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government of the world, enlarged their inental boundary. *One cried to anotber, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory!" .But since the coming of the Son of God in our nature, and the laying down of his life, they appear to have been so engaged in this subject, as to be comparatively indifferent to every other. In other works of God, they had seen sometimes one perfection glorified, and sometimes another; but here all unite their beams, and form one general blaze. These are the things, therefore, which now “ they desire to look into."
The powers of angels are far superior to those of men. Their means of instruction also, and long experience of divine things, must render them far more capable of understanding the gospel than we. Yet with all their advantages and discoveries, such is the fulness of the subject, that they are at an infinite distance from comprehending it: all that is said of them is, that they “ desire to look into it.” , ,
Angels were doubtless acquainted with the general design of salvation, from its first discovery to man; but the particular way in which it should be accomplished, appears to have been, in a great measure, hidden from them. It was a way so much above what any creature would have expected, that though there were hints of it under the Old Testament, and some very plain intimations, yet it was 'far from being clearly comprehended. The prophets, as we have seen, did not fully understand their own prophecies; but diligently searched into the meaning of them : - neither did the apostles, with all their advantages, prior to the event:— neither did evil angels, with all their subtilty; for if Satan had known that, from the death of Christ, lris cause would receive so deadly a wound, it is scarcely conceivable that he would have stirred up Judas and the Jewish rulers to accomplish it. He appears to have entértained a kind of forlorn hope, that by getting him put to death in the most ignominious form, and by the only religious nation upon earth, he should be able to stamp everlasting infamy upon his name, and that all after-generations would be ashained to own him. The disappointment and unexpected shock that he and his adherents met with on this occasion, seems plainly intimated by our Saviour's having “ spoiled principalities and powers, and made 'a shew of them openly, triumphing over them on his cross:” and though the holy angels might be supposed to understand much more than fallen ones, yet were they not equal to this subject till events made it manifest. Hence it is said, “ froin the beginning of the world, to have been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent, that now into the principalities and powers it might be known by the church; that is, by the redemption of the ehurch, the manifold wisdom of God." When the event transpired, therefore, it was like a flood of light bursting forth upon them. The resurrection of Christ filled all Heaven with transport. Hence, perhaps, we may account for the question of the angel to Mary, “ Woman, why wecpest thou ?" 9.d.“ Did you but know all, you would not weep! It is not yours to weep now, but your adversaries !” .
The cross of Christ, instead of issuing in disgrace, is followed with glory. His friends learned to glory in it; yea, and to glory in nothing else : and well they might. It was glorious to see the powers of darkness stripped naked, as it were, to' their shame; -- to see Satan foiled by the woman's seed, and his schemes exposed tu the derision of the universe ; - to see him taken in bis own net, and falling into the pit that himself had digged. It was glorious to contemplate the numerous and important bearings of this one great event! By this, the divine displeasure against sin is manifested in stronger language than if the world had been made a sacrifice :-by this, a way is 'opened for the consistent exercise of mercy to the chief of siuvers :by a believing view of this, peace arises in the mind, and, at the same time, purity in the beart:-- for this he is crowned with glory and honour in the Heavens, principalities and powers being made subject to him. This is the only hope of a lost world, the only medium of acceptance with God, and the only admissible plea in our approaches before him. This it is that will put every grace in exercise in this world, and impart all the happiness in that to come, of which created minds are susceptible.
These are a few of the bearings of the doctrine of the cross. Is it any wonder that angels should desire to look into it. Rather, is it not matter of wonder and shame that we who are more immediately interested in it than they, should be so far behind ? How is it that we should be the last to bring back the King, who are his bone and bis flesh? Our Redeemer took not upon him the nature of angels; yet they love him, and the gospel of salvation by him; and wberefore? They love God, and therefore rejoice in every thing that glorifies him in the highest: - they love men, and therefore rejoice in that which brings peace on earth, and good-will to them :— they rejoice in every instance of the prosperity of Christ's kingdoin, and in being themselves made subject to him. Had we but their love with our interest, we should not only emulate, but exceed their highest praise. While they, in innumerable myriads, were saying, with a loud voice, * Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing," we should not only say, “ Amen,” but add, “Thou art worthy; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by ilin blood, ont of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation :***
I have ever had such awful apprehensions of the Cure of souls, that I durst not (though often solicited) undertake it ever since I knew my own heart. I have found myself plagued to death with watching over it:what must it be to watch over two or three thousand? “ Who is sufficient for this?” I feel myself as unfit for it, as to have the government of the world upon my shoulders; but being appointed to this church, not only without my seeking, but also against my will, - and having an undoubted call from God, therefore my sufficiency for the work being of God, I dare not stand out. I have been forced to say, • Here I am ; send me!-and although he has enabled me to depend upon him for to do his will, both in me and by me, yet I find the flesh resisting, and putting forth a multitude of doubts and fears, in order to discourage me; besides this, I have an enemy whom I do not wish to make my friend, and who hates me with a perfect hatred; but I make the Lord my strength, and go to battle in the power of his might, and I am sure all will be well while I am kept humble. O pray that I may be a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ; but, above all, ask for me humility: an humble inan can come to no harm; he will be ever trusting in the Lord, because he finds nothing in himself to trust in ; trhile he gives great glory to God, by trusting much in him. God gives him great grace, and this grace is to keep alive an abiding sense of what he is in himself, to shew him his ignotance and helplessness, to open to him daily more of the mystery of iniquity, to discover to him the stirrings of corruption which others feel not, and make him sensible of these, even in duties and ordinances, that he may loathe himself and his very best works. These are the fruits of true grace; and he that is under the teachings of the Holy Ghost, will abound in them ; the more God dues in the heart, the more he humbles it. The great design of his grace is to bring the proud sinner low, and then to keep him low. When he has brought us low, we do not like to be kept there; we want to get up again: our foolish desire is, that he may do something in us, for which we may have a good opinion of ourselves; and so, with this thought, we are apt to wish, · that I was more holy! O that I could pray better! O that I was more spiritual in duties! O that I was thankful enough! If you could come to the true motive of these wishes (specious as they appear) you would find them spring from the secret workings of a proud, self-righteous spirit: take off their cloak of holiness, and their meaning is this :- I wish God would give me something for which I might be pleased with myself."- Ifthis was the case, would not the eye be turned inward upon this very good self, and be drawn off from looking
to Jesus; and so far as selt is made something, Clirist is made nothing. You may depend upon this as one of the surest axioms in divinity :-“Whatsoever it be that makes you pleased with yourself, that is not true grace; and whatsoever makes you displeased with yourself, is not true grace, unless it bring you humble to Christ, and make you put more trust in him.” The Lord teach you these things practically! I have learned them by long experience;-though I know but little, yet I am getting on in Christ's school, and bope soon to be in the lowest form, for there we learn most and fastest: we there depend entirely on the teaching of our divine Master, who reveals his secrets to none but babes. A new-born babe absolutely depends on the care of its parents; so must we depend on God, on Christ our Prophet and Teacher; and when we are brought thus humble, he will then make known to us what he hideth from the wise and prudent. I would therefore wish you the humblest man on earth, and not only that you inight know most, but love most: he that feels his sins and miseries, his vileness and unprofitableness, with the deepest loathings of them, is in the fittest way to love Christ. If he is an experienced believer, the feelings of these sins and miseries will make Christ more precious; the more he finds of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the more he will trust in Christ's righteousness; and the more misery he knows, the more he desires salvation : all will make Jesus more dear and lovely. His own vileness sets forth Christ's grace; his unworthiness, the worthiness of the Lamb, the sufficiency of Jesus, who is all in all. When you are going to measure Christ's bigh grace, do not get upon a mountain, but go down into a valley ;-lower still; --to the belly of Hell, from which Jonah cried; from thence see the height of Jesus's grace, and from thence see how lovely he is. When the Spirit of Jesus is humbling you, shewing you your deceitful wicked heart, laying open your ruined nature in all its abominable workings, has not this often discouraged you, my friend? and, instead of loving Christ more, and trusting him more, did it not weaken your trust and lessen your love and thereby you counteracted the gracious purposes of Jesus Christ. May he teach you better! that every future sense of sin may greatly endear to you that Lamb of God, whose blood cleanseth from all sin! Depend upon it, that only is the true hunbling for sin, which makes his blood more precious;-be faithful to your own heart;-stop here a moment ;-look back and read what, from one thing to another, I have written to you; and examine if you do not begin to fear for the interest of duty and holy obedience. If the more I feel sin, I may trust the more, and love Christ the morr, what place is left for obeying? Is not that your thought? to which I answer, The humblest man not only knows most and loves most, but also obeys most. Is not grace the principle of gospel obedience? and does not God give grace to the humble grace to do all things, grace to suffer all
LETTER FROM B. FRANKLIN TO MR. WHITEFIELD. 97 things :- What says hc who was less than the least in his own eyes? “0! I can do all things through Christ's strengthening me!"-The humblest man leans most on Christ's strength.; and therefore, through that strength, which is almighty, he can do most; he is helped best; fights most courageously; conquers most triumphantly. Shew ne a scemingly humble man who does not love duty, and I will shew you his pride; but let me see a truly humble man, and I am sure to find him walking humbly with his God; be walks with God, and God walks with him.-Hear how he declares who are his favourites! not the rich, not the learned, not the Pharisee, not the great and noble, -10;-" but to this man will I look, who is of an humble and contrite spirit, and who trembleth at my word." These he honours; they are in his sight of great price; how exalted in his esteem, who is the Fountain of all true honour! and he will ex alt them very high. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted to the throne above, where all God's children are perfectly humble, crying with one voice, “ Not worthy we, but worthy is the Lamb." If there be so great grace, O pray to God to make me more and more humble. I will do the same for you, and re main yours,
LETTER FROM DR. FRANKLIN
To the Editor.
Esors.(the Rev.Mr.Whitefield's executors) for near a thousand letters, from various correspondeats, to that eminent man. None of these letters have vet seen the light; and as many of them will, no oubt, highly gratify the public, I shall occasionally send you one for publication, through the mediuin of the Erangelical Magazine. The inclosed, from the celebrated Dr. Franklin, will serve as a specimen of the entertainment with which you will furnish our readers, particul:. 'y those who personally know Mr. Whitefield, and all who still revere his memory. *Yours affectionately, Leeas, Dec. 7, 1802.
Philadelphia, July 6, 1749. SINCE your being in England, I have received two of your favours, and a box of books to be disposed of. It gives me great pleasure to hear of your welfare, and that you purpose soon to return to America. .
We have no kind of news here worth writing to you. The affair of the building remains in statu quo, there having been no new application to the Assembly about it, nor any thing done in consequence of the former.
I have received no money on your account froin Mr. Thanks lin, or from Boston. Mrs. Read, and your other friends here in general are well, and will rejoice to see you again.