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self,--the blessed and only potentate,-God over all, blessed for evermore.
It may be viewed also as expressive of what he is unto others. All the well-springs of his people are in him. From these sources of consolation they have hitherto been supplied : and whatever good things they have in prospect, they expect them only in the channel of his mediation. Angels know, that the whole stock of the blessedness of the redeemed is lodged with Christ ; and, therefore, with the same breath in which they proclaim his other excellencies, they ascribe to him endless blessing and praise.
The Saviour of men is entitled to be praised on various other accounts besides those mentioned in this song. These worshippers do not pretend to enumerate all his excellencies, or to shew forth all his praise. It is not, however, without a special design that the particulars here enumerated have been selected as the matter of their song: they are intended to mark to more advantage the contrast between his present condition and former state of abasement. To see the propriety of this observation, you have only to run over the different particulars of the song.—They celebrate the authority of him, 'who, in the days of his flesh, came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.' Instead of appearing as the Lord of all, when he girded himself with a towel, and washed the feet of the disciples, he appeared as if he had been the servant of all.—They celebrate the riches of him, who, in the days of his abasement, appeared as a man of poverty. A poorer man never was upon the earth ; he had neither a house nor a grave that he could call his own. Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.'—They celebrate the wisdom of him, who, in the estimation of the wise and prudent of the world, died as a fool dieth. They supposed that his schemes of sedition and imposture were completely detected, when they blindfolded him, and smote him upon the head, saying, ' Prophesy, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?'— The other excellencies here ascribed to him were equally obscured in the
days of his flesh. Contrasted, therefore, with his former condition, they sing the glories and matchless excellencies of the Lamb that was slain.
The third and last class of worshippers includes all the other orders of created being. Those already mentioned were angels and men, the only orders of intelligent and moral agents with whose existence we are acquainted; but those whose exercise is described in verse 13. are the different tribes of animated matter, and the different parts of the celestial and terraqueous system. They are classed under separate heads, distinguished from each other by the place which they occupy in the general system of things.
The first entioned are those in heaven. The starry heavens and aerial regions appear to be intended by the term; and the expression every creature in the heavens must mean the different parts of the workmanship of God in them. The heaven here mentioned cannot be intended of the third heavens, because the inhabitants of that region were previously described. By a figure of speech very common in Scripture, inanimate objects are personified and represented as speaking and acting like intelligent and rational beings. Thus the Psalmist calls upon the sun and moon, and all the stars of light, to praise God; he likewise calls upon fire and hail, snow and vapour, and stormy wind, that fulfil the Divine pleasure, to engage in the work of praise, Psal. cxlviii. 3, 8. These orders of being can have no knowledge of the hand that formed them; they are not conscious of their own existence, or of any of those qualities which they possess. The sun and stars shine with a very brilliant lustre, but they have not a mental eye to perceive it; the tempest embroils the heavens, and spreads desolation wherever it comes, but it is insensible to its own force, and blind to all the effects of its rage. These cannot praise God actively, but in as much as the glory of God is displayed through their instrumentality they praise him in a passive manner. Much of God is to be seen in the magnitude, beauty, variety, order, revolutions, and influence of the heavenly bodies: • The heavens declare his glory, and the firmament sheweth his handy-work.' And in this text, John tells us that he heard every creature which is in heaven saying, Blessing, honour, glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne.
The second mentioned are those on the earth, by which are meant, the different orders of creatures on the surface, as distinguished from those in the bowels, of the earth, and in the seas. They include all the different kinds of land-animals, and the numerous fruits and products of the soil. In the cxlviii. Psalm, to which we have already referred, mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, and even insects and creeping things, are invoked to praise God. Like those in the planetary system, and in the lower regions of the heavens, they can praise God only in a passive way; but even in this manner they are admirably fitted to declare his excellencies. The mountains and rocks shew that they were formed by an Almighty hand; the different vegetable substances, from the smallest pile of grass to the cedar in Lebanon, manifest that they are the products of Divine power and goodness; and all the different tribes of animated matter shew that they have the same common parent. Each of these different orders of being has its own peculiar excellencies, by which it is fitted for the place which it occupies, and without which the system of things would not have been perfect and complete. It is little we know of the works of nature, or of common providence; after the study of nearly six thousand years, the use and design of various parts of the system are still profound secrets, even to the strictest observers. But the more that
sanctified mind considers them, the more it is struck with admiration of that vast comprehensive mind which formed the plan, and of that infinite beneficence and energy which gave being to the system of things. With David every man of true piety is disposed to exclaim, How manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all : the earth is full of thy riches,' Psalm civ. 24.
The third mentioned are those under the earth. They include metals, minerals, and the different kinds of earths and stones, all those substances of which the solid mass of the terrestrial globe is composed. Under the same head must be included all those subterraneous fires which have been lighted up for the purification and general health of the system. Appearances in the heavens are sometimes very alarming, but the mighty operations in the bowels of the earth are not less tremendous. The same hand that formed the lightning, and gave to the thunder-storm its power of destruction, has kindled the fires of the volcano, and supplied them with fuel. Did we fully understand the designs of the God of nature, and the subserviency of these furnaces to the health of the world, we might see as much of the wisdom and goodness as of the power and majesty of God displayed in them.
The last mentioned are the creatures in the sea, which must be understood of all the inhabitants of the waters. He that formed the dry land, and peopled its numerous regions with inhabitants, scooped out that capacious basin which contains the waters of the sea, and filled it with life. We cannot but admire the fitness of every creature in the dry land, for the place it was destined to occupy: we have the same reason to admire the proofs of wisdom and design in the formation of the inhabitants of the deep. The foot is not more adapted to the land, the root to the soil, or the wing to the air, than fins and scales are fitted for the inhabitants of the waters. Through all the different kingdoms in the world of nature, the excellencies of the great Ruler are written in the most legible characters; and, in so far as the glory of his excellencies is manifested, every creature in the sea, as well as on the dry land, and in the regions of the heavens, lifts up its voice and praises the Maker and Lord of the universe.
The general declaration contained in these words, and all that are in them, must be understood as bearing upon the different particulars in the specification. John heard the different orders of being in the starry heavens, and in the aerial regions, those also on the surface and in the bowels of the earth, and such as were in the seas,-all join together in one grand uni. versal chorus, lifting up their voices in the loudest and most harmonious accents of praise. Every thing that had being sung the praises of its Maker. He had heard the living creatures and the elders singing and giving praise ; he had likewise heard myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands of holy angels, joining in the same holy and delightful exercise ; and now, as if the whole creation had been roused by the example of the church, and the exercise of the inhabitants of heaven, all other creatures poured forth the most melodious accents, and swelled the note of praise.—There is no part of the kingdom of nature which is silent in the praises of God; even the floods clap hands, and lift up their voice, and the mountains and forests break forth into singing. The roar of the thunder, the tremulous motion and confused noise of the earthquake, the smoke, the flames, and the ashes of the volcano, and the birds of the air which sing with delectation in the heavens, or in the thickets of the forest,--all shew forth the praises of Him who made, who sustains, and who manages the numerous departments in the extensive and complicated system of the universe.
In this song, they ascribe blessing, honour, glory, and power, to God. These different excellencies were considered in the illustration of the song of angels ; it therefore only remains, that we consider the object of their worship as pointed out in the close of the verse. They sing praises to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. By him that sitteth upon the throne, we have seen, must be understood the Father as sustaining the majesty and rights of Deity. It is easy to conceive, how the tribes of animals, and the different parts of sluggish matter, may be represented as praising God their maker. The smallest particle of dust carries in it a demonstration of the being and power of God, and challenges the world of angels and men to produce its fellow. But how these different orders of being should be introduced as praising