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peace, and stability of the church; and this will inspire us with contempt of the world. For what is ihe world and all the glory thereof, compared with Zion, “ the city of our solemnities ?"! Our worship is serious : they are fools, who never raise their thoughts above the ground they tread on ; they sport now, but their laughter will be turned into sorrow, and their pleasure into the bitterest pain. All around them is serious, but they are without consideration, and consequently without hope. We have“ a quiet habitation;" but“ There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” The church of God is secure; they are exposed to every evil in this world, and in that which is to come. Looking upon Zion, too, will direct our attention to its great Original. It will teach us to ask, Who formed all this? And thus from Zion our thoughts will pass to Zion's God, and our meditation upon him shall be sweet, yea, we will be glad in the Lord. Looking upon Zion will show us God's chief work ; for here he is seen, and here he is great in Israel; so that we shall be led to rest in him, whose workmanship we are.
I have already anticipated the idea, that looking upon Zion will also fill us with desire to be inclosed within its walls. For who can look upon it without suing for a residence in it, if the saints are so quiet from fear of evil, and so secure, notwithstanding the number, power, and situation of their enemies ? A child of God, must be a name better than that of sons or daughters: who can survey it without saying, Lord, bring me, keep me there?
And, finally, looking upon Zion will tend to strengthen our confidence and faith. For we shall say, If God has already defended his church so
long, he will continue to do so ; will be "a wall of fire round about it, and the glory in the midst of it ;" yea, will raise the members of the church militant to the glories of the church triumphant. 0, then, turn away your eyes from beholding vanity," and " look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of whose stakes shall ever be removed, not one of whose cords shall ever be broken."
CHRIST THE ANGEL WHO GUIDES HIS CHURCH.
PREACHED SEPTEMBEB 10, 1809.
“ Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way,
and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.”
EXODUS XXIII. 20.
Ar the period when these words were spoken, the children of Israel were about to leave Sinai, and proceed on their journey towards the land of Canaan. The Sovereign, Judge, and Lawgiver of his saints, had already given them plain directions for the regulation of their conduct, and now encourages them by a promise of the care of infinite love, and by an assurance that he would commission an angel to go before them, to keep them in the way, and to bring them to the place which he had prepared.
And who was this angel ? certainly not a created one : true indeed it is, that the whole host of angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation ;" and that it is their perpetual employment and delight to guard the saints of God from danger, or to “ bear them up in their hands, lest at any time they dash their feet against a stone." It is most evi. dent, that the sons of God, the children of the light, those who are Abraham's seed, and heirs accord
ing to the promise, are the objects of their peculiar charge ; yea, the angels of God are powerful guardians, to whose care we are partly committed during the time of our minority, previous to our possession of our heavenly inheritance. Yet it is not one of these who is referred to in our text, because this great and mighty Messenger from heaven possesses more honors than they can claim, and is invested with authority and power which they could never hold. This Angel has God's name in him ; this Angel can forgive sins, for the next verse to my text says, “ Provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions.” This Angel was ever to be present with them, and to conduct them safely to the land of Canaan, a land Aowing with milk and honey.See, then, his superiority to those who, notwithstanding the powers they possess, are but the creatures of God. You ask, Who is this Angel? It must be evident that he is a
if it were only from this consideration,-that he pardons transgressions ; for, as the Jews justly asked, “Who can forgive sins but God ?” But surely you have frequently heard and read of the Angel of the covenant; and you remember Him that dwelt in the bush. It is far more than probable, that this Angel, then, is no Jess a person than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is that Angel of whom dying Jacob testified, that he had redeemed him from all evil, and whose presence and blessing he wished ever to accompany the lads, upon whose heads he laid his hands. We know that he attended the children of Israel, for “the Angel of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” It is the same that wrestled
with Jacob; that kept the burning bush unconsumed; that did wonders before Manoah and his wife; that struck the admiring eyes of Daniel ; and that explained the mystery of the vision to Zechariah : and so here he engages to keep God's chosen ones in their way, and 10 bring them to the place which he had prepared.
The glories of the Saviour are the same in every age; he being subject to no change, but subsisting,
the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Every thing that may be of use to lead us to his glory and excellence, should be the subject of our contemplation and delight; nor should we refuse to take any view of him, which the Bible warrants, or commands : wherefore, let us turn our attention to him as the Angel of the Lord.
He still performs for his church what he accomplished for Israel ; for the Lord has given him for “a Leader and Commander to the people ;” yea, he is
our God forever and ever, and our Guide even unto death :" so that we may safely view him as conducting his chosen tribes through duties, dangers, and trials, . till they all appear before him in Zion. Let us, then, first view the Lord Jesus under the representation of an Angel ; and secondly, contemplate that office mentioned in our text, for the discharge of which he is so eminently qualified.
We will endeavor,
I. To view the Lord Jesus Christ under the representation of an Angel.
Behold,” says God, to those who have turned their backs upon the world, and go in quest of a happier state,“ Behold, I send an Angel before thee." We would observe here, that it is utterly impossible fully to represent his excellence, either