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made a covenant with me by sacrifice, ver. 5. I love to satiate my soul with ideas of the redeemed of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation in company with ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, Rev. v. 9, 11. At the head of this august body I see three chiefs.
The first is Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, Heb. xii. 2. I see this divine leader presenting himself before his father with his wounds, his cross and his blood, and saying, Father, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was, John xvii. 4,5. Having glorified the head, glorify the members, save my people. Then will the eternal Father crown such just and holy petitions with success. Then will be accomplished in regard to Jesus Christ this magnificent promise, Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession, Psal. i. 8. Such as oppose thine empire govern with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel : but enter thou into thy kingdom with thy subjects, thy saints, thy well-beloved, and share with them thy glorious inheritance.
The second leaders are prophets, evangelists, and apostles, appearing before God with the conquests they made, the nations they converted, the persecutions they endured for the love of God, and his gospel. Then will the promises made to these holy men be accomplished, they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever. When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelre
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, Dan. xii. 4. Matt. xix. 28.
The third will be such ministers as have been followers of the apostles, even as they also were of Christ. I think I see these ministers, humbled with their faults, convinced of their frailty, imploring the divine mercy for the blemishes of their ministry : but yet with that humble confidence which the compassion of God allows, and saying, behold us, the doctrine we have preached, the minds we have informed, the wanderers we have reclaimed, and with the hearts which we have had the honor of animating with thy love. What, in that great day, what will be your destiny, christian people? Will yours be the hearts, which we shall have animated with divine love, or those from which we never could banish the love of the world? Shall you be among the backsliders, whom we shall have reclaimed, or among such as shall have persisted in sin ? Shall yours be the minds we have enlightened, or among those, who shall have lain in darkness and ignorance?
Ah! My brethren, the first of our wishes, the most affectionate of our prayers, our secret meditations, our public discourses, whatever we undertake, whatever we are, we consecrate to prepare you for that great day, What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? Ye are our glory and joy, 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20. To God be honor and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD.
Romans xi. 33.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
O NE of the principal causes of the depravity of
mankind is, that they form mean ideas of God. The idea of the God we adore, and tlie notion of the morality we ought to practise are two things closely connected together. If we consider God as a being elevated, great and sublime, our morality will be great, sublime and elevated too. If, on the contrary, we consider God as a being, whose designs are narrow, whose power is limited, and whose plans are partial, we shall practise a morality adapted to such an imaginary God.
My brethren, there are two very different ways of forming this sublime idea, which hath such an influence over religion, and morality. The magnificence of God may be understood by what is known of God, by the things that are made, by the brilliancy of the sun, by the extent of the firmament, and by all the various creatures which we behold ; and judging of the workman by the work, we shall exclaim in sight of so many wonderful works, O Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Thou hast set thy glory above the heavens. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him? Rom. i. 19, 20. Psal. lviii. 1, &c.
But there is another way to know the magnificence of God, a way less accessible indeed, but more noble, and even more plain to the man, the eyes of whose understanding are enlightened, Eph. i. 18. that is, to judge of God not by the things that are seen, but by the things that are not seen, not by what we know, but by what we do not know. In this sublime way the soul loseth itself in a depth of divine magnificence, like the seraphims, covers its face before the majesty of God, and exclaims with the prophet, verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, Isa. xlv. 15. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever, Deut. xxix. 29. It is on this obscure side, that we propose to shew you the Deity to-day.
Darkness will serve us for light, and the impenatrable depth of his decrees will fill our minds with sound and practical knowledge. O the depth of the rickus both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !
In order to enter into the mind of the apostle, it is necessary to observe the subject to which he applies the text, and never to lose sight of the design of this whole epistle. The apostle chiefly proposes to counteract a scandalous schism in the church of Rome. This church was composed of two sorts of christians, some converts from judaism, others from