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SERMON XXXVI.

THE LORD REIGNET H.

Rev. xix. 6.

Hallelujah, for the Lord God.omnipotent

reigneth !

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T HE book of the Revelation, being

1 chiefly prophetical, will not, perhaps, be fully understood, till the final accomplishment of the events shall draw near, and throw a stronger light upon the whole series. But while the learned commentators have been, hitherto, divided and perplexed in their attempts to illustrate many parts of it, there are other parts well adapted for the instruction and refreshment of plain christians. Particulary those passages in which the scenery

and

and images seem designed to give us some representation of the happiness and worship of the heavenly state. Thus a plain unlettered believer, when reading with attention the fourth and fifth chapters, though he cannot give a reason why the elders are four and twenty, the living creatures four, and the number of their wings neither more nor less than fix; yet, from the whole description of the Lamb upon the throne, the songs of the redeemed, and the chorus of the angels, he receives such an impression of glory, as awakens his gratitude, defire and joy, and excites him likewise to take up the fame fong of praise, to him who has loved him, and. washed him from his fins in his own blood. He is content to leave the discussion of hard questions to learned men, while he feeds by faith upon those simple truths, which can only be relished by a fpiritual taste ; and which, where there is fuch a taste, make their way to the heart, without the assistance of critical disquisition.

The subject of the preceding chapter, is the destruction of mystical Babylon, the head of the opposition against the kingdom of the Lord Chrift. But Babylon finks like a mill

stone

stone in the mighty ocean, and is no more found. So must all his enemies perish. The catastrophe of Bayblon, like that of Pharaoh at the Red Sea, is beheld by the saints and servants of the Lord with admiration, and furnishes them with a theme for a song of triumph to his praife. This may be properly styled Sacred music indeed. It is commanded, inspired and regulated, by the Lord himself. The performers are all interested in the subject, they who fear God, and are devoted to his service and glory. And though persons of this character are comparatively few upon earth, hidden, and in a manner lost, among the crowd of mankind; they will be, when brought together at last, a very large company. Their united voices are here compared to the voice of many waters, and of mighty thunders, and this is the folemn close, the chorus of their song, Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

The impression, which the performance of this passage in the Oratorio, usually makes upon the audience, is well known. But however great the power of music may be, should we even allow the flights of poetry to be truth, that it can foften rocks, and bend. the knotty oak, one thing we are sure it cannot do. It cannot foften and change the hard heart, it cannot bend the obdurate will of man. If all the people who successively hear the Messiah, who are struck and astonilhed, for the moment, by this chorus in particular, were to bring away with them an abiding sense of the importance of the sentiment it contains, the nation would soon wear a new face. But do the professed lovers of facred music in this enlightened age, generally live, as if they really believed that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth? Rather, do not the greater part of them live, as they might do, if they were sure of the contrary? as if they were satisfied to a demonstration, that either there is no God, or that his providence is not concerned in human affairs ? I appeal to conscience; I appeal to fact.

I apprehend that this paffage, taken in the strictest sense, refers to a period not yet arrived. Babylon is not yet fallen. The fervants of God in the present day, will most probably fulfil their appointed time upon earth, like those who have lived before them, in a state of conflict. They must endure the cross, and sustain opposition for his fake.

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The people who shall live when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, when the nations Mall learn war no more, are yet unborn. But even now we may rejoice that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and that Fesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords. I must consider my text as referring to him. Many of the heathens believed that God reigned. The christian doctrine is; that the Lord God omnipotent, exerciseth his dominion and government in the person of Christ. The Father loveth the Son, and hath committed all things into his bands *. And thus our Lord, after his 'resurrection, assured his disciples, All power is committed unto me in heaven and in earth p. He has already taken to himself his great power, and reigneth. His right of reigning over all, is essential to his divine nature; but the administration of government in the nature of man, is the effect and reward of his obedience unto death. But in the union of both natures, he is one person, Christ Jesus the Lord. All the riches and fulness of the Godhead, all the peculiar honours of

• John iii. 35. + Matt. xxviii. 18. . vol. II.

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