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glory. In the Revelation, it is said, “ the Lord Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of the city: “ the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” And in Colossians 2:2: it is said, “the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ."
Thus is Christ exalted as the Sovereign of the Universe, the Creator, Preserver, and Judge of all; original, underived, omnipotent, independent;
who supports the pillars of the Universe, and can safely keep whatever is committed to his hands. He is exalted as a Savior, having accomplished the redemption of sinners.
We mourn not therefore as Mary, when she said, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." "He was seen of his disciples for forty days after his resurrection. They were the witnesses of his ascension to heaven. In the spirit of prayer, they returned to Jerusalem, and worshipped and held communion with him. At the expiration of ten days, he manifested his efficient presence in the fulfilment of glorious prophecy, in the divine work of regeneration, in the effectual instruction and comfort of his people; and by these operations and influences he has ever since continued to establish and confirm his people. We receive these testimonies, we worship the Savior at the right hand of God, we realize his promises of divine influence.
II. Christ as Mediator is exalted in his own moral perfections, illustrated in the plan of redemption. These perfections are inherent, and depend not for their existence and true excellence on any thing that has been, or can be done. But in the plan of redemption, circumstances were furnished for their public and eminent display. They shone through the
man Christ Jesus, and illuminated his character in the days of his flesh. They furnished an example in practice, and inspired a code in morals, such as philosophy has exhausted its power in vain to create. Exalted to his seat in heaven, he sheds his glory through all the place, and enkindles in all his worshippers a flame of love, admiration, and joy. And having received gifts for men, he diffuses through this dark world the light and grace, which roll a flood of dazzling glory through heaven and eternity. We see it faintly here. It multiplies and brightens on the devout and heaven-directed eye of prayer. It is displayed in burning effulgence, as we are transformed by degrees into his image; and when we put off this flesh, it shall enkindle in the soul that fervid glow of pure devotion, which will prove to the glorified saints, what are those joys, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, but 'which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
That, which gave offence on earth, will constitute the glory of the Savior in heaven. The purity of his character, and the strictness of his moral law, and the justice and spirituality of his kingdom will there be his glory. It is the holiness of God, which secures the love and homage of all holy beings. Their song is, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts." This is the standard of pre-eminence with the inhabitants of heaven. The holiest being there will be the happiest, and accounted the most worthy. This it is, which will give peculiar energy and triumph to the devotions of heaven. The true purity of the divine character will be seen in the display of inherent attributes, and it will be appreciated and loved by all who are round about him. Therefore, the Savior will be exalted, in the glories of his own perfections, in a world where those perfections will be fully appreciated, by minds moulded and formed by his divine energy and benevolence to the same glorious and pure image.
III. We contemplate Christ as exalted in the execution of his mediatorial office, and in the praises of the redeemed. By virtue of his atonement he saves sinners; not by works of righteousness which they have done, but by his own grace. And sensible of their dependence on that grace, their
song will always be—“not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.”
The company of the saved will be a great company, and their habitual employment will be acts of praise and homage to Him, who has redeemed them out of every nation, and washed them in his own blood. The Scriptures say this company will be innumerable. Every one, who shall stand and bow there, will be a trophy of victorious grace, saved by Christ. Not one will take any merit to himself
, or ascribe any part of the work of his redemption to any but to Jesus of Nazareth. They will constitute, therefore, a standing and shining monument of his benevolence and power. Each was an heir of hell, and all that makes him to differ from those, “the smoke of whose torment ascendeth up for ever and ever,” he owes to the grace of Christ. Here is laid a foundation for that praise, which shall fill all heaven. O brethren, if we are borne by him across this gulf, which stretches its deep shadows between us and the heavenly world, will not he possess an eminence up to which we shall delight to extend our view; and will not he excite our praise above and beyond all else which can engage or interest the soul ? While the songs of angels shall delight the soul, and all the resplendent glories of the place charm the eye, shall we not find that all is beneath the Lamb, who is the light of the temple, and by whose sacrifice we have obtained a name and an inheritance there?
Although we are informed that there are few comparatively saved under the circumstances in which sinners have lived and do still live, yet all the company of saints, “a multitude which no man can number," shall be truly assembled. It is true the Gospel has found, and does now find, but poor acceptance in the world. Most men have rejected it, and my witnesses are here, that it is with difficulty commended to the approbation and einbrace of sinners. Some here, still in their sins, have heard thousands of sermons, and ten thousands of prayers. Truly there are comparatively few saved. Still, Christ shall be glorified in the praises of the redeemed. You may reject the Gospel, but heaven shall be peopled by willing subjects of the King of kings. Christ shall be exalted without you, in the exercise of his power, in the display of his moral perfections, and in the multitude
Yes, though not one of you should accept his offered grace, his praise shall be glorious, his name infinitely exalted. Not to recur to that glory he shall gain while he vindicates the law in your condemnation and punishment, he shall be celebrated in the joyful songs of myriads of the saved.
The covenant of grace, or of redemption, secured to the Son a numerous seed to serve him, in whose conversion the Holy Spirit was to be the efficient, active agent. Under this covenant, a dispensation of grace commenced immediately after the fall, and many saints were gathered from earth before the public ministry and death of Christ. Under the new influence of Gospel light, and in connection with the ascent of Christ the Savior, and the descent of the Holy Ghost the Sanctifier, a season of religious revival was enjoyed on the day of pentecost, which will be ever memorable in the history of the church. Similar triumphs have been witnessed in succeeding ages, and they are destined to continue until the world shall be converted, and the church on earth shall embrace the world's population, and triumph over her enemies. Christ is on the throne. Tho agency is there. It is almighty. We have the promise recorded; and it has been for eighteen centuries in a constant course of execution.
Under this gracious administration, revivals of religion have been often enjoyed by the church. I allude now to facts, which are familiar to you. Here, Christ has been exalted and honored in the salvation of sinners. A divine work has been here repeatedly wrought, of which ye are witnesses, and which impresses the subject with peculiar and deep interest. Oh, from this spot, from the feeble services of this house, how many shall be permitted to rise, and join that multitude whose everlasting song shall be, -. “Worthy the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God, by his blood !" ' And while the Gospel here continues to speak, how many more, we may hope, will, through the same divine influence, be prepared for the same employments, and admitted to the same company!
Glorious thought! that Christ is still exalted, and we are under discipline for heaven. Yes, he is still at the right hand of God, exalted to be a Prince and a Savior. Still it may be repeated, he has “received of the Father the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Thanks be to God, we may still add, HE has shed forth that which ye have seen and heard. God grant also, that we may be able soon to forget the past, in the happy, rapturous experience of the present, and say,—"Which ye now see and hear.”
From the wide field of instruction furnished by this subject, two or three reflections deserve particular consideration.
1. How humble ought Christians to be, under a sense of their depen'dence, and with the example of Christ, their great Master, before them! He was independent, yet he condescended, became poor for our sakes, and submitted to an ignominious death. We are entirely dependent; let us cherish a spirit of humility. This grace is eminently characteristic of the Christian. Without it, he can never find a place at the foot of the cross, can never realize the blessedness of communion with saints, can never enjoy the satisfactions of a soul at peace. The moment he rises in his feelings above his place, he loses that calm serenity which ever prevails in the vale of humility, and encounters storms, peril, and ruin. The Scriptures, therefore, often instruct us to “be clothed with humility." A proper sense of guilt will ever keep us humble and safe. Whenever we become. restive, and attempt to rise, we encounter dangers. An humble posture is always the safest, and the only proper one for a poor sinner. man's pride shall bring him low, but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit." Let Christians, therefore, dwell much on the example of Christ in his humiliation. Behold the loveliness of his character as here expressed, and transcribe it into your own.
2. We see the safety and dignity of those, who trust in Christ. He is exalted. “He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them." We then “have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us in the Gospel.”. The exaltation of Christ ensures the safety of every believer. His disciples saw him after his resurrection, and they saw him ascend to heaven. They experienced the promise of the Father as he had told them, and witnessed the evidence of his exaltation in the conversion of sinners. These things are testified and recorded for our consolation.
Our happiness depends much on the stability of those objects, on which we rest. This is a principal reason why the things of time give so flattering and so false a hope. It is deeply impressed on the mind that they are fleeting. So, even while resting on them, the mind is unsettled and anx
ious. But the experienced Christia: is persuaded that he can never be separated from the love of Christ. "Whether he lives, he lives to him, or whether he dies, he dies to him. Whether be lives, therefore, or dies, he is the Lord's.” And he sometimes feels like Paul, that "it is far better to die, and be with Christ,” than to live. To support them amid the inevitable trials of life, the experience of the same Apostle is often realized to Christians, diligent in duty; and they become "persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate them from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
And where can the soul find a more substantial, and happier source of consolation, than in the contemplation of a latter end of peace, and an eternal union with all that is good, and omnipotent, and pure ? Amid the disappointments of life, here is rest. When friends fail us, here is one that “ sticketh closer than a brother.” When bereavements strike our earthly comforts dead, here are undying sources of consolation. Here is an adequate support in the desolation of wasting sickness, and a refuge in the leanness of death. Christian brethren, it is your privilege to appropriate this consolation. In prosperity, let it keep you humble; in the world, let it keep you thoughtful of coming changes; in bereavements you may feel its power to bless ; in sickness, lean upon it; and in the darkness and poverty of death, let it be your refuge and very present help. Christ will be exalted in the redemption of his people, and he will proceed from conquering to conquer. Philosophy, and reason, and power have been united and employed against the advancement of this work on earth. Ridicule and mockery have lent their aid. Still it goes on. Revivals of religion are multiplied, the heathen are receiving the truth as it is in Jesus, the Jews are returning, and this growing kingdom is advancing under the guidance and protection of the great King; and let all the saints shout for joy.
3. There is one other consideration, which I would not fail to suggest. It is the manner in which all that has now been said must affect the finally impenitent. Christ indeed has submitted to death, even the death of the cross--but you have scornfully rejected that cross. He is risen again, and is exalted at the right hand of God, but you have not believed. He is sustained and honored in the perfections of his moral character, and the praises of the redeemed, but you are insensible to them both.
From the position, impenitent men, which you occupy, it must follow, that all the power with which the Savior of sinners is clothed, all the perfections in which he is exalted, all the distinctions to which he is raised, will be employed against you. The very sources of blessing to the righteous will prove means of increasing the torment of those who despise them. The effect of this eminent display of divine love will be to increase the guilt and heighten the miseries of those, who shall turn away from it. Such proposals of pardon cannot be trifled with by the sinner without producing most fearful results, without greatly aggravating his guilt. Indeed we are taught that so great is the guilt of rejecting the Savior distinctly offered, that all other offences are involved in this one. When, as impenitent sinners, you stand in judgment, your condemnation will not proceed on the evidence that you have stolen, or lied, or profaned God's holy name, or holy day. These, if they exist, are minor offences. They are all merged in one great, damning sin,—the rejection of an offered Savior. " This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light.”
It becomes my duty, then, again to offer for your acceptance this Savior from sin, once humbled, now exalted and glorified. To you are the words of this salvation sent. This Savior, now exalted, condescends to plead with you. Though in his humiliation, he was poor, in his exaltation he is rich-rich in princeless blessings secured for sinners by his poverty. In his humiliation he was despised, was put to grief, and was forsaken ; in his exaltation he is honored in the praises of purchased souls, and in the possession of his original dignity: in his humiliation he suffered, and submitted himself; in his exaltation he is jealous of his honor, and will proceed to vindicate his authority : in his humiliation he condescended and pleaded wath sinners, and still, in the execution of mediatorial office, he pleads with them by his word, and providence, and appointed ministry; but the time will soon come when he will plead no more—when judgment will proceed on the evidence of the past. This is a day of forbearance, of love, of life. “ As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Our God is a God of mercy, but not of mercy only. Opening this everlasting Book, I read—“He whets his glittering sword, and his hand takes hold on vengeance." I see—“dark clouds are his pavilion round about." I hear—it is the voice of mercy still, but of mercy long abused; and the very next accent may be the thunder of that voice, which calls you to Judgment. Oh,“ kiss the Son, lest he be angry with you, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little."
THE TRINITY EMPLOYED IN MAN'S REDEMPTION.
Acts 2: 33.- Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, fc.
Much of the plan of redemption, in its executive process, is set forth in this single text, leading us directly to consider,
1. The salvation of the sinner as the work of the Trinity.
II. The part, which each person in the sacred Trinity performs in this work.
III. The necessity of this Trinity to the work of man's redemption.
I. In our text the salvation of the sinner is set forth as the work of the Trinity. We plainly see that the doctrine of a Trnity in the Godhead is taught in the holy Scriptures; it is palpable. Here are the Father, and the the Son, and the Holy Ghost; three persons employed in the work of man's salvation. The Father gives to the Son, and does not receive the gift. The Son receives the gift from the Father, and does not make the gift to the Father. The Son sends the Holy Ghost, and is not sent by him. The Holy Ghost is sent, or as our confession of Faith has it, "proceeds from the Father and the Son," and does not send the Father nor the Son. Can any distinction of persons be more plainly expressed ?
Again,-when the law was to be repeated to Israel, the Lord said, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the word thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy