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Mary; they fed Christ in the desart, they attended him in his agony and at his resurrection, and accompanied him at his ascension ; they were concerned to look into these things in time, that were to be remembered to all eternity; and into that performance on earth, that was to be the matter of the eternal halelujahs in heaven.

It should not therefore hinder our esteem of this great work, that the great men on earth took no notice of it. They were but mean, blind, ignorant, vulgar, compared to these powers and thrones just now mentioned, who beheld it with veneration. It is no disparagement to an excellent performance, that it is not admired by ignorant persons who do not understand it.

The principalities in heaven understood, and therefore admired; nor were the principalities and powers of darkness wholly ignorant of it. Their example should not be a pattern to us; but, what they beheld with anguish, we should behold with transport. Their plot was to make the earth, if possible, a province of hell. They had heard of that glorious counlerplot; they were alarmed at the harbingers of it; they looked on, and saw their plot step by step defeated, atid the projects of eternal mercy going on. All the universe therefore were interested onlookers at this blessed undertaking. Heaven looked on with joy, and hell with terror, to observe the event of an enterprize that was contrived from everlasting, expected since the fall of man, and that was to be celebrated to all eternity.

Thus we have before us several things that shew the glory of the performance in view : the design, of universal importance; the preparation, incomparably solemn; a company of the most honourable atten. tive spectators. As to the performance itself, it is plain it is not a subject for the tongues of men. The tongues of men are not for a subject above the thoughts of angels; they are but desiring to look into it, they have not seen fully through it; that is the

work of eternity. Men may speak and write of it: but it is not so proper to describe it, as to tell that it cannot be described. We may write about it; but if all its glory were described, the world would not contain its books, John xxi. 25. We may speak of it; but the most we can say about it, is to say that it is unspeakable; and the most that we know is that it passes knowledge. It is he that performed this work, that can truly declare it. It is he who con. trived, that can describe it. It is he who knows it. None knows the Father but the Son, or he to whom he shall reveal him. It is from him we should seek this knowledge, Eph. i. 17. ; what of it is to be had here, is but in part, 1 Cor. xiii. 9. but it leads us to the place where it will be perfect. Here we think as children, we speak as children. Yet we are not therefore to neglect thinking or speaking of it. Our thoughts are useless without contemplating it, our speech useless without praising it. The rest of the history of the world, except as it relates to this, is but a history of trifles or confusions, dreams and vapours of sick-brained men. What we can know of it here, is but little : but that little, incomparably transcends all other knowledge: and all other earthly things are but loss and dung to it, Phil. iji. 8. 11. The least we can do, is, with the angels, to desire to look into these things; and we should put up these desires to him, who can satisfy them, that he may shine in our hearts, by the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, 2 Cor. iv. 6. The true object of this knowledge, is the glory of God; the means of obtaining it, is light shining from God; and as to the place into which it shines, it is into our hearts. We are therefore to desire that light from him who is light itself. But our prayers should be joined with other means ; particularly that meditation, which Paul recommends to Timothy, 1 Tim. iv. 15. We · ought to meditate on these things so as to give ourselves wholly to them. Our meditation should be as lively, and as like to seeing the object before us, as possible. But it is not by strength of imagination that the soul is profited in this case, but by having the eyes of the understanding enlightened, Eph. i. 18.

The makers and worshippers of images pretend to help us in this matter, by pictures presented to the eye of the body. But it is not the

eye

of sense or force of imagination, but the eye of faith that can give us true notions and right conceptions of this object, 2 Cor. v. 16. Men may paint Christ's outward sufferings, but not that inward excellency from whence their virtue flowed, viz. his glory in himself, and his goodness to us. Men may paint one crucified, but how can that distinguish the Saviour from the crimi. nals ? On each side of him we may paint his hands and his feet fixed to the cross ; but who can paint how these hands used always to be stretched forth for relieving the afflicted, and curing the diseased ? or how these feet went always about doing good ? and how they cure more diseases, and do more good now than ever ? We may paint the outward appearance of his sufferings, but not the inward bitternessor invisible causes of them. Men can paint the cursed tree, but not the curse of the law that made it so. Men can paint Christ bearing the cross to Calvary, but not Christ bearing the sins of many. We may describe the nails piercing his sacred flesh, but who can describe eternal justice piercing both flesh and spirit? We may describe the soldier's spear, but not the arrows of the Almighty; the cup of vinegar which he but tasted, but not the cup of wrath which he drank out to the lowest dregs ;. the derision of the Jews, but not the desertion of the Almighty forsaking his Son, that he might never forsake us who were his enemies. Those sorrows he suffered, and the benefits he

purchased, are equally beyond description. Though we describe his hands and his feet mangled and pierced, who can describe, how in one hand, as it were, he grasped multitudes of souls ready to sink into ruin,

and in the other hand an everlasting inheritance to give them; or how these bruised feet crushed the old Serpent's head, and trampled on death and hell, and sin the author of both. We may describe the blood issuing from his body, but not the waters of life streaming from the same source, oceans of spiritual and eternal blessings. We may paint how that blood covered his own body, but not how it sprinkles the souls of others, yea sprinkles many nations. We may paint the crown of thorns he wore, but not the crown of glory he purchased. Happy were it for us if our faith had as lively views of this object, as our imaginations ofttimes have of incomparably less inportant objects; then would the pale face of our Sa. viour shew more powerful attractives than all the brightest objects in nature besides. Notwithstanding of the gloomy aspect of death, it would discover such transcendent majesty as would make all the glory in the world lose its relish with us. We would see then indeed the awful frowns of justice, but these frowns are not at us, but at our enemies, our murderers, that is, our sins. The cross shews Christ's pitying his own murderers, but shews no pity to our murderers. Therefore we may see the majesty of eternal justice tempered with the mildness of infinite compassionInfinite pity is an object worth looking to, especially by creatures in distress and danger. There death doth appear in state, as the executioner of the law ; but there he appears also deprived of his sting with regard to us. There we may hear also the sweetest melody in the world to the awakened sinner ; that peace-speaking blood, that speaks better things than that of Abel ; the sweetest and loudest voice in the world, louder than the thunder on Sinai : its voice reacheth heaven and earth, pleading with God, in behalf of men, and beseeching men to be reconciled to God ; speaking the most comfortable and the most seasonable things in the world, to objects in distress and danger, that is, salvation and deliver. Of the various views we can take of this blessed work, this is the most suitable, to consider it as the most glorious deliverance that ever was or will be. Other remarkable deliverances of God's people are considered as shadows and figures of this. Moses, Joshua, David and Zerubabel, were types of this great Joshua ; according to his name, so is he Jesus a Deliverer. The number of the persons delivered, shews the glory of this deliverance to be unparalleled; it was but one single nation that Moses delivered, though indeed it was a glorious deliverance, relieving sixty thousand at once, and a great deal more; but this was incomparably more extensive. The apostle John calls the multitude of the redeemed, a multitude that no man could number, (Rev. vii. 9) of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues. The unparalleled glory of this deliverance appears not only in the number of the delivered, but also in the nature of the deliverance.. It was not mens' bodies only that it delivered, but immortal souls, more valu. able than the world, Matt. xvi. 26. It was not from such a bondage as that of Egypt, but one as far beyond it, as eternal misery is worse than temporal bodily toil; so that nothing can equal the wretched ness of the state from which they are delivered, but the blessedness of that to which they are brought.

ance.

But here we should not forget the opposition made against this deliverance. It was the greatest that can withstand any good design. The apostle (Eph. vi. 12.) teaches to consider the opposition of tlesh and blood, as far inferior to that of principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places. The devil is called the god of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 4. and himself and his angels, the rulers of the darkness of this world, Eph. vi. 12. They had obtained a dominion over the world, (excepting that small corner Judea), for many ages, by the consent of the inhabitants. They found them not only pliable, but fond of their chains, and in love with their bondage. But they had heard of this intended enter

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