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takes the love of God to him for a pattern of his behavior to his fellow creatures. St. Paul hath
very emphatically expressed the happy change which the gospel produceth in true christians. We all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, 2. Cor. iii. 18. Some commentators, instead of reading we all beholding as in a glass, as the expression is rendered in our translation, render the words, we all becoming mirrors. I will not undertake to prove that this is the meaning of the term : it is certainly the sense of the apostle.* He means to inform us, that the impression, which the evangelical display of the perfections of God makes on the souls of. believers, engraves them on their minds, and renders them like mirrors, that reflect the rays, and the objects which are placed opposite to them, and represent their images. They behold the glory of the Lord with open face. They are changed from glory to glory into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. I wish, my brethren, that the impression, which was made on you by the generosity and magnanimity of God, who loaded you this morning with his gracious benefits, may transform you to-day into the same image from glory to glory. I would animate you with this, the most noble, the most sublime, the most comfortable, way of praising God.
* The idea of reflecting, while one contemplates, the attributes of God, is a very fine thought, and fully expressive of the benevolent effects which christianity produceth in its disciples; but Mr. Saurin, whose business as a christian minister was not with the fine, but the true, only meant, by what he said above, that it was agreeable to the general design of the apostle. Erasmus was the first who translated St. Paul's term xulonlei Somervos in speculo repræsentantes. Beza renders it in speculo intuentes; and the French bibles have it, nous contemplons comme en un miroir. Our author was delighted with the ingenuity of Erasmus, however he could not accede to his translation, because, 1. He could meet with no Greek author, cotemporary with St. Paul, who had used the term in the sense of Erasmus. 2. Because he could not perceive any connection between that signification and the phrase with open face. He abode therefore by the usual reading. See Serm. Tom. ix. S. viii. My idea of an object pleases me, therefore it is a true idea of it, is contemptible logic; yet how many pretended artisles of religion have arisen from this
way of reasoning!
What gave you so much peace and pleasure this morning, in what God did for you? Was it the pardon of your sins ? Imitate it ; pardon your brethren. Was it his past forbearance with you Imitate it ; moderate that impatience which the ingratitude of your brethren excites in your minds. Was it that spirit of communication, which disposed a God, who is all-sufficient to his own happiness, to
go out of himself, as it were, and to communicate his felicity to creatures ? Imitate it ; go out of those intrenchments of prosperity in which you lodge, and impart your benefits to your brethren. Was it the continual watchfulness of God for the salvation of your souls ? Imitate it; exert yourselves for the salvation of the souls of your brethren; suffer not those, who are united to you by all the ties of nature, society, and religion, to perish through your lukewarmness and negligence. While you triumphantly exclaim, on this solemn festival, Let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation ! Psal. xcv. 1. Remember your persecuted brethren, to whom God refuseth this pleasure ? remember the ways of Zion, that mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts, Lam. i. 4.
My brethren, how pleasing is a christian festival! How comfortable the institution, to which we were this morning called! But I remember here a saying of Jesus Christ to his apostles, I have other sheep which are not of this fold : them also I must bring, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd, John x. 16. Alas! we also have sheep in another fold. When shall we have the
comfort of bringing them into this ? Ye divided families! who are at present in this assembly, when will you be united ? Ye children of the reformation! whom the misfortunes of the times have torn from us; ye dear parts of ourselves! when will you come to us? When will ye be re-gathered to the flock of the great shepherd and bishop of our souls ? When will ye shed in our assemblies tears of repentance, for having lived so long without a church, without sacraments, without public worship? When will ye shed tears of joy for having recovered these advantages ?
Great God! Thou great God who hidest thyself ! is it to extinguish, or to enflame our zeal, that thou delayest the happy period? Are our hopes suspended or confounded? God grant, my dear brethren, that the praise, which we render to the Lord for all his benefits, may obtain their continuance and increase! And God grant, while he giveth us our lives for a prey, Jer. xxi. 9. that those of our brethren may be given us also ! to him be honor and glory for ever! Amen.
IND OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
The Perfection of Christian Knowledge.