Imatges de pÓgina

dered under the image of a victory, and at other times under that of a marriage festival. The latter is the figure now before us. This gospel chariot has set most of the expositors a riding upon the back of all order and deco6 rum.' The love of allegory is a great snare to a commentator ; and the small expence of genius or labour necessary to please the million, in this way, has tempted many into a

, method of interpretation, which has given the enemies of gospel truth too just occasion of reproach and ridicule. Instead then of distinctly considering the top and bottom, the pillows and the lining, &c. let us observe in this carriage an image of the magnificence and beauty-security and perpetuity of the gospel.

1. The magnificence and beauty of the gospel is like the simple architecture of the antients. Its grandeur is not that of a heavy uniform pile of buildings; nor does its beauty arise from a profusion of unmeaning ornaments: but there is a magnificence and unity in the design, a proportion and symmetry in its parts, which forms a character of beautiful simplicity. A few circumstances may be mentioned.

The grand design of the gospel is the glory of the divine perfections, in their harmony and connection. The God of Christians is a Deity

• full orb'd, In his whole round of attributes complete.' All human schemes sacrifice one attribute to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the honour of another; usually justice and holiness to mercy and benevolence. Here mercy and truth meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.' '

The gospel exhibits a unity of design, a beautiful simplicity and proportion in all its parts. Such is the relation and connection between the truths of revelation, that one cannot be rejected or denied alone. They are links of the saine chain, which is broken if one be lost. The doctrine of human depravity connects with that of gratuitous pardon." The doctrine of human imbecility with that of divine influences; and so of the others. Each truth

: hath also its appropriate station in the system; and thie various doctrines are like the steps of Jacob's ladder; they connect earth and hea-, ven. For whom he predestinated, them he • also called; whom he called, them he also

justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.'

The beauty of the gospel, I have said, arises in great measure from its simplicity,It has indeed been loaded with rites and ceremonies; but these are ineretricious ornaments, altoge- . ' ther foreign and unsuitable. Truth is like the Ionic column, which charms from its simplicity; and when disguised by foreign ornaments is, like the same pillar loaded with the votive gifts, the cockle-shells and relics of pilgrims.It is the same, but it is obscured-it is degraded. ?. The' scene before us may represent the


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

security and permanency of the gospel, The gospel indeed first spread, not only without, but in opposition to all the powers on earth. Uncountenanced and unprotected, who could have thought that twelve poor fishermen could have propagated through the world a system so unfattering to human 'vanity, so repulsive to human passions? But they were not unprotected. : Of this chariot it is said, that threescore valiant, men are about it, i.'e. that it is securely guarded. So was the gospel. Not by human wisdom or human might; but by the Spirit and the power of God. This guard is like that of the prophet Elijah:-He appeared unprotected and alone, and his servant trembled at the surrounding hosts - O my father, * the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen

thereof! But when his eyes were opened, behold the mountain was filled with chariots and horses of fire. Such has been the security, of the gospel. "A hand unseen' has protected it against all the powers of tyranny


persecution : and hence it remains to this day, and shall survive all its enemies and

How often have the princes of the world threatened to annihilate the gospel! And when the sword has failed, and there has appeared no hope of destroying it by force, the powers of wit, of genius, and of learning, have confederated to oppose it. For a moment they partially succeeded, and began to rear their monuments of victory. But already the colossuş of infidelity begins to crumble, and the stone

[ocr errors]

sand opposers.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


om 1: cut out of the mountain without hands shall fall on it and grind it into powder

3. The gospel is a system of benevolence and love. Of this chariot it is said, that it is

. • lined with love;' that is probably, the lining was wrought with amatory embleins-of which this book might furnish a variety—as the rose and lily, the dove, the mandrake, and many others?. Apply this to the gospel-it is lined with love - it is full of love for what is the gospel but the good news of the love of God to sinners? And what is its design, but to kindle the pureșt love in the hearts of believers, both toward God and to each other? While this scheme of salvation ascribes “ Glory to “ God in the highest,” it proclaims also

peace on earth, and good will towards c men.”

This carriage was lined with love by the daughters of Jerusalem, and probably received as a present from them?; for we know that the Jewish women excelled in needle-work and




See Dan. ii. 35. and Mait. xxi. 44. ? Lady M. W. Montague observes, the inside of the Turkish coaches is painted with baskets and nosegays of flowers, intermixed commonly with little poetical mottoes. And it appears by a quotation just given, (p. 246.) that the Asiatic palanquins are embellished in a manner somewhat similar.

* The preposition mem () is not most usually by but from; in the present instance it probably includes both.Le Clerc says, “ Mediamque stratam puellarum Jerosolymi

tarum amore;' and Bp. Percy, . The middle thereof is wrought (in needle-work] by the daughters of Jerusalem, (as a testimony of their love."




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

embroidery; and it appears from this song, that it was not uncommon for the virgins, her attendants, to make presents to the bride. May not this be considered as an image of the gospel adorned by the lives of its professors ? especially young converts, whose zeal and love are often eminently conspicuous?

4. The gospel dispensation contains a grand display of the royal mediatorial glories of the Lord Jesus. It is not the chariot only, but he that rideth in the chariot, who merits our admiration. •Go forth and view King Solomon: but behold, “A greater than Solomon is here.' Jesus the true prince of peace, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdoin and of knowledge. And it is a leading design of the gospel to exhibit him in his crown--in all the glories of his original dignity, and mediatorial character.

The gospel exhibits Jesus in all the glories of his primeval dignity- He was in the form of * God, and thought it no robbery to be equal • with God. The word was with God, and • the word was God.'-" The brightness of his • Father's glory, and the express image of his person.'

But we have here chiefly to contemplate his mediatorial glory, and especially his kingly office-Let us go forth and behold King Jesus - the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.'

The kingdom of Christ has been greatly mistaken both by his enemies and friends. “We have no king but Cæsar,' said the former,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »