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from on high which hath visited us; to find out Him in the scriptures of God, who revealed the truth, who then came to seal it with his blood, and left his church to be its perpetual and faithful guardian. With what clouds, therefore, must we envelope our hearts and understandings, if that light of revelation, which has successively shone through every dispensation, should in these latter times shed its splendour in vain. But unless we suffer the true light that was to light every man that cometh into the world, to conduct us to realms of unspeakable glory, every other will prove a meteor that will delude us. The brightness of natural religion will at last prove an ineffectual fire, the lamp of reason grow dim, every path of hope will be obscured, till our feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and we have no guide to direct our goings.
But as a faith in futurity was required, and found in the predecessors of the gospel dispensation, so also, not only in the price that has purchased our redemption, but in the future possession of that purchase itself, is our faith required. The promise to them was the means of mercy; the promise to us is the efficacy of
those means. The first advent of our blessed Redeemer has only fulfilled the promises in part, and left the Christian, like the Patriarchal and Jewish believer, to future hopes and future consummation. That He, who was wrapt in swaddling clothes in a manger, now sits upon an eternal throne, above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion; that He, who visited us in great humility, is now crowned with glory and honour; that He, who was condemned to death before an earthly tribunal, will again come to sit in judgment upon the whole human race, and to reward every man according to his works ; that He, whose body and blood were the sacrifice, now pleads its sufficiency, as the great High Priest, and Intercessor for our sins; are truths as clearly revealed in scripture as that He was to have been born of a Virgin, or that He was to have been wounded for our transgressions, and cut off, not for himself, but that, by the means of his death, He might bring us to God. But as these, although not distinctly conceived by those to whom they were made known from afar by promise and by prophecy, were yet expected by them in humility and faith; so now the life to come, a resurrection, and a future judgment, though the mighty price be already paid, rest all on promise also, and are articles of faith to us, which as far surpass our powers of explanation.
In our conception, however, of that blessedness which awaits an obedience to the faith, we are not left unassisted by the Holy Apostle, who describes those scenes of future bliss with a rapture that seems to indicate more than a prophetic view. Contemplating, therefore, the progressive appeal which religion has made by miracles to the senses of man; inferring, in faith, from what has happened, what will as surely cone to pass; assuring ourselves from prophecies accomplished, and promises performed, that He is faithful who promised, and that his word shall never pass away; let us commit our imaginations to the Apostle's guidance, and with him humbly approach that throne of glory on which our Redeemer sitteth, fulfilling every pro- . mise made to his church, and proving himself to be the strength of his people, and their portion for ever. Let us anticipate our final change
and transition through his blood, from darkness to light, from death to life, from sin to holiness, and to an union with Him who is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.
Ye are come, then, says the Apostle, unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. As our arrival at mount Sion is put into contrast with the trembling approach of Moses and the Israelites to the mount from which the law was given, we must naturally infer, that instead of encountering the terrors of darkness and tempest, or of a voice dismaying the spirit of all who heard it, the hill of Sion is a fair place, and the joy of the whole earth, and that God is known in her palaces for a refuge:--that as from Sinai a law was promulged, by which no man is justified in the sight of God, so now from Sion in the last days, comes forth a law proclaiming forgiveness to all that believe, and justification by faith in Jesus Christ from all things from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses. For the law made nothing perfect; but the bringing in of a better hope did; a hope that is the refuge and anchor of the soul, by which we draw nigh to
God. But, together with all nations that flow to the mountain of the Lord's house to learn his ways and to walk in his paths, we are now come to the King who is set upon his holy hill of Sion; and what is the blessed result of our confident approach to Him in full assurance of faith? Mercy to our unrighteousness, to our sins and iniquity oblivion; For I, even I am he, saith the Lord, that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
They were to come also unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem—here contrasted with the earthly Jerusalem, for the sake of carrying on the comparison between the legal bondage and the liberty of the gospel, the covenants of the law and of the promise. Of that great and glorious city, wherein the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are to be the temple of it; of the work of God by his Holy Spirit, in which it pleaseth Him to dwell; of the dominion and kingdom of his Saviour, upon earth, when he shall set his throne upon the holy hill of Sion; the christian may surely, under the safe warrant of prophecy, be allowed to apply the several images to the state of the church tri