« PreviousContinue »
a lax candour as this, tends to make the gospel unnecessary; if they who have it hot, are, therefore, excusable, though they neither love nor fear God, and live in open violation of the law of their nature. The declaration, that without holiness no man Jhallfee the Lord*, holds universally, and without a single exception. But if we suppose a heathen, destitute of the means of grace by which conversion is usually wrought, to be brought to a sense of his misery, of the emptiness and vanity of worldly things, to a conviction that he cannot be happy without the favour of the great Lord of the world, to a feeling of guilt, and a desire of mercy; and that though he has no explicit knowledge of a Saviour, he directs the cry of his heart to the unknown Supreme, to this purport, Ens entium miserere mei, Father and source os beings, have mercy upon me! Who will prove, that such views and desires can arise in the heart of a sinner, without the energy of that Spirit, which, Jesus is exalted to bestow? Who will take upon him to fay, that his blood has not sufficient efficacy, to redeem to God, a sinner who is thus disposed, though he has never heard of his
* Heb. xii. 14.
E e 2 name?
name? Or who has a warrant to affirm, that the supposition I have made is, in the nature of things, impossible to be realized? But I stop—I do not often amuse you with conjecture. And though, for want of express warrant from scripture, I dare not give the sentiments I have now offered, a stronger name, than, probable or conjectural, I hope I do not propose them for your amusement. They will prove to your advantage and my own, if they are helpful to guard us against a narrow, harm, and dogmatical spirit ,• and if, without abating our reverent submission to the revealed will of God, they have a tendency to confirm our views of his goodness, and the power and compassions of the great Redeemer.
THE CHORUS OF ANGELS.
Rev. v. 12.
Worthy is the Lamb that wasjlain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, andjlrength, and honour and glory, and blessing!
IT was a good report which the queen of Sheba heard, in her own land, of the wisdom and glory of Solomon. It lessened her attachment to home, and prompted her to undertake a long journey, to visit this greater King, of whom she had heard so much. She went, and she was not disappointed. Great as the expectations were, which she had formed from the relation made her by others, they fell short of what she saw and heard herself, when she was adE e 3 mitted mittcd into his presence. Good, likewise, is the report of the gospel. It has a powerful effect upon those who receive it by faith. It is abundantly sufficient to convince them, of the comparative insignificance, of all that they most admired and esteemed in this world. From that hour, they become strangers and pilgrims upon earth. They set out, in the way which God has prescribed, in hopes of seeing him who is greater than Solomon j and the report they have heard of him, is their subject, their song, and their joy, while they are on their journey, and their great support, under the difficulties they meet with on the road. What then will it be to fee him as he is? As yet, the one half is not told them. Or, at least, they are not yet capable of conceiving the half, or the thousandth part, of what they read in the scripture, concerning his wisdom, his glory, and his grace. We weaken, rather than enlarge, the fense of such a passage as this, by our feeble comments. We must die, before we can understand it. To the bulk of mankind, Wait the great teacher, death; is cold, is dangerous advice. If they are not taught by the gospel, while they
live, the teaching of death will be too late. Dreadful will be the condition of those, who cannot be convinced of their mistakes, till repentance and amendment will be impracticable. But death will be a great teacher, indeed, to a believer; he will then know more by a glance, and in a moment, of the happiness he is now expecting, than by all he could collect, from the enquiry and experience of a long course of years, in this world.
The scenery of this chapter, if attentively considered, is sufficient, to snatch our thoughts from the little concernments of time, and to give us some anticipation of the employments and enjoyments of heaven. Come, all ye that are wearied and burdened with afflictions and temptations, look up, and for a while, at least, forget your sorrows! The Lamb is upon his throne, surrounded by a multitude of his redeemed people, who, once, were afflicted and burdened like yourselves j but now all tears are wiped from their eyes. They have a song, peculiarly their own, and are represented, as taking the first and leading part in worship and praise. The angels cannot sing their song, they were not E e 4 redeemed