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grown with presumption and vice, it could never have made its way to so much consideration, if the hand of God had not been with it.
Such is the mystery of Christ believed on in the world!
But now the Apostle, who had digressed a little from his main subject, or rather had anticipated some part of it, returns, from the effects which Christianity was to have on the world, to the person of its divine Author; who, as it follows in the
6. Sixth, and last clause of this panegyrick,
WAS RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY.
And this circumstance was proper to shut up so stupendous a scene. It opened with a view of God manifest in the flesh, degraded, eclipsed, obscured by this material vestment; yet emerging out of its dark shade through the countenance of the spirit, and by the ministry of angels; then shining out in the face of the Gentiles, and gradually ascending to his meridian height in the conversion of the whole world. Yet was this prize of glory to be won by a long and painful conflict with dangers, sufferings, and death; in regard to which last
enemy (the most alarming of all) the Apostle affirms, that it was not possible for so divine a person to be holden of it. It follows, there fore, naturally and properly (to vindicate the Redeemer's honour, and to replace him in that celestial state, from which he had descended), that, in his own person, he triumphed over hell and the grave, and went up visibly into heaven; there to sit down at the right hand of the Father, till, his great mediatorial scheme being accomplished, he himself shall voluntarily quit the distinction of his name and place, and GOD SHALL BE ALL IN ALLf.
On this brief comment on the text, thus far unfolded to you, I have but one reflexion to make. Ye will not derive from it a clearer insight into the reasons of all the wonders presented to you for I undertook only to lay before you those wonders themselves; not to account to you for them: but, if ye feel yourselves touched with a view of these things; if ye find your hearts impressed with an awful sense of your divine religion, and nourished in the faith of it, then will ye be in a way to reap that fruit from this discourse, which is better than all wisdom and all knowledge; the
• Acts ii. 24.
f 1 Cor. xv. 28.
fruit of HOLINESs, in this short but unspeakably momentous stage of your existence; and of HAPPINESS without measure, and without end, in the kingdom of glory.
• 1 Tim. iv. 6. ἐντρεφόμενος τοῖς λόγοις τῆς πίσεως, καὶ τῆς καλῆς διδασχαλίας.
PREACHED MAY 19, 1776.
ISAIAH 1. 11.
ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks; Walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which ye have kindled: This shall ye have of my hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow.
THE expression, we see, is figurative. By the fire kindled, and the sparks, with which men compass themselves about, may, indeed, be understood any of those worldly comforts, such as honours, riches, and pleasures, which the generality of men are studious to procure to themselves; and in the light of which they love to walk, as being that, which, in their
opinion, contributes most to warm, to chear,
and illustrate human life.
The effect, however, of these comforts, is, that they who possess the largest share of them, and seek for no other, lie down in sorrow : that is, their lives are without joy, and their end is without hope. This is the recompense, which they receive from the hand of God; as might easily be shewn, if my purpose, at this time, were to enlarge on that common-place in morals, the unsatisfactory nature of all earthly enjoyments.
But my design is to engage your thoughts on a different argument, to which the letter of the text more directly leads us. For light, in all languages, is the emblem of knowledge; which is to the mind, what that is to the eye: And, the speaker in the text being God himself, we are naturally led to interpret that light, of religious knowledge; that genial fire, which, more than the Sun itself, is necessary to warm our spirits, and guide our steps through the cold and dark passage of this life.
The question is, Whether we are to kindle this fire, for ourselves; or, whether we should not derive it, if we have it in our power so to