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rious orders of unintelligent creatures, from the smallest atom up to the highest order of mere sensitive beings, to declare his glory; he has also adapted to the same great end the whole circle of higher and nobler dependent existences, from the feeblest intellect, in the rational world, to the most exalted principalities and powers in heavenly places.
But it is by means of the church, or in the redemption of his chosen, that we are now especially to eye the divine operations, in bringing glory to the Godhead. In our text, there is a most animated invocation of the heavens and earth to join in celebrating the praise of God, on a most important account, which is expressed; "for the Lord hath redeemed. Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel." Who are the subjects of this most happy and joy. ful redemption, can be no matter of doubt.. Jacob and Israel are appellatives frequently used for the church of God, in its purest and most comprehensive sense. Israelites, or the seed of Jacob, are the subjects of God's gra-cious promises. They are the people, whom he has chosen, to be brought near to himself, to experience the efficacy of his grace, and to exhibit an example of the overflowing abundance and superlative richness of his redeeming mercy. The Israel of God is the evangelical gospel church, in all ages of the world, and under every dispensation of revealed truth. By this church, or body of men, by making them the subjects of most.
eminent and distinguished benefits, God glorifies himself; and hence puts an argu ment to devout praise and thanksgiving into the mouths of all his creatures. It is in the redemption of the church, that God is represented as appearing most glorious, as deserving the highest ascriptions of praise from the united hearts and voices of all creatures. As God's peculiar kindness and care is for the church, that he may exalt it above the common guilt and wretchedness of an apostate. world; all his dealings with this sacred community have a merciful aspect and tendency. It is no single dispensation, that is to decide, what are his feelings and final determinations, with respect to his people. A long and complicated chain of events is often necessary fully to expose and bring to light the love of God to his own heritage. The frowns are but preludes to the smiles of Providence; with regard to the interests of the church. If he denounces evil against them, and brings days of adversity upon them, it is that they may be the better prepared to inherit his favour, and rejoice in his goodness.
"Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bowels are troubled for him: I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.” The great distinguishing privilege of the church or the people of God, consists in their redemp tion. In this only is their superiority to oth
In this, therefore, are they, in a pecul
iar sense, instrumental of glory to God. It behoves us, then, to inquire,
First. Into the redemption, which is an occasion of glory to God through the church.
Secondly. How this is a means of great glory to God..
That God can have no motive, short of his own glory, for those exercises of mercy, which he puts forth towards certain portions. of the human race, in raising their condition above that of others, appears, I think, sufficiently evident from considerations, that have heretofore been suggested.
trary supposition would bring him under the guilt of partiality, since all men are naturally alike depraved, have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, and have no claim, one above another, to those special benefits, which some enjoy to the exclusion of the rest. That there is such a thing, as special, distinguishing, grace; viz. favour conferred on some, more than what is bestowed upon others, of the same moral character and de serts, is too manifest, methinks, to require an argument for our conviction. Our text speaks of redemption to Jacob, not as something common to the human race; but as the peculiar lot of that part of mankind, which went under this denomination. This, however, does not imply, but that particular instances of redemption, as a temporal and ordinary benefit, may take place all over the world; that is, men of every description,
and in all places, may be occasionally saved from such impending evils, as threaten their temporal welfare, and this may be termed redemption. But God redeems his church, in a higher and much more eminent sense. To say what this redemption is, is the
First thing, to which our attention is now invited. The church of God, consisting of the family and descendents of ancient Jacob, experienced, at the hand of God, many signal deliverances, before the time, when our text was spoken by the mouth of the prophet. The several escapes from the hand of enemies and oppressors they met with were . so many instances of redemption; some of which took place under circumstances very memorable and extraordinary, manifesting the hand of God in a most affecting manner.. Such wonderful deliverances, of this sort, no other people under heaven ever experienced.. But redemption, in our text, means some. thing much more interesting and precious. In the preceding chapter God reminds his people, by the prophet, of what he had done for them, what mighty works he had wrought to extricate and preserve them from the des.. tructive power of their enemies. "Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the holy One of Israel, For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships." Afterwards it is added, "Re-member ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will
do a new thing: now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chos.
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise." Better blessings are here promised, blessings more deserving devout attention and regard, than those, which consist in salvation from cruel and potent enemies, or deliverance from the yoke of a tyrant. The subject is still further illustrated, by reviewing the awful declensions, into which the church had fallen, and intimating the glorious deliverance she, in due time, should experience. "But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.-Yet now hear, O Jacob, my servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen. Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty,and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring. And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows among the water courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord,