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foretold the redeemer, the time and manner of his appearance, his death and resurrection, and the way in which he would bring salvation to a guilty world. The word of prophecy was a light shining in a dark place, until the daystar arose; and as it approached nearer to the grand object, to which it pointed, it grew more bright and clear.
Though the Jewish nation were favoured beyond others, the benefits of revelation were not confined to them. In the patriarchal age, Melchisedek, Abimelech, Job, and several others, were honoured with immediate discoveries of God's will, and some of them employed in communicating to mankind the discoveries, which they had received.
Many of the divine dispensations toward the Jews, were of such a nature, as might awaken the attention of all around them, and give general conviction of the supremacy of the great JEHOVAH. The annual solemnities instituted in their law, were adapted, and probably designed, to excite the inquiry of their neighbours, and diffuse among them the knowledge of religion. The travels of the prophets, and the frequent dispersions of the Jews, contributed much to disseminate this knowledge among those who were remote from the land of Judea. So that revelation was not so much confined to this one nation, as some have seemed to imagine. At the time of Christ's appearance, there was a general expectation of some extraordinary teacher and reformer to arise in Judea.
Though this divine person confined his ministry chiefly to the Jews, yet he commissioned his Apostles to go forth and teach all nations.
He came not only to redeem mankind by his death, but to teach divine truths more fully, and confirm them more strongly, than had been done before. After he had finished his personal ministry, and returned to the heavenly world, his Apostles,
under the guidance of his Spirit, went forth preaching the kingdom of God, and proving their commission and doctrine by signs and wonders, which none could perform, unless God were with them.
The Gospel Revelation stands now established on the firm basis of divine testimony. As it was communicated by inspiration, so it was confirmed by miracles evidently divine. And notwithstanding all the persecutions and changes, which the church has suffered, this revelation, by the wonderful providence of God, is still preserved. By this we may fully learn all, which concerns us to know, relating to the grand scheme of our redemption, and the way to eternal glory. By this, not only are displayed to men the unsearchable riches of Christ, but is also made known to principalities and powers in heaven, the manifold wisdom of God.
Great and wonderful are these works of the King of saints.
When we consider the allglorious God stooping from his throne to converse with sinful men, inspiring some with the knowledge of his will, and the foresight of futurity, empowering them to convey this knowledge to others, and endowing them with miraculous gifts to confirm the heavenly origin of their doctrine-when we behold him working wonders to awaken the attention of stupid mortals, and bring them to a belief of the truth-when we see not only men, but angels; not only angels, but the Son of God himself, employed in ministering to our fallen race-when we trace the gradual progress of Revelation from the apostacy to the appearance of the Redeemer-when we observe how Revelation, granted to particular persons or nations, was made subservient to instruction of numbers besides, in distant nations, and remote ages-when we reflect how the knowledge of religion has been preserved, and its total extinction prevented, even in times of
great ignorance and superstition-we must admire the divine wisdom and goodness, and say, Marvellous are thy works, O King of saints.
But if God has done so many marvellous works to make known his will to men, some will ask, Why has he not made it known universally ?-If revelation is so important, as from these works it seems to be, Why has it, in all ages, been so partial?
But, What is that to you? God has granted you this privilege; see that you improve it. If others are not favoured as highly, this cannot justify your neglect. Adopt the language and sentiment of the blessed Redeemer, when he rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that, though thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, thou hast revealed them to babes.
Is Revelation less useful to you, because there are many who have not known it? Or, Will you be excusable in your contempt of it, because you have been preferred to them? No: He who knows his Lord's will, and does it not, will be beaten with many stripes.
Will you question the truth of Revelation, because it is confined to a part of our fallen race? As well might you question the reality of human reason, because some are destitute of this; and among those who enjoy it, some possess it in amuch higher degree than others. Remember that God is sovereign in the distribution of his favours, and divides them among his creatures severally as he will. His works are marvellous and unsearchable. Infinite wisdom doubtless sees sufficient reasons, why some, rather than others, enjoy Revelation, though these reasons are not obvious to us.
Perhaps the partiality of Revelation is more owing to men's own fault, than is generally imagined. There are few nations, but what have heard of the
gospel. Were there among mankind the same solicitude to acquire, and to spread the knowledge of religion, as to improve arts and commerce, the gospel would be far more generally known. Many nations, now in a state of ignorance, once enjoyed Revelation, but have put it from them; and the infidelity of one generation has entailed ignorance on those which succeeded; as we see, in a Christian land, the impiety of the father often corrupts and destroys the children.
After all, it must be remembered, that God will finally judge all men according to the talents which they have received. To whom he has committed much, of them he will ask the more.
Some perhaps will be curious to know, Whether they, who enjoy not the gospel, can be saved? But such curious questions need no answer, because they, in no respect, concern us. The Judge of all the earth will do right. That God who has given a Revelation, can, in such ways as he pleases, communicate himself to those who seek after him; for great and marvellous are his works.
There is another question more important, and more easily answered, Whether we who enjoy the gospel, can be saved, if we live in opposition to it? This is a question which the gospel has decided. They who put the word of God from them, judge themselves unworthy of eternal life. Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish. To such a question the same answer is to be given, as our Saviour, gave to one who asked him a similar questionWhether few should be saved? Strive to enter in at the strait gate. Be not curious to know, how it will fare with others. Be solicitous for yourselves. Work out your own salvation; for many who enjoy the offers and means of salvation, will, through their own neglect, perish, and be lost forever.
The Works of God, as King of Saints, great and marvellous.
REVELATION xv. 3.
Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
GOD is here acknowledged in the charac
ter of King of saints. And his works, as King of saints, are called great and marvellous.
These works of God we are humbly attempting to illustrate.
We have shewn,
I. That the work of redemption, which God has wrought, and in which the saints are peculiarly interested, is a marvellous work.
II. That the various revelations, by which God has brought the saints, in the several ages of the world, to the knowledge of this redemption, are also marvellous.
I proceed now to a farther illustration of this grand and solemn theme.
III. The dispensations of God's providence toward the church, in correcting and punishing her for her declensions, and in delivering her out of dangers and afflictions, are great and marvellous.