Page images

tions to one another, is no better than gazing at the sky. Let us therefore, in the ordinance before us, draw near to Christ with true hearts in the full assurance of faith, keep the feast with fincerity and truth, eat and drink together with brotherly love, and walk worthy of him, who has called us to his kingdom and glory.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

And there was a Rainbow round about the Throne, in sight like unto an



is a spirit pure and immenfe, invifible to human eye, and incomprehensible to human thought. But he condescends to exhibit himself to us by such figurative expressions and fensible emblems, as may give us fome faint apprehensions of his perfections and glories, and awaken in us such sentiments and regards, as are correspondent to his character. To denote his knowledge, wisdom, power and goodness, the fcripture afcribes to him human faculties and af. fections. To denote his sovereign dominion, it represents him as seated on a throne, and there attended by his ministers of state. To denote the glory of his dominion, it describes this throne as placed in the heavens, and encompassed with a

rainbow. John says, “I was in the spirit ; and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one fat upon the throne. And he that fat upon it was to look upon like a jasper, and a fardine stone, and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in fight like unto an emerald.” In these names there is an allusion to the precious stones, which the eastern princes wore in their crowns and garments, when they appeared in their highest gran. deur and magnificence. The rainbow about the throne is an allusion to the token of God's cová enant with Noah, and with all flesh, that the world should not be drowned by a second del. uge. After the patriarch's deliverance from the flood, God said to him and to his fons, “ I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall there be any more a flood to destroy the earth. And this shall be a token of my covenant, I do fet my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of my covenant between me and the earth; and it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember my covenant.” John, in a vision, fees the throne of God surrounded with the rainbow, the ancient token of his mercy to a guilty world. This figurative representation denotes, that God's government is still a government of grace and mercy, as well as of majesty and power:

The emblem here exhibited may usefully employ our present meditations.

1. God's being feated on a throne in the heavens denotes his supreme and universal government over his creatures, and his perfect knowledge of all things, which are done by them, or take place

among them.

“ The Lord is in the heavens, he hath done

whatsoever he pleased. The Lord is in his holy temple, his throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, and his eyelids try the children of men. The Lord trieth the righteous, but the wicked his soul hateth. On the wicked he will rain an horrible tempeft, but his countenance beholdeth the


As God made the world, and all creatures in it, so he continually upholds them by the word of his power. A creature can no more preserve, than it could originate its own existence. God's government is universal ; for every particular being is as dependent on him, as the creation in


His government extends to moral, as well as to animate and inanimate creatures. He treats all beings agreeably to the natures, which he has given them. He has made men capable of a moral conduct, and he exercises over them a moral government, and will finally judge them, as mor. al beings, according to their works. Innocent beings, that they may be entitled to his acceptance, must persevere in their innocence. Such was originally the character of man. made upright.” Such was originally the condition of his acceptance. “ If he obeyed God's law, he was to live by it."

But for fallen and guilty man, there is gra. ciously introduced a new constitution adapted to his lapsed and impotent condition. Pardon, immortality and glory, through the intervention of a mediator, are procured for, and offered to this guilty creature. The terms on which he becomes entitled to these blessings, are repentance of past fins, faith in the appointed redeemer, and a life devoted to God in new obedience. We are to be judged according to this conftitution.

66 He was

66 God

will judge the secrets of men according to the gospel-according to the law of liberty.” Not perfect innocence and finless obedience, but fincere repentance and heart-purifying faith are now the terms of our admiffion to God's eternal fa

[ocr errors]

God, who fits on his throne, knows the hearts of all men, and he will bring every work into judgment with every secret thing. To them who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, he will render eternal life. To them who obey not the truth, he will recompense indignation and wrath.

The moral government of God is just and perfect. Whatever complaints men may now make against it, the time is coming when every mouth will be stopped. God will reveal his righteousness to the full fatisfaction of the saints, and to the utter confusion of the ungodly. The former will admire his wisdom and grace; the latter will be silenced under a conviction of his holiness and justice.

2. John, in his vision, had a view of the glory of God's character, exhibited in the rainbow, which surrounds his throne.

The rainbow, which is one of the most beauti, ful and majestic phenomena in the heavens, is aptly chosen to represent the glory of God. The beauty of the rainbow is the assemblage of all the colours in nature, in a soft, but splendid lustre. The glory of God is the union of all conceivable perfections in one character ; such as power, wisdom, goodness, justice, truth and faithfulness. These perfections, like the colours in the bow, blend and mingle with one another. We consider

the perfections of God separately, for our narrow minds cannot view them compre

« PreviousContinue »