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realities of another and better world. But, on the contrary, if, through the pride of his own self-derived intelligence, he should disregard all higher knowledge; if the pure truths of rerelation have never sparkled in his eyes, nor the love of God kindled in his soul a warm devotion; then, whatever may be his knowledge ; howerer splendid his scientific attainments, yet they are of no arai!! and in the most important day of human life, I mean that day when a man quits this world for ever, they will be seen and felt to be of no avail. They can yield no delights-give no consolations-open no bright prospects of futurity ; and at the period when the man wants help the most, they will be found to fiy from him, and give him none. O how true is this passage of Scripture: "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots : they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord” (Isa. xxxi. 1).
It is lamentable to think how many in this our day, and in our owo country too, who are, in the spiritual sense of the Scriptures, living in bondage in the land of Egypt-dwelling in a mere natoral, sensual, and worldly state, slaves to their own passions, mbile the pride of their own fancied acquirements has shut out the light of heaven from their souls, and spread a thick intellectual darkness over their moral land. This is precisely the state of all those who call themselves Atheists, Deists, Materialists, and Infidels! These arrogate to themselves, without any just title to it, the name of moral philosophers ; they are lovers of argument, but averse to sense.- Boasters of liberty fast bound in chains ! and thus it is that
“ Man smiles in ruin, glories in his guilt,
And infamy stands candidate for praise.” But the darkness which spread itself over the land of Egypt, was produced by Moses lifting up, or stretching forth, his hand towards heaven; and it was this very act which also gave light to the Israelites.
Moses, and all other persons mentioned in the Word of God, are to be thought of, not merely in regard to their persons respectirely, but rather in reference to the characters they sustained, the uses they performed, and the truths they taught. Thus at the transfiguration of the Lord upon the mount, in the presence of Peter, James, and John, it is said, that Moses and Elias were seen talking with Jesus! Now the mere information that Moses and Elias were seen talking with Jesus, can be of no value or use to the
Christian, beyond the mere knowledge of the literal fact itself. If it had been said that Abraham and Isaac had talked with the Lord in this scene of the transfiguration, the literal information would have been precisely the same with the exception of a change in the two persons. But in this case the scene of the transfiguration could not have happened at all; for it required not Abraham and Isaac; but Moses and Elias, to give fulness, perfection, glory, and completion to the scene! The same observations are also applicable to Peter, James, and John, who were the three witnessing this transaction; the fact might hare been related the same, and have been the same literally, had any other three of the apostles been chosen. But in this case again the transfiguration could not have taken place; the spiritual instruction involved in it could not have been conveyed to mankind at all; for the three spiritual states of faith, charity, and the works of charity, represented by Peter, Jaines, and John, (to which states alone such a glorious appearance of Jesus could be made,) were actually required to be present, because the glory of the Lord in his transfiguration, could only be made manifest to those who are in such states; and hence Peter, James, and John, and them alone, who, in their respective persons represented these states, were required to be present to witness this glory, and to transmit the knowledge of it to the church at large.
The fact of Moses and Elias talking with the Lord in this scene of the transfiguration, although of little moment literally, is nevertheless of great value in a spiritual point of view, and by means of that light which all the Israel of God have in their dwellings, we shall be enabled to see what an important Christian doctrine is here set forth. The Lord Jesus Christ is in himself the very truth-the true light--and the Word made flesh He is the centre of all things—the source of love, and the fountain of wisdom. Hence in this scene of the transfiguration, the face of the Lord was seen to shine as the sun, and his raiment white as the light: instructing us by this representation that the divine love of God, denoted by the face shining as the sun, is still ardent, universal, and without a cloud, and that it still shines with undimi. nished lustre upon all the families of the human race.
The truth proceeding from this love is pure and unspotted; it clothes and invests it as raiment does the body; and the truth, spotless and pure like the only legitimate clothing of love whence it proceeds, is here denoted by the raiment being wbite as the light. This scene upon the mount shows the true character of Jesus ;--that his love beams forth from the divine countenance, and that the truth thence proceeding, is the divine raiment, white as the light. The Lord, inasmuch as he is the source of all love and wisdom of all life and light, is, therefore, emphatically called the Word, and the “Word made flesh” (John i. 14). The Word of God is both historical and prophetical : the former is represented by Moses, and the latter by Elias. These two are, therefore, described as talking with Jesus, to instruct us that both the law and the prophets point to Jesus as the source of all that is good in life and all that is right in knowledge, and that spiritual communication, denoted by talking with Jesus, is effected only by being present with him on the mountain, in the elevated state of a pure celestial love. These are the things, which are taught us in this miraculous appearance of the Lord upon the mount, and these are the divine realities which concern our present and future peace.
Now Moses is said to stretch forth his hand towards heaven, and this act produced at once light in all the dwellings of the Israelites, but darkness throughout the land of Egypt. If, by Moses in his representative capacity, the divine law is signified, and all the hislorical truth of revelation, which faithfully describes the progressive steps and stages in the divine life, then by the hand of Moses we can discern the power of that truth, and to stretch that forth towards heaven, is the elevation and exercise of it to the purposes for which it was given; so that truth, in the exercise of its power, may have the dominion over the mind, that the whole man may be raised above the sensualities of the world, and brought into the wisdom and light of heaven. It is this elevation of truth which gives a heavenly quality to our affections, and guides us to the kingdom; it is this truth that fills our dwellings with brightness; that lights up a glory in the soul, which all the vapours and mists of ignorance can never obscure.
How different is the state of those whose minds are sensual, worldly, and carnal, whose religion is ceremonial, and whose names are written in the earth. The truth of heaven, thus lifted up, is altogether above their state of apprehension. Their affections are grovelling in the mire and clay of bodily gratifications—they love not the purities of heaven, and hence they cannot see its light; and thus, while in their dwellings, or minds, there is nothing but darkness; in the dwellings of the true Israel of God, there is an everlasting light. With them there is a sun, which never goes downa love eternally ardent; a moon which never withdraws its shining
-a faith ever glorious and bright. Stars always emitting their twinkling radiance, rays of knowledge ever multiplying around them! all of which form their glory within, and the halo around their path. These unitedly will guide them to their heaven of peace, wbere joys that never die, and peace that is everlasting, will be their sure, their certain reward. Amen.
THE CHARGE GIVEN TO THE SWORD OF THE
Jeremiah xlvii. 6, 7. "O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? Put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest and be still. How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea-shore? There hath he
appointed it. The great design of Jehovah in communicating a revelation of his will and wisdom to mankind, was, that from a principle of perfect freedom they might be led to a state of permanent blessedness. Yet how many are there, who, in ignorance of its glorious discoveries, regard the Bible as the origin of discreditable superstitions and irrational sentiments. We must learn, therefore, to distinguish divine truth, from that multitude of absurd opinions and ascetic practises, which men have sought to confirm by the sanction of inspiration. Even Christians themselves, too often regard the Word of God with comparative indifference, and, excepting the apostolic letters of exhortation to the primitive Christian congregations, the historical portions are considered merely in the light of pleasing moral narratives ; the prophetical are expounded as relating to the rise and fall of cities and empires; and the preceptive, it is insisted, contain laws which no man can obey, and exact requirements with which no man is able to comply. It can remain, then, no longer a subject of astonishment, that the Word of God is seen by multitudes to differ but little from works of mere human composition ; that its authority should be questioned, its truths unperceived, and its divinity denied.
But, how exalted, how rational are the views of the New Jerusalem on the nature and quality of the Word of God. They instruct us to believe, and feel ourselves interested in, every portion of the volume of revealed wisdom. They shew us in what way