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Hath hë spoken it;, and shall it not come to pass Whatever disappointments rebuke the visionary projects of men, or the more crafty schemes of Satan, * the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." The blood of sprinkling, which sealed all the promises made to Messiah, and binds down his father's faithfulness tơ their accomplishment, witnesses continually in the heavenly sanctuary. He must,'therefore, 'reign till he have put all his enemies under his feet.' And als though the dispensation of his authority shall, upon this event, be changed ; and he shall deliver it up, in its present form, to the Father, he shall still remain, in his substantial glory, ' a priest upon his throne,' to be the eternal bond of our union, and the eternal me. dium of our fellowship, with the living God.
Seeing that the throne of our king is as immoveable as it is exalted, let us with joy draw water out of that well of salvation' which is opened to us in the
Administration of his kingdom. Here we musť consider its general tharacters, and the means by which it operates.
The general characters which I shall illustrate, are the following
(1.) Mystery.--He is the unsearchable God, and his
government must be like himself. Facts concerning both he has graciously revealed. These we must admít upon the credit of his own testimony: with these we must satisfy our wishes, and limit our inquiry. • To intrude into those things which he hath not seen' because God has not disclosed them, whether they relate to his arrangements for this world or the next, is the arrogance of one vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. There are secrets in our Lord's procedure which he will not explain to us in this life, and which may not, perhaps, be explained in the life to come.
We cannot tell how he makes evil the minister of good : how he combines physical and moral agencies of different kind and order, in the
wonderful for us :
production of blessings. We cannot so much as conjecture what bearings the system of redemption, in
every part of its process, máy have upon the rela: tions of the universe ; nor even what may be all the connections of providence in the occurrences of this moment, or of the last. Such knowledge is too
, ' Our Sovereign's' way is in the sea, and his path in the deep waters; and his footsteps are not known.' When, therefore, we are surrounded with difficulty ; when we cannot unriddle his conduct in particular dispensations, we must remember that he is God; that we are to walk by faith ;' and to trust him as implicitly when we are in the valley of the shadow of death,' as when his 'candle shines upon our heads.' We must remember that it is not for us to be admitted into the cabinet of the King of Kings; that creatures constituted as we are could not sustain the view of his unveiled agency ; that it would confound, and 'scatter, and 'annihilate our little intellects. As of. ten, then, as he retires from our observation, blend. ing goodness with majesty, let us lay our hands upon our mouths and worship. This stateliness of our king 'can afford us no just ground ofúneasiness. On the contrary it contributes to our tranquility : For we know,
(2.) That if his administration is mysterious, it is also wise.
Great is our Lord, and of great power; his understanding is infinite. That infinite 'understand. ing watches over, and arranges, and directs all the affairs of his church and of the world. We are perplexed at every step; embarassed by opposition; Tost in confusion; fretted by disappointment, and ready to conclude, in our haste, that all things are against our own good, and our Master's honor. But this is our infirmity; it is the dictate of impatience aitd indiscretion. We forget the years of the right harid
of the Most High.' We are slow of heart in learning a lesson which shall soothe our spirits at the expence of our pride. We turn away from the consolation to be derived from believing that though we know not the connections and results of holy providence, our Lord Jesus knows them perfectly. With him there is no irregularity, no chance, no conjecture. Disposed, before his eye, in the most lominous and exquisite order, the whole series of events occupy the very place and crisis where they are most ef. fectually to subserve the purposes of his love. Not a moment of time is wasted, nor a fragment of action misapplied. What he does, we do not, indeed, know at present, but so far as we shall be permitted to know hereafter, we shall see that his most inscrutable procedure was guided by consummate wisdom; that our choice was often as foolish as our petulance was provoking; that the success of our own wishes would have been our most painful chastisement; would have diminished our happiness, aud detracted from his praise. Let us therefore, study to subject our ignorance to his knowledge ; instead of prescribing, to obey; instead of questioning, to believe; to perform our part without that despondency which betrays a fear that our Lord may neglect his ; and tacitly accuses him of a less.concem than we feel for the glory of his own name. Let us not shrink from this duty as imposing too rigorous a condition upon our obedience, for a (3.) Character of Messiah's administration is right.
• The sceptre of his kingdom is a right sceptre.' If Clouds and darkness are round about bım, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.' In the times of old his redeemed • wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way ; but, nevertheless, he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. He loves his church and the members of it too tenderly to lay
upon them any burdens, or expose them to any trials, which are not indispensible to their good. It is right for them to go through fire and through water,' that he may bring them out into a wealthy place,'-right to endure chastening,' that they may be partakers of his holiness'-right to have the sentence of death in themselves,' that they may
trust in the living God, and that his strength may be perfected in their weakness.' It is right that he should · endure with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:' that he should permit iniquity to abound, the love of many to wax cold,' and the dangers of his church to accu. mulate, till the interposition of his arm be necessary and decisive. In the day of final retribution not one mouth shall be opened to complain of injustice. It will be seen that the Judge of all the earth has done right; that the works of his hands have been verity and Judgment,' and done every one of them, in truth and uprightness. Let us, then, think not only respectfully, but reverently of his dispensations, repress the voice of murmur, and rebuke the spirit of discon. tent; wait, in faith and patience, till he become his own interpreter, when the heavens shall declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.'
You will anticipate me in enumerating the means which Messiah employs in the administration of his kingdom.
(i.) The Gospel; of which himself, as an all-sufficient and condescending Saviour, is the great and affecting theme. Derided by the world it is, never. theless, effectual to the salvation of them who be. lieve. • We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. The doctrine of the cross connected with evangeli. pal ordinances.--the ministry of reconciliation ; the
holy sabbath ; the sacraments of his covenant : Brief: ly, the whole system of instituted worship, is the
rod of the Redeemer's strength' by which he subdues sinners to himself; rules even in the midst of his enemies; exercises his glorious authority in his church, and exhibits a visible proof to men and angles, that he is King'in Zion.
(2. The efficient means to which the gospel owes its success, and the name of Jesus its praise, is the agency of the Holy Ghost.
Christianity is the ministration of the Spirit. All real and sanctifying knowledge of the truth and love of God is from his inspiration. It was the last, and best promise which the Saviour made to his af. flicted disciples at the moment of parting, I will send the Comforter, the spirit of truth; He shall glorify, me,
for he shall take of mine and shew it unto you. It is he who convinces the world of sin, of righteous. ness, and of judgment.--who infuses resistless vi. gour into means otherwise weak and useless. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, God the Spirit, to the pulling down, of strong holds. Without his benediction the mine istry of an archangel would never convert one sinner from the error of his way. But when he de. scends, with his lifegiving influence from God out. of heaven, then foolish things of the world confound the wise; and weak things of the world confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, yea, and things which are not, bring to nought things which are. It. is this ministration of the Spirit which renders the preaching of the gospel to men dead in trespasses and sins; a reasonable service. When I am set down in the
valley of vision, and view the bones, very many and very dry, and am desired to try the effect of my own ability in recalling them to life, I fold my hands and stand mute in astonishment and despair.