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11th. This song of triumph is here inserted, because it is a pattern for our own adoration, being suited not only to the angelic hosts, but to the faithful upon earth. Besides, it teaches us to worship HIM who sat upon the throne, as Gon. The voice from the throne, we may consider as that of our blessed Redeemer, who, as Mediator, excites men, by his Gospel and the HOLY SPIRIT, to offer those praises which are through him transmitted to the FATHER. What magnificent ideas are raised in our mind, from the description that follows! an innumerable multitude joining with one voice in the most exalted praise and thanksgiving, and exulting with holy transport and joy for the marriage of the Lamb. By the marriage of the Lamb is meant, the reception of the faithful into the heavenly kingdom of the MESSIAH. The fine linen, which is here called the righteousness of the Saints, we may understand from a former passage was not clean by nature, but washed in the blood of the Lamb. The marriage supper of the Lamb, is the felicity prepared in heaven for all who will obey the invitation of the Gospel.
From the Angel's forbidding John to worship him, we learn, that no created being is a proper object of adoration: it would be an act of idolatry to pay that kind of worship to the MESSIAH which the Scriptures suggest to us, unless we had a regard to his union with the FAThe Angel on this occasion called himself fellow-servant to the Apostle, and one of his brethren, because he spake by the spirit of prophecy, and was, like other prophets, employed to bear testimony of things relating to the MESSIAH: the spirit of prophecy is called the testimony of Jesus, because all the prophecies, from the very beginning, have a reference to the dispensation of God's grace through him: they first
testified to the world, that GoD would send the MES. SIAH, and served afterwards as witnesses to prove JESUS to be He.
12. We are here called upon, 'in the most solemn manner, to observe the contents of the Book of Revelations; the reason why they claim our particular attention we may gather from the 11th extract-because they are the true words of GOD, which shall as surely be fulfilled, as the Prophecies of the Old Testament have been in relation to our blessed LORD's life and ministry on earth. They are, indeed, in many respects at present obscure, but there are satisfactory explications * of various parts of them, written by learned authors, which, by those who have made themselves well acquainted with such parts of Scripture as relate to Faith and Practice, may be read with pleasure and advantage: for the Revelations are not given to us as a sealed book, which it is sinful to pry into, but as a repository of prophecies, which will become gradually intelligible, as the events to which they refer take place. The time for the completion of some of them was at hand when they were first revealed to St. John, and the same may con. tinue to be said by others, till they are all fully completed. And in respect to our LORD's second coming, though many years and ages may revolve before the end of the world,yet, in one sense, he will quickly come to each individual of the successive generations of mankind; death soon puts a period to our state of probation; after which no opportunities will be afforded us of reforming what has been amiss. If we have polluted our minds with presumptuous sins, we shall then have no means of purifying them: if we are clothed with the righteousness
* Particularly Bishop Hurd.
of the Gospel, we shall then be in no danger of contracting guilt, but shall be eternally recompensed according to our works here; for we shall be judged by an equitable and unerring Judge, even the great ALPHA and OMEGA, the WORD OF GOD, the BRIghtness OF HIS FATHER'S GLORY, by whom David himself was created, and who as the promised MESSIAH, was, according to his human nature, the offspring of David. Happy will those be who properly prepare themselves for his important appearance. "May the grateful remembrance of our Redeemer's love, and faith in his promises, animate us to follow his blessed example to the utmost of our abilities, that we may be able to say with the Holy Apostle, AMEN! Even so, come LORD JESUS! Hasten the blessed hour to us, and all thy faithful people, as far as is consistent with the counsels of eternal wisdom; and in the mean time grant us the assistance of thy Grace, to keep alive the remembrance of thy love, and the expectation of thy coming in our hearts; and so animate us to a temper and conduct which may suit the blessings we have received, and the nobler felicity after which thou hast taught us to aspire! AMEN! and AMEN!"
We have now taken a view of Sacred History from the creation of the world to the consummation of all things; and are, by the perusal of the New Testament, put into the method of understanding as much of the nature of the SUPREME BEING, and the dispensations of his Providence, as GOD has thought proper to reveal.
We find that there are three by whom the attribute of the Divine nature are displayed, the FATHER, the WORD (or "SON)," and the HoLY SPIRIT: that these are not three separate Deities, but all included in GOD. Our LORD JESUS CHRIST Commanded his Disciples to baptize all nations in the name of the FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST; from whence we may infer, that we are also to distinguish each, and at the same time to unite them in our worship of the DEITY, in order to keep alive in our minds the remembrance of Gon's gracious dispensations towards us. When we consider GOD as an universal PARENT, our reverence, gratitude, and love, are strongly excited when we reflect on His wonderful condescension as the REDEEMER of the world, these sentiments are enlarged, and we have at the same time an opportunity of honouring the MESSIAH;, and when we contemplate God as a spiritual guide and comforter, ever at hand to direct us in the path of immortal happiness, we are struck with the sense of a present DEITY, to whom our most secret thoughts and inclinations are known, and are encouraged to put our trust and confidence in Him.' We see, then, that distinguishing the FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST, in our worship of Gon, has a natural tendency to excite proper sentiments of devotion in our hearts, by reminding us of the blessings of creation, preservation, redemption, and sanctifications and that this mode of worship is suitable to the method in which it has pleased Gon to reveal himself to us.9...nd yo fr : & ut quo n 32. T
©. In what manner the Divine THREE make one GOD cannot be explained; but since our reason assures us that the Scripta nesvare of Divine original, and they declare that the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY GHOST, are
All Joy Anouarner I e'anture qu'
one *, we should believe it to be so, on their authority; besides, each, separately considered, bears such evident marks of Divinity, that it is inconsistent with common sense not to allow it Him, and it is not possible that there can be more than one GOD; therefore the FAT ATHER the Woap, and the HOLY SPIRIT, must be included in the SUPREME BEING.
The Epistles, which were written by some of the Apostles to the different churches which they esta blished, are a supplement to the spiritual instructions given by our LORD to his Disciples while on earththese throw great light on the doctrines inculcated in these volumes. Whatever portion of Scripture, we make the subject of our meditations, we should always remember, that an humble and teachable mind is an indispensable qualification, with which we may expect the aid of the HOLY SPIRIT in understanding it; without which, we shall soon be involved in a labyrinth of doubt and perplexity +. "After the most laborious researches of the most enlarged minds, many things will remain mysterious. The nature andattributes of GoD-the nature of Angels-of the human mind of the state of departed souls of the joys of heaven, and the pains of hell, our understanding cannot comprehend, neither is such knowledge necessary for our salvation-we know enough to be saved, if we will live accordingly.
Several reasons may be assigned why many things should remain mysterious in this world. Mysteries are necessary for the exercise of our faith; they have a natuval tendency to excite religious awe and reverence, to humble the pride of human reason, and make that the mean of life, the very reverse of which was the mean of 316 044
Epistle of St. Jolin, chap. v. ver. 7.
+ See Bishop Newton's Dissertations, Vol. III.