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which are employed in scripture to express the pleasures of the heavenly state, are, necessarily, sensible images. They are sometimes derived from things pleasant to the taste; and sometimes from the gladness of heart which reigns at a feast, or on a festal occasion; as when our Lord saith, on his giving the cup to his disciples at the last supper; "I will not drink "henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new, WITH YOU, in my "Father's kingdom."*" I appoint unto you a kingdom, that ye may eat and drink at my "table in my kingdom." +" For they shall "come from the East, and from the West, and "from the North, and from the South, and "shall sit down in the kingdom of God." ‡ It is also said, "Blessed is he that shall eat "bread in the kingdom of God." §
But the most beautiful image to denote the felicity of the celestial state, is derived from sounds pleasing to the ear. The concord of sweet sounds, being a pleasure more refined and intellectual than that of taste, is, in our apprehension, a more appropriate emblem of the enjoyments of Paradise. This figure is frequently used by St. John: and from him, our poet Milton has taken, some of, his images
*Matt. xxvi. 29.
Luke xxii. 29.
§ Luke xiv. 15.
of the joy of heaven; as in the following pas
"The multitude of angels, with a shout
"Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
In directing your thoughts to the scene of the heavenly Jubilee, we shall first contemplate the assembly and then the employment.The ASSEMBLY is described in the following sublime and beautiful passage.
"For ye are now come unto Mount Zion, " and unto the city of the LIVING GOD; the "heavenly Jerusalem; and to an innumerable "company of ANGELS; to the general Assem
• bly and church of the first born, which are "written in heaven; and to God the judge "of all, and to the spirits of JUST MEN made perfect: And to JESUS the Mediator of the "new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of << Abel." +
When we consider, that this passage contains not only grandeur of diction, but sub-' lime truth, and that it is not merely sustained by metaphor and images, but by a surpassing
*Parad. Lost, Book 2.
† Heb. xii. 22.
reality; it must appear to us to stand unrivalled amongst the compositions of men.
The Evangelist John, while in the isle of Patmos, had some visions of the EMPLOYMENT and blessedness of heaven.
"I beheld, saith he, and lo, a great multi"tude which no man could number, of all "nations and kindreds and people and "tongues, stood before the throne, and before "the LAMB, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried, with a "loud voice, saying, salvation to our God, "which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the, "Lamb. And I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps; and they sung, "as it were, a NEW SONG before the throne." + Thus we see, that there will be a JUBILEE in heaven. And what is the chief object of gratulation? It is "the marriage supper of the "Lamb;" as described by St. John in the following words:
"And I beheld, as it were, the voice of a
great multitude, and, as the voice of many "waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder"ings, saying, Allelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be GLAD and REJOICE, for the marriage of the Lamb is
* Rev. vii. 19.
+ Rev. xiv. 2.
"come, and his wife hath made herself ready. "And he saith unto me, write, blessed are "they which are called to the marriage supper "of the Lamb." *
In discoursing on this subject, we shall consider,
1st. The Lamb here spoken of; and,
2d. Inquire who those are, that shall be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
And while we are contemplating this important question, let us pray that the Spirit of truth may bear witness to the truth, while we endeavour to shew, that they only shall be called to the marriage of the Lamb, who depend for salvation on the blood of the Lamb.
I. And first, of the Lamb here spoken of. The Lamb here spoken of is" the Lamb slain "from the foundation of the world ;t which was slain in the COUNSELS of God, from the foundation of the world, for the sins of men ; even the eternal son of the Father, who, in the fulness of time, took our nature upon him, and came into the world, and was pointed out by the herald, who was "to prepare his way," as being "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world;"‡ who had been prefigured for ages and generations at the Pas
* Rev. xix. 9.
+ Rev. xiii. S.
chal Feast of the chosen people, by a lamb slain; and who, when the last great feast was come, was actually slain on Calvary," the very "Paschal Lamb," and made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and having thus "tasted of death for every man," " he rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven, where he yet appears in the character of a mediator and intercessor; for St. John saw again in his vision, " and behold, in the "midst of the throne, and in the midst of the "elders, stood a Lamb, as it had been slain ;" And they sung a new song, saying,-" Thou "WAST slain and hast redeemed us to God by
thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, ❝ and people, and nation." And I beheld, and I heard the "voice of many angels, round a"bout the throne, and the beasts and the elders; "and the number of them was ten thousand "times ten thousand, and thousands of thou"sands, saying, with a loud voice, worthy is the "Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and hon"our, and glory, and blessing. And every “creature, heard I saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that