Imatges de pÓgina

mystery was revealed for the very intent, | the fountain opened in the house of Judah, that unto the principalities and powers in for sin and for uncleanness, send forth its heavenly places, might be made known by healing streams to other worlds than our the church, the manifold wisdom of God. own. He does not tell us the extent of the And while we, whose prospect reaches not atonement. But he tells us that the atonebeyond the narrow limits of the corner we ment itself, known as it is among the myoccupy, look on the dealings of God in the riads of the celestial, forms the high song world, as carrying in them all the insignifi- of eternity; that the Lamb who was slain, cancy of a provincial transaction; God him- is surrounded by the acclamations of one self, whose eye reaches to places which our wide and universal empire; that the might eye hath not seen, nor our ear heard of, of his wondrous achievements, spreads a neither hath it entered into the imagination tide of gratulation over the multitudes who of our heart to conceive, stamps a univer- are about his throne; and that there never sality on the whole matter of the Christian ceases to ascend from the worshippers of salvation, by such revelations as the fol- him who washed us from our sins in his lowing: That he is to gather together in blood, a voice loud as from numbers withone all things in Christ, both which are in out number, sweet as from blessed voices heaven, and which are in earth, even in uttering joy, when heaven rings jubilee, and him-and that at the name of Jesus every loud hosannas fill the eternal regions. knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earthand that by him God reconciled all things unto himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

We will not say in how far some of these passages extend the proper effect of that redemption which is by Christ Jesus, to other quarters of the universe of God; but they at least go to establish a widely disseminated knowledge of this transaction among the other orders of created intelligence. And they give us a distant glimpse of something more extended. They present a faint opening, through which may be seen some few traces of a wider and a nobler dispensation. They bring before us a dim transparency, on the other side of which the images of an obscure magnificence dazzle indistinctly upon the eye; and tell us that in the economy of redemption, there is a grandeur commensurate to all that is known of the other works and purposes of the Eternal. They offer us no details; and man, who ought not to attempt a wisdom above that which is written, should never put forth his hand to the drapery of that impenetrable curtain which God in his mysterious wisdom has spread over those ways, of which it is but a very small portion that we know of them. But certain it is, that we know as much of them from the Bible; and the infidel, with all the pride of his boasted astronomy, knows so little of them, from any power of observation, that the baseless argument of his, on which we have dwelt so long, is overborne in the light of all that positive evidence which God has poured around the record of his own testimony, and even in the light of its more obscure and casual intimations.

The minute and variegated details of the way in which this wondrous economy is extended, God has chosen to withhold from us; but he has oftener than once made to us a broad and a general announcement of its dignity. He does not tell us whether

"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and glory, and honour, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever."

A king might have the whole of his reign crowded with the enterprises of glory; and by the might of his arms, and the wis dom of his counsels might win the first reputation among the potentates of the world; and be idolized throughout all his provinces, for the wealth and the security that he had spread around them--and still it is conceivable, that by the act of a single day in behalf of a single family; by some soothing visitation of tenderness to a poor and solitary cottage; by some deed of compassion, which conferred enlarge ment and relief on one despairing sufferer; by some graceful movement of sensibility at a tale of wretchedness; by some noble effort of self-denial, in virtue of which he subdued his every purpose of revenge, and spread the mantle of a generous oblivion over the fault of the man who has insulted and aggrieved him; above all, by an exercise of pardon so skilfully administered, as that instead of bringing him down to a state of defencelessness against the provocation of future injuries, it threw a deeper sacredness over him, and stamped a more inviolable dignity than ever on his person and character:why, my brethren, on the strength of one such performance, done in a single hour, and reaching no further in its immediate effects than to one house, or to one individual, it is a most possible thing, that the highest monarch upon earth

might draw such a lustre around him as would eclipse the renown of all his public achievements--and that such a display of magnanimity, or of worth, beaming from the secrecy of his familiar moments, might waken a more cordial veneration in every bosom, than all the splendour of his conspicuous history-aye, and that it might pass down to posterity, as a more enduring monument of greatness, and raise him further by its moral elevation above the level of ordinary praise; and when he passes in review before the men of distant ages, may this deed of modest, gentle, unobtrusive virtue, be at all times appealed to, as the most sublime and touching memorial of his


And here it may be remarked, that as the earthly king who throws a moral aggrandizement around him, by the act of a single day, finds, that after its performance, he may have the space of many years for gathering to himself the triumphs of an extended reign-so the king who sits on high, and with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, will find, that after the period of that special administration is ended, by which this strayed world is again brought back within the limits of his favoured creation, there is room enough along the mighty track of eternity, for accumulating upon himself a glory as wide and as universal as is the extent of his dominions. You will In like manner did the King eternal, allow the most illustrious of this world's immortal, and invisible, surrounded as he is potentates, to give some hour of his private with the splendours of a wide and everlast-history to a deed of cottage or domestic ing monarchy, turn him to our humble tenderness; and every time you think of the habitation; and the foot-steps of God mani- interesting story, you will feel how sweetly fest in the flesh, have been on the narrow and how gracefully the remembrance of it spot of ground we occupy; and small blends itself with the fame of his public though our mansion be, amid the orbs and achievements. But still you think that the systems of immensity, hither hath the there would not have been room enough King of glory bent his mysterious way, and for these achievements of his, had much of entered the tabernacle of men, and in the his time been spent, either among the habidisguise of a servant did he sojourn for tations of the poor, or in the retirement of years under the roof which canopies our his own family; and you conceive, that it obscure and solitary world. Yes, it is but a is because a single day bears so small a protwinkling atom in the peopled infinity of portion to the time of his whole history, worlds that are around it--but look to the that he has been able to combine an inmoral grandeur of the transaction, and not teresting display of private worth, with all to the material extent of the field upon that brilliancy of exhibition, which has which it was executed-and from the re- brought him down to posterity in the tirement of our dwelling-place, there may character of an august and a mighty soveissue forth such a display of the Godhead, reign. as will circulate the glories of his name among all his worshippers. Here sin entered. Here was the kind and universal beneficence of a Father, repaid by the ingratitude of a whole family. Here the law of God was dishonoured, and that too in the face of its proclaimed and unalterable sanctions. Here the mighty contest of the attributes was ended-and when justice put forth its demands, and truth called for the fulfilment of its warnings, and the immutability of God would not recede by a single iota, from any one of its positions, and all the severities he had ever uttered against the children of iniquity, seemed to gather into one cloud of threatening vengeance on the tenement that held us-did the visit of the only-begotten Son chase away all these obstacles to the triumph of mercy-proportion to the number of other worlds, and humble as the tenement may be, deeply and to the immensity of the surrounding shaded in the obscurity of insignificance as creation. Now, to meet this impression, I do it is, among the statelier mansions which not insist at present on what I have already are on every side of it-yet will the recal brought forward, that God, whose ways of its exiled family never be forgotten-and are not as our ways, can have his eye at the illustration that has been given here the same instant on every place, and can of the mingled grace and majesty of God, divide and diversify his attention into any will never lose its place among the themes number of distinct exercises. What I have and the acclamations of eternity. now to remark, is, that the infidel who


Now apply this to the matter before us. Had the history of our redemption been confined within the limits of a single day, the argument that infidelity has drawn from the multitude of other worlds, would never have been offered. It is true, that ours is but an insignificant portion of the territory of God-but if the attentions by which he has signalized it, had only taken up a single day, this would never have occurred to us as forming any sensible withdrawment of the mind of the Deity from the concerns of his vast and universal government. It is the time which the plan of our salvation requires, that startles all those on whom this argument has any impression. It is the time taken up about this paltry world, which they feel to be out of

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no limits-why does he not also shoot them forward through the vista of a succession, that ever flows without stop and without termination? He has burst across the confines of this world's habitation in space, and out of the field which lies on the other side of it, has he gathered an argument against the truth of revelation. I feel that I have nothing to do but to burst across the confines of this world's history in time, and out of the futurity which lies beyond it, can I gather that which will

urges the astronomical objection to the truth of Christianity, is only looking with half an eye to the principle on which it rests. Carry out the principle, and the objection vanishes. He looks abroad on the immensity of space, and tells us how impossible it is, that this narrow corner of it can be so distinguished by the attentions of the Deity. Why does he not also look abroad on the magnificence of eternity; and perceive how the whole period of these peculiar attentions, how the whole time which elapses between the fall of man and the con-blow the argument to pieces, or stamp upsummation of the scheme of his recovery, is on it all the narrowness of a partial and but the twinkling of a moment to the mighty mistaken calculation. The day is coming, roll of innumerable ages? The whole inter- when the whole of this wondrous history val between the time of Jesus Christ's leav-shall be looked back upon by the eye of the ing his Father's abode, to sojourn among remembrance, and be regarded as one inus, to that time when he shall have put all cident in the extended annals of creation, his enemies under his feet, and delivered and with all the illustration and all the up the kingdom to God, even his Father, glory it has thrown on the character of the that God may be all in all; the whole of this Deity, will it be seen as a single step in the interval bears as small a proportion to the evolution of his designs; and long as the whole of the Almighty's reign, as this soli- time may appear, from the first act of our tary world does to the universe around it, redemption to its final accomplishment, and an infinitely smaller proportion than and close and exclusive as we may think any time, however short, which an earthly the attentions of God upon it, it will be monarch spends on some enterprise of pri- found that it has left him room enough for vate benevolence, does to the whole walk of all his concerns, and that on the high scale his public and recorded history. of eternity, it is but one of those passing and ephemeral transactions, which crowd the history of a never-ending administration.

Why, then, does not the man, who can shoot his conceptions so sublimely abroad over the field of an immensity that knows



On the Sympathy that is felt for Man in the Distant Places of Creation.

"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance."—Luke xv. 7

I HAVE already attempted at full length to establish the position, that the infidel argument of astronomers goes to expunge a natural perfection from the character of God, even that wondrous property of his, by which he, at the same instant of time, can bend a close and a careful attention on a countless diversity of objects, and diffuse the intimacy of his power and of his presence, from the greatest to the minutest and most insignificant of them all. I also adverted shortly to this other circumstance, that it went to impair a moral attribute of the Deity. It goes to impair the benevolence of his nature. It is saying much for the benevolence of God, to say, that a single world, or a single system, is not enough for it-that it must have the spread of a mightier region, on which it may pour forth a tide of exuberancy throughout all its provincesthat as far as our vision can carry us, it has

strewed immensity with the floating receptacles of life, and has stretched over each of them the garniture of such a sky as mantles our own habitation-and that even from distances which are far beyond the reach of human eye, the songs of gratitude and praise may now be arising to the one God, who sits surrounded by the regards of his one great and universal family.

Now, it is saying much for the benevolence of God, to say that it sends forth these wide and distant emanations over the surface of a territory so ample, that the world we inhabit, lying imbedded as it does amidst so much surrounding greatness, shrinks into a point that to the universal eye might appear to be almost imperceptible. But does it not add to the power and to the perfection of this universal eye, that at the very moment it is taking a comprehensive survey of the vast, it can fasten a steady and undistracted

throughout all its dwelling places. Put this trait of the angelic character into contrast with the dark and lowering spirit of an infidel. He is told of the multitude of other worlds, and he feels a kindling magnificence in the conception, and he is seduced by an elevation which he cannot carry, and from this airy summit does he look down on the insignificance of the world we occupy, and pronounces it to be unworthy of those visits and of those attentions which we read of in the New Testament. He is unable to wing his way upward along the scale, either of moral or of natural perfection; and when the wonderful extent of the field is made

attention on each minute and separate portion of it; that at the very moment it is looking at all worlds,it can look most pointedly and most intelligently to each of them: that at the very moment it sweeps the field of immensity, it can settle all the earnestness of its regards upon every distinct hand-breadth of that field; that at the very moment at which it embraces the totality of existence, it can send a most thorough and penetrating inspection into each of its details, and into every one of its endless diversities? You cannot fail to perceive how much this adds to the power of the all-seeing eye. Tell me, then, if it do not add as much perfection to the benevolence of God, that while it is ex-known to him, over which the wealth of patiating over the vast field of created things, the Divinity is lavished-there he stops, and there is not one portion of the field over- wilders, and altogether misses this essential looked by it; that while it scatters blessings perception, that the power and perfection over the whole of an infinite range, it causes of the Divinity are not more displayed by them to descend in a shower of plenty on the mere magnitude of the field, than they every separate habitation: that while his are by that minute and exquisite filling up, E arm is underneath and round about all which leaves not its smallest portions neworlds, he enters within the precincts of glected; but which imprints the fulness of every one of them, and gives a care and a the Godhead upon every one of them; and tenderness to each individual of their teem- proves, by every flower of the pathless deing population. Oh! does not the God, who sert, as well as by every orb of immensity, is said to be love, shed over this attribute of how this unsearchable being can care for all, his its finest illustration, when, while he sits and provide for all; and, throned in mystery in the highest heaven, and pours out his ful- too high for us, can, throughout every inness on the whole subordinate domain of stant of time, keep his attentive eye on every nature and of providence, he bows a pitying separate thing that he has formed, and by an regard on the very humblest of his chil- act of his thoughtful and presiding intellidren, and sends his reviving Spirit into every gence, can constantly brace all. heart, and cheers by his presence every But God, compassed about as he is with home, and provides for the wants of every light inaccessible, and full of glory, lies so family, and watches every sick-bed, and hidden from the ken and conception of all listens to the complaints of every sufferer; our faculties, that the spirit of man sinks and while by his wondrous mind the weight exhausted by its attempts to comprehend of universal government is borne, oh! is it him. Could the image of the Supreme be not more wondrous and more excellent still, placed direct before the eye of the mind, that he feels for every sorrow, and has an that flood of splendour, which is ever issuing ear open to every prayer? from him on all who have the privilege of beholding, would not only dazzle, but overpower us. And therefore it is, that I bid you look to the reflection of that image, and thus to take a view of its mitigated glories, and to gather the lineaments of the Godhead in the face of those righteous angels, who have never thrown away from them the resemblance in which they were created; and, unable as you are to support the grace and the majesty of that countenance, before which the sons and the prophets of other days fell, and became as dead men, let us, before we bring this argument to a close, borrow one lesson of Him who sitteth on the throne, from the aspect and the revealed doings of those who are surrounding it.

The infidel, then, as he widens the field of his contemplations would suffer its every separate object to die away into forgetfulness: these angels, expatiating as they do over the range of a loftier universality, are represented as all awake to the history of each of its distinct and subordinate provin

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"It doth not yet appear what we shall be," says the apostle John, "but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." It is the present lot of the angels, that they behold the face of our Father in heaven, and it would seem as if the effect of this was to form and to perpetuate in them the moral likeness of himself, and that they reflect back upon him his own image, and that thus a diffused resemblance to the Godhead is kept up among all those adoring worshippers who live in the near and rejoicing contemplation of the Godhead. Mark then how that peculiar and endearing feature in the goodness of the Deity, which we have just now adverted to-mark how beauteously it is reflected downwards upon us in the revealed attitude of angels. From the high eminences of heaven, are they bending a wakeful regard over the men of this sinful world; and the repentance of every one of them spreads a joy and a high gratulation


And here I cannot omit to take advantage of that opening with which our Saviour has furnished us, by the parables of this

ces. The infidel, with his mind afloat among | ment. I now make my appeal to the sensisuns and among systems, can find no place bilities of your heart; and tell me, to whom in his already occupied regards, for that does the moral feeling within it yield its humble planet which lodges and accommo-readiest testimony-to the infidel, who dates our species; the angels, standing on a would make this world of ours vanish away loftier summit, and with a mightier prospect into abandonment-or to those angels, who of creation before them, are yet represented ring throughout all their mansions the hoas looking down on this single world, and sannas of joy, over every one individual of attentively marking the every feeling and its repentant population? the every demand of all its families. The infidel, by sinking us down to an unnoticeable minuteness, would lose sight of our dwelling-place altogether, and spread a dark-chapter, and admits us into a familiar view ening shroud of oblivion over all the con- of that principle on which the inhabitants cerns and all the interests of men; but the of heaven are so awake to the deliverance angels will not so abandon us; and undaz- and the restoration of our species. To il zled by the whole surpassing grandeur of lustrate the difference in the reach of knowthat scenery which is around them, are they ledge and of affection, between a man and revealed as directing all the fulness of their an angel, let us think of the difference of regard to this our habitation, and casting a reach between one man and another. You longing and benignant eye on ourselves and may often witness a man, who feels neither on our children. The infidel will tell us of tenderness nor care beyond the precincts those worlds which roll afar, and the num- of his own family; but who, on the strength ber of which outstrips the arithmetic of the of those instinctive fondnesses which nahuman understanding-and then with the ture has implanted in his bosom, may earn hardness of an unfeeling calculation, will the character of an amiable father, or a he consign the one we occupy, with all its kind husband, or a bright example of all guilty generations, to despair. that is soft and endearing in the relations of domestic society. Now, conceive him, in addition to all this, to carry his affections abroad, without, at the same time, any abatement of their intensity towards the objects which are at home-that stepping across the limits of the house he occupies, he takes an interest in the families which are near him-that he lends his services to the town or the district wherein he is placed, and gives up a portion of his time to the thoughtful labours of a humane and publicspirited citizen. By this enlargement in the sphere of his attention he has extended his reach; and, provided he has not done so at the expense of that regard which is due to his family-a thing which, cramped and confined as we are, we are very apt, in the ex

But he who counts the number of the stars, is set forth to us as looking at every inhabitant among the millions of our species, and by the word of the Gospel beckoning to him with the hand of invitation, and on the very first step of his return, as moving towards him with all the eagerness of the prodigal's father, to receive him back again into that presence from which he had wandered. And as to this world, in favour of which the scowling infidel will not permit one solitary movement, all heaven is represented as in a stir about its restoration; and there cannot a single son or a single daughter be recalled from sin unto righteousness, without an acclamation of joy among the hosts of paradise. Aye, and

I can say it of the humblest and the un-ercise of our humble faculties, to do-I put

worthiest of you all, that the eye of angels is upon him, and that his repentance would at this moment, send forth a wave of delighted sensibility throughout the mighty throng of their innumerable legions.

it to you, whether, by extending the reach of his views and his affections, he has not extended his worth and his moral respectability along with it?

Now, the single question I have to ask, is, On which of the two sides of this contrast do we see most of the impress of heaven? Which of the two would be most glorifying to God? Which of them carries upon it the most of that evidence which lies in its having a celestial character? For if it be the side of the infidel, then must all our hopes expire with the ratifying of that fatal sentence, by which the world is doomed, through its insignificancy, to perpetual welfare of its people-who gives himself exclusion from the attentions of the God-up, with all the devotedness of a passion, head. I have long been knocking at the to the best and purest objects of patriotism door of your understanding, and have tried-and who, spurning away from him the to find an admittance to it for many an argu- vulgarities of party ambition, separates his

But I can conceive a still further enlargement. I can figure to myself a man, whose wakeful sympathy overflows the field of his own immediate neighbourhood-to whom the name of country comes with all the omnipotence of a charm upon his heart, and with all the urgency of a most righteous and resistless claim upon his serviceswho never hears the name of Britain sounded in his ears, but it stirs up all his enthusiasm in behalf of the worth and the

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