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or phylacteries, &c. for tokens and for signs, which are likewise called ornaments,* or (as the word also means) testimonies, that they might be a memorial of their peculiar condition, and of their interest in God as his own inheritance. The high-priest particularly was to deck himself for his ministry before the Lord (in', the same word as in the above text of Isaiah] with the glorious and beautiful garments, prescribed in Exod. xxviii. all of which related to the perfect salvation of Christ; and were significant testimonies of that salvation to his people, Christ was, in this respect, the faithful witness to them of the sure mercies of the everlasting covenant, which the divine persons had entered into before the world began, His redeemed were clothed with these garments and jewels in him and by him. They are ornaments or tes. timonies; first, upon him; but, upon him, only for them. They are also to have their ornaments or testimo, nies, not of phylacteries, frontlets, or fringes, as under the law; but the testimonies of a holy life and conversation, or (as the apostle expresses it, alluding probably to this very thing) the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (becoming the bride of Christ) which is in the sight of God of great price. They are also to be fruitful in every good word and work to his praise; as branches yielding abundantly in due season. This is binding up, or strengthening, the testimony, and sealing, or confirming, the law in those that are taught of God: in other words, this is to them the demonstration of all
* Exod. xiii 16. Deut. vi. 8, &c. Exod. xxxiii. 4.
divine truth, and the application of all divine promises, by the Holy Spirit and his power, The blessed impression is, for an earnest to themselves, upon their hearts; and the happy effects appear in their lives, as an unequivocal proof to confirm or confound those about them. These are the incorruptible ornaments, which testify, that they are indeed betrothed to Christ, and that they do really participate the earnest, so much spoken of in the Scriptures, of their adoption and everlasting inheritance. Holiness is the very dress of the people of God, as well as their ornament; and all that are without it, will in the end be considered as naked, or hateful, in his sight. But this holiness is evidently none of their own. It is wrought by the God of heaven, and descends by the grace of his Spirit from the skies.
God's children are also witnesses for him in their death. Sometimes they have been called to testify, as (what is commonly understood by the word) martyrs ; i. e. as witnesses who loved not their lives unto the death, but sealed their testimony with their blood. Many have been tried in this way; and, antiently at least, it was considered as a distinguished and glorious privilege. The Lord showed, in great numbers of instances, how he could strengthen his people's faith above the fiercest terrors, in which death could attack them, and make them conquerors, and more than conquerors, over the united malice of earth and hell.“ The noble army of martyrs” could praise him in dungeons, tortures, and flames, unvanquished and unappalled; and, as the world was not worthy of them, so they cared not for the world, nor for the slights, and scorns, and inveterate perse
cutions, which they found in it. Their Redeemer gave them a greatness and fortitude of mind, which enabled them to look down upon the love or the hatred, found in this corruptible state, with a noble indifference, and to be satisfied with his own will in raising glory from them, whether it was by life or by death. * But the generality of God's people, and especially in these last days, are not calle i to this dignified testimony for him. They witness, however, even now, and will continue to witness to the end of the world, that he is faithful and true ; that he doth not forsake his own in their needful and trying moments, but yields support according to the occasion or extremity; and that he can and doth supply such consolations, as neither the debility of sickness nor the pangs of death can either remove or abate. Thousands, and tens of thousands, have been enabled to sing with the psalmist; my flesh, and my heart, faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
And if God's children can thus witness to his truth and power here, amidst the corruptions of the world, and in a dying frame of clay; O how will they testify, concerning his goodness and his beauty through the perfect enjoyment of every perfect faculty, ip the bright regions of life immortal! What a day of endless testimony shall then appear! Praise in perfection; happiness in purity; love unutterable, unabating love, for evermore! What a cloud of witnesses will God's great congregation compose, in the realms of glory! Their number is beyond the reach of number; and their felicity unmeasured by the Phil. i. 20. Dan. iii. Heb. xi.
longest lòngest revolutions of time. We cannot say, nor even conceive, what will be the methods of this illimitable joy. Nor can we apprehend the increasing energies of faculties purely spiritual, unremittingly engaged in that sublime state, wbich God's magnificent goodness and wisdom have provided for his redeemed. It doth not yet appear, what we shall be. This was the acknowledge ment of a disciple, who knew most of the secrets of his Lord, and saw most of the glories of eternity from the confines of time. But we know, however, he adds, that when he (whom another apostle calls OUR LIFE*) shall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him AS HE is.f Perpetual likeness to Christ will constitute one great subject of perpetual bliss, as well as form the undiminishable capacity to enjoy it.
All this is the purpose and effect of redemption; the very end too, for which the Most High Jehovah framed the world. Nothing else seems worthy either of him or his church. Not of Him; because only this eternity of * loving-kindness and mercy could display the unutterable
grandeur of his own infinite perfections: not of his church; because this immortal glory can only satiate those vehement desires of immortality, which God hath bestowed upon it, hath promised to satiate, and certainly bestowed and promised not in vain. He hath given her an heart above the world, which is perishing; and to love and seek himself alone for enjoyment in that bright state, which cannot pass away: And can it be imagined, that the God of truth will fail in power to make good his promise, or excite desires only for their more dreadful disappoint
ment? This, indeed, would be rendering his own people of all men the most miserable. Or, for what other end, but this, which God hath declared, * could the wonderful mechanism of the world be brought into being at all, or be supported from that decay, which, we know, is inherent to matter? There is confessedly no other end, but this one, which hath not inscribed upon it the humbling motto, written in a character too universal and too plain to be mistaken-all is vanity. The WORD of the LORD only, with the objects interested in or connected with it, endureth for ever.
We may, then, subscribe, though in a better sense, the much-admired lines of a heathen poet, who sang more than he properly knew, and knew more than he could truly perform:
Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari,
Happy the man, who understands the cause
And hell's insatiate rage, as vanquishid foes, can
* Comp. John 1, 3. Col i. 16, 17, 18. Eph. ii. 9.–11.