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and contempt, combined to give his sufferings every possible aggravation. And, after he was slain, very few laid it to heart.. The world went on as it did before, as though nothing extraordinary had happened. But on this dark ground, the perfections of God were displayed in their fullest lustre ; and they are the perfections of the great Redeemer, and therefore distinctly ascribed to him by the angels in the words which follow- Power, and wisdom, and riches, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.'
Though each of these words have a distinct sense, a nicety in defining them, and stating their precise meaning, is of less importance than to feel the combined efficacy of them all, to impress our hearts with sentiments of reverence, confidence, and love. The fulness of expression may teach us, that every kind of excellence is the indubitable right and possession of the Lamb that was slain. He is worthy to have them all attributed to him in the most absolute sense, and consequently worthy of our adoration, dependence, and praise.
1. 'Power.' It is spoken once, yea twice we have heard the same, that power belongeth unto God ** It belongeth to him eminently and exclusively. All the power of creatures is derived from him. Such is the power of the Lamb. He styles himself warroxpawg,t the Omnipotent, the Upholder and Possessor of all things. He exerciseth this power in the human nature. He doeth what he pleaseth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ?' He has, therefore, all-sufficiency, and uncontrollable authority, for the discharge of his office, as the Mediator and Head of his church. The divine perfections, being infinite, are not distinct in themselves, though the Scripture, in condescension to our weakness, authorises us to speak of them as distinguishable. God is one. And the 'power' which can preserve and govern the world, involves in the idea of it every other excellence which are separately mentioned in this passage.
2. Wisdom.' He is the only wise God, and our Saviour.' His knowledge is perfect, his plan is perfect. In himself he is essentially the wisdom of God, T and he is our wisdom.** It is life eternal to know the only true God,'++ and therefore it is life eternal to know Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.' For he is the only way, and the only door, to this knowledge; no one can come unto God, or attain to any just conceptions of him, but in and by the Son of his love, who so perfectly represents God to
*Psalm lxii. 11. † Rev. i. 8, 11. Jude, 25. Prov. viii. 22.
+ Matth. xxviij. 18. ** 1 Cor. i. 30.
Dan. iv. 35. John, 2. xvii. 8.
us, is so completely the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, that whoso hath seen him, hath seen the Father. By him is opened to us the unsearchable wisdom of the divine counsels, particularly in the great work of redemption. No one hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed him.'† It is by wisdom communicated from him, that his people are made wise unto salvation. Though there are few scholars and philosophers among them, and many of them are despised for their ignorance and weakness, yet, in truth, they have all a good understanding, for they know the Lord and his will; they know wherein their proper happiness consists, and how it is to be obtained. They are instructed how to walk and to please God, how to bear afflictions with patience, and to meet death with compoThis wisdom is far superior to that of the schools. But He bestows and maintains it. The eyes of their mind are opened, and they see by his light; but they have no light of their own, or in themselves. They wait upon him for direction in every difficulty, for the solution of every hard question which perplexes their spirits; and he makes the crooked straight, teaches them to avoid the snares that are laid for them, or extricates them when entangled. Therefore in time, and to eternity, they will admire and adore his wisdom.
3. Riches.' All the stores of mercy, grace, and comfort are in him, as light in the sun, or water in the ocean. The apostle, speaking of the unsearchable riches of Christ,' gives us the idea of a mine, the height, length, depth, and breadth of which cannot be investigated, nor the immense wealth it contains exhausted. Of this fulness the poor are invited to receive freely, and multitudes, from age to age, have been enriched, and the treasure is still undiminished. None are sent away empty; and when all have been supplied, it will be full as at first.
4. Strength that energy and efficacy of his power, by which he accomplishes his holy purposes. Who can conceive of this? How just is the Psalmist's reasoning, He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?' So we may say, How strong is he from whom all created strength is derived, and before whom the strength of all creatures, if collected into one effort, would be as chaff before the whirlwind! The Lord of all power and might speaks, and it is done; he commandeth, and it standeth fast. Though the waves of the stormy sea toss themselves, they cannot prevail ; he checks
them in the height of their rage, setting bounds to their violence which they cannot pass, saying, 'Hitherto shalt thou come and no further, and here shall thy proud billows be stayed.'* With equal sovereignty, certainty, and ease, he rules over moral agents. He formed the heart of man, and he can fill it with terror or with comfort in a moment, in any asignable circumstances. He can make it happy in a dungeon,† or impress it with dismay and despair upon a throne. All hearts are thus incessantly under his influence. And the hedge of his promise and protection surrounds those who trust in him, as with mountains and walls of brass and fire, impenetrable to the assaults of the powers of darkness, unless so far as he, for wise and holy ends, is pleased to give permission. With the arm of his strength he upholdeth them that are falling, raiseth up them that are bowed down ;'§ and is, in one and the same instant, a present and immediate help in trouble to all who call upon him. Therefore those that abide under his shadow are safe; they pass unhurt though floods and flames, because their Redeemer is strong. And when, in defiance of all their enemies, he has brought them together in his heavenly kingdom, they will, with one consent, ascribe unto the Lord glory and strength.
5. Honour.' He is the fountain of it. All the honour of his creatures, and of his people, is from him; as the sun beautifies and gilds the objects he shines upon, which, without him, are opaque and obscure. Because his people are precious in his sight, they are honourable. He clothes them with the garments of salvation, covers them with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.' But who can speak of his own inherent honour, as God-man and Mediator! We must wait till we see him without a cloud or vail, receiving the homage and adoration of angels and men. For as yet the one half cannot be told us ! Then, however, it will be universally known, that he who possesses the fulness of wisdom and power, riches and strenght, is worthy to receive all honour. Ah! how different will he then appear from that humble form he once assumed, when, for our sakes, he was a man of sorrows, despised, rejected, and nailed to the ignominious cross.
6. Glory.' The manifestation of God, that by which he is known and magnified, in the view of finite intelligences; the result, the combined effulgence of his holiness, grace, wisdom, truth, and love this is his glory, and this glory is revealed and
* Job, xxxviii. 10, 11. † Acts, xvi. 25. + Dan. v. 5. 6. Psalm cxlv. 14. Psalm xlvi. 1.
Isa. Ixi. 10.
displayed in Christ. He is glorious in his works of creation and providence, but these do not fully exhibit his character. But in the Lamb upon the throne his glory shines, full orbed. And all in heaven, and all in earth, who behold it, take up 'the song of Moses and the Lamb,'' Who is like unto thee, O Lord? who is like unto thee? glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders! Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints !'*
7. Blessing.' He is the author of all blessings, of all the happiness and good which his people receive, and he is the deserved object of their universal praise. The different senses in which we use the word blessing,' taken together, may express that intercourse or communion which is between the head and the mystical members of his body. He blesses them effectually with the light of his countenance, with liberty, grace, and peace. He blesses them daily. His mercies are renewed to them every morning. He will bless them eternally. Blessed are the people who have this Lord for their God.' They can make him no suitable returns, yet in their way they bless him. They admire, adore, and praise him. They call upon all the powers of their souls to bless him. They proclaim his goodness, and that he is worthy to receive the ascription of power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. In proportion to their attainments in this delightful exercise of worship, love and gratitude, they enjoy a heaven upon earth; and to stand before him continually, to behold his glory, to live under the unclouded beams of his favour, and to be able to bless and praise him as they ought, without weariness, abatement, interruption, or end, is what they mean when they speak of the heaven they hope for hereafter. Such is the blessedness of those who have already died in the Lord. They see his face, they drink of the rivers of pleasure which are at his right hand, they cast down their crowns before him, and say, Thou art worthy. Let us not be slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience,'t have finished their course, and are entered into the joy of their Lord.
Of all this glory and honour the Scripture declares the Lamb that was slain to be worthy. Wisdom, riches, and strength, are his. His power is infinite, his authority supreme. He is the author and giver of all good. He has life in himself, and he is the life of all that live; the Lord and Head of the church, and of the universe. Can language express, or can heart conceive, a higher ascription and acknowledgment than this? Can all this be due to a creature, to one of a derived and dependent character?
Then surely the Scripture would have a direct tendency to promote idolatry. Far be the thought from us! The Scripture teaches us the knowledge of the true God, and the worship due to him. Therefore MESSIAH, the Lamb that was slain, is the true God, the proper and immediate object of the worship of angels and of men.
Let us, therefore, take up a lamentation for those who slight the glorious Redeemer, and refuse him the honours due to his name. Their mistake should excite, not our anger or scorn, but our pity and prayers. Are there any such amongst us? Alas, my fellow-sinners, you know not what you do! Alas, you know him not, nor do you know yourselves! I am well aware that a thousand arguments of mine will not persuade you; but I can simply tell you what would soon make you at least desirous of adopting our sentiments upon this subject. If he who has that power over the heart which I have been speaking of, was pleased to give you this moment a sense of the holiness and authority of God, and of your conduct towards him as his creatures, your strongest objections to the high honours we attribute to the Saviour would this moment fall to the ground; and you would be immediately convinced, that either Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life, or that you must perish. You would no longer expect mercy; but in a way perfectly consonant with the righteousness and truth of God, declared in his word, and with the honour and purity of his moral government. This would lead you to perceive the necessity of an atonement, and the insufficiency of any atonement but that which the Lamb of God has made by the sacrifice of himself;* and that the efficacy even of his mediation depends upon his divine character. The Scriptural doctrines of the depravity of man, the malignity of sin, the eternal power and Godhead of the Saviour, the necessity and efficacy of his mediation, and the inevitable, extreme, and endless misery of those who finally reject him, are so closely connected, that if the first be rightly understood, it will open the mind to the reception of the rest. But, till the first be known and felt, the importance and certainty of the others will be suspected if not openly denied.
Though the doctrines I have enumerated are, in these sceptical days, too generally disputed and contradicted, I am fully confident that it is impossible to demonstrate them to be false. Upon the lowest supposition, therefore, they possibly may be true; and the consequences depending upon them, if they should be found true at last, are so vastly momentous, that even the peradventure, the possibility of their truth, render them deserving of your most
*Heb. ix. 26.