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النشر الإلكتروني

SERMON V.

The Divinity of Jesus Christ.

REVELATIONS v. 11, 12, 13, 14.

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures,* and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousand of thousands;

Saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that

was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down, and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

ALTHOUGH Atheism and Superstition are weapons, which have been too successfully employed by

* Beasts, in our translation.—Animaux-animals-living creatures, more agreeably to the apostle's Zaa, as well as to Ezek. i. 4, 5, &c. to which St. John seems to allude. Kai sidov, xai εδου . . εν τω μέσω ως ομοίωμα τεσσαρων ΖΩΩΝ. Septuag

the devil against the truth, yet are they not his most formidable arms, nor the most difficult to be resisted. It was an excess of stupidity which formed superstition; and it was an excess of corruption, that forged atheism but a very little knowledge, and a very little integrity sufficiently preserve us from both. Superstition is so diametrically opposite to reason, that one is shocked at seeing earth, water, fire, air, minerals, passions, maladies, death, men, beasts, devils themselves placed by idolaters on the throne of the sovereign, and elevated to supreme honours. Far from feeling a propensity to imitate a conduct so monstrous, we should hardly believe it, were it not attested by the unanimous testimonies of historians and travellers: did we not still see in the monuments of antiquity, such altars, such deities, such worshippers: and did not the Christian world, in an age of light and knowledge, madly prove too faithful a guarantee of what animated the heathen world, in ages of darkness and ignorance. The system of atheism is so loose, and its consequences so dreadful and odious, that only such as are determined to lose themselves can be lost in this way. Whether a Creator exist is a question decided, wherever there is a creature. Without us, with

every where, we An infinite being

in us, in our souls, in our bodies, meet with proofs of a first cause. follows us, and surrounds us; "O Lord, thou compassest my path, and my lying down, thou hast beset me behind and before. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?" Psal. cxxxix. 1, 3, 7.

But there is another class of arguments against our mysteries, which at first present themselves to the mind under a very different aspect. There is a system of error, which, far from appearing to have ignorance for its principle like superstition, or corruption like atheism, seems to proceed from the bosom of truth and virtue, and if I may be allowed to say so, to have been extracted from the very substance of reason and religion. I speak of that system, which tends to degrade the Saviour of the world from his divinity, and to rank him with simple creatures. There is in appearance a distance so immense, between an infant born in a stable, and the Father of Eternity, Isa. ix. 6. between that Jesus, who conversed with men, and that God, who upholds all things by the word of his power, Heb. i. 3. between him, who, being crucified, expired on a cross, and him, who, sitting on the sovereign throne, receives supreme honours; that it is not at all astonishing, if human reason judge these objects in appearance contradictory. This system seems also founded on virtue, even on the most noble and transcendant virtue, on zeal and fervency. It aims in appearance at supporting those excellencies, of which God is most jealous, his divinity, his unity, his essence. It aims at preventing idolatry. Accordingly, they who defend this system, profess to follow the most illustrious scripture-models. They are the Phineasses, and Eleazars, who draw their swords only to maintain the glory of Jehovah. They are the Pauls, whose spirits are stirred by seeing the idolatry of Athens, Acts xvii. 16. They are the Elijahs,

who are moved with jealousy for the Lord of hosts, 1 Kings xix. 10.

But, if the partisans of error are so zealous and fervent, should the ministers of the truth languish in lukewarmness and indolence? If the divinity of the Son of God be attacked with weapons so formidable, should not we oppose them with weapons more forcible, and more formidable still? We also are stirred in our turn, wealso in our turn are moved with jealousy for the Lord of hosts, and we consecrate our ministry to-day to the glory of that God-man, whose ministers we are. In order to prove the doctrine of his divinity we will not refer you to the philosophers of the age, their knowledge is incapable of attaining the sublimity of this mystery; we will not even ask you to hear your own teachers, the truth passing through their lips loses sometimes its force: They are the elders, they are the angels, they are the thousands, the ten thousand times ten thousands, Dan. vii. 10. before the throne of God, who render to Jesus Christ supreme honours. We preach to you no other divinity than their divinity. We prescribe to you no other worship than their worship. No! no! celestial intelligences! "Ye angels that excel in strength; ye, who do the commandments of God; ye ministers that do his pleasure," Psal. ciii. 20, 21. we do not come to-day to set up altar against altar, earth against heaven. The extreme distance, which your perfections put between you and us, and which renders the purity of your worship so far superior to our's, does not change the nature of our homage. We come to mix our incense with that which you

incessantly burn before our Jesus, who is the object of your adoration and praise. Behold, Lord Jesus! behold to-day creatures prostrating themselves upon earth before thy throne, like those who are in heaven. Hear the harmonious concert, accept our united voices, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honour and glory and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” May every one of us "fall down, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, Amen."

It is then in relation to the doctrine of our Saviour's divinity, and in relation to this doctrine only, that we are going to consider the words of our text. They might indeed occasion discussions of another kind. We might inquire first, who are the twenty-four elders? Perhaps the Old Testament ministers are meant, in allusion to the twenty-four classes of priests, into which David divided them. We might further ask, who are the four living creatures? Perhaps they are emblems of the four evangelists. We might propose questions on the occasion of this song, on the number, ministry and perfections of the intelligences mentioned in the text: but all our reflections on these articles would be uncertain, and uninteresting. As I said before, we will confine ourselves to one single subject, and on three propositions we will ground the doctrine of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I. Jesus Christ is supremely adorable, and su

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