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TflE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST WORTHY OF ADMIRATION AND GRATITUDE.
Rev. v. IT, 12.—And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne^ and the bea/lf% and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; faying, -with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and •wisdom, and strengths and honour, and glory, and blessing.
THESE words contain a song of praise, in honour of the Saviour os mankind, which John, the beloved apostle, heard sung; by the angeU and saints in glory. The occasion of their joining in this song, we are told in the 6th and 7th verses of this chapter, was Christ's undertaking to open the book of the divine counsels, concerning the more remarkable events that were to happen to the Christian church through all the succeeding periods of time. "And "I beheld," says the apostle, " and lo, in the midst "of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the "midst of the elders, stood « Lamb, as if it had been "flain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which "are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the "earth." And he came and took the -book out of
the right hand os him that sat upon the throne, namely, that he might disclose and execute the .divine purposes contained in it, for the protection and benesit of his church. And no sooner had he done so, than the apostle heard both the church triumphant and militant, unite in sacred harmony to his praise. They sung a new song, saying, " Thou art worthy to take V 'the book, and to open the seals thereof \ for thou '* wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy "blood, out -of every kindred, and tongue, and peo"pie, and nation; and hast made us unto our God "kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth." In the two following Verses, this sublime anthem os praise, thus begun by the church, is carried on by the angels, who cheersully concur with the redeemed os she Lord, in celebrating the infinite worth and excellency-os the Lamb". *• And I beheld, and I heard "the voice of many angels round about the throne, "and the beasts, and the elders; and the number os i* them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and ** thousands of thousands; saying, with a loud voice, K Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receire ** power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and "honour, and glory, and blessing." , . It is pleasant to observe here, who they are that joined together in this sublime and devout ascription os praise to our Redeemer. They are the angels, the four beasts, •and the four and twenty elders. The angels, those glorious and blesii'd spirits, though they need no Saviour themselves, and are unalterably consirmed in a state of purity and happiness; yet they rejoice in our redemption. With what cheersulncis did they descend to bring the welcome news to cartsi' To what notes of melody are they represented as tuning their golden harps on that happy occasion! Far from being silled with envy, in consequence of the high savour which we were to receive, they tookp"l in the joy which they communicated, and praiW God, sayingj ** Glory to God in the highest, and o:l "earth peace, and goed will towards men-"
what readiness and alacrity did they minister to our Saviour, while he was employed in our redemption? And when, at last, the scene of his humiliation and suffering was terminated; when all that part of his work which was to be tranfacted on earth, was sinished: With what transports of joy did they attend him, in his glorious ascension to his Father, and our Father, to his God and our God! And here, in the text, they are represented as joining with the church, in celebrating the praises of our Redeemer; and in the following verse, with the rest of the creation, in ascribing blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.
What returns, then, of love and gratitude, do we owe to the blessed 'angels! How should we rejoice in their happiness, and do what lies in our.power to promote it! It is true, indeed, we have no opportunity of testifying our regard to them by outward acts; but there is one way whereby every foul in this assembly may be instrumental in advancing, in fome degree, even the happiness of the angels. You, who are unconverted, and yet in your sins, may do it, if, through the influence of divine grace, you pay such regard to the truths of the-'gospel, as shall issue: in a sincere repentance, and faving conversion to God: for our blessed Saviour expressly assures us, that there is joy in heaven over every sinner that r&pfcnteth ; and of this joy the angels do undoubtedly Dartafee. And you who are sincere believers, will increase' the joy of angels, by your increasing arclour and delight in the knowledge of Christ, and by your growing zeal and diligence in the practice of your duty.
a. The four beasts, or, as it had been better translated, the four living beings or intelligences, and the four and twenty elders, are here represented, in conjunction with the angels, as ascribing insinite merit and worthiness to our Redeemer.
Some interpreters think, that, by the four living creatures, and the four and twenty elders, are meant the heavenly world, the brightest and most excellent of created being6, and the glorisied spirits of just men made persect, who are as the angels, and join with them in their exalted worship. But the general, and indeed most probable opinion, is, that' by these expressions, we are to understand the whole church of the redeemed, both ministers and people, in the days of the gospel; fo that, we ourselves are a sew of that happy number, if we are indeed of those that worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus. By the four living creatures, then, we may understand, the holy, enlightened, and faithsul ministers of Christ, the pastors and teachers he has given to the church. And by the four and twenty elders, the •whole body of private -Christians, and devout worshippers of God, through the one Mediator, in all the assemblies of the faints. In the fourth verse of the preceding chapter, they are faid to be round about the throne; for fo are all that worship God in spirit and in truth. They are clothed in white, which 5s emblematical of their purity and holiness. And they have crowns on their heads, for they are heirs of the kingdom, and are to reign with Christ.^
This, then, is an eafy and familiar explanation of the four living creatures, and twenty four elders. They are all, as in the foregoing verses, the redeemed to God, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and are made to him kings and priests. In the text, they are faid to be an innumerable multitude; ten thoufand times ten thoufand, and thoufands of thoufands; and there is the voice of many angels joining with them, faying, "Worthy "is the Lamb that was flain, to receive power, and ** riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and '* glory, and blessing."
In discoursing on this subject, I propose, by divine
affiftance, assistance, First, To consider the subject of this fong j the Lamb flain. Secondly, The propriety and sitnessof it as applied to Christ our Redeemer. And, Lnjlly, Conclude, by leading your thoughts to fome practical improvement.
The subject of this fong, is the Lamb flain; that is, Christ crucisied, the Lord pf glory making his foul an offering for sin. And,
1. The sirst thougnt which must occur to us on * subject of this kind, is the manner in which he submitted to death. He died meekly, as a lamb dies. This was clearly foretold by the prophet Ifaiah: " He "is brought as a lamb to the flaughter; and as a. "sheep before her shearers' is dumb, fo, he opened "not his mouth (a)." Not that he was altogether silent during the last scene of his sufferings; for he uttered many excellent and usesul fayings: but he opened not his mouth in repining at the dispenfations of Providence j no threatening nor revenge; nay, not one word, expressive of resentment or impatience, escaped his facred lips. We may observe, by the way* that the eunuch, in the Acts of the apostles, was directed to this very passage of scripture, as a means of his conversion: and Philip, under divine inspiration, began at the fame scripture, ami preached unto him Jesus Christ. In a word, our Saviour expressed* under all his sufferings, a persectly quiet, mild, and forgiving sphit. 14 He bowtd his head," fays the evangelist, '* and gave up the ghost." Thus, he expired in the spirit of meekness, and was, in this respect, the Lamb flain.
2. He was fo, alfo, in. the end and design of his> death. For he died as a facrisice, to appease the ofsended Deity, and purchase our peace with God.
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