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“ sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, « for ever and ever."*
Behold then, my brethren, the nature of your employment in heaven, and one subject at least of its felicity and glory. It is the worship of God and the Lamb. And this worship must commence upon earth. The incense of our sacrifice must first ascend from below; for this earth was the altar of the great sacrifice ; and the Lamb was slain, not for angels, but for the sons of men. What shall we think then of those, who have passed through a great part of life, and have not meditated one hour, perhaps, on the Lamb that was slain? And how shall we account of those who say there is no atonement by the blood of the Lamb ? when the whole worship of heaven is one continued acknowledgement of that atonement? Even the words of our future worship are given ; “ Thou wast “ slain and hast redeemed to God by thy « blood."
It will be proper next to explain what is to be understood by the emblem of the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“ For, it is said, let us be glad, and rejoice, for the marriage of the “ Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself s ready.” By this emblem is intended the blessedness of the redeemed beholding the glory of Christ, and enjoying his presence for evermore. In holy scripture, the Church is called the spouse or bride of Christ; a figure intended to intimate the love he bears to those whom he hath redeemed from death eternal by his precious blood. And agreeably to this figure, these spiritual espousals commence upon earth. The Apostle illustrates this emblem in one sentence. " Christ," saith he,
* Rev. v. 14.
loved the Church and GAVE HIMSELF for it, es that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with " the washing of water by the word ; that he
might present it to himself a glorious Church, “ not having spot or wrinkle or any such “ thing."* The felicity of heaven begins, when Christ presenteth to himself this GLORIOUS CHURCH. For, then, in the highest sense “ the
marriage of the Lamb is come; and his wife “ hath made herself ready.” And, of this his wife, it is said, “ And to her was granted " that she should be arrayed in fine linen, 6c clean and white; for the fine linen is the “ righteousness of saints.” The wife then, that hath made herself ready is the Church ; that is, those individuals composing the true Church of Christ,“ whom he hath redeemed out of
every kindred, and tongue, and people, and « nation.” And then it is added, “ Blessed are
* Eph. v. 27.
they which are called unto the marriage sup
per of the Lamb.” By a change of figure, not unusual in scripture, the redeemed are here represented as the guests at the marriage Feast; though we have just seen that the Church collectively is set forth under the emblem of the bride.
II. We proceed now to inquire who those are that shall be admitted to the marriage supper of the Lamb; or, in other words, that shall be admitted into heaven to behold the glory of Christ, and to enjoy his presence for
In this important question, let us seek first the testimony of our Saviour; for, “ the Lamb 66 that was slain," hath himself described the character of those who shall be called to the marriage supper. And, it is remarkable, that in setting forth the blessings of his spiritual kingdom, and the qualifications of those who should be admitted to partake of them, he uses the emblem of a marriage feast, and of the wedding garment, which those who were bidden must wear.
“ The kingdom of heaven” (by which he means the blessings of the Gospel which have their commencement on earth, and their com pletion in heaven) “ is like unto a certain
king, which made a marriage for his son ; 66 and he sent forth his servants to call them
" that were bidden, to the wedding."* Our Lord then proceeds to shew that some men “ WOULD NOT COME ; but made light of it, and “ went their ways, one to his farm, and another “ to his merchandize."
These persons we may here observe, who “ would not come,” are they who listen not to the invitation of the Gospel at all. The trumpet of the jubilee sometimes sounds in their ears, but they wish not to hear “ the joyful sound.” The world hatha louder and a sweeter strain ; and they rather obey the call of ambi. tion, of wealth, or of pleasure. At the end of the parable, our Lord saith, “ many are called “ but few are chosen.” How truly is this exemplified in the case of those, of whom we are speaking! They “ are called,” by conscience; they are called by the word of God; they are called by the ministers of his word. But they will not obey the call. So far from having any hope that they “ are chosen,” they wish not (judging from their conduct) to be among the number of “ the chosen.” They do not even make a profession of religion, and never think of “ the Lamb that was slain," or of his spiritual worship, on earth, or in heaven. These are they, to use the remark.
* Mat. xxii, 1.
able expression of the Apostle Paul, who
judge themselves to be unworthy of everlast“ ing life.”
But, although there were some who would not come to the marriage feast, our Lord shew's that the wedding was, at length, furnished with guests. • And when the king came in to - see the guests, he saw there a man which 66 had not a WEDDING GARMENT.
And he " said, friend, how camest thou in hither, “ not having a wedding garment ? And he
was SPEECHLESS. Then said the king to his - servants, bind him hand and foot, and take ss him away, and cast him into outer dark“ ness; there shall be weeping and gnashing " of teeth.”
“ He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." We are all, my brethren, called to the marriage feast in this world ; and many are the guests who sit down at the table. Let every guest begin now to examine himself, whether he hath been invested with the wedding garment. But, first, let us rightly understand what is to be understood by this emblem of righteousness. The prophet Isaiah has used this emblem twice in the same passage, -“ will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul s shall be joyful in my God; for he hath
* Acts xiii. 46.