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chapter. And as it may lead us to a compendious recapitulation of the whole subject, and, by the Lord's blessing, may prepare us to join in the following ascription of praise to him that fitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb; I purpose to consider it in its proper connection, as a part of the leading fong of the redeemed before the throne, in which the angels cannot hare. Though the angels, from their love to redeemed finners, and from their views of the manifold wisdom and glory of God, in visiting luch finners with such a salvation, cheerfully take a part in the general chorus.
The redemption spoken of, is suited to the various cases of sinners, of every nation, people and language. And many sinners of divers descriptions, and from distant situations, scattered abroad into all lands, through a long succession of ages, will, by the efficacy of this redemption, be gathered together into one *. They will constitute one family, united in one great Head t. When they shall fully attain the end of their hope, and encircle the throne, day without night, rejoicing, their rememberance of what they * John xi. 52. . f Eph. iii. 14, 15.
once were, their sense of the happiness they are raised to, and of the great confideration, to which they owe their deliverance, and their exaltation, will excite a perpetual joyful acknowledgment to this purport. They were once loft, but could contribute nothing to their own recovery. Therefore they afcribe all the glory to their Saviour. They strike their golden harps and fing, in strains, loud as from numbers without number, sweet as from blest voices, Thou art wor. tby—for thou wast sain, and bajt redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
But though this song, and this joy, will only be consummated in heaven, the commencement takes place upon earth. Believers, during their present state of warfare, are taught to sing it; in feebler strains indeed, but the subject of their joy, and the object of their praise, are the same which inspire the harps and songs in the world of light. May I not say, that this life is the time of their rehearsal ? They are now learning their song, and advancing in meetness to join in the chorus on high, which, as death successively removes them, is continu
ally increasing by the accession of fresh voices. All that they knew, or desire to know, all that they possess or hope for, is included in this afcription.
I take the last clause of the verse into the subject. The words suggest three principal points, to our consideration.
I. The benefit, Redemption, to God.
III. The extent of the benefit-to a people out of every kindred, and tongue, and nation.
I. Thou hast redeemed us to God. Redemption or ransom, is applicable to a state of imprisonment for debt, and to a state of bondage or Navery. From these ideas taken together, we may form fome estimate of the misery of our fallen state ; a theme, which, if I cannot insist upon at large in every discourse, I would never, wholly, omit. For we can neither understand the grace, nor enjoy the comfort of the gospel, but in proportion as we have a heart-felt and abiding conviction of our wretched condition, as sinners, without it. They who think themselves whole, know not their need of a physician *, but to the fick he is welcome,
* Matt. ix, 12.
If a man, shut up in prison for a heavy debt, which he is utterly incapable of discharging, should obtain his liberty, in confideration of payment made for him, by another, he might be properly said, to be redeemed from imprisonment. This supposition will apply to our subject. The law and justice of God have demands upon us, which we cannot answer. We are therefore fhut up, under the law, in unbelief, helpless and hopeless, till we know and can plead the engagement of a surety for us. For a time, like Peter, we are sleeping in our prison*, regardless of danger. The first sensible effect of the grace of God, is to awaken us from this insensibility. Then, we begin to feel the horrors of our dungeon, and the strength of our chains, and to tremble under the apprehension of an impending doom. But grace proceeds to reveal the Saviour and friend of finners, and to encourage our application to him. In a good hour the chains fall off, the bars of iron and brass are broken asunder, and the prison-doors fly open. The prisoner understands that all his great debt is forgiven, blesses his Deliverer, obtains his liberty, and departs in peace. * Acts xii. 6-10.
We We are likewise in bondage. The servants, the slaves, of a harder talk-master, than Pharaoh was to Israel. Satan, though not by right, yet by a righteous permission, tyrannizes over us, till Jesus makes us free *. The way of transgressors is hard t. Though the solicitations and commands, of that enemy who worketh in the children of disobedience I, are, in some respects, suited to our depraved inclinations, yet the consequences are grievous. A burdened conscience, a wasted constitution, a ruined fortune and character, swiftly and closely, follow the habits of intemperance and lewdness. And they who seem to walk in a smoother path, are deceived, mortified and disappointed daily. If persons, who live, openly and habitually, in a course, that is contrary to the rule of God's word, speak swelling words of vanity ||, and boast of their liberty, believe them not. We are sure they carry that in their bofom, which, hourly,contradicts their assertions. Yea, fometimes their lavery is fo galling, that they ate tempt to escape, but in vain. They are soon retaken, and their bonds made stronger. The