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while that memorable event of it, which is the subject of this evening's reading, remains unconsidered; and, as the evangelic page has exhibited him to us alive from the dead, let us devoutly attend to the reason and end of this glorious apparition. It naturally suggests to us the following reflec
I. That Jehovah is, with undeviating, undiverted, undivided attention, carrying on the great plan of his providence, to full maturity, by every order of beings, in every possible state by those who cheerfully enter into his views, and joyfully submit to his will; and by those who carelessly neglect or proudly oppose it. We have seen him serving himself of this Moses in the court of Pharaoh, in the pastures of Midian, in the wilderness of Sinai; as a prophet, as a legislator, as an historian. And, to fit him for a new field of action, behold him shining in a new and glorious form. The grave seems to have surrendered up its trust, heaven has yielded up one of its inhabitants, and Moses is now admitted into a land from which he was once shut out. In this world we have still to deplore faculties wasting, impairing, extinguished; usefulness interrupted, cut off in the midst, by the stroke of death, the earth impoverished by the premature departure of wisdom and worth. The history of mankind exhibits projects blasted, schemes abortive, instruments feeble and inadequate, concussions violent, revolutions sudden and unexpected; but far different the view which the scriptures represent of the kingdom of God. In it, one generation passeth not away that another may succeed, but there is an eternal accumulation of citizens, eternally increasing in wisdom, goodness, and felicity; faculties ever improving, projects advancing in full certainty of success, means fitted to their end, and the one great scheme of the Eternal Mind proceeding in steady, uniform majesty, to its final consummation. Pleasing, awful thought! "The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations."*
II. We observe, from this history, The benevolent interest which celestial beings take in the affairs of men. They are no unconcerned spectators of what passes here below. They who have been raised from earth to heaven, have not lost all recollection of the world they have left, nor dropt all concern about their brethren in the flesh. Moses and Elias with joy revisit an inferior region, if thereby they can be instrumental in promoting the work of redemption; and exchange, for a season, the society of angels, and the delights of the paradise of God, for the company of simple fishermen, and a barren mountain's top, that we might have strong consolation in contemplating "the
*Psalm xxxiii. 11.
sufferings of Christ," and the glory that preceded and followed. O what an exalted, what a generous spirit does true religion breathe and inspire! It makes angels "ministering spirits to them who are the heirs of salvation;" it brings departed saints back to earth again; it converts Tabor into Heaven, and determines the choice of an apostle, when in a strait betwixt two, and to prefer abiding in the flesh, because more needful to his fellow-creatures, to the selfish joy, though far better, of departing and being with Christ. But Moses, and Elias, and Paul were themselves men, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, were instructed by sympathy to commiserate, and prompted by affection to relieve, human wretchedness. Behold an infinitely greater miracle of generous, disinterested love; "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."* Jesus, "loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." "Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." "As children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage."}
III. The history before us suggests, The sweet harmony, the perfect intelligence which subsist between glorified spirits. Moses and Elias, as they co-operated in the same design, though at different periods upon earth, much more concur in sentiment, in exertion, now they see more clearly and comprehend more fully the intentions of a wise and gracious Providence. Through ignorance, through pride, through jealousy, through malice, imperfect men on earth will differ, will hate and oppose each other; but in celestial bosoms the dark, malignant, unsocial passions find no place: in them there ever prevails unity of intelligence, unity of design, unity in operation, unity of affection. Prompted by the same motive, aiming at the same end, Gabriel, a multitude of the heavenly host, Moses and Elias-angels single, and in bands, announce to the world the advent of the Saviour, celebrate his birth, witness his transfiguration, relieve his agony, record his death, declare his resurrection from the dead, grace his ascent to heaven, proclaim his second coming. And O what must be that harmony and joy! the harmony and joy of heaven, where angels and archangels, the cherubim and the seraphim, patriarchs,
Connect with this, the idea of the quick and perfect intelligence which subsists between the children of this kingdom. The happiness of heaven is a social, not a solitary joy. But how can the poverty of our imagination, the coldness of our affections, conceive the intimacy of intercourse, the promptness of communication, the sympathy of feeling, in pure spirits wholly disposed to love, and free from all desire or design to disguise, to deceive, to conceal!
"Where friendship full exerts her softest pow'r,
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
prophets, and apostles, and the whole multi- | eous men on earth, to just men made pertude of the redeemed, animated by one fect, to the angels of God; in the eye of God spirit, adore the same object, rejoice in the himself, there is one object of peculiar same grace wherein they stand, and join in magnitude and importance, which is before the same triumphant song! all, above all, runs through all, and in which all shall finally terminate. It is surely not without a meaning, that the promises, the predictions, from first to last, point out a Saviour that should suffer and die; that all the types, services, sacrifices of the law should represent a salvation that was to be wrought out, to be purchased with blood; that the whole doctrine of the gospel should be compressed into one point, the doctrine of the Cross; that the throne of God eternal in the heavens should exhibit at its right hand, and in the midst of it, "a Lamb as it had been slain;" that the song of the redeemed should celebrate Him who loved the sons of men, and "washed them from their sins in his blood!" O the infatuation of a careless, unbelieving world! That subject which the ransomed of the Lord dwell upon with ever new and increasing delight; that great "mystery of godliness," which "angels desire to look into;" that object which the great God has marked with special precision as his own; the wonder of Heaven, the joy of the earth, the theme of eternity, was "to the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness;" is to a faithless and perverse generation a thing of nought, the song of the drunkard, the jest of fools! If that blood has fallen and lies with such oppressive weight, both as a temporal and a spiritual curse on those who rashly imprecated it on themselves and their children, and then impiously and remorselessly shed it; "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!"* May that blood be upon us, and upon our children, to cleanse, not to condemn, to exalt, not to overwhelm us, and be it our determinate resolution, through the grace that is in Christ, to know nothing in comparison of Christ Jesus, and him crucified, "and to glory in nothing but his cross."
With what promptitude and intelligence celestial beings converse, say, ye gentle spirits, who know what it is to soothe and relieve the lazy, lingering hours of absence by the friendly aid of letters; ye, whom the murmur of a sigh, or the tone of a single word can instantly instruct; ye, whose hearts the pressure of a finger can awake to rapture; ye, whose kindred, congenial souls the slightest glance of the impassioned eye, can, in a moment, quick as the lightning's flash, penetrate, kindle, inform, assimilate ;
"Ye whom the sudden tear
But the purest human affection is ever dashed with doubt, with apprehension, with suspicion; its communications are liable to be retarded by dulness, prevented by accident, or checked and blasted by a malignant eye, and therefore can at best convey but an imperfect idea of that "perfect love which casteth out fear," of that divine sympathy which speeds the holy intercourse from soul to soul, of that mutual understanding which needs not the medium of sense to convey it. Though we cannot conceive, much less describe, in what manner angels and saints in bliss converse one with another, yet from the text we know, what is the one, great, darling theme of their conversation. Moses and Elias descend from their heavenly thrones, from before the fountain of light and life, appear in glory, revisit the earth, associate with men, to do homage at the feet of Jesus, and to "speak of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." This leads to a
IVth, and the most important remark on this passage of our Saviour's history, in connexion with that of Moses, namely, That under every dispensation, before the giving of the law, and under its reign, when it was restored, and after it is abolished; to right
V. Observe, The superiority ascribed, by a voice from the most excellent glory, to Christ the Lord, swallowing up and eclipsing all created excellency, and perfection. This is my beloved Son, hear him," proclaims the" voice, and instantly Moses and Elias disappear, that Jesus may be all in all. They have brought their glory and honour and laid it at his feet; they have pointed out to mankind in whose light they shine, in what consists their chief eminence and distinction. They in effect say the same thing with John Baptist; "He that cometh after me is pre
saints and angels quitting their heavenly abode to minister to the necessities of wretched mortals; and wretched mortals rising to the everlasting possession of heavenly thrones. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?" "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord
ferred before me, whose shoes' latchet I am which experienced not dimness of eyes, nor not worthy to unloose."* "Behold the Lamb abatement of natural vigour, but in that of God, which taketh away the sin of the renovated youth, that unfading beauty, that world." They forbid us to look toward impassive strength, that immortal lustre, them, or to trust in them for salvation. Hav- wherein on the mount of the Lord he was ing given this testimony to their Lord and seen; and shall resemble Elias, not by mountours, they retire to that world of bliss into ing with the help of a chariot of fire and which they found admission through that horses of fire into heaven, but with native blood which cleanseth from all sin, through force, immediately derived from the great that decease which Christ was ready "to ac- Source of life and motion, shall spontaneouscomplish at Jerusalem." Let us joyfully ly ascend up to his native seat; shall rebend the knee to Him, who, "for the suffer- semble Christ, his divine head, not in that ing of death, is crowned with glory and sinless infirmity to which he voluntarily subhonour, and has obtained a name that is above mitted in the days of his flesh, but in that every name;" whom Moses and Elias ac- glory which he had with the Father before knowledge as their greater; whom all the the world was, and which for a moment burst angels of God are commanded to worship, as forth on the mount of transfiguration, when "the image of the invisible God, the first-"his face did shine as the sun, and his raiborn of every creature," "by whom were ment was white as the light." Glorious and created all things that are in heaven, and blessed gospel! which first taught the resurthat are in earth, visible and invisible, whe-rection from the dead, which has "abolished ther they be thrones, or dominions, or princi- death, and brought life and immortality to palities or powers; all things were created light;" whose "exceeding great and precious by him, and for him." promises" make men "partakers of a divine Finally, the passage exhibits to our won-nature;" whose hallowed page represents dering eyes a glimpse of that glory which all the faithful shall finally attain; in the person of one who had never tasted death; whose body, by a miracle of Almighty power, was fitted for heaven and immortality without seeing corruption in the grave; and of one, who, as we must, died and was buried, and by a similar miracle, was either ransom-Jesus Christ."*** ed from the power of the grave, or whose But now the curtain is dropt, Moses and glorified spirit was fitted with a temporary Elias have resumed their places in heaven, vehicle of transparent flesh for the present and the glory of Tabor is no more. Yet, grand occasion; but above all, in the person though unseen, they cease not to instruct us. of the greatest of the three, who was pleased Though withdrawn, they are in the midst of to clothe humanity, which had not yet, but us still; the distinction of past and future they soon was to suffer death, with a transitory feel no longer, and separation by space canglory, the forerunner of that which should not keep celestial beings asunder. Proviquickly follow, and do away all the ignominy dence brought together into one place the of the tomb, and become the sure pledge of giver and restorer of the law; and the first that glory with which he shall invest all harbingers of the gospel blending earth and them that believe, after "the fashion of his heaven together in homage to the Son of God. own glorious body." While we contemplate And all distance between them too is now mount Tabor, the immortal spirit looks for ever done away. Remote as we are, we through the frail tottering fabric of flesh and behold them together in a state of glorious blood, in which it is inclosed; and while, perfection, but permitted to converse with us from its present connexion, it surveys with no more. But He is with us still, their Lord concern the inroads of disease, the wastes of and ours; His voice we can still hear, after time, the approaches of dissolution; from the they are silenced, and Him we are commandvisions of God, from the power of free sove-ed to hear. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterreign grace, from the present attainments of the faithful, beholds with rapture the splendour of that vehicle in which it shall ascend "to meet the Lord in the air," when "mortality shall be swallowed up of life," when it shall be united to a body insusceptible of pain, undepressed by its own gravity, unfettered by the laws of dull matter, uncondemned to mortality. Glorious and blessed day, when the meanest of the saints shall resemble Moses, not in that green and lively old age
day, and to-day, and for ever:" "To Him all the prophets gave witness," and he is "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
And thus have we finished our proposed delineation of the lives of the patriarchs, from Adam, the father of the human race, down to Moses, the great legislator and prophet of the Hebrew nation; with the intermediate illustrious personages, whom the Spirit of God has preserved from oblivion,
* 1 Cor. xv. 57.
for our information and use; whom Provi- | lem, and to an innumerable company of andence raised up in the earlier ages of the world, to occupy distinguished stations, and to accomplish important designs; who, by their respective characters, offices, and declarations, predicted or prefigured the Messiah; who edified the world, while they lived, by their doctrine and example; and who, being dead, continue living monitors and instructers of mankind.
gels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel," and dwell in a tabernacle not erected by the hands of mar, the habitation of an hour, but in "a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
While we contemplate the progress of these venerable figures along the plain of existence, we feel ourselves in motion, we Be ye therefore "followers of them who are hurrying down the stream, we begin to through faith and patience inherit the promingle with the assembly of the departed, mises." Purchase for yourselves a deathless we leave our place among men empty. Of name among the "ransomed of the Lord." those who entered with us on this career of Consider yourselves as encompassed, observmeditation, "some are not ;" their course is ed, tenderly regarded by those to whom you finished, they have fulfilled their day, they were dear while they tabernacled among are gone to join the men who lived beyond men, and who now love you with the ardour the flood. The cold hand of death has frozen of immortals. Add to the consolation which up some of the streams of friendship; the they enjoy, that of marking your progress in congelation is gaining upon our own vital wisdom, your growth in grace. Cultivate powers, and marking us for the tomb, where acquaintance with the language you are to the endearments of social affection, and the speak, the spirit you are to breathe, the manmeltings of sympathy, and the glow of love,ners with which you are to conform, the are felt no more. But "we sorrow not" over persons with whom you are to converse, departed worth "as those who have no hope." [eternally. Seeing we also are compassed God, and angels, and “the spirits of just men about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let made perfect," have gained what the world us lay aside every weight, and the sin which has lost: they move in a higher sphere; they doth so easily beset us, and let us run with perceive with purer intelligence, act with patience the race that is set before us, looksuperior energy, enjoy with more exalted ing unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our capacity; they die no more, they are as the faith; who, for the joy that was set before angels of God in heaven: and Providence him, endured the cross, despising the shame, charges itself with the care of the forsaken, and is set down at the right hand of the throne the helpless and the forlorn whom they have of God.”† "Behold what manner of love left behind. And we look forward together the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we to that day, when we shall join Moses and should be called the sons of God." Belov Elias, Peter and James, and John, and all ed, now are we the sons of God, and it doth who have died before us, or shall die after us not yet appear what we shall be: but we in the Lord, not in the glory of Tabor, which know that, when he shall appear, we shall was to pass away, but of mount Zion which be like him; for we shall see him as he is. is above, and which endureth to endiess ages And every man that hath this hope in him, -when we shall come together "unto the purifieth himself, even as he is pure." city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusa
Heb. xil. 22-24.
† Ib. 1, 2. 11 John iii. 2, 1
LECTURE LXXXV I.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for him.-GENESIS ii. 18.
THE holy scriptures always exhibit the | The God who made us what we are, formed most simple and the justest view of every subject which they treat. And what subject of importance to man do they not treat?
man after a model, destined him for a special situation, and to fulfil a specific purpose. His faculties, his relations, his duties, his demands,
sent Lecture, in giving a general delineation of the female character, as it is represented in the passage now read, and as being the purpose and act of the great Lord of nature,
his delights, were all, from the beginning, present to the eye of his Creator: and a corresponding arrangement and provision were made by Him, who seeth the end from the commencement, and who exactly adjusts all," an help meet for man." Every creature according to number, weight, and measure.
The perfection of the works of God, is a beautiful and gradual progress toward perfection from inanimate to vegetative, from vegetative to animal, from animal to rational nature; each approaching to, bordering upon each, but every one circumscribed by a boundary which it cannot pass, to disturb, and confound the province of another. The scale of being, as to this globe, was complete when God had "created man in his own image." But social existence was not perfect till it pleased God to draw man out of solitude, by making him" an help meet for him." This simply, yet clearly, unfolds woman's nature, station, duty, use, and end. This raises her to her proper rank and importance, and instructs her how most effectually to support them; this forbids her to aspire after rule, for her Maker designed her as "an helper ;" this secures for her affection and respect, for how is it possible to hate or despise what God and nature have rendered essential to our happiness. If the intention of the Crea- | tor, therefore, is attended to, the respective claims and duties of the sexes are settled in a moment, and an end is put to all unprofitable discussion of superiority and inferiority, of authority and subjection, in those whose destination, and whose duty it is, to be mutually helpful, attentive, and affectionate.
The female character and conduct have frequently presented themselves in the course of the history of the Patriarchs. And indeed how can the life of man be separated from that of woman? Their amiable qualities and praiseworthy actions have been occasionally pointed out, and unreservedly, though without adulation, commended; their faults and follies have been, with equal freedom, exposed and censured. But in the instances referred to, female conduct has undergone only an accidental and transient review, in detached fragments, and as supplementary to, or producing influence on, the conduct of man. The pencil of inspiration, however, having introduced persons of the gentler sex into its inimitable compositions; and these not always thrown into the back-ground or placed in the shade, but sometimes springing forward into the light, and glowing in all the brilliancy of colouring, I have been induced, with trembling steps, to follow the heavenly guide; and to follow up the fainter sketches of a Sarah, a Rebekah, a Rachel, a Miriam, with the more finished portraits of " Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth," "Ruth, the Moabitess," and "Hannah," the mother of Samuel the prophet. In order to introduce these with greater advantage, I mean to employ the pre
was intended to yield help to man: the flower, with its beauty and fragrance; the tree, with its nutritious fruit; the animal tribes, with all their powers of ministering satisfaction to the senses or to the mind. Adam surveyed them all with delight, saw their several characters in their several forms, gave them names, observed and glorified his Creator's perfections displayed in himself, and in them. But still he was alone amidst all this multitude; the understanding was employed, but the heart wanted its object: the tongue could name all that the eye beheld, but there was no tender, sympathetic ear, to which it could say," how fair, how lovely, how glorious is all this that we behold!" "For Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”
The want of nature is no sooner perceived by the great Parent of man, than it is supplied; the wish of reason is no sooner expressed than gratified. Paternal care and tenderness even outrun and prevent the calls of filial necessity. Adam has felt no void, uttered no complaint, but "the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone : I will make him an help meet for him." And with God, execution certainly and instantaneously follows design. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”* How completely suitable an helper God provided for man in a state of sinless perfection transcends imagination, much more description; all that is lovely in form, all that is graceful in manner, all that is exalted in mind, all that is pure in thought, all that is delicate in sentiment, all that is enchanting in conversation. This felicity was made subject to alteration; this harmony was not to continue perfect; but the original intention of the Creator was not to be defeated, no, but even in a state of degradation, difficulty, and distress, as in a state of purity and peace, it was still the destination of Providence, that woman should be "an help meet" for man. In what important respects we are now to inquire.
The first and most obvious is, as his counsellor and coadjutor in bringing up their common offspring. Education, on the part of the
* Gen. ii. 21-24.