did he fall like a hero, by an honourable wound in our nature. My text expressly informs us, in the field of battle. The impression which that the object of their worship is the Lamb the death of the late General Wolfe made that was slain. Not that the humanity of upon the public, is not yet quite forgotten. Christ, which is but a creature, is simply and He conquered for us, but it cost him his life. formally, the object of their worship; but But he died honourably, and was lamented by they worship him who has assumed the hu- his country. Not so the Lamb of God. He man nature into personal union with him- died the death of a slave, of a malefactor. self; God manifest in the flesh, God in Cruelty, malice, and contempt, combined to Christ. Though the world censure or de- give his sufferings every possible aggravation. spise us for honouring the Son as we honour And after he was slain, very few laid it to the Father, (John v. 23,) we have here a heart. The world went on as it did before, good precedent, as we have in many places as though nothing extraordinary had happenof scripture, the warrant of an express com- ed. But on this dark ground the perfections mand. Whether men are pleased or not, we of God were displayed in their fullest lustre; will, we must, worship the Lamb that was and they are the perfections of the great Reslain. To animate our devotion, let us thank- deemer, and therefore distinctly ascribed to fully consider, Why he was slain, and How him by the angels in the words which follow he was slain.
-"Power and wisdom, and riches, and I. Why he was slain.—The redeemed say, strength, and honour, and glory, and bless For us. He loved us, and washed us from ing.' our sins in his own blood," Rev. i. 5. They Though each of these words have a distinct were sinners and enemies; they were slaves sense, a nicety in defining them, and stating to sin and Satan; yet he loved them, and their precise meaning is of less importance died to redeem them. It is by virtue of his than to feel the combined efficacy of them all, blood and death that they are now before the to impress our hearts with sentiments of rethrone. Nothing less than his death could verence, confidence and love. The fulness have made them duly sensible of their misery, of expression may teach us, that every kind nothing less could have relieved them from it
. of excellence is the indubitable right and He was lifted up upon the cross, that by the possession of the Lamb that was slain. He powerful magnetism of his dying love, he is worthy to have them all attributed to him might, in the hour of his grace, draw their in the most absolute sense, and consequently hearts to himself, John xii. 32. This was the worthy of our adoration, dependence, and design, this was the effect of his sufferings. A praise. crucified Saviour, though a stumbling-block to 1. Power. It is spoken once, yea, twice the self-righteous, and foolishness to vain rea- we have heard the same, that power belongeth soners, was to them the power and the wisdom unto God, Ps. lxii. 11. It belongeth to bim of God for salvation. They looked unto him, eminently and exclusively. All the power and were enlightened; they trusted in him, of creatures is derived from him. Such is and were not ashamed. By faith in his name, the power of the Lamb. He styles himself they obtained peace with God, they re • Il avtoxestwę, the Omnipotent, the Upholder nounced the ways of sin, they warred the and Possessor of all things, Rev. i. 8, 11. good warfare, they overcame the world, and He exerciseth this power in the human were at length made more than conquerors. nature, Matt. xxviii. 18. He doth what For his sake they endured the cross, and de- he pleaseth in the armies of heaven, and spised the shame. They met with bad treat- among the inhabitants of the earth, (Dan. iv. ment from the world, but it was from the 35;) and none can stay his band, or say unto world that crucified him. While they were him, What doest thou? He has, therefore, here their characters were obscured by their all sufficiency, and uncontrollable authority, own imperfections, and by the misrepresenta- for the discharge of his office, as the Mediator tions and reproaches of their enemies. But and head of his church. The divine perfecnow their reproach is removed, and they tions being infinite, are not distinct in themshine, each one like the sun, in the kingdom selves, though the scripture, in condescension of their Father, Matt. xiii. 43. What an im- to our weakness, authorizes us to speak of mense constellation of suns! This their full them as distinguishable. God is one. And salvatiou was the joy set before him, for the the power which can preserve and govern sake of which he became obedient unto death, the world, involves in the idea of it every even the death of the cross. And now they other excellence, which is separately mensee him as he is, they ascribe all their vic- tioned in this passage. tories and honours to him, and unite in one 2. Wisdom.-He is the only wise God, and song of endless praise to the Lamb that was our Saviour, Jud." nowledge is per slain.
fect, his plan
Cimself be is
essentially the wisdom of God, (Prov. viii. 22,) collected into one effort, would be as chais and he is our wisdom, 1 Cor. i. 30. It is life before the whirlwind! The Lord of all power rternal to know the only true God, (John xvii. and might speaks, and it is done; he com3,) and therefore it is life eternal_to know mandeth and it standeth fast. Though the Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. For he is waves of the stormy sea toss themselves, they the only way, and the only door to this know- cannot prevail; (Ps. xciii. 3, 4;) he checks ledge; no one can come unto God, or attain them in the height of their rage, setting to any just conceptions of him, but in and by bounds to their violence which they cannot the Son of his love, who so perfectly repre- pass, saying, "Hitherto shalt thou come and sents God to us, is so completely the bright- no farther, and here shall thy proud billows ness of bis glory, and the express image of be stayed,” Job xxxviii. 10, 11. With equal his person, that whoso hath seen him, hath sovereignty, certainty, and ease, he rules over seen the Father, John xiv. 9. By him is moral agents. He formed the heart of man, opened to us the unsearchable wisdom of the and he can fill it with terror or with comfort divine counsels, particularly in the great in a moment, in any assignable circumstances. work of redemption. “ No one hath seen He can make it happy in a dungeon, (Acts God at any time; the only begotten Son, who xvi. 25,) or impress it with dismay and deis in the bosom of the Father, he hath reveal- spair upon a throne, Dan. v. 5, 6. All hearts ed him," John i. 18. It is by wisdom com- are thus incessantly under his influence. And municated from him, that his people are made the hedge of his promise and protection surwise unto salvation. Though there are few rounds those who trust in him, as with mounscholars and philosophers among them, and tains, and walls of brass and fire, impenetramany of them are despised for their igno- ble to the assaults of the powers of darkness, rance and weakness, yet in truth they have unless so far as he, for wise and holy ends, is all a good understanding, for they know the pleased to give permission. With the arın Lord and his will; they know wherein their of his strength he upholdeth them that are proper happiness consists, and how it is to be falling, and raiseth up them that are bowed obtained. They are instructed how to walk down, (Ps. cxlv. 14,) and is, in one and the and to please God, how to bear afflictions same instant, a present and immediate help with patience, and to meet death with com- in trouble to all who call upon him, Ps. xlvi. posure. This wisdom is far superior to that 1. Therefore they that abide under his of the schools. But he bęstows and maintains shadow are safe; they pass unhurt through it. The eyes of their mind are opened, and floods and flames, because their Redeemer is they see by his light; but they have no strong. And when, in defiance of all their light of their own, or in themselves. They enemies he has brought them together in his wait upon him for direction in every diffi- heavenly kingdom, they will, with one conculty, for the solution of every hard question sent, ascribe unto the Lord glory and strength. which perplexes their spirits; and he makes 5. Honour.—He is the fountain of it. All the crooked straight, teaches them to avoid the honour of his creatures, and of his people, the snares that are laid for them, or extricates is from him; as the sun beautifies and gilds them when entangled. Therefore in time, the objects he shines upon, which, without and to eternity, they will admire and adore him are opaque and obscure. Because his peohis wisdom.
ple are precious in his sight, they are honour3. Riches. All the stores of mercy, grace, able. He clothes them with the garments and comfort, are in him, as light in the sun, of salvation, covers them with a robe of righor water in the ocean. The apostle, speak- teousness as a bridegroom decketh himself ing of the unsearchable riches of Christ, (Eph. with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth her. 1. 8,) gives us the idea of a mine, the height, self with jewels, ls. Ixi. 10. But who can length, depth, and breadth of which cannot speak of his own inherent honour, as Godbe investigated, nor the immense wealth it man and Mediator! We must wait till we contains exhausted. Of this fulness the poor see him, without a cloud or vail, receiving are invited to receive freely, and multitudes the homage and adoration of angels and men, from age to age have been enriched, and the For as yet the one-half cannot be told us. treasure is still undiminished., None are sent Then, however, it will be universally known, away empty; and when all have been sup- that he who possesses the fulness of wisdom plied, it will be full as at first.
and power, riches and strength, is worthy to 4. Strength.—That energy and efficacy of receive all honour. Ah! how different will his power, by which he accomplishes his holy he then appear, from that humble form he purposes. Who can conceive of this? How once assumed, when, for our sakes, he was a just is the psalmist's reasoning, “He that man of sorrows, despised, rejected, and nailed formed the eye, shall not he see? He that to the ignominious cross! planted the ear, shall not he hear?" Ps. xciv. 6. Glory.--The manifestation of God, that 9. So we may say, How strong is he from by which he is known and magnified, in the whom all created strength is derived, and be view of finite intelligences: the result, the fore whom the strength of all creatures, if combined effulgence of his holiness, grace
wisdom, truth, and love: this is his glory, and dependent character? Then surely the and this glory is revealed and displayed in scripture would have a direct tendency to Christ. He is glorious in his works of crea. promote idolatry. Far be the thought from tion and providence, but these do not fully ex- us! The scripture teaches us the knowhibit his characier. But in the Lamb upon ledge of the true God, and the worship due the throne shines his glory, full-orbed. And to him. Therefore Messiah, the Lamb that all in heaven, and all in earth, who behold it, was slain, is the true God, the proper and take up the song of Moses and the Lamb, immediate object of the worship of angels and “Who is like unto thee, O Lord? Who is of men. like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in Lat us therefore take up a lamentation praises, doing wonders !—Great and mar- for those who slight the glorious Redeemer, vellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! and refuse him the honour due to his name. just and true are thy ways, thou King of Their mistake should excite, not our anger saints !" Exod. xv. 11; Rev. xv. 3.
cr scorn, but our pity and prayers. Are 7. Blessing.--He is the author of all bless- there any such amongst us? Alas, my felings, of all the happiness ang good which his low-sinners, you know not what you do! people receive, and he is the deserved object Alas! you know him not, nor do you know of their universal praise. The different senses yourselves. I am well aware that a thouin which we use the word blessing, taken to- sand arguments of mine will not persuade gether, may express that intercourse or com- you; but I can simply tell you what would munion which is between the head and the soon make you at least desirous of adopting mystical members of his body. He blesses our sentiments upon this subject. If he who them effectually with the light of his counte. bas that power over the heart which I have nance, with liberly, grace, and peace. He been speaking of, was pleased to give you blesses them daily. His mercies are renewed this moment a sense of the holiness and auto them every morning. He will bless them thority of God, and of your conduct towards eternally, Blesse) are the people who have him as his creatures, your strongest objecthis Lord for their God. They can make tions to the high honours we attribute to the him no suitable returns, yet in their way they Saviour would this moment fall to the bless him. They admire, adore, and praise ground, and you would be imediately conhim. They call upon all the powers of their vinced, that either Jesus Christ is the true souls to bless him. They proclaim his good. God and eternal life, or that you must perish. ness, and that he is worthy to receive the as. You would no longer expert mercy but in a «ription of power, and riches, and wisdom, way perfectly consonant with the righteous and strength, and honour, and glory, and ness and truth of God declared in his word, blessing. In proportion to their attainments and with the honour and purity of bis moral in this delightful exercise of worship, love, government. This would lead you to perand gratitude, they enjoy a heaven upon ceive the necessit of an atonement, and the earth; and to stand before him continually, insufficiency of any atonement but that which w behold his glory, to live under the uncloud- the Lamb of God has made by the sacrifice of ed beams of his favour, and to be able to bless bimself, (Heb. ix. 26,) and that the efficacy and praise him as they ought, without weari- even of his mediation depends upon his di. ness, abatement, interruption, or end, is what vine character. The scriptural doctrines of they mean when they speak of the heaven the depravity of man, the malignity of sin, they hope for hereafter. Such is the blessed- the eternal power and Godhead of the Sa. ness of those who have already died in the viour, the necessity and efficacy of his mediaLord. They see his face, they drink of the tion, and the inevitable, extremne, and endless rivers of pleasure which are at his right hand, nisery of those who finally reject him, are so they cast down their crowns before him, and closely connecteil, that if the first be rightly nay, thou art worthy.—Let us not be slothful, understood, it will open the mind to the re
Tleb. vi. 12,) but followers of them who, ception of the rest. But till the first be through faith and patience, have finished their known and felt, the importance and certainty course, and are entered into the joy of their of the others will be suspected, if not openly Lord.
denied. Of all this glory and honour the scripture Though the doctrines I have enumerated declares the Lamb that was slain to be wor-are, in these sceptical days, too generally disthy. Wisdom, riches, and strength, are his. puted and contradicted, I am fully confident Ilis power is infinite, his authority supreme. that it is impossible to demonstrate them to He is the author and giver of all good. He be false. Upon the lowest supposition, therehas life in himself, and he is the life of all fore, they possibly may be true; and the that live; the Lord and Head of the church conseqnences depending upon them, if they and of the universe. Can language express, should be found true at last, are so vastly mo or can heart conceive, a higher ascription mentous, that even the peradventure, the posand acknowledgment than this? Can all this sibility of their truthi, renders them deserving ve due to a creature? to one of a derived of your inost serious consideration. Tridlo