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THE HEAVENLY JUBILEE,
PREACHED ON THE
THURSDAY AFTER THE THANKSGIVING DAY.
REV. xix. 9. "Blessed are they which are call"ed to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
"EYE hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, THE "THINGS which God hath prepared for them "that love him." * This passage, in the New Testament, descriptive of the heavenly felicity, is derived from the following sublime expressions of the prophet Isaiah; for, since the beginning of the world, men have not heard
* 1 Cor. ii. 9.
"nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen (O God, beside thee!) what he hath "prepared for him that waiteth for him." *
To two of the sons of men, however, it was given, before the canon of scripture had closed, to witness" what eye hath not seen, nor "ear heard," namely, to him who was designated by our Lord a CHOSEN VESSEL; and to that favoured servant who was called the BELOVED DISCIPLE. The first was the Apostle Paul, of whom Christ said that he should be "a chosen vessel to him to bear his name be"fore the Gentiles:"† The other was the Evangelist John, who is mentioned as "the cc disciple whom Jesus LOVED." ‡
When the Apostle of the Gentiles was, on a certain occasion, vindicating his divine mission, he noticed the manifestation which had been made to him. "I will come," saith he, "to visions and revelations of the Lord. I « knew a man in Christ, about fourteen years
ago; such an one caught up to the third, "heaven." And I knew such a man, (he uses this form of speech, that he might not say, in express words, that he had been counted worthy of such an honour) I knew such a man, how that he was "caught up into PARADISE, and heard unspeakable words, which it
+ Acts ix. 15.
* Isa. lxiv. 4.
" is not lawful for a man to utter.
Of such an
"one will I glory; yet of myself, I will not glory." And this is all that the Apostle was permitted to say of the "revelations of "the Lord."
It hath been noticed as some argument for the truth of our Saviour's mission, that he only speaks generally of the glory of heaven, and doth not (like those earthly prophets, who have sometimes deluded men) give a particular description of the invisible world. Our Lord knew that no words could convey to the mind of man, the meaning of the things to be spoken of; and that any words might convey false impressions to his imperfect understanding. Nor, it may be, was it fitting, or lawful, as the Apostle expresses it, to open to the view of a profane world, that glory which many might behold with indifference or contempt. Enough hath been said in Scripture, of " the glory that "shall BE revealed," for the excitement of faith and hope.
The same character belongs to the exprestions of St. Paul, in regard to the heavenly scene which he witnessed. He doth not describe particulars." He was caught up into "paradise," but he only saith, that he heard "UNSPEAKABLE WORDS, which it is not lawful" (or it is not possible) "for a man to utter." This
* 2 Cor. xii. 4.
silence of the Apostle is very expressive; and is a token of that true humility which ever accompanies a manifestation of the love of God. For what uninspired writer, pretending that he had been caught up unto the third heaven, would have refrained from telling us what he saw there?
But it was to him, "who saw the Apocalypse," that the clearest discovery was made of the celestial state. While he was " in the isle which " is called Patmos, (being banished thither by "the Emperor of Rome) for the word of God "and for the testimony of Jesus Christ;" he had a vision of the glory of heaven; and he was commanded to reveal the particulars to the world. "What thou seest, write in a
The general purpose of this book appears to have been, to exhibit some remarkable events in the history of the Christian Church in the language of symbol; to be a STANDING PROPHECY during its successive periods; and which should begin to be best understood, when, by the lapse of time, new evidence might be most required.
But one particular object of this book was intended for every age, and is highly important to us at this time. It was to establish the great truth, before recognized by Prophets,
* Rev. i. 11.
Evangelists, and Apostles, namely, that Christ is God, very God, coequal with the Father; and that one of the chief employments in heaven is "THE WORSHIP OF THE LAMB."
Before the code of scripture was completed, the Apocalypse was given; to be a great confirmation of the doctrine collected from the Gospels and Epistles, of the eternal ATONEMENT, by "the blood of the Lamb." Wherefore St. John begins his book with ascribing "glory and dominion for ever and ever, unto "HIM that loved us, and washed us from our "sins in his own blood." Had not this final portion of scripture been given, the body of revelation would have been imperfect. This is the book of which it is said, emphatically, "If any man shall take away from the words "of this book, God shall take away his part "out of the book of life."* And it shall be the object of the present discourse to lead your thoughts to this great subject, and to fix your contemplation on "the lamb that was "slain." For it is evident, that his name and sacrifice are kept much out of view, or greatly obscured at this day; and that many "take
away from the words" that assert his glory.
*Of the xxii chapters in Revelations, eleven mention the Lamb; his glory or worship.