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Preached before the administration of the
ordinance of the Supper.
Judges, 13th Chap. 19th 20th Verses.
And the Angel did wonderously and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass when the flame went up toward heaven from off the Altar that the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the Altar,
VERY circumstance which hath the small
est reference, either to the Person, or offices, of the Lord Jesus, becomes very precious in the contemplation to his people. There is not a single event, connected with a matter so infinitely interesting, which can be considered as trifling, or unimportant, to a truly awakened soul. And when we see, with what a world of concern, the Holy Ghost, in his scriptures of the Old Testament, hath ushered in the
wonderful subject, in the long train of types, and figures, and ceremonies, under the law, all shadowing the Person, and offices, of the Lord Jesus, it should seem, that nothing can more correspond, to the mind of God, than in following up, those gracious intentions which he hath manifested, in causing them to be thus recorded, for the information, and improvement, of his Church in all ages, by having frequent recourse to the sacred volume of the old Testament, as one among the many methods of his grace, to confirm our faith in the new.
The text (if I mistake not) belongs to a very interesting record of this kind, in the manifestation of the Lord Jesus, to a family of the house of Israel, a long series of years, before his incarnation. It is said, by one of the Prophets, that his goings forth have been from of old from everlasting. And elsewhere, in the same volume, when represented under the character of wisdom, the Son of God is introduced, as referring to the coming redemption, and saying of himself, the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way before his works of old I was set up from everlasting from the beginning or ever the earth was rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth and my delights were with the sons of men. Hence therefore, it is evident, that the Redeemer, hath been set up, as the Covenant God-man, from everlasting. And it is also as evident, that his goings forth have been corresponding thereunto. And indeed, what are all the manifestations which are met with in the old Testament, of the appearance of God to his people, sometimes in an human form and at others, under the character of an Angel; but evidences of those precious truths? I stay not to particularize the instances, they are too numerous to be brought, within the limits of a sermon. But they all serve, to throw a light on those scriptures, which relate such appearances. And they do somewhat more than this, for they not only simply confirm the fact, but they prove to us also, this sweet testimony; that He, whose delights were with the sons of men, before they were called into existence, thereby anticipated the period of his manifestation in the flesh, when creation work was completed ; and therefore he graciously adopted such methods as those, to intimate how much he longed for that fulness of time, when by his righteousnes, and death, he should expiate the sins of his people, and gather together in one the children of God which were scattered abroad. *
obce In the particular proof of it to which our text refers, the history, as far as is connected with
my present design, is to the following purpose. Manoah, and his wife, had received a visit from One, who appeared to them in the form of a man.
It is evident from the relation, that neither the man, or the woman, at the time of his appearance, had any idea who D 2
this * John 11. 52.
this Visitor was, for they asked his name; and were told that it was secret. But, when in the moment of offering sacrifice, (which at their earnest request they were permitted to do) he ascended in the flame, from off the Altar, they then knew who it was, that it was He whom all sacrifices were designed to represent, and by faith in whose name all were offered up; and in confirmation of it, they both fell on their faces to the ground : and the man cried out, under the impression of fear, from having seen the manifestation of the Shechinah, we shall surely die because we have seen God. Nothing can be more decisive in proof, that Manoah considered the Angel in this point of view, from the expression he used. For the sight of any created excellence, he will knew, was attended with no such danger. None of the children of Israel could be ignorant, that it is God alone, of whom their scriptures declared, thou canst not see my face and live. †
prosecute not the sequel of the history. It is this single trait of character, concerning the Person, and offices, of the Lord Jesus, here presented, to which I wish to limit your present attention. According to my conception of things, it affords a very sweet, and encouraging view, of our Adorable Redeemer, in his Priestly character: perhaps equal to any that can be found, in the old testament scripture.
The + Exod. 33. 20.