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SERMON XXII.

THE INTUITION OF FAITH.

2 Cor. iii. 18.

We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the

Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

ST.

T. PAUL here contrasts the revelation given

by God through Moses, with the revelation given by the Word made flesh. The first was given to one alone ; Moses alone saw the skirts of the divine glory, and spoke with God in the mount: we all behold His glory, and have access through the Son to the Father. Moses, after speaking with God, had need to put a veil upon his face, for the people could not bear even the reflected brightness of God's Presence: St. Paul says, “We all with open face” behold it. The Word made flesh has both revealed to us the glory of the Lord, and has given to us the power to look upon it: “God was manifest in the flesh.” He is “the brightness of His glory, and the express

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image of His Person ;” “ the image of the invisible God :”” He “dwelt among us, and we beheld

»2 His glory.” But this revelation upon earth was transient; it had passed away when St. Paul wrote

; these words. Yet though past, it was not withdrawn : though hidden, it was yet revealed. “The glory of the Lord,” in Christ, is an eternal revelation, open still to us : “We all with open face”

: behold it now.

By faith we stand before the throne, out of which go forth “lightnings and thunderings and voices;" by faith we dwell continually in the presence of the Divine Majesty. The Son hath returned unto the Father, and His visible presence is no more seen. But “ God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 4

Let us first see what is this great sight, glory of the Lord.” It is fourfold. First, there is the glory of His Godhead - - eternal, infinite, invisible, all-wise, all-mighty, love, wisdom, and power; the glory of the Divine Personality, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; “ the Father made of none, neither created nor begotten ; the Son of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten ; the Holy Ghost of the Father and of 1 Heb. i. 3.

2 Col. i. 15. 3 St. John i. 14. 4 2 Cor. iv. 6.

66 the 1 1 Tim. vi. 15, 16. 2 Heb. i. 3 ; St. Luke i. 33.

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the Son, neither made nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.” This is the essential glory of God, inhabiting eternity, “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

' And in this glory, descending from the uncreated to the manifestation of Himself, is the glory of the Word made flesh. o God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the world, and man of the substance of His Mother, born in the world ; perfect God, and perfect man:” two natures in one Person, never to be divided ; who having “by Himself purged our sins," hath sat down, with the stigmas of His passion, upon the throne of glory, of whose “ kingdom there shall be

no end."

This is the glory of God, before which the spirits of love and the spirits of knowledge cry

Holy" evermore, which angels worship, and the whole heavenly court adores ; the mystery of the eternal Three, one God, blessed for ever, revealed in the Incarnate Son.

But around this beatific vision, and from this Incarnate Presence descending, is the glory of the

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kingdom of God, the throne and government of the Incarnate Son, to whom, when He laid “the government upon His shoulder,” the Father said,

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” “Behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a

. jasper and a sardine stone : ... and round about the throne were four and twenty seats : and upon

the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. . . And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints."

" And I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell in the earth ? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season.”

“ And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden cen

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2 Ps. xlv. 7.

1 Isaiah ix. 6.
3 Rev. iv. 2; vii. 11; v. 8.

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ser; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.”

What is this vision which was unfolded to the sight of St. John in Patmos, but the glory of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ? To the prophet it was an object of vision ; to us an object of faith. He beheld it as it is revealed to the orders of saints and angels in heaven; and he saw the angelic ministries of power and grace, by which the elect of God are sealed and gathered into His unseen rest. What is this but the kingdom in which apostles, prophets, martyrs, and all saints, reign with Christ - the invisible head and source of the spiritual kingdom, both in heaven and earth, ever multiplying and expanding its fulness, as from age to age it gathers in the generations of the faithful from our lower world.

And what is the visible Church militant on earth but the outskirts and lower sphere of this ever-enlarging mystery of grace, here in its faint beginnings, sinful and mortal, there sinless and redeemed from death? This, too, is the glory of the Lord.

1 Rev. vii. 9-11; viii. 3, 4.

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