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had been the scene of his triumph, they attended him to supply his wants, and congratulate him on his victory. They stood by him in the garden to strengthen him under the weight of his mysterious agony. They uncovered his sepulchre to open the way for his resurrection; and they were present at his ascension to comfort his disciples, and announce to the church the event of his second coming. On these and other occasions, during the days of his flesh, the angels of God discovered their zeal for his glory, and declared their readiness to do him homage.
with the Father and the Holy Spirit the expres- | God in the highest.' In the wilderness, which sions of the most profound adoration and fervent praise. His mediatorial abasement in taking our nature upon him, did not lessen his claim to these angelic ascriptions, but on the contrary invested him with a new and most peculiar title to them. Accordingly, he had no sooner made his appearance upon earth, 'in the form of a servant,' and in fashion as a man,' than a voice, proceeding from the eternal throne, asserted his supreme dignity in the command: And let all the angels of God worship him.' By this order the babe lying in the stable at Bethlehem, in circumstances of apparent meanness and destitution, exposed to the contempt of a world which he had made, was notwithstanding declared to be the Lord of angels, and not only worthy of the respect which was due to their superior, but entitled to the worship which belonged to their Creator.
For it does not admit of a doubt that the worship required from the angels by this command is strictly and properly of a religious nature. As the reward of the Saviour's humiliation we are informed that God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' He claims from angels the worship of adoration, which is expressive of reverence, humility, confidence, and gratitude in the highest possible degree. But they are commanded to give him also the worship of their submission and service; for it is not the homage of the lips merely that is required or will be accepted, either from angels or men, but that of the heart and life. We read that 'angels, authorities, and powers were subject to him;' and he not only rules over them as subjects, but makes use of them as instruments to fulfil his purposes, and promote the interests of his kingdom. The command is most just and reasonable that all the angels of God should worship him. Their worship is due to the perfections of his Godhead; it is no less due to the honour of his mediatorship. By the angels themselves the command is understood in its most comprehensive import; they cordially approve of it, and yield to it a cheerful and perfect obedience.
During his abode on earth Jesus had to bear the scorn and contempt of men, but he was honoured with the worship of angels. They expressed their joy at his birth in a song of pious exultation and thanksgiving, doing honour alike to the Son and the Father, by ascribing 'glory to
But their feelings of devotion are fully expressed in the services of the heavenly temple. There the glories of the Lamb fill every heart with love, and every mouth with praise. All the angels of God worship him, 'whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.' They cover their faces with their wings in the contemplation of his greatness, and under the consciousness of their own insignificance. It is a willing, united, and harmonious service which they render to him. No constraint is employed, no reluctance felt, no hypocrisy assumed. Their worship has nothing in it of cold indifference or empty formality, but is full of ardour and energy, and at the same time pure, perfect and perpetual, offered without interruption, and to be continued without end.
From the command imposed upon the angels we learn both the Saviour's dignity and our duty. God is the only proper object of worship, and he will not give his glory to another. But when he brought in the first-begotten into the world, he said, let all the angels of God worship him.' If Christ is adored by all the hosts of heaven, surely he may be worshipped by the inhabitants of the earth. If he claims the homage of angels, much more is he entitled to the worship of men. The law given to them must be also the rule for us. Their practice should be our pattern. We have a law for ourselves, no less explicit in its terms, and if possible still more peremptory in its demand, for it is the declared will of God that 'all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.'
prospect of being made like unto the angels, with | know that thou art a Teacher sent from God,' whom they shall unite as fellow worshippers in and even the soldiers who had been sent to singing the song of the Lamb, serving him day apprehend him were constrained to acknowand night in his temple, having washed their ledge, Never man spake like this man.' He robes, and made them white in his blood. And differed from all other teachers, and was superior I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels to them all, both in the matter and the manner round about the throne, and the beasts, and the of his instructions. As he is the wisest and best elders; and the number of them was ten thou- of teachers, his followers should be the most sand times ten thousand, and thousands of thou- humble and diligent of scholars, looking into the sands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the perfect law of liberty, and continuing therein, Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and not being forgetful hearers, but doers of the riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, word, that they may be blessed in their deed. and glory, and blessing.'
It was predicted that Christ should be not merely a prophet, but a prophet like unto Moses. Many prophets arose after Moses, but none of them could be pronounced like unto him. All that Moses was, and infinitely more, may be affirmed of Christ. Moses, however, did not claim equality with the Messiah, but only a resemblance to him; and the resemblance may easily be traced in a variety of important par
In Moses the office of prophet was combined with the character of redeemer; he rescued the people of Israel from the yoke of Egyptian opChrist redeemed his people from the curse of the law, from the tyranny of satan, and the bondage of corruption. He delivered not their bodies only, but their souls, and accomplished for them not a temporal but an eternal redemption. Jesus was like Moses, both a lawgiver and a pro
MOSES was held in high estimation by the Jewish people. They gloried in being called his disciples. Yet they practically disregarded the testimony of Moses in rejecting Christ, who ex-pression. posed their inconsistency, and said to them, 'If ye believed Moses, ye would believe me, for he wrote of me.' Like all the other scriptures, the writings of Moses testify of Christ; in particular, we know upon the authority of Stephen, an inspired interpreter, that he pointed to the Mes-phet. He put an end to the observances of the ceresiah in these emphatic words, The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken.' This prediction describes the Saviour's character, and declares the sinner's duty.
A prophet is a person who foretells future events. The Jews themselves were on one occasion compelled to admit the prophetical character of Christ; for, in obvious allusion to this prediction of Moses, they said, 'Of a truth this is that prophet which should come into the world.' The spirit which had been poured out upon him above measure was the spirit of prophecy. Of the predictions which he uttered some were fulfilled before his ascension, others received their accomplishment soon afterwards. Of those which remain to be accomplished, it may be affirmed that heaven and earth shall pass away, but his word shall not pass away till all shall be fulfilled.'
But he did also the work of a public instructor, which formed an essential part of the prophetical office. Nicodemus could say, 'We
monial law which Moses had instituted; but he confirmed the obligation of the moral law, to which he added some peculiar precepts of his own, and illustrated the whole in his perfect example, which possesses the force of a law. Moses acted the part of a guide to the Israelites in their way to the promised land; so Jesus, the Captain of salvation, was made perfect through sufferings, that he might bring many sons unto glory. His presence attends them like the fiery cloudy pillar, both by day and by night. He will guide them by his counsel, and receive them into his glory. Besides, Moses exercised the authority of a ruler, and Jesus has been anointed King on his holy hill of Zion, and shall reign till he shall have put all his enemies under his feet. On various occasions Moses acted the part of an intercessor, and either mitigated or averted threatening judgments. Jesus, too, made intercession for the transgressors by dying for them on earth; and he ever liveth to make intercession for them in heaven. In all these points of view Christ was raised up a prophet like unto Moses.
Yet in these, and in every other respect, he
was a prophet far superior to Moses. As a prophet he infinitely surpasses Moses in the dignity of his person, in the extent of his power, in the excellencies of his character, in the value of his ministrations, in the permanency of his office, in the number and force of his claims. If therefore the people of Israel were required under the most awful penalties to obey the word of Moses, how much more is it incumbent on us to yield obedience to the voice of Christ? Unto him shall ye hearken.' These words de
The sinner's duty. It includes the exercise of considerate attention. This is the first step to conversion. A most important point has been gained when the mind of the sinner is awakened to serious concern about salvation, so as to make it the subject of earnest and prayerful inquiry. The gospel demands, and will bear the most minute and scrutinizing investigation. It speaks to the understanding and the judgment, as well as to the conscience and the heart, and says, 'Whoso hath ears to hear, let him hear.' It is the sinner's duty to hearken by
Believing the word of Christ; for this,' says he, 'is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent.' And the faith which he requires is not a mere act of the understanding, but a principle of the heart, consisting in the exercise of a simple and affectionate confidence, working by love, and enforcing obedience. They that know his name put their trust in him, and whilst they believe all his doctrines to be true, they esteem his precepts concerning all things to be right. To hearken expresses———
Submission to the authority of Christ: the submission of the will to the guidance of his word, of the heart to the influence of his love, and of the life to the demands of his law, and of the circumstances to the disposal of his providence. He demands an affectionate and unreserved submission; and he is entitled to it both as a testimony of respect to his authority, and an expression of gratitude for his redeeming grace. All who live by him, he disposes to live to him and for him. His love to them is evinced by their devotedness to him. They daily kneel at his footstool, and inquire, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?'
To us the word of his salvation has been sent. It is his voice that speaks to us in every part of it, and we are called on by every consideration of interest and duty to hearken to it with a teachable, obedient, and prayerful attention, whether it addresses us in the language of doctrine or precept, of promise or threatening, of
Seeing that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven,' Heb. xii. 25.
WE have here an admonition, and an argument, both of which, by alarming our fears, combine to enforce a most important duty. But in order to understand the meaning of the admonition, and feel the force of the argument, it is necessary that we should be made acquainted with the character of the Speaker, and also with the subject of his address.
The character of the Speaker possesses the highest claim to our attention. He is invested with supreme authority over us, and has an unquestionable right to dictate to us in all matters both of faith and practice. It is his sovereign prerogative to deal with us, and with every thing that belongs to us, and every thing that concerns us, according to his sovereign pleasure. Besides he is a Being of perfect veracity. His word may be implicitly depended on, 'for he is not a man that he should lie.' When he speaks, it is with the voice of truth and wisdom. Nothing, therefore, which proceeds from him can be either erroneous and hurtful, or even trifling and unprofitable. For he unites infallible wisdom with infinite love. He has the best interests of those whom he speaks to deeply at heart. His design is to make them happy; and he points out a way that will ensure their happiness both in time and for eternity. And he can give full effect to every word he utters, by a power to which all things are possible. He speaks, and it is done; he commands, and it stands fast. In him all the promises of God are yea and amen; for he is both faithful and able to perform. But his holiness constitutes the chief glory of his character. In him is no sin. He cannot look upon sin. And there is no sin so heinous and so offensive in his sight as the sin of refusing him that speaketh from heaven; it is a sin which he has expressed his determination to punish with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his
power.' Such is the Speaker who demands our | that indignation which was due to their apostacy? attention. In connection with these views of his character let us advert to—
To these questions an answer will be found in the devouring plagues which desolated the camp of Israel, and successively carried off thousands and tens of thousands from among the people. One recorded fact speaks volumes on this subject. Of six hundred thousand persons who came forth with Moses out of Egypt, not more than two in
The subject of his address. He comes to us with a message from God. He speaks the word of truth; it is the word of him who is 'the truth.' All other speakers are fallible, and, therefore, what they say ought not to be taken on trust, but should be received with caution, and ex-dividuals were permitted to enter into the proamined with care. But the Speaker here is 'the faithful and true Witness.' There may be much in what he says to us that we do not and cannot fully comprehend; but there is nothing in it that we may not with safety and confidence believe. It is both 'a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. The communication which he ad- mercy.' Punishment inevitably followed trans
dresses to us is not only true, but in the highest degree important. He declares to us the word of salvation. He tells us of our low and lost estate as sinners, lying under a sentence of condemnation, exposed to wrath, and ready to perish. He declares to us that 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' He assures us that with God there is mercy, and plenteous redemption;' a redemption exactly suitable, perfectly complete, infinitely precious, and altogether free. He speaks to us, in short, all that is necessary to be known, and nothing but what it supremely concerns us to know, for the salvation of our souls. To refuse such a speaker, addressing us on such a subject, is to commit the most unaccountable folly, and to incur the most aggravated guilt; the guilt of base ingratitude, of daring impiety, of ruinous presumption: 'It is to dispute the sovereignty of God, to arraign his wisdom, to set his power at defiance, to deny his truth, despise his grace, and rush on the thick bosses of his buckler. What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?' for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.' This question appeals to the facts of Old Testament history, and embodies an
Argument that can neither be misunderstood nor evaded. It bids us take warning from the experience of the people of Israel. They refused him that spake on earth.' On various occasions they rebelled against Moses, and what was the consequence? Did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, escape the punishment of their rebellion? Did Nadab and Abihu escape the vengeance which their impiety had provoked? Did the congregation of Israel who refused Moses, desiring to be led back again into Egypt, did they escape the effects of
mised land. The whole, with these two exceptions, perished in the wilderness, as a memorial to every future generation of the solemn truth, that they escape not who refused him that spake on earth.
'He that despised Moses' law died without
gression. No concealment could be practised. The offender, like Achan, might attempt to elude the stroke of justice, but, like Achan, he was sure to be detected. No lenity was to be expected. Moses had no discretionary power to remit, or even mitigate the penalty. The law was, in all cases, plain, explicit, peremptory, and inexorable. Every transgression received its just recompence of reward. From these facts the inference is too important to be overlooked, and too awful to be disregarded. We read it in the word of inspiration: If he that despised Moses' law died without mercy, under two or three witnesses of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace!'
It is our privilege to live under a dispensation of grace. Christ, speaking to us from heaven in his word and ordinances, proclaims the message of reconciliation, and addresses the offer of forgiveness to the very chief of sinners. But there is no salvation in any other; and even he can save those only who believe and obey him. To all who reject him 'there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but the fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversary.' The sin of turning away from him must, therefore, place the sinner beyond the reach of mercy, and expose him to the accumulated penalties of a violated law, and a rejected gospel, which admit neither of the possibility of an escape, nor the prospect of a deliverance. But to as many as receive him, to them he gives power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Let us, therefore, fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest any of us should seem to come short of it.
Having received the Lord Jesus, so walk in and is therefore called the Mediator of it, having him.'
•Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in. Behold, he shull come, saith the Lord of hosts,' Mal. iii. 1.
Two illustrious persons are here distinctly alluded to, each of them called by the name of messenger, bearing a very intimate relation to one another, yet widely different in the rank and character, both personal and official, which respectively belong to them. We know upon divine authority that the first part of this prophecy received its accomplishment in the person of John the Baptist. Our Lord made this announcement to the Jews, when he spake of John, saying, 'For this is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.'
undertaken to execute its conditions by the obedience of his life, and the sacrifice of his death for the redemption of those whom the Father had given him. But he is also the Messenger' or 'Angel' of this covenant, having received a commission from the Father to make known its
provisions unto men, and to dispense them to his church and people throughout all ages to the end of time.
From the beginning of the world the coming of Messiah had been foretold and expected. Patriarchs saw it afar off, and were glad. The whole system of Jewish worship and government evidently pointed to it. To keep alive the expectation of it, holy men of God, speaking with the voice of inspiration, prophetically alluded to it. And Malachi, the last of these, made it the subject of a plain and most explicit prediction which expresses the certainty of the event, and confirms it by a twofold repetition. Probably there were then, as there are now, unbelievers, who scoffingly asked, where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were.' To silence the cavils of the profane, and alarm the fears of the But a greater than John the Baptist is here; secure, and establish the confidence of the doubtone whom John acknowledged to be incompara-ing, and animate the hopes of the pious-the bly his superior, and to whom he did not consi-inspired prophet declared that the Lord, the der himself worthy to perform the meanest office. Messenger of the covenant' would assuredly 'He it is, who coming after me, is preferred before come, and that not only soon, but suddenly to me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to un- his temple.' loose.' It was customary for kings and conquerors to be preceded on their march by persons who acted either as heralds to proclaim their approach, or as pioneers to remove obstacles out of their way. In like manner, the advent of Messiah was to be announced beforehand by 'the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'
The names here applied to him by the prophet, expressive at once of his supreme dignity, and of his gracious character, show him to be pre-eminently worthy of such honour. He is 'the Lord,' the universal ruler, to whom all power belongs, on whom all beings depend, from whom all blessings proceed, and to whom all homage is due. Like the forerunner who came to announce his approach, he sustains the character of a 'messenger,' but in a far higher and more important sense; for he is the Messenger of the covenant.' The scriptures make mention of many covenants, but this is a better covenant, established on better promises, a covenant of peace, an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.' Jesus Christ is himself a party to this covenant,
In predicting the advent of Messiah, the prophets sometimes speak of him in his human nature as the son of David, and tell us that he would come and sit on the throne of David his father, and exercise dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.' The highest place which a man can occupy is a throne, but the lowest place which God can accept is a temple. Accordingly, when the prophets connect the advent of Christ with his divine dignity as David's Lord, they declare that he would come not to his throne, but to his temple, as the only fit and appropriate place for his reception. The temple was erected for his honour, and dedicated to his service. said of it, 'This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell for I have desired it.' The visible symbol of his presence had indeed been long withdrawn from it. The Jews who were bound to protect its sanctity had allowed it to be prostituted to the vilest of purposes. But the Lord had not finally deserted it; and the time was now approaching when he would return to it, and expel the profane intruders who had degraded it into