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empire upon earth; its sovereign, government, domain, population, and other resources. He an universal Lord and Benefactor, clothed with majesty and honour, decking himself with light as it were with a garment, and spreading out the heavens behind him like a curtain; who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, and maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind: his government-angels and spirits, ministers of fire: the country or domain, one that cannot be washed away; he having laid its foundations so "that it never should move at any time:" the population, man and many other sorts of creatures all waiting on him, the Sovereign, for their daily subsistence. "When thou givest it them, they gather it; and when thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good: when thou hidest thy face, they are troubled; when thou takest away their breath, they die, and are turned again to their dust: when thou lettest thy breath go forth, they shall be made, and thou shalt renew the face of the earth."
And hereupon we may consider this renovated surface of the earth as necessary a circumstance in the resurrection, as a productive surface was in the creation,-for its inhabitants generally, and for man in particular. For we are told in the earliest record, how on the occasion of man's disobedience the very ground was cursed for his sake, (Gen. iii. 17,) and became as corrupt as he. (Ib. vi. 12.) If therefore man should be renewed, and not the earth which is still so nearly related to him; being one while his friend, nourisher, and restorer; another while, his foe, poisoner, and seducer, he might himself also as well be left entirely unreformed; since it appears from different expressions in scripture, and from one especially, that the common process of refection which unites us to that ambiguous element will not be abolished hereafter, any more than the sacred feast of the passover, in which, BEING DULY TAKEN, we are similarly united to God; as for example, "I say unto you, 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." (Matt. xxvi. 29.) And what would a man's renovation avail him in that situation, if his best affections were still liable to be inflamed or perverted by the same drink as should administer to his comfort, if his body was still liable to be disordered by the same meat as should nourish and support it, if his ear was still liable to be seduced by pleasing sounds, and if the same objects by which his eyes might be relieved or delighted should still be found so many incentives to cupidity? It would seem quite impossible to make any lasting reform in a creature of the earth without either a corresponding reform therein, or a removal of the creature to a safer sphere. Therefore we are assured, that such a reform is still in the order of providence. "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men ; and he will dwell with them; and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away: and he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. xxi. 3-5.)
Only this quotation may present a worthy, though very general and imperfect, idea of the new material creation, or of what I call a continuation or counterpart of the new spiritual but as to the particulars of this important occurrence we are as much in the dark, as if the same had not been generally foretold, and so must remain: therefore it does not seem wise to be doating and dreaming all sorts of things on the subject.
The creation most proper for our study and attention, is that which we are allowed to know most of, and so allowed because it is most proper to be known, being the creation within; that world of spiritual objects, that "holy city," which "had no need of the sun, neither of the
moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it; and the Lamb was the light thereof:" (Rev. xxi. 23 :) where dignities, or "high places," (Eph. vi. 12,) as it is said, consist not in thrones, in mitres, in crowns, however such things may be mentioned for a comparison or relief; but in real, good, solid, and substantial qualities; in "the hidden man of the heart"-as incorruptible as it is invisible, and particularly in "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit; which is in the sight of God of great price." (Pet. I. iii. 4.) It is in these substantial qualities that spirits take their degrees, and one man is exalted above another, as one star differeth from another star in glory:" (Cor. I. xv. 41 :) though, as I before signified, in giving this spiritual turn to St. John's prophetic view of the new creation, I do not mean to exclude either the present temporal, or a future corporeal state from its allusions. On the contrary I am willing to suppose, that there may be very important revolutions in the one, and many solemn particulars in the other here described or shadowed out to us. But my inducement for this procedure was, to illustrate the great work referred to in my text, the rebuilding of our heavenly Jerusalem, or a new creation of the world within, by our Saviour Christ, that I may throw in my mite toward this glorious undertaking by a seasonable admonition, and you likewise, if agreeable: and it may be considered as our NEW YEAR'S GIFT, or contribution to the same, twined by vigilance and attention.
The present season appears particularly convenient for men to remind each other of this great new work which is, or ought to be going on within them. Indeed every season may be proper enough fer that, and one as much so as another; but every season is not so convenient: for every season does not abound in such instructive characters for the purpose as this. For let a man look upon the face of nature as it usually appears at this season, and see if every thing does not conspire to remind him of his own latent or internal condition, and of his duty or in
terest in relation thereto. The air so bleak and inclement, the earth bound up in frost, its productions withered, drooping and bare, its savage tenants silent, starving and benumbed-sad relicts of the preceding year, afford a strong similitude of the present barren, cold, and, generally speaking, as unfeeling as unfruitful state in which our inner man appears after, it may be, so many months of heavenly sunshine as we have enjoyed; after all the promise, luxuriance, and plenty of spring, summer and autumn: while the increase of daylight, scarcely perceptible as yet, considered as an earnest of the new year, is equally significant of the dawning that precedes a new life in the hearts of believers, a joyful earnest of salvation" through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." (Luke i. 78, 79.)
When that heavenly effulgence is risen to the zenith of our affections, and enthroned, as it deserves, above the petty motives and interests by which our peace is wont to be disturbed, a new order of things must unavoidably obtain within us: our views and sensations will be totally different from what they have been in relation both to God and man. From a chilling distrust of the goodness of the one and a death-like insensibility to the fate of the other, our minds will take a new turn; beginning to discover grounds of confidence in God and of interest in his works, in man especially, while our hearts are teeming with gratitude to the best of beings, and with love to all his creatures. There are various hypotheses as to outward forms in futurity; but all of no weight with this doctrine of our inward subsistence, with the general effect of winning Christ, and "being found in him," that is, described in his life or fate. And such is the subsistence or life that we owe to the light and the life of Christ: such is the genial warmth infused into us by his love, "which passeth knowledge." (Eph. iii. 19.) The sun
does not make a greater alteration in the face of the earth when he revisits it year by year with his enlivening beams, than is made in the spiritual system by Christ, the Sun of righteousness, when he sits upon the throne of his father and shoots his heavenly beams of grace around him.
Then only give your Redeemer the preference he deserves, my brethren: set him up in the throne of your thoughts and affections; and when you call him Lord, let him be Lord indeed: let his word be your law; his example, your guide; his beauty, your delight. "Seek those things which are above; where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God:" (Col. iii. 1:) there seek for yourselves those excellent gifts and graces which are only dispensed through him; and you shall then find what it is to be under his forming influence and direction; you shall experience a second creation in yourselves, there shall not an evil ingredient be left in all "the spirit of your mind," (Eph. iv. 23,) to trouble you. For old things shall pass away; and he that sitteth on the throne-behold, HE MAKETH ALL THINGS NEW.
ON THE LORD'S PRAYER.-1, OF PRAYER
"After this manner therefore, pray ye."
MATT. vi. 9.
INTENDING to deliver, with the divine permission, a series of discourses to some extent on the prayer which our Lord taught his disciples, and is therefore called The Lord's Prayer, I think it necessary 1, to premise a few observations on the accident of prayer generally, in order to indicate its place or position among religious accidents, and how it may be related to the other parts and properties