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Saviour. Now, if your profession is worth any thingif it be not an empty, unmeaning boast—then will you not only not be ashamed of having been with him in the garden, but will glory with him in the garden and on the cross, and will say, “ If to be there is to be vile, I will be yet more vile.”
But, 2d, While from the world this is a question of reproach, on the part of God it is a question of commendation. It is so now in reference to the enjoyments of holy communion. And more especially in the great day, when he shall discriminate and divide his professing people, those souls alone will be safe and happy to whom the Father can say,
66 Did not I see thee in the garden with my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, where he magnified the law and made it honourable ?” And he will graciously look upon you in the face of his anointed. Wherefore, little children, abide in Christ, that when he shall appear ye may have confidence, and may not be ashamed before him at his coming. Amen.
“There was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like anto
an emerald.”— REVELATION, iv. 3.
“ LORD,” it was once asked of the master respecting the writer of this book," and what shall this man do ?” And it is interesting to mark the beautiful simplicity and conscientious fidelity with which he himself reports the answer. "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not he shall not die; but, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” It is evident that he himself did not well know what interpretation to put upon his Lord's words, and that he was left very much in the dark as to what his future fate on the earth would be; yet, not only did he restrain idle curiosity at the time, but he remained contented and happy to be at Christ's disposal either for life or death. Provided only he was permitted actually to fulfil his ministry, he would be willing to have his age prolonged beyond the common lot of man, if such should be his Lord's good pleasure, and if he might but continue to serve God in the gospel of his Son. But when his days of darkness came, and threatened to be many-when the keepers of the house trembled, and fear was in the way, and desire failed — when he found himself a solitary prisoner, chained to a barren rock, laid aside at once from exertion and from usefulness, he would then begin to wonder what his Lord was to do with him—he would even be ready to sigh out the wish that he might not live here for ever. But his great and gracious master soon showed him that he had tarried only till he should come to him in more glorious manifestations of his character, and more marvellous discoveries of his providence, than mortal had yet enjoyed. He converted his prison into a paradise-He changed his Patmos into an EdenHe brought heaven down to earth, and took earth up to heaven--and indulged the disciple, whom he still loved, with revelations of Jesus Christ and visions of God.
It is in the description of one of those visions that we find the words of our text. A door, he tells opened into heaven, to afford him a sight of what was passing there. But, as that yielded only a comparatively faint and transient glimpse of the celestial glory, a voice was heard saying to him, “ Come up hither," " and immediately,” said he, “I was in the Spirit:” i.e., he was rapt in ecstasy-he was entranced in mystic vision—"and behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.” Observe, brethren, he saw no similitude of figure or of face ; all that he seeks to describe is the varied radiance, the lustrous beauty, the bright effulgent glory that issued from the throne. You may compare the representation with that which is given of the God of Israel as beheld
by Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel, upon that solemn occasion when they saw God, and did eat and drink. There was under his feet, as it were, a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness, i.e., the pellucid azure of the boundless and fathomless firmament,-a splendour which at once attracted and repelled; the foundation and external veil where glory resided; the pavement only, not the canopy; the habitation merely, not the unseen and unapproachable inhabitant. It is here added to the description of him who sat upon the throne, that there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. Now, brethren, before we can enter more minutely upon a consideration of this passage, there is one general remark you will do well to take along with you, and which is applicable not only to the text, but to all the delineations of the heavenly state you meet with in the book of Revelation, and it is this-viz., that it is not necessary, nay, in many cases it is impossible to suppose, that in these representations, real material appearances are intended as actually existing in the world of spirits. No; all that is meant is, that these metaphorical emblems do represent, though in a figurative manner, things that truly exist: as types of things in the heavens, they are intended to aid our conceptions of spiritual objects in a spiritual world. The scenes, indeed, passed only before the mind's eye of the gifted seer; but, be it never forgotten that, however the case may be with the devout imaginings of uninspired men, every inspired figure involves å real fact; every spiritual hieroglyphic has a solid and weighty meaning—every shadow of revelation has a corresponding substanceevery allusive material picture has a true, a special, an unseen original. This observation will be found to hold especially good of the representations the Bible gives of what may be called the personality of the Deity. As to his essence, no one has ever seen God, - indeed, all our knowledge of him is at the best comparative, or drawn from analogy, that is to say, we conceive of him, and must conceive of him, according to ideas drawn from worldly, human, finite things; and, when we endeavour to form any conceptions of his personality, we are reminded of the fact, that any personal manifestation which he has ever made of himself
, has necessarily been symbolical or figurative, even when he appeared in a human or angelic form. Indeed, between his appearances, human and angelic, no real distinction can well be drawn, for what were angelic appearances of the Deity but appearances under some visible human-like form, only more bright and pure than that of dull mortality?
I have made these remarks with a view to guard you against misconception of our meaning, on the one hand ; and, on the other hand, to vindicate the selection of a subject of discourse like that now before us, one which some might be ready to condemn as forced and fanciful, whereas it is not, in point of fact, in the least more fanciful than many other representations of the Supreme Being which are in daily use, and which, if you more closely consider them, will all be found to be the language of comparison or analogy, or of some figure or symbol.
Let us, then, with that holy awe which becomes so sacred a mystery, contemplate—I. What the prophet