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melts, and changes that heart, and brings it, by a voluntary action of its own powers, now enlightened, refined, and regulated, to embrace, and love, and serve God. When eternal ruin hung over the fate of man under the administration of the violated law, this plan of redemption was matured in the council of the divine Trinity. The Father consented to deliver up the only begotten Son to the operation of the law, a substitute for sinners; the Son consented to yield his life a ransom; and the Holy Spirit became the efficient agent in illustrating this plan to the minds of sinners, dark, ignorant, and lost; and in gaining the voluntary consent of these perverse minds to the truth. Here is harmony produced where every thing appeared discordant and hopeless. And this harmony is the result of the simple and natural action of God in the Trinity.
The beauty of the doctrine appears principally in its adaptation, and actual efficiency to produce its end, and that end one of the highest glory and benevolence. It saves sinners-saves them from the curse of the lawsaves them under sentence of an immutable law, inflicting an eternal penalty-saves them in consistency with divine justice, in harmony with that law, and with the integrity of the divine character. Here is moral beauty which Almighty power alone could create, which uncreated, could have found an ideal archetype only in the conceptions of the infinite mind, and which could have found an application to the case of sinners only in the harmonious action of the divine Trinity.
And now, have we not here, in the harmony, beauty, and glory of this one doctrine, a sufficient subject for wonder, love, and praise, through all eternity? Who would mar the beauty, or interrupt the harmony of this doctrine? Let him first furnish, as a substitute, another doctrine, equally glorious, consistent, harmonious with itself and in all its relations, and withal equally supported by the unperverted, plain testimonies of the Bible. Before he proceeds to remove this corner-stone, on which I rest my eternal hope, let him show me one equally beautiful, more rational as a ground of trust, and better supported by the word of God. This he can never do. Oh, no; that scheme which removes the mystery of the Trinity from the plan of salvation, disrobes that plan of its principal moral beauty, mars the brightest attribute of God, conflicts the principles and destroys the harmony of the divine government, for one mystery substitutes greater mysteries, and utterly obscures the sun, which enlightens my path to the mercy-seat. The doctrine of the Trinity is the central sun of the Christian system, the source of light and heat, motion and life, to the worlds of mind within its sphere, which it holds in their orbits and controls. Blot it out, and you throw us back on the night of paganism, to the mere religion of nature, the dim twilight of heathen philosophy. We will say then, with the chief Apostle Without controversy, great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
Thus you see the divine Trinity employed in the work of man's redemption. You see the part, which each person in the sacred Trinity performs in this work. You see the necessity of this Trinity to the work of man's redemption, and the beauty and harmony of the doctrine. Instead then of a Being partial, bloody, or unjust on the one hand, or changeable, imbecile, or compromising on the other, you see all the glorious attributes of a Being infinitely perfect, meet, and harmonize, and unite in a work of infinite benevolence. You are called away from theory and speculation, from philosophy and human science, to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of him lessons of infinite wisdom. You are called to leave all masters on earth, and to pay your homage to that divine Master and Savior, whom "all the angels of God worship."
No. 7. VOL. 10.]
[WHOLE NO. 115.
Preached at Baltimore, September 9th, 1835, at the Annual Meeting of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
By SAMUEL MILLER, D. D.,
THE EARTH FILLED WITH THE GLORY OF THE LORD. NUMBERS XIV. 20, 21-And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
THE practice of confirming a declaration with an oath, is of very early origin. And although the multiplication of oaths is a great evil, and the act of taking or administering them with lightness, an aggravated sin; yet they are, undoubtedly, in great error who maintain that all swearing, even on the most solemn occasions, and on the call of judicial officers, is unlawful. An oath for confirmation, says an inspired Apostle, is an end of all strife. Accordingly, in the sacred history, we find many examples of holy men, on various occasions, employing this form of asseveration. But, what is much more decisive still, we find the High and Holy One himself repeatedly adopting it to confirm both his promises and his threatenings. Thus we read, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that, there being no greater, Jehovah sware by himself; and again, in the same Epistle, it is said, that God willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it with an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, they might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us. And in the passage before us, the Lord said, As I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
These words were spoken on a very distressing, and, to the eye of man, a very discouraging occasion. When the twelve men who had been sent from the wilderness of Paran to spy out the land of promise, brought back their report, the mass of the people were almost overwhelmed with alarm and discouragement. Nay, overcome by apprehension, and infatuated with a spirit of VOL. 10. No. 7.
unbelief and rebellion, they proposed to make choice of another leader, and return back to Egypt. With this ungrateful and daring revolt the Lord was greatly displeased, and threatened to give them up to his destroying judgments, and to disinherit them for ever. Moses, however, interceded for the people in a most touching strain of importunate prayer: and he prevailed. The Lord said, I have pardoned them according to thy word. But as truly as I live, the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. As if he had said—" Unbelieving and rebellious as this people now appear, and utterly desperate as their prospects may seem ;-neither my plans nor my promises, in regard to them or the world, shall be frustrated. My cause shall finally triumph over all the infatuation and rebellion of man. The whole earth shall, in due time, be filled with my glory."
I shall not stop here to inquire, whether the original word here translated "the earth," is intended to designate the whole earth, in the largest sense of the expression; or only that land, viz. the whole land of Palestine, to which the people were going. However this may be decided, we know that examples occur in other parts of Scripture, in which the term "earth" is applied in the largest sense, and also connected with a promise that the whole inhabited globe shall one day be filled with the knowledge and glory of the Lord. In giving the most ample interpretation, then, to the language of our text, we are certain that we do not go beyond the spirit of Holy Scripture.
There are three things in the passage before us which demand our noticeTHE IMPORT OF THE PROMISE WHICH IT CONTAINS ;- -THE REASONS WHICH WE HAVE FOR BELIEVING THAT THIS PROMISE WILL, IN DUE TIME, BE REALIZED ; —AND THE DUTY DEVOLVING ON US IN RELATION TO THE PROMISE. I. Let us attend to THE IMPORT OF THE PROMISE before us. This import, expressed with so much solemnity of asseveration, is large and precious. As I live, saith the Lord, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
Glory is the manifestation of excellence. The glory of God is that display of his most blessed character and will, which opens the way for his intelligent creatures to know, to love, and to obey him. This glory is exhibited in various ways. It shines in all the works of creation. All the works of God, we are told, praise him. The heavens declare his glory, and the firmament showeth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Again, the glory of God is manifested by the works of his providence. Here his wisdom, his power, and his benevolence, gloriously shine. The Lord, we are told, is known—that is, is made known,-by the judgments which he executeth. But, above all, is the glory of God displayed in the work of REDEMPTION; in that great plan of love and mercy by a Redeemer, which was first revealed to the parents of our race immediately after the fall; which was more and more unfolded in the ceremonial economy; and which reached its meridian brightness, when the Saviour, the blessed "Sun of Righteousness" rose upon a dark world. In this wonderful plan of salvation, the glory of God shines with
its brightest lustre. Here all his perfections unite and harmonize, and shine with transcendant glory. Now, when the Gospel, which proclaims this plan of mercy, shall be preached and received throughout the world; when every kindred, and people, and nation and tongue shall not only be instructed in its sublime doctrines, but also brought under its benign and sanctifying power; then, with emphatic propriety, may it be said that "the earth is filled with the glory of the Lord." As the highest glory, of which an individual creature is capable, is to bear the image of his Maker; so the highest glory of which our world at large is capable, is to be filled with the holy and benevolent Spirit of Him who is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person ;—is to have the knowledge and love of the Saviour reigning over all the population of our globe, from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same.
It is this universal prevalence of the true religion; that religion which alone can enlighten, sanctify and save; that religion which imparts the highest physical and moral glory, wherever it reigns, and in proportion as it reigns ;it is the universal prevalence of this glory which is promised in our text. When this holy and benevolent religion shall fill the world, then shall be brought to pass the promise which is here recorded. Yes, when the benign power of the Gospel, and all the graces and virtues which it inspires, shall reign over all the family of man; when the highest intellectual and moral culture shall be every where enjoyed; when the voice of prayer and praise shall be heard in every tabernacle; when the Sabbath shall be universally kept holy to God; when the Christian law of marriage, that noblest and most precious bond of social purity and happiness, shall be universally and sacredly obeyed; when the temperance reformation, without any unscriptural extremes, or fanatical perversions, shall pervade the world: when "wars shall cease to the ends of the earth;" when fraud and violence shall be banished from the abodes of men; when the voice of profaneness shall no more pollute the lips or the ears of creatures claiming to be rational; when tyranny and oppression, in every form, shall come to an end; when sectarian feuds and jealousies shall be unknown, save only in the pages of history; when all heresy and error shall give place to the power of truth, and all vice and profligacy to the reign of Christian purity; when the Mosque and the Pagoda shall be transformed into temples of the Christian's God: when the habitations of savage cruelty shall become the abodes of holiness and peace; when the activity of a greatly extended commerce shall be directed chiefly to the intellectual and moral culture of society; when justice, order, industry, brotherly kindness, and charity shall universally reign ;—in a word, when the church of God, with all its choicest influences, shall fill the earth; —then shall the promise before us be gloriously realized. This will be emphatically, "the glory of the Lord;"—the glory of his power; the glory of his holiness; the glory of his love. It will be, in its measure, the same glory which forms the blessedness of the heavenly world; the same glory in which those whose robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, walk in white raiment before the throne of God. O how glorious shall this fallen world be,
when all the nations which compose it shall be "just, fearing God;" when those who are nominally "the people of God, shall be all righteous;" when every family shall be the abode of purity, order, and love; when every individual shall be a "temple of the Holy Ghost ;" and when, from pole to pole, the song of jubilee shall be heard-Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him who sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever! Alleluia! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!
Such appears to be the import of the promise before us.-Let us next inquire,
II. WHAT REASON HAVE we for belieVING THAT THESE SCENES OF GLORY WILL ONE DAY BE REALIZED? This is, to the Christian's heart, a most interesting inquiry. Let us ponder it with a seriousness corresponding to its unspeakable importance.
And here it is obvious to remark, that there will be no need of miracles (in the ordinary sense of that word) to bring about the accomplishment of the promise before us. Only suppose the genuine power of the Gospel, which we see to reign in thousands of individuals and families now-actually to reign in all hearts, and to pervade the world, and the work is done. But how can we hope for this? I answer
1. First of all, and above all, our hope is founded on JEHOVAH'S FAITHFUL AND UNERRING PROMISE. This is, undoubtedly, the chief ground of confidence. For that a religion which has been preached for eighteen centuries, and which has been as yet received, even nominally, by less than a fourth part of mankind, will one day, and, at most, in a century or two from this hour, pervade and govern the world, we can expect with confidence only on the promise of Him who is Almighty, and who cannot lie. But this promise is surely enough for the most unwavering confidence. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Jehovah is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but one jot or tittle of all that has gone out of the mouth of Jehovah shall not pass away, until all be fulfilled.
Let us attend, then, to some of the promises on this subject with which the word of God abounds. Take the following as a small specimen of the "exceeding great and precious" catalogue found in the inspired volume. The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, Rev. xi. 15. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession, Ps. ii. 8. All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him, Ps. xxii. 27. From the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place shall incense be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts, Mal. i. 11. And I will gather all nations, and tongues, and cause them to come and see my glory, Isa. lxvi. 18. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of