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THEOLOGICAL WORKS Paley's NATURAL THEOLOGY, illustrated by the plates and by a gelection from the notes of James l'axton, with additional notes, original and selected -New edition.
Varson's THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTES, or a view of the evidences, doctrines, morals and institutions of Christianity, by lichard Watson.Stereotype edition.
In addition to the above may be found a very valuabie collection of Theological and other Books at
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13, Market street. AN ESSAY ON THE STATT OF INFANTS, by Rev. Alvan Hyde D. D.
Price 10 cents. For sale by HUTCHES & SUFIRD.
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Providence, Oct. 31, 1831.6
NOVEMBER 30, 1831.
SERMON. 2 CORINTHIANS, 11. 18—But we all with open face beholding
as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.
The apostle employs the principal part of this chapter in drawing a contrast between the Mosaic and Christian dispensations. He knew that the Jews were extremely fond of the rites and ceremonies of the law, and viewed them as vastly superior to the precepts and instructions of the gospel. But he endeavors to convince those, that, though the law is glorious, yet the gospel is much more glorious. The law he calls a ministration of death, and the gospel, a ministration of righteousness; and then appeals to them, whether the gospel be not superior to the law? If, says be, the ministration of death, written and engraven on stones, was glorious, how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.' This argument is directly calculated to reprove the Jews for rejecting the gospel, which gives a brighter display of the glory of God, than the law. Hence the apostle ascribes their unbelief of the gospel, to their blindness to the glory of God. If they had seen the glory of God displayed in the law, they must have seen his glory in the gospel, which displays it with a superior lustre. This he proceeds to confirm by the testimony of all who cordially embrace the gospel. “But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." All who have had the veil of ignorance taken away, behold the glory of God in the glass of the gospel, and feel its transforming influence upon their hearts. The text in this connexion suggests this general observation:
While true believers delightfully contemplate the glory of God, displayed in the gospel, they are, by a divine influence, transformed into his moral image. I shall,
1. Show that the gospel-displays the glory of God.
2. Show that true believers delightfully contemplate his glory displayed in the gospel.
3. Show that by contemplating his glories, they become transformed into his moral image.
4. Show that this is owing to a divine influence.
1. I am to show that the gospel displays the glory of God.
Whatever discovers the heart of God, displays his glory, because all the moral beauty and exceller.ce of the Deity, lies in his heart. His self-existence, independence, almighty power, infinite knowledge, and universal presence, derive all their real excellence from bis perfect goodness. All his moral attributes consist in his benevolent feelings, which govern and direct all bis designs and exertions. The display of his heart necessarily displays the supreme glory of his character. But he has never displayed bis whole heart, through any other medium than the gospel
. The works of creation and providence do but imperfectly discover the feelings of his heart; and even the law delivered at Mount Sinai is but a partial transcript of his moral character. It displays some of his moral perfections, but not all. It is in the gospel alone, that he has manifested all his glory to the intelligent uliverse. So the angels declared, when the Saviour was born.
that extraordinary and joyful occasion, they praised God, saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.'
The apostle Jolin represents Christ as giving the brightest manifestation of the glory of God. He says, “The law was giren by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.' Our Saviour gave the same representation of himself. He said, 'He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.' The apostle Paul calls him 'the image of the invisible God, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.' He says again; 'Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the world, hath been bid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purchased in Christ Jesus our Lord.' Here Paul represents the gospel as the grand medium of revealing Christ, and displaying the whole glory of God in the scheme of man's redemption. And he gives the same view of the gospel in the text, and next succeeding chapter. In the text, he compares the gospel to a glass, or mirror, which reflects the moral glory of God, as the glass reflects the natural form and image of the person who looks into it. In the following chapter, he represents the gospel as revealing Christ, who reveals the supreme glory of the Father. “But if our gospel be bid, it is bid to them that are lost, in whom the God of ibis world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 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.' The scheme of salvation through the death and mediation of Christ, comprehends God's last end in the creation and government of the universe, and explains all that he has done and will do, from the beginning of the world to the boundless ages of eternity. All the glory of God which created beings will ever discover, they will discover in the gospel plan of redemption, in the forming and the accomplishing of wbich, he will manifest all the feelings of his heart, and perfections of bis nature. It is in the mirror of the gospel, that angels discover the brightest manifestations of the divine glory, and it is through the same medium that men learned all they know of the purposes, designs, and feelings of God.Those who are destitute of this mirror, are in total ignorance of God; and those who have it, but never look into it, nor understand it, are really perishing for lack of vision. The light shineth in darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. This, however, is not the case of all. For,
2. True believers delightfully contemplate the glory of God displayed in the gospel. All wbo bave been called out of darkness into marvellous light, and have once seen the glory of God in the gospel, take pleasure in contemplating the divine perfections, as barmoniously united and manifested in the plan of redemption. The apostle gives us this idea of the primitive christians. They all with open face delightfully surveyed the glory of God in the glass of the gospel. Good men, in all ages, have contemplated the displays of the divine glory, with peculiar pleasure and satisfaction. We find this account of the ancient patriarchs. Enoch walked with God, which denotes that he lived in nearness to him, and delightfully meditated upon bis great and glorious character. Moses lived as seeing bim who is invisible, which plainly supposes that he habitually and delightfully kept bis eye and his heart fixed upon God. Besides this, we have another. evidence of bis delighting to contemplate the glory of the Deity. It was the language of his heart when he said to God, 'I beseech thee, shew me thy glory! God was pleased with his request, and caused all his goodness to pass before him, which was a full display of all his glory. David spent much of his time in devout meditation, and found the higbest enjoyment in contemplating upon the glory of God. In the book of Psalms, which may be called his diary, he osten speaks of his ardent desires toward God, and of his delight in contemplating upon his glory. Hear his own words. 'One thing have I desired of the Lord, -that will I seek aster, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord.' 'O God! thou art my God; early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee; my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is, to see thy power and glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.' Peter, James, and John, were thrown in raptures of joy while they contemplated on Mount Tabor the glory of God, in the method of salvation by tbe death of Christ. This appears from
the account which Luke gives us of the Transfiguration of Christ. "And it came to pass about an eighth day after these sayings, he mok Peter, and John, and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistening; and behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias; who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter, and they that were with him, were heavy with sleep, and when they were awake, they sau his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.' A view of the divine glory displayed in the face of Christ, captivated the hearts of his three disciples, who ardently wished to be perpetually employed in contemplating it. The day after Christ's resurrection, two of bis sincere disciples found the same satisfaction, while, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.? — When he left them, they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?' The more true believers see of the glory of God, the more they desire to see of it. They love to contemplate the manifestations of God, which he makes in the gospel. They often sit and admire the wisdom, the goodness, the justice, and the grace of God, in what he has done for the salvation of this guilty and perishing world. They see unspeakably more of the glory of God in the gospel, than they can discover in the works of creation and providence.
Hence the gospel of the grace of God is an object of their most delightful contemplation. This leads me to show,
3. That while they delightfully contemplate the glory of God displayed in the gospel, they become transformed into bis moral image. This, the apostle tells us, was the case with respect to the primitive christians. While they beheld the glory of God in the glass of the gospel, they were changed into the same image, from glory to glory. The minds of men always become conformed to the objects of their agreeable contemplation. The men of the world, who mind worldly things, become conformed to the world. So the men of God, who delightfully contemplate his glory, become conformed to his moral image, or feel affections correspondent to the displays of the divine character, which absorb their attention. By contemplating God, they become godly; and the more they contemplate God, the more they resemble bim in the feelings of their hearts. So long as their attention is fixed upon the displays of the divine glory, they are moulded into the divine image, and, by the view of glory, become glorious, or they are changed from one degree of grace and glory to another. True believers become conformed to God in exact proportion to their delightful contemplation of him; and were they to contem