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And to all our endeavors for the promotion of true religion, let us add our daily prayers, that God would prepare us for the dangers and trials which await us-would pour out his Spirit for the revival of his work among us-would make known the power of his grace, and turn all hearts unto himself-would continue his gospel to us and spread' it through the world-would restore harmony to our public councils, and unity among private citizens-would excite all with one consent to attend to the great interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, and would afford us his gracious protection amidst the dangers of this world, and bring us to the enjoyment of eternal peace in the world above.
Will God pour upon us that stream, which makes glad his holy city will he continue his tabernacles among us-will he dwell in the midst of us, that we may not be moved.
The Renovation of all Things.
REVELATION xxi. 5.
And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things
THE kings of the earth, when they perform the high acts of their regal office, appear sitting on thrones, in token of their superior dignity and power. In allusion to this token of sovereignty, God, when he makes special displays of his majesty and glory in his works of creation and providence, is said to sit on his throne. The throne of earthly kings is an elevated seat from whence they command a full view of their fellow mortals assembled before them. God's throne is in heaven; from thence his eyes behold the children of men. Thus he speaks by the prophet, "The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: Where is the house that ye build to me, and where is the place of my rest? For all those things my hand hath made, and all those things have been: But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembleth at my word." A higher description of God's supremacy, and a more charming representation of
his mercy, than these words contain, cannot be conceived. He takes his seat in heaven and sets his feet on earth; here his eyes single out, as objects of his favor, not merely the rich and the great, but es pecially the poor and the humble.
In the beginning of this book, God is represented as sitting on his heavenly throne, creating worlds at his pleasure, directing the grand affairs of his government, and receiving the humble homage of his angels. Saint John says, "A throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon it; and the elders, who sat round the throne, fell down before him, who liveth for ever and ever, saying, Thou art worthy to receive glory, and honor, and power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and
In our text, the apostle still sees the Almighty seated on his throne; not, as before, creating new worlds; but renovating and perfecting the worlds which he had made. John hears him proclaim, "Behold I make all things new-These words are faithful and true-I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." Accordingly the apostle says, "I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.”
The mighty change here foretold will not be com pleted, until the close of the general judgment of the world, which is described in the preceding verses. But God is now, and from the beginning has been, preparing the way for this great renovation-this restitution or completion of all things. Jesus says, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
The new heavens and the new earth will constitute a state of pure and sublime happiness. To the introduction of such a state, the works of God are gradually tending. The general system of his gov. ernment is always the same. Hence it is said, VOL. IV.
"There is no new thing under the sun." But as it is operating to higher improvements in knowledge, virtue and happiness among his creatures, there will be new discoveries and new events. In this respect every age produces something new: And the time is coming, when all things will be made new.
He who sits on the throne has existed from eternity, and of his dominion there is no end. Possessed of all perfections, he must be selfsufficient and completely blessed. The creation of worlds cannot increase, nor will the destruction of worlds diminish his real happiness. If it be asked then, What is his great end in creation? We can only answer in the language of the angels-" All things are created for his pleasure."
In his infinite wisdom he has created rational beings; and in his disinterested goodness he is disposed to make them happy. All rational happiness must depend on a knowledge of the character, and a conformity to the will of God, and must summarily consist in the love and enjoyment of him.
God manifests himself before his intelligent creatures in the works of creation and providence. And that he may draw their attention, awaken their admiration, and confirm their faith and love, he often appears in works that are new.
The creation of our world was once a new thing. There may have been innumerable worlds made and peopled, long before our globe was formed and man was placed upon it. Probably this was the case. There were intelligent beings who existed before men. "When God laid the foundation of the earth, and stretched his line upon it, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy."
They had already contemplated earlier parts of the creation, and admired the wisdom, power and good
hess of God displayed in them. But now they saw a new system adjusted, and a new order of intelligences begun. They probably looked forward to the distant increase of this new race, pleased with the benevolent design for which it was created.
God is good to his creatures: He has a desire to the works of his hands. But final happiness he will bestow on those only who are previously qualified to receive it. The necessary qualification for complete happiness is ordinarily obtained by a precedent state of trial. It is probable, that all orders of intelligences pass through a probationary period, before they are admitted to perfect and indefectible felicity. Revelation informs us, that men are on trial now, and that angels were so before them. And if there are other orders, it is reasonable to suppose, that they also have had a probation assigned them.
Our progenitors violated the law of their probation, and forfeited the promised immortality, as well for their posterity, as for themselves; and justly might the Creator have consigned the offenders to misery, and the race to oblivion.
Now the angels again beheld something new. They had themselves been on probation. They had seen a vast number of their order rising in rebellion against the throne of God. They had seen these perverse and turbulent spirits driven out from their first habitation, and bound in chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day. But they never had seen a world redeemed from guilt-they never had seen sinners pardoned and restored to favorthey never had seen a dispensation of mercy provided peculiarly for fallen and guilty creatures. Here was a work of grace, which filled them with wonders; and still they desire to look into it.
The first human pair had broken the law of God, and by this law they stood condemned. But mercy