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· Did we particularly consider the history of redemption, we would at every step find reason to admire “ the manifold wisdom of God;" as difplayed in the comprehensive nature of the first revelation of grace, which is a beautiful summary of all that hath since been communicated to the Church ; in its being expressed in a free promise ; in the seasonableness of this revelation in the choice of that divine Person, as the immediate Revealer, who was himself to bruise the head of the serpent ; in the institution of facrifices, as a perpetual and sensible testimony of the way in which sin should actually be expiated ; in the falvation of the family of Noah by an ark, and by means of water, as figurative of the salvation of all who believe ; in the appointment of a typical priesthood and royalty, as well as in raising up prophets, who were at the same time messengers employed by the Angel of the covenant, and types of his future appearance in our world ; in the whole frame of the Mosaic dispensation, as a fhadow of good things to come; in the gradual increase of the light of revelation, as the more perfect day approached, when “ the Sun of righteouf“ ness” should himself “ arise with healing in his “ wings.”
How wonderful the display of divine wisdom, in the constitution of the mediatory person of Jesus ; in the formation of his body, of the same substance with ours, yet without fin ; in the choice of the time of his appearance, when“ the “world by wisdom knew not God;" in the means
employed for the accomplishment of the prophecy as to his being born in Bethlehem, and for making it legally known that he was of the lineage of David; in the excitement of a general expectation, among Gentiles as well as Jews, of the appearance of an illustrious and extraordinary person about this time; in the choice of his forerunner, in respect of the tribe of which he sprung, his immediate parents, the place of his nativity and education, his manner of life, his peculiar ministry, his great acceptableness to the people, his eminent faithfulness and intrepidity, his want of personal acquaintance with the Messiah, and the occasion and circumstances of his testimony to him!
Here we might contemplate this perfection as displayed in the doctrine which Christ taught ; in the character of his miracles; in the choice of the time and circumstances in which many of them were wrought, and in their peculiar fignificancy as emblems of his spiritual work; in the employment of so unlikely a mean as his own death, for destroying the power of fin, Satan and death ; in his being betrayed by one of his disciples, the natural consequence of which must have been, that had the traitor known any thing detrimental to the character of his Master, he would undoubtedly have published it for his own vindication ; in making the doctrine of the cross the instrument of subduing the world to the obedience of faith. But the nature of this work will not admit of fo particular a discussion.
We might also take an extensive view of Divine Power. For the sacred volume contains a striking and an ample history of this perfection. Its glory illuminates the records of creation. No language can be imagined, that could so forcibly express the infinite ease with which God effected this work, as that employed by the inspired historian. “ God said, Let light be, and light was.' He “ spake, and it was done : he commanded, “ and it stood fast.” His providential government is one continued display of omnipotence.
Day “ unto day uttereth speech."
The Sacred History, in a great variety of instances, illustrates the meaning of that name which God so frequently uses,- JEHOVAH Sabaoth, or the LORD OF Hosts,-a name which peculiarly expresses his almighty power and universal dominion. Some have supposed, that Sabaoth is one of the proper names of God. But it is evident, that as the word fignifies hosts or armies, he is called the LORD, or God of hosts, because the various hosts of creatures are all the work of his hands, and obey his will. This is just an expresfion of his omnipotence. Hence we find, that the language of the seraphim, “ Holy, holy, holy is “ the Lord of hosts f," is applied to him by the four living creatures, with a change of expression denoting the meaning of the name; Holy, holy, “ holy LORD God Almighty .."
His is “ the army of heaven.” The different orders of holy angels are all his hosts, his “ mini“ sters that do his pleasure.” He employs them as ministers both of providence and grace, and as instruments either of judgment, or of mercy. By an angel, the vain-glorious Herod is smitten b, and by an angel the faithful servant of Jesus is delivered i. Sometimes one of these heavenly mefsengers sweeps away embattled hosts with “ the “ befom of destruction.” Thus an angel smote, in the camp of the Assyrians, an hundred fourscore and five thousand k. At other times, an army of angels is employed as a guard to one man. When the king of Syria sought to make Elisha his prisoner, and sent to Dothan “ horses, “ and chariots, and a great host,” which compasfed the city ; “ behold, the mountain," on which it was built, “ was full of horses and chariots of « fire round about Elisha!." When the angels of God met Jacob on his way to his father's house, he said, “ This is God's host m." “ Are they not “all ministering fpirits, sent forth to minister to “ the heirs of salvation ?"
He hath also legions of devils at his command, whom he employs, either for the trial of his saints, as in the experience of Job"; or for the punishment of his adversaries, as we learn from the account given of his judgments on the Egyptians; “ He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, “ wrath and indignation, and trouble, by sending "evil angels among them.” These hellish hosts acknowledged Jesus as their Lord ; confesling that he had power to torment them, or to send them whithersoever he pleased.
h Acts xii. 23.
2 Kings vi. 15.17.
i Acts sii. 7. II.
k 2 Kings six. 35.
Wicked men must also be numbered among his hofts. For he “ maketh the wrath of man to
praise him ; the remainder of wrath shall he “ restrain.” Hence he calls Nebuchadnezzar his servant P: and all wicked men are his servants in the same sense : for he overrules their very wickedness for accomplishing his own purposes.
“ His “ servants they are to whom they obey :” and although disobedient to the precept, they, without any intention on their part, as well as without any constraint on his, fulfil the purpose. For accomplishing his designs of judgment, often he cniploys them against one another. Thus did he testify his displeasure with the Midianites , and afterwards with the Philistines ", when they fought the destruction of his people. He “ fet every “ man's sword against his fellow.” Often hatlı he employed them as his instruments in punishing a professing people for their iniquities. Sennacherib, notwithstanding all his boasting and stoutness of heart against the God of Israel, was only his sword. That God, whom he blafpherned, had sent him, although he knew it not, “ against an
hypocritical nation.” He was mereiy executing a commillion, which he could not read; and fulfilling all God's counsel, although he viewed it
p Jer. xsvii. 6.
o Pfal. lxxviii. 49. 1 Sam, xiv, 20.
9 Judg. vii. 22.