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running and glorified, to an extent that has never been seen since the Apostolic age. And the time for its universal diffusion through the whole earth is manifestly drawing nigh. We have seen enough with our eyes to assure us, that the fuller accomplishment of God's promises may be expected in due season: and that, at the appointed hour, “ all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of our God, and of his Christ."]
In this view, all the Gentile world are called upon to bless and praise their God
[Ye, who are here assembled, arise and praise your God. Consider what mercy has been shewn to you : consider what truth has been displayed towards you. Arise, I say; yea, again and again would I repeat it, Arise and praise your God! And, ye remotest nations of the earth, O that our voice could reach to you! O that ye knew your obligations to your God, and the blessings that are in reserve for you! The Saviour was called, " The Desire of all nations:” and such indeed he ought to be. Well! if ye know him not, and consequently rejoice not in him, we will rejoice for you: for he is coming to you: the messengers of the Lord of Hosts are going forth into every quarter of the globe; and the word that reveals him to you is translating, in purpose and intention at least, into all the languages of the earth; and we anticipate with joy the time, when all the heathen shall serve him, and “all flesh shall see the salvation of God."] ADDRESS
1. Are there any amongst you who have no disposition to praise the Lord ?
[Alas! there are too many, who have no delight in this blessed work, and have never spent one hour in it in all their lives! Ah! wretched and ingrate! What think ye of yourselves ? Are ye not blind, when ye cannot see the perfections of your God? Are ye not base, when ye can receive such mercies at God's hands, and never acknowledge them? Are ye not brutish, yea, worse than brutish? for “the ox and ass know their owner; but ye know not," nor acknowledge, your Creator, your Benefactor, your Redeemer. See how far you are from a truly Christian state! Tell me not of your moral qualities; ye are base ungrateful creatures: and, if a fellowcreature were to treat you as you treat your God, you would abhor him utterly. O repent, and embrace the mercy that is yet offered you! or else you will find that He, who is true to his promises, will be true to his threatenings also.]
2. Are there amongst you some who desire to praise the Lord ?
[We believe it; we rejoice in it: we pray to God to increase their number a hundredfold. But do ye not find that your thanks and praises are infinitely short of what the occasion for them demands? Yes, methinks there is nothing so humiliating to a Christian as the services which he attempts to render to his God. However, still go on to serve him as ye сап, , when
ye cannot serve him as ye would. And, to quicken your zeal, contemplate much and deeply the greatness of God's mercy to you, and the inviolability of his truth. God has designed that such contemplations should be a rich source of comfort to yourselves, as they will be also of love and gratitude to him. And, whilst your own souls are filled with these divine affections, endeavour to diffuse the sacred flame, that all around you, and, if possible, all the nations of the world, may be stirred up to render unto God the praises due unto his name.]
DCXCIV. THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST A GROUND OF CONFIDENCE. Ps. cxviii. 27, 28. God is the Lord which hath shewed us light:
bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee; thou art my God, I will e.calt thee.
HOWEVER plainly this psalm refers to David, we are sure that a greater than David is here. The words as applied to David, convey an exceedingly grand and important meaning. He had met with many obstacles in his advancement to the throne of Israel. Oftentimes had his life been sought by Saul : and since the death of Saul there were many formidable conspiracies against him. No sooner was he made king over Israel, than the Philistines sought, and that repeatedly, to destroy himo; and it was only through the special intervention of God himself that he was able to prevail against them. It appears that many other of the surrounding nations also conspired against him; but through the same Almighty power he was enabled to subdue them. At last, after more than seven years' opposition from all the tribes of Israel, he was firmly fixed upon the throne, and “the stone which had been so long rejected of the builders, was made the head of the cornerd.” This
a 2 Sam. v. 17, 18, 22.
b ver. 10–12. Four times does he repeat, and, in the last, with a very expressive simile, “ They compassed me about." c 2 Sam. v. 4, 5.
event reflected great “light” upon all God's purposes respecting him. Darkness had hung over him for a long period; but it was now dispelled; and he saw clearly these two important truths, That God's counsel, by whomsoever opposed, shall stand; and, that they who trust in the Lord, however tried they may be, shail never be confounded.
But, as we said, a greater than David is here. It was generally acknowledged amongst the Jews themselves that David was a type of the Messiah, and that this psalm had an especial reference to Him who was in due time to sit upon the throne of David. Hence the acclamations which were used by the people on the occasion of David's installation, were used by the Jews in reference to Christe: and he vindicated their conduct in this particular': and afterwards appealed to this very psalm in confirmation of his predictions respecting his rejection by them, and his subsequent elevation to the throne of David. In like manner, after the death and resurrection of Christ, St. Peter, “ when he was filled with the Holy Ghost,” expressly applied to Christ this very passage, and affirmed in the presence of all the Rulers and Elders of Israel that it was accomplished in the exaltation of that Jesus whom they had crucified".
Now in this event, the exaltation of Christ to the throne of glory, God has indeed “shewed us light :" and it will be a profitable subject for our meditation at this time, if we consider, I. The light which God has shewn us
Previous to the resurrection of Christ, all was darkness: the disciples themselves doubted whether they had not been deceived in their expectations respecting him. But from that event, and his consequent ascension to the right hand of God, we learn infallibly, 1. The efficacy of his atonement
(Had he not risen, we might have conceived of him as a great Prophet indeed, but as nothing more than a prophet, who, like multitudes who had preceded him, sealed his doctrines with e Matt. xxi. 9.
f Matt. xxi. 16. 8 Matt. xxi. 42.
h Acts iv. 8, 11.
his own blood. But he had spoken of his death as a ransom to be paid for the souls of men: and how could we have known that that ransom was accepted, if his resurrection, which he himself taught his disciples to look forward to as the proof and evidence of his acceptance, had not been effected? But when we see that he did rise from the dead, and did ascend to heaven in the presence of his disciples, and did send down the Holy Spirit according to his word to bear testimony concerning him, there is no room left for doubt: we are perfectly sure that his offering was accepted of the Father, and that by his obedience unto death he has wrought out eternal redemption for us..] 2. The sufficiency of his grace
[Even when our blessed Lord was on earth, the whole creation, animate and inanimate, terrestrial and infernal, were obedient to his will : how much more therefore, now that he is exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and has all fulness treasured up in him for the benefit of his people, must he be able to “ do all things which we call upon him for!” If he says, as he did to St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” we may safely adopt St. Paul's language, and say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." If all enemies are put under his feet, they shall assuredly be put under ours also: even “Satan himself shall be bruised under our feet shortly."] 3. The excellency of his salvation
[Behold what has taken place with respect to him! He is exalted to the throne of God, and possessed of all the glory which he had with the Father before the worlds were made. The same glory is reserved for us also , and a participation of that very throne which his Father has given to him. Believer, contemplate all the glory and felicity of your exalted Head; and then see what is prepared for all his members: "your body shall be like unto his glorious body;" your soul shall be transformed into his perfect image ; and all the glory which his Father has given him, shall be your inalienable and everlasting inheritance m.]
What a glorious light is this! Let it lead us to contemplate, II. The returns which it calls for at our hands
Surely such discoveries as are here made to us should call forth our devoutest affections: they should lead us,
1. To surrender up ourselves entirely to God
i Rom. i. 4. and vüi. 34.
k Luke xxii. 29.
[The sacrifices which David and Solomon offered unto God were almost without number n: but the sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit, or of a devout and grateful heart, outweighs them all •. Whether the sacrifices were ever“ bound to the horns of the altar,” we are not informed: but sure enough our hearts need to be bound; for they are ever ready to “start aside as a broken bow,” and “to backslide from God as a backsliding heifer:” and we should labour incessantly to say with David, "O God, my heart is fixed, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise." The example of Abraham may assist us in this particular. The offering of his son was a dark dispensation: but, when God arrested the arm of Abraham, and forbad him to inflict the fatal wound, a light beamed in upon his soul; he saw a risen Saviour presented to him under the image of his restored son: and instantly "he took the ram which was caught in the thicket, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son P." Let the sight of a risen Saviour operate in like manner upon us; let us take the offering which all of us have at hand, and which we know will be pleasing to the Lord, even " the offering of a free heart," and let us present it a living sacrifice to God, as our reasonable and most delightful service ]
2. To rejoice and glory in God as our portion for ever
[Like Paul, we may say of Christ, “He has loved me, and given himself for me.” Indeed, without this appropriation of God and his blessings to our own souls, we can never attain to a joyful and thankful spirit: butit is the privilege of every believer to say of Christ, “ He is my friend, He is my beloved.” God approves of this language, by whomsoever used, provided only it be used in sincerity and truth ; " Thou art my God, and I will praise thee; thou art my God, I will exalt thee." If under the Old Testament, believers could say, "My beloved is mine, and I am his," much more may we regard him as “the strength of our heart, and our portion for ever. ADDRESS1. To those who are yet in darkness
[Long was the night with which David was enclosed, insomuch that he sometimes feared he should “one day perish by the hands of Saul :" yet at last the day dawned upon him, and “God shewed him light." Dark also were the dispensations towards our blessed Lord, till in his resurrection and ascension the
n 1 Chron. xxix. 21. 1 Kings viji. 62, 63. o Ps. 1. 13, 14, and li. 16, 17.
p Gen. xxii. 13. a Rom. xii. 1. with Heb. xiii. 15.