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killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled."*
Our blessed Lord, following the same style of figurative revelation, compares that kingdom which he came to establish, to "a certain king, who made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to tell them which were bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage." And the blessed in heaven are represented by St. John as exhibiting their exalted happiness under the same impressive figure-" Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
In my text this is the figure which is employed with singular force and beauty. Not, however, under the simple similitude of a "feast" are the blessings of the Gospel denoted--" The Lord God will make unto all people a feast of fat things," of the richest and choicest delicacies. Still further to express the value and the fulness of Gospel grace, the prophet, in the words following my text, beautifully exemplifies the figure-"A feast of wines on the lees," of wines which, having lain. long on the lees, have attained the highest strength and the most exquisite flavour; "of fat things full of marrow," (the similitude is enlarged,) "of wines on the lees well refined," by this additional de
*Prov. ix. 2-5.
scription heightening the force of the comparison. Thus, then, is exhibited a feast, of the highest delicacy and richness, in which every luscious viand that can gratify and satiate the most keen and refined appetite is presented.
Most beautifully and forcibly does this similitude express the excellence and fulness of that spiritual banquet which God has prepared in his Gospel for the hungry and thirsty soul. Not more luscious to the sensual appetite, are the richest delicacies, than gratifying to the soul the spiritual blessings of the Gospel feast. Here every one that thirsteth may come and freely drink of the living waters of salvation; and he that hath no money may come and buy wine and milk, obtain the blessings of Gospel grace, "without money and without price." In the feast which the Lord hath prepared in his Gospel, he presents every blessing which ean console and exalt our nature.
Dost thou hunger and thirst after righteousness? Come to the feast of the Saviour and thou shalt be filled his Gospel will supply thee with the most perfect rules of morals, and his Spirit will enable thee to model thy life by their exalted standard. Does thy soul pant after the mercy and favour of thy God and Saviour? Come to the feast of the Gospel, and thou shalt be refreshed with the fulness of pardon and redemption. After the most eager pursuit of the things of the world, dost thou still remain a stranger to that durable and satisfying happiness for which thou hast eagerly sought? Come to the feast provided in the Gospel, and there thy soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and thou shalt praise thy God with
joyful lips, constantly feasting on his love and favour, the satisfying blessings of his grace.
The Lord hath prepared this feast of spiritual blessings "for all people." The joyful invitation is given to "every one that will," to "come and drink of the water of life freely." The " poor, the blind, the halt, and the maimed," sinners of every description, whatever may be their spiritual maladies, are invited to receive life, and health, and felicity; for "the Lord hath prepared for all people, in this mountain," the Christian church, "a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees; a feast of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined."
The prophet proceeds, in the next verse, to display, in highly figurative language, the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom. "And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations."
Of similar import is another sublime prediction of the prophet. "Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." The ignorance, error, and corruption which, as a thick cloud, covered the nations, shall be dispersed by the beams of the Sun of Righteousness rising with healing in his wings.
Before the dawn of spiritual day, profound indeed was the night of spiritual darkness in which the nations slumbered. Only faintly discerning the character and attributes of the Maker and Ruler of the universe, and dividing his supreme dominion among divinities, the slaves and the sport of human passions, degrading and corrupt was the worship which they rendered to him: no cheering
beam pointed out the way of access to their of fended Maker, no certain ray illumed the path of duty by which they were to advance to his favour, and superstition, and corruption, and sin enveloped them in the darkest shades. Boldly but justly did the apostle delineate their character and state— "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet is swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: the way of peace they have not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes."*
From the depths of this depravity were the nations rescued, when Jehovah, pouring upon them the rays of Gospel light, "destroyed the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations."
Full, clear, and splendid are the disclosures of the Gospel of Christ. Illumined by its glorious light, we behold in celestial lustre the character and attributes of the Almighty Being who formed us; we are taught to worship him who is a Spirit, in spirit and in truth; we are excited to love him, the best as well as the greatest of Beings, with all our mind, and all our soul, and all our strength. The doubts that harassed us relative to the terms of acceptance at his holy tribunal are dissipated; for we rejoice in the assurance that "God is in
Rom. iii. 11-18.
Christ reconciling the world unto himself." The difficulties that obstructed the path of duty are removed by that heavenly light which plainly reveals all those virtues and graces in the practice of which we are to attain the final perfection and happiness of our nature. The vail is not yet, indeed, fully removed from all people; many nations still sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Yet future ages shall hail the full completion of this prediction, shall rejoice in the universal diffusion of the rays of the Sun of Righteousness, removing "the face of the covering that is cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations;" for "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea."
The prophet proceeds, in the next verse, to display still more exalted blessings of the Messiah's kingdom. "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it."
What gratitude and hope was not this gracious prediction calculated to inspire! The vail that concealed the future removed, the prophet displays a Deliverer descending from heaven. Bearing the banner of salvation, having on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords, he enters the domains of the grave and carries captivity captive; an Almighty Conqueror, he leads his faithful people through the dark valley of the shadow of death, loosens from them the garments of corruption, and clothes them with the robes of glory. The host of the redeemed, whom he has translated from the bondage of corruption