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ty, awakening reverence and awe in view of the divine greatness, and self-abasement at thought of their own nothingness and corruption ; present their relations to the inflexible sovereign and to eternity's retributions with such vividness as to produce on his auditory the most impressive solemnity, making them tremble as in the presence of the descending judge and the outpourings of coming wrath ; or, with accents of tenderness, melt them with exhibitions of divine compassion, the sufferings of a crucified Jesus, and the joys of sins forgiven; and kindling raptures of devotion, make their souls like the chariot of Aminadib,” raising them to those balmy heights of faith and hope so near the throne, that they will feel like veiling their faces, and prostrating themselves in utter lowliness amid the splendors of the mercy-seat.
In the first place, then, to assist the church in giving unto the Lord the glory due unto his name, he who occupies the desk must endeavor to unfold the glory of God, and his whole glory, so far as revealed. But what is God's glory? His glory is himself; his nature, his character, his attributes, his blessedness. These must all be spread out before the assembled worshippers. A ministry that would shade one of his perfections would fail to give due glory to God; for designedly to obscure in the least the brightness of a single trait of Jehovah's character carries the idea that there is something in it dishonorable; which, to speak after the manner of men, he would dislike to have known; whereas God glories in every trait of his character, and rejoices to subject the whole of it to the gaze of his intelligent creation. The full-orbed splendors of his quenchless glories must therefore be unfolded.
If he is the great creator, the only underived, so highly exalted above all principalities and powers that he may justly regard them “ as a drop in the bucket" or "the small dust of the balance," he must have the glory of it.
If he is so transcendently excellent in his being that he needs not the coöperation or society of angel or archangel to add to his essential happiness ; if he is so wise that he need not consult the loftiest intellects of his creation as to the proper management of his affairs ; if he is so just that “there is no iniquity with him”; if he alone is holy, and is “of purer eyes than to behold evil”; if he is “abundant in goodness and truth,” and “ delighteth in mercy,” he ought to have the glory of it. If he is a great and glorious sovereign, always guided by the immutable principles of his own being, so that he can say with perfect rectitude and love, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion,” he surely should have the glory of it.
For this end, also, the occupant of the pulpit must unfold, in its nature and perfections so far as revealed, the divine government. For this is founded in God's glory. “The Lord made all things for himself.” “Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” The contemplation of his own inherent glory constitutes his own blessedness ; and he desired to create intelligent beings who might also be blessed in the contemplation of himself, of his glory; thus enjoying a felicity in character like his own. This was the primal motive of creation. Hence, springing out of his perfections, arose his government, as a mighty temple, resting, like the New Jerusalem, on a foundation of precious stones, whose flashing light suffuses the whole to its topmost pinnacle. It is one indivisible blaze of Deity. There is no trait in his holy character which is not there expressed. In concealing the least part of it, therefore, you fail to give God “the glory due unto his name.” It contains not a principle from whose exhibition he would shrink. On the contrary, as he rejoices in his own perfections and in their unfoldings, so he rejoices in the manifestations of his government in all its parts. The divine government must be set forth, then, just as it is; as it comes flashing from his own dark pavilion, and goes forth to encircle, as with a flood of glory, all created existence ; kindling the sun, suspending the jewelry of the sky, spreading the beauties of the landscape, rolling the world of waters, and swaying dominions and hierarchies in heaven, earth, and hell; while the minutest affairs are alike under its inspection, to the falling of a sparrow, or the dropping of a tear; for iť Jehovah's dominion is thus universal and particular ; if in it God is setting up one and putting down another, giving no account of his matters, nor consulting the wisdom of any of his creatures, but “working all things after the counsel of his own will,” he surely should have the glory of it.
For the same reason, the occupant of the pulpit should unfold our immutable relations to the infinite lawgiver, and show us our accountability; hold up that law, promulgated amidst the darkness and thunderings and trembling of Sinai, in all its fiery energies ; enforcing it with a power which will thrill every fibre of the soul, awakening the conscience to speak in correspondent accents. For if Jehovah is such a glorious king, clothed with majesty and light, rightfully binding every intelligent being to strict obedience, he ought to have the glory of it. Besides, as an awakened conscience is essential to render us sensible of our relations to God, and our obligations to his law, so it is essential to acceptable worship. A slumbering conscience will never "give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name.” But the conscience is constituted to be moved by views of God's character, and of his character alone. The divine law is peculiarly suffused with that character, having its origin in it; being sustained by it; and it is this which gives it all its power. Lifted from this basis, it would lose, at once, its strength and beauty. Were it possible to exhibit a moral precept not beaming with the divine character or glory, it would awaken no movement of the human conscience. Nothing, not demanded by these, can exert the least constraining influence over it. We need, therefore, the most vigorous enforcements of the divine law to produce the very first requisite of worship, as consisting in due ascriptions of glory to God, and also to awaken a sense of obligation, inciting to obedience; for, to worship “in the beauty of holiness," we must not only ascribe righteousness to our maker, but be righteous ourselves. Every act of adoration must gush from a holy heart. We also need the enforcement of the law that we may realize the greatness of our sin and guilt. For we can be sensible of our true relations to God only by seeing our real unworthiness. Our sins must be set in order before us. The law is a mirror to the heart. All the precepts of the Gospel must be held up in their living intensity and binding force, exhibited in arguments and appeals, which, when attended by the Spirit, will break in pieces the heart of stone, and lead us to exclaim with Isaiah : “Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips”; and to confess with Job : “I abhor, myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Further, he who occupies the pulpit to assist the church in giving “unto the Lord the glory due unto his name,” must not only exhibit those truths which exalt God, but those also which abase man.
For in proportion as we morally abase the creature, we really exalt the character of our long-suffering creator and king in proffering pardon. To give us, therefore, the deepest sense of humility, through which alone we can behold the height and depth, the length and breadth of divine wisdom and mercy, we must see ourselves as we are, “dead in trespasses and sins," "children of wrath," entirely destitute of moral goodness, prostrate in utter ruin. This truth should be pressed with the utmost earnestness and force, till we are brought to realize that this depravity is still working like a deadly virus, fomenting and raging within, diffusing itself through all our actions ; so polluting even our worship, that God would be just should he cast us at any moment from our public or private altars into hopeless perdition. So that with the profoundest sense of our ruin we shall exclaim with Paul : “ wretched man that I am !” and be induced to acknowledge, that if saved at all, we shall be saved by sovereign grace; for it is thus, and only thus, that we are prepared to ascribe to God the glory due to him.
With these views and sentiments, we are in a proper state to appreciate the riches of redeeming grace, and to enter into those loftier feelings of devotion inspired by its contemplation. He, therefore, who occupies the desk in aid of worship, must unfold this stupendous scheme in all its wonderful efficacy and glory. He must present it as perfectly accordant with the character of God and his government; showing that it can not be inconsistent with these ; for while these are expressions of the divine nature, this is but a higher expression of it; while these display the divine glory, this displays but a higher degree of that glory; a scheme, therefore, sweetly harmonizing all the divine attri butes; and by which the sinner is saved on compliance with its terins, and God even more glorified than in his condemnation without the provisions of the atonement; thus demonstrating
that in it the whole of Deity shines; that it is holy and just as well as merciful, sovereign as well as free.
The great executor of this scheme must also be presented in the fulness of his glorious characteristics as God and man, for “he that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father.” While, therefore, he is exhibited as an infant in the manger, he must also be exhibited as “Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God.” While represented as weary, faint, and thirsty, he must also be represented as swaying the destinies of worlds ; while, as betrayed and crucified, yet as the King of glory. Thus the great propitiator must be held up as a daysman worthy to lay his hand both on man and his Almighty Lord ; and an all-sufficient Saviour of such exalted dignity, that the Great Jehovah and immutable sovereign of all can consistently regard his mediatorial intercessions. The scheme of redemption must also be presented as administered by the revealing, the convicting, and regenerating Spirit; and as the Gospel dispensation is peculiarly the dispensation of the Spirit, the Third Person in the Trinity should be especially honored by the ministry, which would lead the assembled worshippers to "give unto the Lord the glory due.”
This glorious scheme of salvation, devised by the Father, executed by the Son, and administered by the Spirit, this stupendous achievement of the Trinity, an achievement alone possible through the Trinity, is the sunlight of our degraded world, the star of peace, which sheds its mildest lustre over every page of inspiration, pointing the tempest-tossed voyager of life to the only anchorage of hope, and leading the way to that port which clouds never darken, where storms never rage. This is indeed the master-work of Jehovah; there is none in which so much of his glory shines. It came gushing up from a lower depth of his beiny, and revealed profounder mysteries of his character than had hitherto been discovered by the loftiest angelic spirits. That their infinitely holy sovereign had a depth of mercy that could pardon sin, and a reach of wisdom that could secure the grace without tarnishing his justice, filled them with wonder; and, as the constantly developing mysteries of the scheme unfold, will continue to fill them with