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The magicians of Egypt performed wonders, but they served only to harden the heart against God. Balaam was a true prophet, but "he loved the wages of unrighteousness;" he knew and approved the better course, but he deliberately persevered in the worse. Simon had the art of bewitching the people of Samaria with sorceries; "to him they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, this man is the great power of God." "He himself believed also, and was baptized," but his "heart was not right in the sight of God;" he was still "in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity." "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Where God has bestowed much, he will expect much, and in proportion to the number and value of the gifts received is the account that must be given. Who was equally honoured with the apostle of the Gentiles, by extraordinary communications from Heaven? but it is not expedient for me," says he" to glory :" "of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities." In what then does a Paul, in what does every believer chiefly rejoice and glory? In the composing reflection, "my name is written in the book of life." "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Compared to this, what a poor trifle it is for a man to know that his name is in an opu
lent testator's will for a splendid bequest, were it even the reversion of a kingdom? This is that "peace of God which passeth all understanding, which shall keep the heart and mind through Christ Jesus," and which the world can neither give nor take away.
This is" the hour," the eventful hour when "Jesus rejoiced in spirit:" the hour when the great sovereign of the universe was subjecting spiritual wickednesses to human agents, and perfecting praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings; when all the glories of the kingdom of heaven unveiled themselves to his view, and the nations of the earth hastened into it. The scenes of sorrow and suffering which must intervene, are absorbed in contemplating the blessed effects which they were to produce. "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." Here we behold our great pattern setting us the example of referring every thing to God, as the first cause and the last end of all; who acts by his own uncontrollable, inexplicable, supremacy, and with a view to his own glory. But we are not to understand our Lord as giving thanks that "the wise and prudent" were kept in a state of ignorance respecting the things of God, but that while they were so, while they remained under the power of wilful blindness, it had graciously pleased God to manifest these things to the comparatively simple and illiterate. We have a similar mode of expression, and which falls under the same mode of interpretation, in the epistle to the Romans, vi. 17, where the apostle says: "But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin ;" meaning obviously, "that although, that whereas you were the servants of sin, ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" So here, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of
heaven and earth, that while the wise in their own conceits, and the prudent in the estimation of the world, neglect and despise the things which belong to their peace, their all-importance is discerned, felt, prized and improved by persons, lowly in their own sight, contemptible in the eyes of men, but estimable in the eyes of Him who "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
Jesus ascribes to the Father universality of dominion, under the title of "Lord of heaven and earth :" and he resolves all creatures and all events into divine sovereignty: "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." "He giveth not account of any of his "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" That which is good in the eyes of man is frequently a sore evil; but that which is good in the sight of God must be good in itself; and when Deity shall have executed the whole plan of his providence, the myriads of his saints and angels shall with one voice proclaim "all is good:" "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb for ever and ever."
Having made this ascription of universal power, authority and property to the Father, he represents himself as invested in an equal extent of dominion, as sole and sovereign administrator of the world which he made, which he upholds, and which he came to redeem. "All things are delivered to me of my Father." God is "Lord of heaven and earth." Now these two words imply all space, with all the beings which inhabit the worlds "visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers. "" To the utmost extent of the words, therefore, and of their import, the sovereignty of God Redeemer extends, and it is asserted and ascribed neither in a single passage, nor in doubtful terms. All power," says he in another
place" is given unto me in heaven and in earth :" "authority to execute judgment also ;" "power "The Father over all flesh, to give eternal life." raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father." Now this is either mere pretension, unfounded as that of the devil over "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them," or it is a claim of right: and who but God can support such a claim? Who but God can possess and exercise the power of quickening the dead, of executing judgment upon all, not only according to their works, but according to their most secret thoughts, and of bestowing eternal life? Is a creature, a mere man like ourselves, to be entrusted with, is he capable of managing such an empire? No; Where all power, then, is lodged, there is Deity; "in that he puts all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him." Behold, christian, and rejoice in spirits the powers of darkness prostrate under the feet of the Prince of Peace: He "maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire," and "are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ?" Behold the heathen given him for his inheritance, and the ut termost parts of the earth for a possession; "He must reign, until he hath put all enemies under his feet." We, my beloved brethren, are part of the all things which are delivered by the Father unto the Son; and the precious deposit is securely placed: Thine they were, and thou gavest them me those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is "lost:" and you are going this day solemnly to deliver up yourselves to him, to be taught by his spirit, to be governed by his laws, to be protected by his arm, to be supplied by the providential care therefore
"ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's,"
It is added, "and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him." That is, the nature, the excellency, and dignity of the godhead can be known only by Deity. God is infinite in all his perfections, but in contemplating infinity all created understanding is lost. This reciprocal knowledge of the Father and the Son is itself a mystery inscrutable, for it presents at once plurality and unity; which human reason sinks under. "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." If man has been enabled to form any right notion of God, he is indebted for it to the revelation of Jesus Christ theSon of God. That revelation has unfolded God's purpose and grace, before the world began. That revelation has explained the history of Providence through ages and generations past. That revelation has disclosed an eternal duration to come, for unfolding, in endless succession, the inexhaustible treasure of the knowledge of "the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent." Every past, every present, every future discovery of the divine counsels, and of their execution, is the operation of the great light of the world; "for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, bath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
If such were the honour and the power conferred on the twelve, and on the seventy simple Galileans; if through the grace of Christ they not only exceed the attainments of science, and the operations of art, but excercise authority over the devil and his angels, then what may not man become? What bounds shall be set to the progress of an immortal being, "the new man,