Imágenes de páginas

which within the circle of his fellowship, look at the might and majesty of the EterGod, whose justice was inflexible, but whose nal-that no field of elou ess transparency mercy he had, by some plan of mysterious so enchants them by the blissfulness of its wisdom, made to rejoice over it, was put-visions, as when at the shrine of infinite ting forth all the might, and travelling in all and unspotted holiness, they bend themthe greatness of the attributes which belong selves in raptured adoration-that no beauty to him.

so fascinates and attracts them, as does that But, for the full understanding of this ar-moral beauty which throws a softening lusgument, it must be remarked, that, while in tre over the awfulness of the Godhead our exiled habitation, where all is darkness in a word, that the image of his character and rebellion, and enmity, the creature en-is ever present to their contemplations, and grosses every heart, and our affections, the unceasing joy of their sinless existence when they shift at all, only wander from lies in the knowledge and the admiration one fleeting vanity to another, it is not so of the Deity. in the habitations of the unfallen. There, Let us put forth an effort, and keep a every desire and every movement is subor- steady hold of this consideration; for the dinated to God. He is seen in all that form-deadness of our earthly imaginations makes ed, and in all that is spread around them- an effort necessary; and we shall perceive, and, amid the fulness of that delight with that though the world we live in were the which they expatiate over the good and the alone theatre of redemption, there is a fair of this wondrous universe, the anima- something in the redemption itself that is ting charm which pervades their every fitted to draw the eye of an arrested unicontemplation, is that they behold, on each verse towards it. Surely, surely, where devisible thing, the impress of the mind that light in God is the constant enjoyment, and conceived, and of the hand that made and the earnest intelligent contemplation of God that upholds it. Here, God is banished from is the constant exercise, there is nothing in the thoughts of every natural man, and by the whole compass of nature or of history, a firm and constantly maintained act of that can so set his adoring myriads upon usurpation, do the things of sense and of the gaze, as some new and wondrous evolutime wield an entire ascendancy. Theretion of the character of God. Now this is God is all in all. They walk in his light. found in the plan of our redemption; nor, They rejoice in the beatitudes of his pre- do I see how in any transaction between sence. The veil is from off their eyes, the great Father of existence, and the chiland they see the character of a presiding dren who have sprung from him, the moral Divinity in every scene, and in every event attributes of the Deity coud, if I may so to which the Divinity has given birth. It express myself, be put to so severe and so is this which stamps a glory and an im- delicate a test. It is true, that the great portance on the whole field of their contem- | matters of sin and of salvation fall without plations; and when they see a new evolution impression, on the heavy ears of a listless in the history of created things, the reason and alienated world. But they who, to use they bend towards it so attentive an eye, is, the language of the Bible, are light in the that it speaks to their understanding some Lord, look otherwise at these things. They new evolution in the purposes of God; some see sin in all its malignity, and salvation in new manifestation of his high attributes- all its mysterious greatness. Aye, and it some new and interesting step in the his would put them on the stretch of all their tory of his sublime administration.

faculties, when they saw rebellion lifting · Now, we ought to be aware how it takes up its standard against the Majesty of heaoff, not from the intrinsic weight, but from ven, and the truth and the justice of God the actual impression of our argument, that embarked on the threatenings he had utthis devotedness to God which reigns in tered against all the doers of iniquity, and other places of the creation, this interest in the honours of that august throne, which him as the constant and essential principle has the firm pillars of immutability to rest of all enjoyment; this concern in the un-upon, linked with the fulfilment of the law taintedness of his glory; this delight in the that had come out from it; and when nosurvey of his perfections and his doings, thing else was looked for, but that God, by are what the men of our corrupt and dark- putting forth the power of his wrath, should ened world cannot sympathize with, accomplish his every denunciation, and vin

But however little we may enter into it,dicate the inflexibility of his government, the Bible tells us by many intimations, that and by one sweeping deed of vengeance, among those creatures who have not fallen assert in the sight of all his creatures, the from their allegiance, nor departed from the sovereignty which belongeth to him-Oh! living God, God is their all-that love to with what desire must they have pondered him sits enthroned in their hearts, and fills on his ways, when amid the urgency of all them with all the ecstacy of an overwhelm- these demands which looked so high and ing affection that a sense of grandeur so indispensable, they saw the unfoldings never so elevates their souls, as when they l of the attribute of mercy--and how the

[blocks in formation]

supreme Lawgiver was bending upon his Now, though it must be admitted that the guilty creatures an eye of tenderness--and Bible does not speak clearly or decisively how in his profound and unsearchable wis as to the proper effect of redemption being dom, he was devising for them some plan extended to other worlds; it speaks most of restoration-and how the eternal Son had clearly and most decisively about the know. to move from his dwelling-place in heaven, ledge of it being disseminated among other to carry it forward through all the difficul- orders of created intelligence than our own. ties by which it was encompassed--and But if the contemplation of God be their how, after, by the virtue of his mysterious supreme enjoyment, then the very circumsacrifice, he had magnified the glory of stance of our redemption being known to every other perfection, he made mercy re-them, may invest it, even though it be but joice over them all, and threw open a way the redemption of one solitary world, with by which we sinful and polluted wanderers an importance as wide as the universe itself. might, with the whole lustre of the Divine It may spread among the hosts of immencharacter untarnished, be re-admitted into sity a new illustration of the character of fellowship with God, and be again brought Him who is all their praise, and looking toback within the circle of his loyal and affec- ward whom every energy within them is tionate family

moved to the exercise of a deep and deNow, the essential character of such a lighted admiration. The scene of the transtransaction, viewed as a manifestation of action may be narrow in point of material God, does not hang upon the number of extent; while in the transaction itself there worlds, over which this sin and this salva- may be such a moral dignity, as to blazon tion may have extended. We know that the perfections of the Godhead over the over this one world such an economy of face of creation; and from the manifested wisdom and of mercy is instituted-and, glory of the Eternal, to send forth a tide of even should this be the only world that is ecstacy, and of high gratulation, throughembraced by it, the moral display of the out the whole extent of his dependent proGodhead is mainly and substantially the vinces. same, as if it reached throughout the whole I will not, in proof of the position, that of that habitable extent which the science the history of our redemption is known in of astronomy has made known to us. By other and distant places of creation, and the disobedience of this one world, the law is matter of deep interest and feeling among was trampled on; and, in the business of other orders of created intelligence-I will inaking truth and mercy to meet, and have not put down all the quotations which a harmonious accomplishment on the men might be assembled together upon this arof this world, the dignity of God was put | gument. It is an impressive circumstance, to the same trial; the justice of God ap-than when Moses and Elias made a visit to peared to lay the same immoveable barrier; our Saviour on the mount of transfigurathe wisdom of God had to clear a way tion, and appeared in glory from heaven, through the same difficulties; the forgive the topic they brought along with them. ness of God had to find the same myste- and with which they were fraught, was the rious conveyance to the sinners of a solitary decease he was going to accomplish at Jeworld, as to the sinners of half a universe. rusalem. And however insipid the things The extent of the field upon which this of our salvation may be to an earthly unquestion was decided, has no more influence derstanding; we are made to know, that in on the question itself, than the figure or the the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which dimensions of that field of combat, on which should follow, there is matter to attract the some great political question was fought, I notice of celestial spirits, for these are the his on the importance or on the moral very things, says the Bible, which angels principles of the controversy that gave rise desire to look into. And however listlessly lo it. This objection about the narrowness we, the dull and grovelling children of an of the theatre, carries along with it all the exiled family, may feel about the perfecgrossness of materialism. "To the eye of tions of the Godhead, and the display of spiritual and intelligent beings, it is nothing. those perfections in the economy of the In their view, the redemption of a sinful Gospel, it is intimated to us in the book of World derives its chief interest from the God's message, that the creation has its display it gives of the mind and purposes districts and its provinces; and we accordof the Deity--and, should that world be but | ingly read of thrones, and dominions, and a single speck in the immensity of the principalities, and powers; and whether works of God, the only way in which this these terms denote the separate regions of affects their estimate of him, is to magnify government, or the beings who, by a comhis loving kindness--who rather than lose mission granted from the sanctuary of heaone solitary world of the myriads he has | ven, sit in delegated authority over them tormed, would lavish all the riches of his even in their eyes the mystery of Christ beneficence and of his wisdom on the re- stands arrayed in all the splendour of uncovery of its guilty population.

searchable riches; for we are told that this

Aye, and it

h of all their pellion lifting jesty of hea

istice of God 's he had ut

iniquity, and hrone, which ability to rest at of the las ind when na

that God, by frath, should tion, and ris government s vengeance Features the to him-01!

ire pondered rgency at all so high and

unfoldings ud how the

mystery was revealed for the very intent, I the fountain opened in the house of Judah, that unto the principalities and powers in for sin and for uncleanness, send forth its heavenly places, might be made known by healing streams to other worlds than our the church, the manifold wisdom of God. own. He does not tell us the extent of the And while we, whose prospect reaches not atonement. But he tells us that the atonebeyond the narrow limits of the corner we ment itself, known as it is among the myoccupy, look on the dealings of God in the riads of the celestial, forms the high song world, as carrying in them all the insignifi- of eternity; that the Lamb who was slain, cancy of a provincial transaction ; God him- is surrounded by the acclamations of one self, whose eye reaches to places which our wide and universal empire; that the might eye hath not seen, nor our ear heard of, of his wondrous achievements, spreads a neither hath it entered into the imagination tide of gratulation over the multitudes who of our heart to conceive, stamps a univer- are about his throne; and that there never sality on the whole matter of the Christian ceases to ascend from the worshippers of salvation, by such revelations as the fol- him who washed us from our sins in his lowing: That he is to gather together in blood, a voice loud as from numbers withone all things in Christ, both which are in out number, sweet as from blessed voices heaven, and which are in earth, even in uttering joy, when heaven rings jubilee, and him-and that at the name of Jesus every loud hosannas fill the eternal regions. knee should bow, of things in heaven, and “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of things in earth, and things under the earth many angels round about the throne, and and that by him God reconciled all things the number of them was ten thousand times unto himself, whether they be things in ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; earth, or things in heaven.

saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the We will not say in how far some of these | Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and passages extend the proper effect of that riches, and wisdom, and strength, and glory, redemption which is by Christ Jesus, to and honour, and blessing. And every creaother quarters of the universe of God; 1ture which is in heaven, and on earth, and but they at least go to establish a widely under the earth, and such as are in the sea, disseminated knowledge of this transaction and all that are in them, heard I saying, among the other orders of created intelli-Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, gence. And they give us a distant glimpse be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and of something more extended. They present unto the Lamb, forever and ever." a faint opening, through which may be seen A king might have the whole of his reign some few traces of a wider and a nobler crowded with the enterprises of glory; dispensation. They bring before us a dim and by the might of his arms, and the wistransparency, on the other side of which dom of his counsels might win the first the images of an obscure magnificence daz- reputation among the potentates of the zle indistinctly upon the eye; and tell us world; and be idolized throughout all his that in the economy of redemption, there is provinces, for the wealth and the security a grandeur commensurate to all that is that he had spread around them and still known of the other works and purposes of it is conceivable, that by the act of a sinthe Eternal. They offer us no details; andgle day in behalf of a single family; by man, who ought not to attempt a wisdom some soothing visitation of tenderness to a above that which is written, should never poor and solitary cottage; by some deed put forth his hand to the drapery of that of compassion, which conferred enlargeimpenetrable curtain which God in his mys- ment and relief on one despairing sufferer; terious wisdom has spread over those ways, l by some graceful movement of sensibility of which it is but a very small portion that at a tale of wretchedness; by some noble we know of them. But certain it is, that effort of self-denial, in virtue of which he we know as much of them from the Bible; subdued his every purpose of revenge, and and the infidel, with all the pride of his spread the mantle of a generous oblivion boasted astronomy, knows so little of them, over the fault of the man who has insulted from any power of observation, that the and aggrieved him; above all, by an exerbaseless argument of his, on which we have cise of pardon so skilfully administered, as dwelt so long, is overborne in the light of that instead of bringing him down to a state all that positive evidence which God has of defencelessness against the provocation poured around the record of his own testi- of future injuries, it threw a deeper sacredmony, and even in the light of its more ness over him, and stamped a more invioobscure and casual intimations.

lable dignity than ever on his person and The minute and variegated details of the character:-why, my brethren, on the way in which this wondrous economy is strength of one such performance, done in extended, God has chosen to withhold from a single hour, and reaching no further in us; but he has oftener than once made to its immediate effects than to one house, or us a broad and a general announcement of to one individual, it is a most possible its dignity. He does not tell us whether I thing, that the highest monarch upon earth

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

might draw such a lustre around him as ' And here it may be remarked, that as the would eclipse the renown of all his public earthly king who throws a moral aggranachievements--and that such a display of dizement around him, by the act of a single magnanimity, or of worth, beaming from day, finds, that after its performance, he the secrecy of his familiar moments, might may have the space of many years for gawaken a more cordial veneration in every | thering to himself the triumphs of an exbosom, than all the splendour of his con- tended reign--so the king who sits on spicuous history-aye, and that it might high, and with whom one day is as a thoupass down to posterity, as a more enduring sand years, and a thousand years as one monument of greatness, and raise him fur-day, will find, that after the period of that ther by its moral elevation above the level special administration is ended, by which of ordinary praise; and when he passes in this strayed world is again brought back review before the men of distant ages, may within the limits of his favoured creation, this deed of modest, gentle, unobtrusive vir- there is room enough along the mighty tue, be at all times appealed to, as the track of eternity, for accumulating upon most sublime and touching memorial of his himself a glory as wide and as universal as name.

is the extent of his dominions. You will In like manner did the King eternal, allow the most illustrious of this world's immortal, and invisible, surrounded as he is potentates, to give some hour of his private with the splendours of a wide and everlast- history to a deed of cottage or domestic ing monarchy, turn him to our humble tenderness; and every time you think of the habitation; and the foot-steps of God mani- interesting story, you will feel how sweetly fest in the flesh, have been on the narrow and how gracefully the remembrance of it spot of ground we occupy; and small blends itself with the fame of his public though our mansion be, amid the orbs and achievements. But still you think that the systems of immensity, hither hath the there would not have been room enough King of glory bent his mysterious way, and for these achievements of his, had much of entered the tabernacle of men, and in the his time been spent, either among the habidisguise of a servant did he sojourn for stations of the poor, or in the retirement of years under the roof which canopies our his own family; and you conceive, that it obscure and solitary world. Yes, it is but a | is because a single day bears so small a protwinkling atom in the peopled infinity of portion to the time of his whole history, Worlds that are around it---but look to the that he has been able to combine an inmoral grandeur of the transaction, and not teresting display of private worth, with all 10 the material extent of the field upon that brilliancy of exhibition, which has which it was executed-and from the re- brought him down to posterity in the tirement of our dwelling-place, there may character of an august and a mighty soveissue forth such a display of the Godhead, reign. as will circulate the glories of his name Now apply this to the matter before us. among all his worshippers. Here sin en-Had the history of our redemption been tered. Here was the kind and universal confined within the limits of a single day, beneficence of a Father, repaid by the in- the argument that infidelity has drawn gratitude of a whole family. Here the law from the multitude of other worlds, would Ol God was dishonoured, and that too in never have been offered. It is true, that the face of its proclaimed and unalterable ours is but an insignificant portion of the sanctions. Here the mighty contest of the territory of God--but if the attentions by attributes was ended-and when justice which he has signalized it, had only taken put forth its demands, and truth called for up a single day, this would never have octhe fulfilment of its warnings, and the im- curred to us as forming any sensible withmutability of God would not recede by a drawment of the mind of the Deity from single jota, from any one of its positions, the concerns of his vast and universal goand all the severities he had ever uttered /vernment. It is the time which the plan of winst the children of iniquity, seemed to our salvation requires, that startles all those gather into one cloud of threatening venge- on whom this argument has any impresance on the tenement that held us--did the sion. It is the time taken up about this Visit of the only-begotten Son chase away paltry world, which they feel to be out of all these obstacles to the triumph of mercy- proportion to the number of other worlds. and humble as the tenement may be, deeply and to the immensity of the surrounding shaded in the obscurity of insignificance as creation. Now, to meet this impression, I do ll is, among the statelier mansions which not insist at present on what I have already are on every side of it-yet will the recal | brought forward, that God, whose ways Of its exiled family never be forgotten-and are not as our ways, can have his eye at the illustration that has been given here the same instant on every place, and can vi the mingled grace and majesty of God, I divide and diversify his attention into any will never lose its place among the themes number of distinct exercises. What I have and the acclainations of eternity.

I now to remark, is, that the infidel who

le of his reign Ees of glory;

and the was win the first

nates of the
Ighout all his
| the security
em-and still

act of a sit-
e familr; by
nderney to a

some det rred enlarza ring suterer; of serviblir r some nelle of which he rerenge and mus oblia

has insulted , by an arep

inistered 572 10 a sute

eper sum
more in

person and
en, on the
nee, done in
o further in
he house, ar

upon earth

urges the astronomical objection to the no limits—why does he not also shoot truth of Christianity, is only looking with them forward through the vista of a suchalf an eye to the principle on which it cession, that ever flows without stop and rests. Carry out the principle, and the without termination? He has burst across objection vanishes. He looks abroad on the confines of this world's habitation in the immensity of space, and tells us how space, and out of the field which lies on the impossible it is, that this narrow corner of other side of it, has he gathered an arguit can be so distinguished by the attentions ment against the truth of revelation. I feel of the Deity. Why does he not also look that I have nothing to do but to burst abroad on the magnificence of eternity; and across the confines of this world's history perceive how the whole period of these pe- in time, and out of the futurity which lies culiar attentions, how the whole time which beyond it, can I gather that which will elapses between the fall of man and the con- blow the argument to pieces, or stamp upsummation of the scheme of his recovery, is on it all the narrowness of a partial and but the twinkling of a moment to the mighty | mistaken calculation. The day is coming, roll of innumerable ages? The whole inter- when the whole of this wondrous history val between the time of Jesus Christ's leav- shall be looked back upon by the eye of the ing his Father's abode, to sojourn among remembrance, and be regarded as one inus, to that time when he shall have put all cident in the extended annals of creation, his enemies under his feet, and delivered and with all the illustration and all the up the kingdom to God, even his Father, glory it has thrown on the character of the that God may be all in all; the whole of this Deity, will it be seen as a single step in the interval bears as small a proportion to the evolution of his designs; and long as the whole of the Almighty's reign, as this soli- time may appear, from the first act of our tary world does to the universe around it, redemption to its final accomplishment, and an infinitely smaller proportion than and close and exclusive as we may think any time, however short, which an earthly the attentions of God upon it, it will be monarch spends on some enterprise of pri- found that it has left him room enough for vate benevolence, does to the whole walk of all his concerns, and that on the high scale his public and recorded history.

of eternity, it is but one of those passing Why, then, does not the man, who can and ephemeral transactions, which crowd shoot his conceptions so sublimely abroad the history of a never-ending administraover the field of an immensity that knows / tion.


On the Sympathy that is felt for Man in the Distant Places of Creation.

" I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety

and nine just persons which need no repentance.”—Luke xy, 7

I HAVE already attempted at full length strewed immensity with the floating recepto establish the position, that the infidel ar- tacles of life, and has stretched over each of gument of astronomers goes to expunge a them the garniture of such a sky as mantles natural perfection from the character of our own habitation--and that even from God, even that wondrous property of his, distances which are far beyond the reach by which he, at the sanie instant of time, of human eye, the songs of gratitude and can bend a close and a careful attention on praise may now be arising to the one God, a countless diversity of objects, and diffuse who sits surrounded by the regards of his the intimacy of his power and of his pre-one great and universal family. sence, from the greatest to the minutest and Now, it is saying much for the benevolence most insignificant of them all. I also ad- of God, to say that it sends forth these wide verted shortly to this other circumstance, and distant emanations over the surface of a that it went to impair a moral attribute of territory so ample, that the world we inhathe Deity. It goes to impair the benevo- bit, lying imbedded as it does amidst so lence of his nature. It is saying much for much surrounding greatness, shrinks into a the benevolence of God, to say, that a single point that to the universal eye might appear world, or a single system, is not enough for to be almost imperceptible. But does it not it-that it must have the spread of a mightier add to the power and to the perfection of region, on which it may pour forth a tide of this universal eye, that at the very moment exuberancy throughout all its provinces-- it is taking a comprehensive survey of the that as far as our vision can carry us, it has vast, it can fasten a steady and undistracted

« AnteriorContinuar »