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while that memorable event of it, which is sufferings of Christ," and the glory that prethe subject of this evening's reading, re- ceded and followed. O what an exalted, mains unconsidered; and, as the evangelic what a generous spirit does true religion page has exhibited him to us alive from the breathe and inspire! It makes angels "midead, let us devoutly attend to the reason nistering spirits to them who are the heirs of and end of this glorious apparition. It na- salvation;" it brings departed saints back to turally suggests to us the following reflec- earth again; it converts Tabor into Heaven, tions:
and determines the choice of an apostle, I. That Jehovah is, with undeviating, un- when in a strait betwixt two, and to prefer diverted, undivided attention, carrying on the abiding in the flesh, because more needful great plan of his providence, to full maturi- to his fellow-creatures, to the selfish joy, ty, by every order of beings, in every possi- though far better, of departing and being ble state: by those who cheerfully enter with Christ. But Moses, and Elias, and into his views, and joyfully submit to his Paul were themselves men, bone of our bone, will; and by those who carelessly neglect and flesh of our flesh, were instructed by or proudly oppose it. We have seen him sympathy to commiserate, and prompted by serving himself of this Moses in the court affection to relieve, human wretchedness. of Pharaoh, in the pastures of Midian, in Behold an infinitely greater miracle of genethe wilderness of Sinai; as a prophet, as a rous, disinterested love; “God so loved the legislator, as an historian. And, to fit him world, that he gave his only begotten Son, for a new field of action, behold him shining that whosoever believeth in him should not in a new and glorious form. The grave seems perish, but have everlasting life."* Jesus, to have surrendered up its trust, heaven has a loved us, and washed us from our sins in yielded up one of its inhabitants, and Moses his own blood, and hath made us kings and is now admitted into a land from which he priests unto God and his father, to him was once shut out. In this world we have be glory and dominion for ever and ever. still to deplore faculties wasting, impairing, Amen."t “Verily he took not on him the extinguished; usefulness interrupted, cut nature of angels; but he took on him the off in the midst, by the stroke of death, the seed of Abraham.” I “As children are parearth impoverished by the premature depar- takers of flesh and blood, he also himself ture of wisdom and worth. The history of likewise took part of the same ; that through mankind exhibits projects blasted, schemes death, he might destroy him that had the abortive, instruments feeble and inadequate, power of death, that is, the devil; and deconcussions violent, revolutions sudden and liver them who through fear of death, were unexpected; but far different the view which all their lifetime subject to bondage." the scriptures represent of the kingdom of III. The history before us suggests, The God. In it, one generation passeth not away sweet harmony, the perfect intelligence that another may succeed, but there is an which subsist between glorified spirits. eternal accumulation of citizens, eternally Moses and Elias, as they co-operated in the increasing in wisdom, goodness, and felicity; same design, though at different periods faculties ever improving, projects advancing upon earth, much more concur in sentiment, in full certainty of success, means fitted to in exertion, now they see more clearly and their end, and the one great scheme of the comprehend more fully the intentions of a Eternal Mind proceeding in steady, uniform wise and gracious Providence. Through majesty, to its final consummation. Pleasing, ignorance, through pride, through jealousy, awful thought! “The counsel of the Lord through malice, imperfect men on earth will standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to differ, will hate and oppose each other; but in all generations."*
celestial bosoms the dark, malignant, unsocial II. We observe, from this history, The passions find no place: in them there ever benevolent interest which celestial beings prevails unity of intelligence, unity of design, take in the affairs of men. They are no un unity in operation, unity of affection. Promptconcerned spectators of what passes here ed by the same motive, aiming at the same below. They who have been raised from end, Gabriel, a multitude of the heavenly earth to heaven, have not lost all recollection host, Moses and Elias-angels single, and in of the world they have left, nor dropt all bands, announce to the world the advent of concern about their brethren in the flesh. the Saviour, celebrate his birth, witness his Moses and Elias with joy revisit an inferior transfiguration, relieve his agony, record his region, if thereby they can be instrumental death, declare his resurrection from the
in promoting the work of redemption; and dead, grace his ascent to heaven, proclaim exchange, for a season, the society of angels, his second coming. And O what must be and the delights of the paradise of God, for that harmony and joy! the harmony and joy the company of simple fishermen, and a bar- of heaven, where angels and archangels, ren mountain's top, that we might have the cherubim and the seraphim, patriarchs, strong consolation in contemplating “the Psalın xxxiii. 11.
Heb. ii. 16.
§ Heb. ii. 14, 15.
* John iii. 16.
+ Rev. j. 5, 6.
With boundless confidence."--THOMSON.
prophets, and apostles, and the whole multi-, eous men on earth, to just men made pertude of the redeemed, animated by one fect, to the angels of God; in the eye of God spirit, adore the same object, rejoice in the himself,—there is one object of peculiar same grace wherein they stand, and join in i magnitude and importance, which is before the same triumphant song!
all, above all, runs through all, and in which Connect with this, the idea of the quick all shall finally terminate. It is surely not and perfect intelligence which subsists be- without a meaning, that the promises, the tween the children of this kingdom. The predictions, from first to last, point out a happiness of heaven is a social, not a Solitary Saviour that should suffer and die; that all joy. But how can the poverty of our imagi- the types, services, sacrifices of the law should nation, the coldness of our affections, conceive represent a salvation that was to be wrought the intimacy of intercourse, the promptness out, to be purchased with blood; that the of communication, the sympathy of feeling, whole doctrine of the gospel should be comin pure spirits wholly disposed to love, and pressed into one point, the doctrine of the free from all desire or design to disguise, to Cross ; that the throne of God eternal in the deceive, to conceal!
heavens should exhibit at its right hand, and
in the midst of it, “a Lamb as it had been “Where friendship full exerts her softest pow'r, Perfect esteem enliven'd by desire
slain;" that the song of the redeemed should Ineffable, and sympathy of soul,
celebrate Him who loved the sons of men, Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will, and “washed them from their sins in his
blood !" O the infatuation of a careless, unWith what promptitude and intelligence believing world! That subject which the celestial beings converse, say, ye gentle ransome of the Lord dwell upon with ever spirits, who know what it is to soothe and new and increasing delight; that great relieve the lazy, lingering hours of absence “ mystery of godliness,” which "angels de by the friendly aid of letters; ye, whom the sire to look into;" that object which the great murmur of a sigh, or the tone of a single God has marked with special precision as his word can instantly instruct; ye, whose hearts own; the wonder of Heaven, the joy of the the pressure of a finger can awake to rap- earth, the theme of eternity, was “to the ture; ye, whose kindred, congenial souls the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks slightest glance of the impassioned eye, can, foolishness;" is to a faithless and perverse in a moment, quick as the lightning's flash, generation a thing of nought, the song of the penetrate, kindle, inform, assimilate; drunkard, the jest of fools! If that blood
has fallen and lies with such oppressive Surprises often when you look around,
weight, both as a temporal and a spiritual And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss." curse on those who rashly imprecated it on
themselves and their children, and then imBut the purest human affection is ever piously and remorselessly shed it; “ of how dashed with doubt, with apprehension, with much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he suspicion; its communications are liable to be thought worthy, who hath trodden under be retarded by dulness, prevented by acci- foot the Son of God, and hath counted the dent, or checked and blasted by a malignant blood of the covenant, wherewith he was eye, and therefore can at best convey but an sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done imperfect idea of that “perfect love which despite unto the Spirit of grace ?"* May casteth out fear,” of that divine sympathy that blood be upon us, and upon our children, which speeds the holy intercourse from soul to cleanse, not to condemn, to exalt, not to to soul, of that mutual understanding which overwhelm us, and be it our determinate needs not the medium of sense to convey it. resolution, through the grace that is in Christ,
Though we cannot conceive, much less to know nothing in comparison of Christ describe, in what manner angels and saints Jesus, and fim crucified, “and to glory in in bliss converse one with another, yet from nothing but his cross.” the text we know, what is the one, great, V. Observe, The superiority ascribed, by darling theme of their conversation. Moses a voice from the most excellent glory, to and Elias descend from their heavenly thrones, Christ the Lord, swallowing up and eclipsing from before the fountain of light and life, ap- all created excellency and perfection - This pear in glory, revisit the earth, associate with is my beloved Son, hear him," + proclaims the men, to do homage at the feet of Jesus, and voice, and instantly Moses and Elias disapto “speak of his decease which he should pear, that Jesus may be all in all. They accomplish at Jerusalem.” This leads to a have brought their glory and honour and laid
IVth, and the most important remark on it at his feet; they have pointed out to manathis passage of our Saviour's history, in con- kind in whose light they shine, in what connexion with that of Moses, namely, That un- sists their chief eminence and distinction. der every dispensation, before the giving of They in effect say the same thing with John the law, and under its reign, when it was Baptist ; " He that cometh after me is prerestored, and after it is abolished; to right-! * Heb, X. 29.
† Luke ix. 35
"Ye whom the sudden tear
ferred before me, whoşe shoes' latchet I am, which experienced not dimness of eyes, nor not worthy to unloose."* “ Behold the Lamb a batement of natural vigour, but in that of God, which taketh away the sin of the renovated youth, that unfading beauty, that world.”+ They forbid us to look toward impassive strength, that immortal lustre, them, or to trust in them for salvation. Hav- wherein on the mount of the Lord he was ing given this testimony to their Lord and seen; and shall resemble Elias, not by mountours, they retire to that world of bliss into ing with the help of a chariot of fire and which they found admission through that horses of fire into heaven, but with native blood which cleanseth from all sin, through force, immediately derived from the great that decease which Christ was ready" to ac- Source of life and motion, shall spontaneouscomplish at Jerusalem.” Let us joyfully ly ascend up to his native seat; shall rebend the knee to Him, who, “ for the suffer- semble Christ, his divine head, not in that ing of death, is crowned with glory and sinless infirmity to which he voluntarily subhonour, and has obtained a name that is above mitted in the days of his flesh, but in that every name;" whom Moses and Elias ac- glory which he had with the Father before knowledge as their greater; whom all the the world was, and which for a moment burst angels of God are commanded to worship, as forth on the mount of transfiguration, when “the image of the invisible God, the first-" his face did shine as the sun, and his raiborn of every creature," " by whom were ment was white as the light.” Glorious and created all things that are in heaven, and blessed gospel ! which first taught the resurthat are in earth, visible and invisible, whe- rection from the dead, which has "abolished ther they be thrones, or dominions, or princi- death, and brought life and immortality to palities or powers; all things were created light;" whose "exceeding great and precious by him, and for him.”[
promises” make men “ partakers of a divine Finally, the passage exhibits to our won nature ;" whose hallowed page represents dering eyes a glimpse of that glory which saints and angels quitting their heavenly all the faithful shall finally attain; in the abode to minister to the necessities of wretchperson of one who had never tasted death; ed mortals; and wretched mortals rising to whose body, by a miracle of Almighty power, the everlasting possession of heavenly thrones. was fitted for heaven and immortality with- “ O death, where is thy sting? O grave, out seeing corruption in the grave; and of where is thy victory ?” “Thanks be to God, one, who, as we must, died and was buried, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord and by a similar miracle, was either ransom- Jesus Christ."* ed from the power of the grave, or whose But now the curtain is dropt, Moses and glorified spirit was fitted with a temporary Elias have resumed their places in heaven, vehicle of transparent flesh for the present and the glory of Tabor is no more.
Yet, grand occasion ; but above all, in the person though unseen, they cease not to instruct us. of the greatest of the three, who was pleased Though withdrawn, they are in the midst of to clothe humanity, which had not yet, but us still; the distinction of past and future they soon was to suffer death, with a transitory feel no longer, and separation by space canglory, the forerunner of that which should not keep celestial beings asunder. Proviquickly follow, and do away all the ignominy dence brought together into one place the of the tomb, and become the sure pledge of giver and restorer of the law; and the first that glory with which he shall invest all harbingers of the gospel blending earth and them that believe, after “the fashion of his heaven together in homage to the Son of God. own glorious body." While we contemplate And all distance between them too is now mount Tabor, the immortal spirit looks for ever done away. Remote as we are, we through the frail tottering fabric of Aesh and behold them together in a state of glorious blood, in which it is inclosed ; and while, perfection, but permitted to converse with us from its present connexion, it surveys with no more. But He is with us still, their Lord concern the inroads of disease, the wastes of and ours; His voice we can still hear, after time, the approaches of dissolution ; from the they are silenced, and Him we are commandvisions of God, from the power of free sove-ed to hear. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterreign grace, ffom the present attainments of day, and to-day, and for ever:" " To Him all the faithful, beholds with rapture the splen- the prophets gave witness," and he is “ the dour of that vehicle in which it shall ascend end of the law for righteousness to every one “ to meet the Lord in the air,” when “mor- that believeth." tality shall be swallowed up of life,” when it And thus have we finished our proposed shalí be united to a body insusceptible of delineation of the lives of the patriarchs, pain, undepressed by its own gravity, unfet- from Adam, the father of the human race, tered by the laws of dull matter, uncondemn- down to Moses, the great legislator and ed to mortality. Glorious and blessed day, prophet of the Hebrew nation ; with the inwhen the meanest of the saints shall resemble termediate illustrious personages, whom the Moses, not in that green and lively old age Spirit of God has preserved from oblivion,
John i. 29. 1 Col. i. 16.
John i. 27.
• 1 Cor. xv. 57.
for our information and use; whom Provi- lem, and to an innumerable company of andence raised up in the earlier ages of the gels, to the general assembly and church of world, to occupy distinguished stations, and the first-born which are written in heaven, to accomplish important designs; who, by and to God, the Judge of all, and to the their respective characters, offices, and de- spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, clarations, predicted or prefigured the Mes- the mediator of the new covenant, and to siah; who edified the world, while they lived, the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better by their doctrine and example; and who, things than that of Abel,"* and dwell in a being dead, continue living monitors and in- tabernacle not erected by the hands of man, structers of inankind.
the habitation of an hour, but in " a building While we contemplate the progress of of God, an house not made with hands, eterthese venerable figures along the plain of nal in the heavens.” existence, we feel ourselves in motion, we Be ye therefore “ followers of them wbo are hurrying down the stream, we begin to through faith and patience inherit the promingle with the assembly of the departed, mises." Purchase for yourselves a deathless we leave our place among men empty. Of name among the “ransomed of the Lord." those who entered with us on this career of Consider yourselves as encompassed, obserkmeditation, “some are not;" their course is ed, tenderly regarded by those to whom you finished, they have fulfilled their day, they were dear while they tabernacled anong are gone to join the men who lived beyond men, and who now love you with the ardour the flood. The cold hand of death has frozen of immortals. Add to the consolation which up some of the streams of friendship; the they enjoy, that of marking your progress in congelation is gaining upon our own vital wisdom, your growth in grace. Cultivate powers, and inarking us for the tomb, where acquaintance with the language you are to the endearments of social affection, and the speak, the spirit you are to breathe, the manmeltings of sympathy, and the glow of love, i ners with which you are to conform, the are felt no more. But “ we sorrow not" over persons with whom you are to converse, departed worth “as those who have no hope." eternally. “Seeing we also are compassed God, and angels, and the spirits of just men about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let made perfect,” have gained what the world us lay aside every weight, and the sin which has lost: they move in a higher sphere; they doth so easily beset us, and let us run with perceive with purer intelligence, act with patience the race that is set before us, looksuperior energy, enjoy with more exalted ing unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our capacity; they die no more, they are as the faith ; who, for the joy that was set before angels of God in heaven: and Providence him, endured the cross, despising the shame, charges itself with the care of the forsaken, and is set down at the right hand of the throne the helpless and the forlorn whom they have of God.”+ “ Behold what manner of love left behind. And we look forward together the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we to that day, when we shall join Moses and should be called the sons of God." "BelorElias, Peter and James, and John, and all ed, now are we the sons of God, and it dot who have died before us, or shall die after us not yet appear what we shall be: but we in the Lord, not in the glory of Tabor, which know that, when he shall appear, we shall was to pass away, but of mount Zion which be like him; for we shall see him as he is. is above, and which endureth to endiess ages And every man that hath this hope in him,
--when we shall come together " unto the purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusa
† Ib. 1, 2 1 1 John ii.93
* Heb. xil. 22494.
LECTURE LXXX V I.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help mees
for him.-GENESIS ii. 18.
The holy scriptures always exhibit the | The God who made us what we are, formed most simple and the justest view of every man after a model, destined him for a special subject which they treat. And what subject situation, and to fulfil a specific purpose. His of importance to man do they not treat ? faculties, his relations, his duties, his demands
his delights, were all
, from the beginning, | sent Lecture, in giving a general delineation present to the eye of his Creator: and a cor- of the female character, as it is represented responding arrangement and provision were in the passage now read, and as being the made by Him, who seeth the end from the purpose and act of the great Lord of nature, commencement, and who exactly adjusts all, an help meet for man." Every creature according to number, weight, and measure. was intended to yield help to man: the flower,
The perfection of the works of God, is a with its beauty and fragrance; the tree, with beautiful and gradual progress toward per- its nutritious fruit; the animal tribes, with fection : from inanimate to vegetative, from all their powers of ministering satisfaction to vegetative to animal, from aniinal to rational the senses or to the mind. Adam surveyed nature; each approaching to, bordering upon them all with delight, saw their several chaeach, but every one circumscribed by a boun- racters in their several forms, gave them dary which it cannot pass, to disturb, and names, observed and glorified his Creator's confound the province of another. The scale perfections displayed in himself, and in them. of being, as to this globe, was complete when But still he was alone amidst all this multiGod had “ created man in his own image."
." | tude; the understanding was employed, but But social existence was not perfect till it the heart wanted its object : the tongue could pleased God to draw man out of solitude, by name all that the eye beheld, but there was making him “ an help meet for him.” This no tender, sympathetic ear, to which it could simply, yet clearly, unfolds woman's nature, say, “ how fair, how lovely, how glorious is station, duty, use, and end. This raises her all this that we behold !" · For Adam there to her proper rank and importance, and in- was not found an help meet for him.” structs her how most effectually to support The want of nature is no sooner perceived them; this forbids her to aspire after rule, by the great Parent of man, than it is supfor her Maker designed her as “ an helper;" plied; the wish of reason is no sooner exthis secures for her affection and respect, for pressed than gratified. Paternal care and how is it possible to hate or despise what tenderness even outrun and prevent the calls God and nature have rendered essential to l of filial necessity. Adam has felt no void, our happiness. If the intention of the Crea- uttered no complaint, but“ the Lord God said, tor, therefore, is attended to, the respective It is not good that the man should be alone : claims and duties of the sexes are seitled in I will make him an help meet for him.” And a moment, and an end is put to all unprofita- with God, execution certainly and instantable discussion of superiority and inferiority, neously follows design. " And the Lord of authority and subjection, in those whose Go:l caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, destination, and whose duty it is, to be mu- and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, tually helpful, attentive, and affectionate. and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And
The female character and conduct have the rib which the Lord God had taken from frequently presented themselves in the course man, made he a woman, and brought her unof the history of the Patriarchs. And indeed to the man. And Adam said, This is now how can the life of man be separated from bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she that of woman? Their amiable qualities and shall be called Woman, because she was praiseworthy actions have been occasionally taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave pointed out, and unreservedly, though with his father and his mother and shall cleave unout adulation, commended ; their faults and to his wife : and they shall be one flesh."* follies have been, with equal freedom, ex- How completely suitable an helper God proposed and censured. But in the instances re- vided for man in a state of sinless perfection ferred to, female conduct has undergone only transcends imagination, much more descripan accidental and transient review, in detach- tion; all that is lovely in form, all that is ed fragments, and as supplementary to, or graceful in manner, all that is exalted in producing influence on, the conduct of man. mind, all that is pure in thought, all that is The pencil of inspiration, however, having delicate in sentiment, all that is enchanting introduced persons of the gentler sex into its in conversation. This felicity was made subinimitable compositions; and these not al-ject to alteration ; this harmony was not to ways thrown into the back-ground or placed continue perfect; but the original intention in the shade, but sometimes springing for- of the Creator was not to be defeated, no, but ward into the light, and glowing in all the even in a state of degradation, difficulty, and brilliancy of colouring, I have been induced, distress, as in a state of purity and peace, it with trembling steps, to follow the heavenly was still the destination of Providence, that guide; and to follow up the fainter sketches woman should be “ an help meet" for man. of a Sarah, a Rebekah, a Rachel, a Miriam, | In what important respects we are now to with the more finished portraits of Deborah, inquire. the wife of Lapidoth,“ “ Ruth, the Moabi- The first and most obvious is, as his countess,” and “ Hannah,” the mother of Samuel sellor and coadjutor in bringing up their comthe prophet. In order to introduce these with mon offspring. Education, on the part of the greater advantage, I mean to employ the pre
• Gen. ii. 21-94.