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Jude 24, 25. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

BY many this Doxology is considered as addressed to the Lord Jesus Christ: but though it is certain that by all the heavenly choir our most adorable Saviour is worshipped as one with the Father, without any distinction whatsoever, and that he is to be honoured in all respects by us precisely as the Father, yet we must be cautious never to strain any portion of Scripture for the purpose of honouring him; for, if we do, we give advantage to those who deny his proper Divinity, to represent all our worship of him as unauthorized and erroneous. The more fully we are assured of any doctrine, the more careful we should be not to establish it on a weak foundation; lest, when the foundation on which we have indiscreetly built is shaken, we be led to doubt the truth of the doctrine itself. Of the Divinity of our blessed Lord we have no more doubt than of any other truth of our holy religion: but in the passage before us we apprehend, that it is not to Him in particular that this Doxology is addressed, but to the Father. For, in several other passages, the Father beyond all doubt is addressed, and under the same character as is here described. St. Paul concludes his Epistle to the Romans thus: "Now to him that is of power to stablish you,. .. to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever." In the Epistle to the Ephesians he again speaks in similar terms: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, unto him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." So again, in his First Epistle to Timothy he says, "Now unto the King

a Rom. xvi. 25, 27.

b Eph. iii. 20, 21.

eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." Those who would apply our text to Christ, think that it must refer to him, because he alone (as they imagine) presents his Church before the presence of his Father's glory: as it is said, "He loved the Church and gave himself for it, himself for it, . . . . . that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, &c." But the very same thing is spoken of the Father also, of whom it is said, that, "by Christ, the Father reconciled all things to himself, . . . . . even in the body of his flesh through death, to present us holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight." I consider the text therefore as addressed to the Father: and, in order to a suitable improvement of it, will set before you, I. The character of Jehovah as here described

His wisdom and his power are altogether infinite: and we might, not improperly, speak of those two perfections as they are delineated in the Holy Scriptures. But I conceive, that, though mentioned generally in the text, we should notice them not as existing in himself, but as exercised towards his Church.

Wonderful is the wisdom which he has displayed in his dealings with his people—

[Contemplate the plan of salvation through the incarnation and death of his only-begotten Son able depths of wisdom are here? "The wisdom of God in a mystery!" will be the employment of eternity.

What unfathom-Well is it called, To contemplate that,

Nor, if we entered into his particular dispensations towards his people, would this perfection appear in less bright colours; so "unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out." The experience of every saint will furnish abundant matter for adoration through all eternity; for "he has abounded towards every one of them in all wisdom and prudence" --]

Nor is the power which he exercises towards them less stupendous

[View the temptations with which every saint is beset the enemies, even all the hosts of hell, with whom he his utter incapacity to do any thing e Col. i. 19-22.

has to contend

c 1 Tim. i. 17.

d Eph. v. 25, 27.

of himself—and yet his conflicts, his victories, and his triumphs- Must not that power be wonderful that is able to keep him, and effectual for his preservation even to the end? Yes verily, it is no less a power than that which was put forth to raise the Lord Jesus Christ himself from the dead, and to exalt him above all the principalities and powers both of heaven and hell.]

It is by the united and continued exercise of these two perfections, that he becomes "our Saviour"

[In the name of "Saviour" he glories; and under that character he loves to be viewed by us. His perfections would indeed be the same, though never put forth for us, any more than for the fallen angels: but, as they are so exercised for our welfare, it becomes us to contemplate them in that particular view, and to render to him the praise which such manifestations of them demand. Reflect a moment on him as a "Saviour!" not merely as preserving us in our conflicts here, but 66 presenting us faultless before the presence of his glory" in the world above One moment's reflection upon his character in that view, will abundantly suffice to shew you,]


II. The dispositions with which it should be contemplated

Beyond all doubt our hearts should be lifted up with devoutest affection towards him, as the Apostle's was; and should be filled,

1. With love—

[Review the character before described, and say, whether, though you yourselves were not the objects of his care, the very existence of those perfections ought not to endear him to your souls? How much more then, when from all eternity they have been consecrated to your service, and destined to be exercised for your good! - I call you then to love him, with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your soul, and all your strength


2. With gratitude

[Go to the world above, and see and hear how all the glorified saints are occupied around the throne: what songs of praise are they singing night and day to God, and to the Lamb! How do they all labour for utterance; and, by the very accumulation of the terms by which they strive to evince their gratitude, shew how inadequate even the language of heaven itself is to express the feelings of their hearts

f Eph. i. 19-21.

8 Rev. v. 9-13.


then should it be with us: our whole life should be, as theirs is, one continued song of praise and thanksgiving h

Only consider what would have been your state at this hour, and to all eternity, if less wisdom or power had been put forth for you, and you will need no inducement to ascribe to him the glory due unto his name.]

3. With affiance

[Where will you look for help, if not to him? Of whom besides can it be said that he has either wisdom or power to do such great things for you? With him alone is either wisdom or might sufficient for you. Go then to him: spread before him your every want: expect from him a supply in every hour of need, a supply suited to your wants and sufficient for your necessities. Never for a moment entertain a doubt of his kindness, his care, his all-sufficiency: for he is God, and not man; and therefore ye have not been consumed hitherto, nor shall any enemy prevail against you. Only bear in mind that "He is for you;" and you may defy all the assaults both of earth and hell.]


[At the close of his Doxology, the Apostle adds, Amen. Do ye also add, Amen, in the very same spirit as he did, and in the same spirit that the angelic hosts are doing it above. And seek to live in this spirit every day, and all the day long. Then, when death shall call you hence, you shall change your place, but not your employment; your sorrows, but not your songs.]

h Ps. cxlv. 1—7.



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