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not sufficed to teach it discretion--to check its wild and visionary schemes for dispensing with regeneration, and expelling God from the universe. Of the radical misdirection of the philosophical spirit, no other proof is needed than the fact that it does not end in faith. The legitimate tendency of all true philosophy is to simple faith—faith in God, in the Bible, in the Redeemer, in heaven and hell. What then can be said of that which levels its shafts at the mediatorial throne, and defies the power of Jehovah? No just understanding of its evils can be possible to us. Its worst manifestations are not in systems formally elaborated and set forth It infuses its deadly poison into the secret thoughts of men. ! penetrates the very foundations of virtue. It artfully insinuat itself even into the sacred desk, and from the very watch-towers of Zion, holds friendly intercourse with her vilest foes. But still the Saviour is not discouraged. Regarding these as mere specimens of the barriers in his way, I am sure it must be conceded his perseverance is against great difficulties.
4. It is long continued.—If for twenty years the father strives to reclaim his prodigal son, he is deemed a model of forbearance. But if, for the whole of the time, this child of Belial should use every opportunity to insult and revile that father; if he should repay every act of his love with violence, and still no word of severity should escape the paternal lips, but entreaties and tears of affection should respond to this rage, till life itself yields to grief, what language could express the astonishment of the world at such God-like patience? But what is the endurance of filial ingratitude for a score of years, or for a century, compared with the perseverance of Christ in his mediatorial work? All the ingratitude of men, and the rage of demons, for near six thousand years, have not been enough to drive him from the seat of mercy. Every wave of corruption that has dashed against the throne has been answered by a smile! Every word of blasphemy, by the language of tenderness and love! Generation after generation has risen in fiercest war against the Son of God, laughed, and wept, and cursed, and died! But the next generation has found him there with his hands of compassion extended to receive them! The vilest sinner that shall be born upon earth will find him on the mediatorial throne, waiting to hail him with the offer of mercy as he vents his rage against the Lamb of God. The fury of hell has assaulted his position in ceaseless storms, since the first look of compassion was cast upon a ruined world, but there he remains in the fullness of infinite merit—in the calmness of unlimited power-in the intelligence of omniscient wisdom, and in the activity of exhaustless love. And he will remain until the trump of judg. ment shall sound. Verily the perseverance of Christ in its action, is righteous in character, various in its expedients, against great difficulties, and long continued.
III. THE PERSEVERANCE OF CHRIST IN ITS TRIUMPAS.
1. The triumph indicated.---By prophecy, by the nature of Christ, and by the mode of his action. And the Lord God said unto
the serpent, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord: and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord : and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears : but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”—Here the fact of triumph is clearly indicated. To doubt it must therefore be infidelity.-- The nature of the triumph is set forth in the following glowing imagery: "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them."-Here is the triumph of the moral over the physical, The strength of the lion shall yield to the influence of thể little child! The dominion of "the earthly" must come to an end, and the ascendency of the spiritual be complete. The triumph of the real over the ideal. “Righteousness" and "faithfulness,” the two great realities, shall gird the Redeemer, and the vast fictions of sin and infidelity must disappear before him.-The triumph of the social over the selfish. The wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the child and the asp, all mingling in perfect harmony, symbolize the social state, under the peaceful reign of God's Mes. siah. And the triumph of the true over the false, "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The knowledge of the Lord is the soul of truth, the sum of philosophy, the centre of science. The earth filled with the knowledge of the Lord must therefore secure the universal prevalence of truth, the right direction of the philosophical spirit, and the purification of every department of science.
This, in general, is the triumph of Christ, indicated. To under. stand, in any adequate degree, these sublime indications, we must study with deep penetration every prophecy of the Bible, every attribute of the Son of God, and every development of his history,—a study which may well engage the master-minds of the race. However intense and glowing may be our visions of Messiah's reign, a deeper understanding of its Divine indications must render them more so. Such is the momentous personal interest which we have in the theme, that we should pause before it till our souls themselves become concentrated faith ; till time is anni. hilated, and heaven and earth are wrapped in the blaze of millennial day.
2. The triumph progressive. The purposes of God did not include the immediate conquest of the world. There are reasons to believe the true nature and destiny of man did not admit of it. Nor were the triumphs of Christ all reserved for the final period of his reign. They commenced with the first fact of redemption, and every additional fact was a triumph over all the obstacles opposed to its occurrence; and the series of faets which make up his history, have indicated the progress of his victories. These facts, heralded by prophets, have astonished the world by their striking significance and miraculous
power. Principles have also been gradually developed, which have grappled with their antagonists in the presence of sinners. Atonement by sacrifice has appeared against inexorable doom-Divine influence against human obduracy--pardon against the enormity of sin-life against death-holiness against depravity--liberty against fate—and finally, "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," against adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” Long and severe has been the contest between these mysterious forces. To the eye of man it may have appeared doubtful on which side victory would turn. But by universal consent it ought to "turn on the Lord's side," and this itself is a triumph.
But the triumph progressive may be traced in the application of these great principles. Mark it in the individual :- At the earliest dawn of reason the attempt is commenced to rescue him from the ruins of the fall. Conviction for sin, and a sense of duty to God, are among his first impressions. These gracious influences increase from year to year, but there are no indications of surrender, Indeed, the depravity of bis nature gathers strength from opposition, until from his outward vileness it begins to be feared that he is left "to believe a lie, that he might be damned." But at length his attention, his whole intellect, is conquered. His heart and his will yield to the sway of an invisible power, and you may hear him say
“Nay, but I yield, I yield
I can hold out no more;
And own thee conqueror."
A new and glorious life springs up within him. But he gradually discovers his remaining depravity, and it is probably long before this is totally removed, and the triumph in his entire nature com plete. Even then the war is not ended. He can resist no worldly allurement-no temptation, but by. that faith which transfers the battle to the Saviour. His power conquers every foe, even death itself, and the soul, emancipated, finds its home at last in the bosom of God. This is an outline of his engagements with the world, and of his gradual triumphs over it. Early in its history he set in motion a train of expedients for its recovery from ruin. Long darkness brooded over it, but the Saviour was not discouraged. He triumphed in the salvation of individuals. He triumphed in the deluge. He triumphed in Egypt. He triumphed in Palestine-at the tomb of Joseph-in Germany—in France in England-in America ; and at this moment his triumphs are spreading "from sea to sea,” and “from the rivers to the ends of the earth.” Progressive civilization--progressive Christianity, is all the triumph of Christ. It is true, there is still a vast amount of iniquity upon earth. Sin rages with fearful malice, but the energy of Christ must conquer in the future as it has done in the past.
His gracious expedients are developing power that must be irresistible. Not a principle of evil, not a style of sin exists but what has been overcome. Can any man point to grosser darkness than has yielded to the glorious beams of the Sun of Righteousness—more savage fury than that which his presence has tamedviler sinners than have been already subdued, or deeper pollution than his blood has washed away? The world, then, in effect, is already conquered. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him; having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
3. The triumph complete. This is revealed partly to experience, but mainly to faith. The principles, and many of the facts involved in the final triumph have been graciously given to our own enjoyment. We know what is meant by the conquest of love. We have only to take the facts of a sinner saved by grace, and suppose them carried directly out into all the world, to have a tolerably distinct idea of the triumph of the Saviour accomplished. The power of faith enlarges the conception, and increases the brightness of the scene. The moral is to triumph over the physical—the real over the ideal—the social over the selfish--the true over the false.
We may now pause and contemplate the results of these mighty changes. In every part of the world the facts and forms of matter shall lose their control over the affections of men, the spiritual shall subdue the earthly, and the whole living race shall be absorbed in the glory of God. All ideal and visionary schemes will be lost in the richness and power of Divine realities : all cold and degrading selfishness merged in one grand and glorious Christian fellowship. Love" perfect love,” will fill every heart, beam from every eye, break from every tongue. Every one, from the youngest to the oldest, shall be moved by the same rich, overflowing benevolence that gushes from the heart of the Saviour. The philosophical spirit will have turned all its energies toward God and eternity. Minds with quickened power will rush out into every field of science to gather new truths, to illustrate the character of God and the reign of Messiah. In the light of indications clear to faith, even from our present stand-point, we may see much of the glories of such a triumph. What relief from the evils that now crush our enfeebled spirits from the dismal night of infidelity-from the cruel injustice that wrongs our fellow-men-from the fell impurities that invade the sacredness of virtue—from the fearful oaths and blasphemies that break upon our ears. But let us extend the view :-What purity in the church in that bright day -what holy spirituality, what unity and power-what universal knowledge of the Scriptures—what clearness and force in preaching-what growth in grace-what bursting joy and shouts of triumph and hallelujahs will rend the heavens. Governments will have found their legitimate final cause in the greatest good of the whole. What relief
, then, from the intrigues of designing menfrom anarchy and oppression-from vicious laws and defective administration. Harmony in feeling, in purpose, in action, will have emancipated the science of government from its only embarrassments. Kings and queens shall become nursing fathers and moth. ers in Israel. And in very deed “the nations and kingdoms of this earth shall become the nations and kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ."
From another stand-point we shall better see the moral beauties of a redeemed world. Removed to the heights of glory we shall look out upon the new creation, and in shouts of joy swell the loud anthem of praise that rolls up from every land beneath the sun. Another scene of amazing grandeur will open at the judgment; when the vast generations of man shall await their doom from the lips of the Redeemer; when at his terrific sentence the wicked shall “ depart into everlasting fire"--and at his joyous command the righteous shall “enter into life eternal." T'hen shall the tri. umph be complete.
1. From the whole it appears that the Saviour has deserved to conquer. His infinite merit, his unlimited power, his unfailing wisdom and exhaustless love are worthy of the triumphs indicated. His unwearied exertions for the lapse of ages, amid the revilings of his foes have richly earned the victory. With what intense interest do we gaze upon him, as by the light of revelation he stands revealed—the mediator-in his toils and sufferings—in his entreaties and prayers, now in heaven; making the.vast preparations which atonement requires; now on earth, proclaiming salvation-agon. izing, dying--and again in heaven, betwixt guilty man and flaming justice, pleading for time, and moving the vast instrumentalities of redemption to save the souls of men. We watch every movement with deepest anxiety -- tremble when victory seems doubtful, and rejoice with unutterable joy as he triumphs in the fearful strife.
2. Chiefly we would urge the vast power of the Saviour's example. We are soon weary under the burdens of the church—soon discouraged when we see how hard a world this is to save. We ask with intense concern, "Is his mercy clean gone for ever; doth his promise fail forevermore ?" But let us listen to the answer of the boly prophet: “He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he