« PrécédentContinuer »
honours to the Lord Jesus. I formerly showed you that the homage here represented as rendered him, implies true and proper worship,-the highest adoration. In his original character as the only Begotten of God, and the possessor of all divine excellencies and glories, Jesus Christ has an incontestable title to the worship. and obedience of the heavenly hosts. He has a further claim as the author and preserver of their existence, and as the source and dispenser of all their happiness; for "by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth." He has acquired an additional claim to religious homage, in consequence of having died to redeem men from sin and death; and it is on this ground that the homage here mentioned is rendered him. The song of redeemed men is, "Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood;" and that of the angelic hosts is, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." You will observe, further, that not only is worship here rendered to Jesus Christ, but it is rendered to him in his mediatorial or official capacity. From all this the inference is irresistible. How safe and how reasonable is the worship of Christ. If in worshipping him we are guilty of idolatry, it is an idolatry of which the best and holiest men have been guilty-an idolatry with which the church on earth in every succeeding age has been chargeable,—an idolatry practised by the angelic hosts before the celestial throne. It is an idolatry, we may add, sanctioned by the eternal Father,
"The Lord Jesus humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in
heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." The same authority which says, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve," says not less expressly respecting Jesus Christ, "He is thy Lord, and worship thou him." Let us not scruple, then, to render him the highest homage. Let us make him the object of our adoration and praise, our gratitude and trust, our faith and our worship.
3d, How important that we cultivate a love to the exercises of heaven. We learn from the text, and from many other passages of scripture, that those exercises will form the eternal employment of the heavenly inhabitants. But if so, it necessarily follows, that unless you feel an unfeigned delight, a cordial complacency in religious and devotional exercises, you are utterly unfit for heaven; and were you admitted to it, with your present taste and temper, you would be miserable in the midst of transcendent bliss.
Be exhorted, then, to cultivate a love for the exercises of heaven. Give yourself to prayer; for though prayer in its present form may not be one of the exercises of heaven, the spirit of prayer is precisely that of heaven; and few employments tend more to prepare for that glorious abode. Make conscience then of regularly entering your closet. Recollect that "the voice of joy and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous," and therefore account it a good thing to show forth the praises of the Most High. Read daily the holy scriptures, which inform you of the person and work of the Saviour, and of the employments and fruitions of the upper sanctuary. "Take heed to that word as to a light shining in a dark place, till the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts." Remember that "God
loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." "Love, then, the habitation of his holiness," and esteem 66 a day in his courts better than a thousand."
4th, This subject suggests a test by which we may ascertain whether we are fit for heaven. None will be admitted to heaven hereafter, but those who are not only invested with a title to it, but qualified and made meet for it. By nature we are the children of wrath, and we can obtain a title to heaven only through faith in the righteousness and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. By nature we are corrupted and depraved; and we can obtain meetness for heaven only through the purifying of the Holy Ghost. "Except a man be born again he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."
The objects and inhabitants, the pleasures and employments of heaven, are all of a pure and spiritual, a sacred and holy nature; for "nothing that defileth, or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, shall enter there." To ascertain your meetness for heaven, you have then only to inquire, whether you take delight in devotional exercises, and in holy pursuits and enjoyments. Do you take pleasure, for example, in remembering the death of the Saviour? and, as the natural consequence, do you often meditate on that most wonderful and most momentous event? If you do not, you are evidently unqualified for heaven; for the commemoration of the death of Christ will be one of the principal employments of the heavenly inhabitants during the countless ages of eternity. Do you love the Sabbath and the sanctuary, the day and the house of God? Or is the former a weariness? and are you glad of any plausible pretext for absenting yourself from the latter? If so; what would you do in that place, which is far more holy than the sanctuary on earth; and where the worshippers keep a perpetual Sabbath? Are prayer and praise,
and the other exercises of devotion insipid or distasteful to you? If so; how unfit must you be for a place where those exercises form the sole and unceasing occupation of the inhabitants. By these and similar questions, you may all decide with considerable probability, if not with absolute certainty, as to your personal "meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light."
5th, This subject shows us the folly of the irreligious. Think of heaven with all its joys and splendours; a house of many mansions prepared for the heirs of glory. Contrast with this, hell with its horrors; a place of outer darkness, and of gnashing of teeth. You are virtually preferring hell to heaven. Can you continue to do so? Life and death are now before you. Can you halt between two opinions? The time for deliberation will soon pass,-and your mad choice become irrevocable. "Now is the accepted time,-now is the day of salvation."
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
REVELATION Xix. 9.-Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
THIS declaration will probably suggest to you a scene more magnificent and blissful than any that will ever be realised on earth. It will not unnaturally lead thoughts upward to heaven, and forward to that glorious era when the redemption of the church will be consummated, and when all her members, being collected into one harmonious and happy society, shall be admitted by the Captain of their salvation to eat and drink with him in his Father's heavenly kingdom. To these events the figures in the text itself are elsewhere applied; for Jesus Christ is often represented as the husband, and the church as his bride and his spouse; and, in allusion to a nuptial solemnity and a marriage supper, it is said that, having " sanctified and cleansed her," he will at the last "present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but holy and without blemish."
But, however fitly the declaration in the text may applied to the completion of the redemption of the church at the end of the world, that does not seem to be the epoch in reference to which the declaration is here uttered. In the preceding chapter we have an