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his creatures, it resides in him as in its utmost plenitude—as in its proper seat. If his gracious presence is such a perpetual spring of felicity; if it is at “ his right hand there are pleasures for evermore;” how much must he enjoy every moment in the contemplation of his perfections, in the survey of his works and designs, and in the possession of his consciousness of his supreme dominion and transcendent excellence, his unutterable and unbounded felicity!
Conceive, then, of a Being absolutely independent, and existing from eternity; in the enjoyment of infinite happiness, always master of his purpose, never perplexed with difficulty, never agitated with anxious expectation, resting on his own all-sufficiency, and viewing with complacency each attribute of his infinite fulness. What, then, is an age in his view, compared to what it is in the eyes of mortals ? Surely, with such a Being “one day must be as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Admiration is, in most instances, the offspring of ignorance; at least, it implies a limitation of the views : so that an object shall appear great in the contemplation of one man, which, to another of more elevated and capacious powers, shall appear small and inconsiderable. But, to an infinite understanding, nothing can appear great that does not partake of its own infinity. The Supreme Mind, and that alone, grasps eternity, possesses it every moment. He not only comprehends, but
constitutes, eternal duration, by enduring “ from everlasting to everlasting;" for there could be no eternal duration if something did not always endure: we cannot conceive of its existence but as a mode of being, and that being is God.
The measure by which he estimates time is,
we are compelled to apply, in its contemplation. We measure one portion of duration by another; He measures time by eternity. How inconceivably different must be the apprehension arising from these different methods of considering it! In attempting to form a conception of endless duration, we are under the necessity of accumulating ages upon ages, and multiplying millions of ages into millions ; accompanied with this conviction, that we have arrived no nearer to an adequate comprehension of it; that there remains beyond us an infinitely larger space than we have travelled over. To his view it is every moment present : to him it is familiar, as his element, his habitation; and, from that stupendous elevation, he looks down upon the scenes of time and the lapse of ages. These reflections may assist us to conceive, how to him one day must necessarily be as "a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
II. The use to which the doctrine of the text may be applied.
1. It removes the ground of objection against the fulfilment of the divine declarations, arising from the accomplishment being long delayed.
If some time is to be allotted for preparation, some space for operation, it surely belongs to God to determine of what extent it should be: this, perhaps, you will admit. But why so long a space ? But in whose eyes is it long ? In yours, who are but the creatures of a day, who are, from the narrowness of your views, liable to perpetual illusions and deception ? or in God's? And, amidst this diversity of apprehension, can you hesitate in deciding which is correct?
No slackness in his purpose is then to be imputed to him, according to what men account slackness; no unsteadiness in his resolution, no revolution of his determination.
Nothing is to be concluded in favour of the impunity of prosperous vice, nor of the final neglect of oppressed and afflicted piety. The prosperity of the wicked is but for a moment : “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading like a green bay-tree: yet I passed by, and he was not; yea, I sought him out, but he could not be found.”
2. It accounts for the peculiar cast of scripture language, when employed in announcing the coming of Christ, and the end of all things.
3. Though we cannot immediately change our senses, let us endeavour to conform our ideas and convictions to the dictates of Infallible Wisdom on this subject. Let us consider the whole duration of things here as very short.
The more we drink into the spirit of the Scriptures, the more will this be the case.
XXXIX. THE LORD'S - DAY COMMEMORATIVE OF CHRIST'S
RESURRECTION. Psalm cxviii. 24.—This is the day which the Lord hath made ;
we will rejoice and be glad in it. This Psalm appears to have been composed on David's accession to the dominion over all Israel; when he had subdued his enemies around, and completely established himself as a great and victorious prince. It was probably set to music on the anniversary of David's coronation. That was a most joyful event. As a very important passage in [this psalm] is applied to Christ, both by himself and his apostles, no doubt can be entertained of its referring, in its fullest and sublimest sense, to the person and kingdom of the Redeemer. In this light, I shall consider it in the following discourse : and as the Lord's-day is appointed to commemorate the resurrection of our Saviour, at which his kingdom commenced, I shall endeavour to invite your attention to those sources of religious joy which are opened by that event. The event which this day is designed to celebrate, is calculated to afford joy on the following accounts :
I. On this day the purchase of our redemption was completed.
In order to render the salvation of sinners consistent with the holiness and justice of the divine nature, some great moral expedient became necessary. The expedient which the Divine Wisdom adopted, was the substitution of the Son of God in the room of sinners; who freely consented to assume our nature, and to sustain those sufferings which the Father deemed requisite for the satisfaction of his own justice, and especially the suffering of death. Though the merit of his obedience is more eminently ascribed in scripture to his death, (“He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,") yet we are justified in considering all the humiliation he endured, during his abode on earth, as forming a part of his merit, and, consequently, of the price of our redemption. His voluntary condescension in coming into our world, his assuming our nature itself, with all its infirmities and sorrows, formed an important part of his merit, because he was under no previous obligation to do it.
His merit, as far as it was the result of his sufferings, was composed of three parts :
1. His assumption of human nature itself; which, as he was under no previous obligation of doing, was in the highest degree meritorious.
2. The endurance of evils, which were not necessarily included in it; such as poverty, contempt, and innumerable privations.
3. [His] death; the efficacy of which was specific, resulting not merely from it, as suffering, but as