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Revelation iv. 11. Thou art worthy to receive glory y and honour, and power ; for thou hast. created all things ; and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Before we enter any farther into the consideration of these words, it will be proper to notice one expression in them whicli nuiy perliaps l«»ave a false impression on some minds, from tlirir c<»mparin«j; it with the words of auotluT passiige in Script iirt\ I inraii the expn'ssion, 'for tliy pleasure;' which, by a comparison of what is said of human fathers, in tlie 12t]i chapt<'r of t.lie Hebrews, that they ^ chasten their children after tlieir own ph»asure,' may at first seem to convey a notion somewhat at variance witli the fatberlv love of (iod. ]5nt it should Ik* noticed that the expressions, tliouiili so nearlv alike in our translation, are n(»t so in the original; and that what is transhited in the text, ' for tliy pleasun*,' would, according t^) the general practice of our tran>lators, i)e rather rendere<l, ''because of thy will ; ' a ditference which strictly speaking indeed comes to nothing, but which, notwithstanding, is of consecjuencc^ ; as in our languagi' re^pt^cting (iod, the impression conveyed to our minds is of (piite as nuich imjKirtance as the actual correctness of the language itself when strictly inquired into.
THE HOLY TRI ITY. 319 «»»¦»¦" III The text then says, that * because it was God's will, all
things are and were created.' It means to convey to us the notion of God's entire sovereignty, but apait from anything which in a man we should call capricious and arbitrary. God's will is a will of infinite justice and wisdom and goodness, and can be no other, because it is the will of God. ' Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou hast created all things : ' all things visible and invisible. There is one Maker in the universe, even God, and all things else are His work. There is one Lord in the imiverse, even God, and all things else are His ministers ; whether they be things with life or without life, whether they act by instinct or by will. But amongst these His ministers, — that is, amongst created beings, — the differences may be greater than we can estimate. Even within our own knowledge, who can measure the difference between a grain of sand and the sun of our system ? or between the lowest creature that seems to form the link between the animal and vegetable world, and the mind of Solomon or of Paul ? But the differences may be, and indeed are, fer greater than these ; we do not know to what minuteness, to what humbleness, God's creation may descend on the one hand, nor to what greatness it may arise on the other ; we know not the nature of the smallest created atom, nor of the mightiest angel. Still all these beings, so different, extending from things lower than we can conceive up to things higher than our conceptions, — all, from the highest angel to the feeblest atom, are yet, religiously speaking, all classed together, as though they were all equal. They are all creatures, and however different when compared with themselves, yet they seem actually to be all on one level when contrasted with that infinite difference which exists
320 THE HOLY TBI TTT. between the highest creature and God* All then are vants, all are ministers ; and there is one only Lord and Master of all, whom all may, and all must worship. But this is a matter of Revelation. Man's natural tendency has been to worship creatures, or rather to worship many beings in an ascending order, aome lesi powerful, others more so ; till after many steps, at the end of an almost infinite series, far removed from man's common thoughts and feelings, was the Supreme Father and Buler of all. That is, man not knowing God, and seeing great varieties actually existing in creation, dwelt more on the diflferences of lower things amongst themselves than of their common difference with God. But God's revdation came in and said, ' Thou shalt have none other (rods bat me.' Thou shalt worship nothing in heaven or in earth, visible or invisible, save Him by whom all things nere made, their Ijord and thine. This then is the first great work of Kevelation, to show us that in all our religious feelings and relations, we have to do with God alone. But yet Kevelation tells us further, that in our religious feelings and relations we have to do with Jesus Christ. For it tells us that to Ilim all power is given in heaven and in earth, therefore we are living under His government ; it tells us that whether we live, we live unto Him, or whether we die, we die unto Him ; we are His therefore both here and hereafter ; we are told to love Him and to fear Him, though we see Him no more ; these are clearly religious feelings. Does then Kevelation undo its own work, and after liavmg laboured to teach us to worship God only, and to lose all differences between creatiu-e and creatiure in tlie infinite difference between all creatures and their Creator, does it mean again to fix our minds and affections upon a creature,— to bid us love and fear Him religiously, to believe Him and put our trust in Him, to look to Him in
THE HOLY TRI ITY. 321 life and in death, as the Lord of heaven and earth; — whereas He no less thw ourselves is the work of God's hands, and therefore removed to a far greater distance from Gt)d than He can be removed by any superiority of nature from us His fellow'-creatures ? Sevelation would thus irndo its own work, if Jesus Christ of azareth were indeed a man and no more* Or go much higher still; exalt Him ever so highly, — above the highest angel, to a perfection which shall to our eyes seem infinite, — still if it be not infinite, — if, however exalted. He be yet only a creature, one of those who were, because it was God's will that they should be, — then also Eevelation undoes its own work ; then it teaches us practically to have more gods than one ; it revives that very instinct of our nature which it had condemned, the aptness, namely, to dwell more upon the diflferences between the lower creatures and the higher, than on that infinite difference which exists between the highest creature and God, by whom he was created. But lest we should so conceive, and be involved in such perplexity, Eevelation has abundantly justified itself; it has shown that its latest language agrees with its earliest, that the Creator alone is to be worshipped, and no creature, however exalted ; that there is still One, the Maker and Lord of all, and all else creatures and servants ; — for it has declared that He whom we have known as Jesus Christ, in whom we still believe, and whom we love and fear and worship as the Son of Man, was in truth the Maker of all things, by whom this world in which He vouchsafed to sojourn was itself made ; that not this world only, but angels and archangels, and all things visible and invisible, were created by Him as their author, and for Him as their end.
* Thou art worthy then, Lord our Bedeemer, to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for Thou hast created VOL. VI. T
S22 THE HOLY TRIHITT. all things.' Thou art not ashamed to call us brethren, for Thou hast been made in the likeness of man : bat Thoa art no less our Lord and our Qod, by whom we and all things were made ; by whom we alone, so &r as we loiowy of all the works of Thy hands, have by a second numifestac tion of Thy love been made again, when our first life had been by our own act destroyed. Furthermore, Revelation teaches us that in our religi* ous feelings and relations we have to do with Him whom it calls the Holy Spirit. And here indeed our conceptions are dim, and our words must be most imperfect ; yet there is One who deals with our heart and inmost nature, work* ing in secret, yet with effect most visible ; in us, yet not of us ; and sometimes showing most awfully that He is not of us, because He ceases even to be in us. Of Hina, then, the Spirit of Good, who struggles for us against the spirit of evil, who opens our understandings and softens our tempers, who gives us the heart to pray, and aids us to put up our prayer, — is He a mighty angel who does God's work within us, the Creator of all true life in us, yet Himself the creature of God ? Or has not Revelation here too preserved steadily its own language ? Has it not taught us that the Holy Spirit is no otljer than He who is alone in the highest sense holy ? that when He breathes to us of the things of God, He breathes to us of Himself, as we cannot separate the spirit of man from our notions of man's nature ? And He too moved on the face of the waters of the deep when this world came into being ; and by Him must we be created anew both in body and soul,
before we can enter into the perfect kingdom of God. * Thou art worthy then, Lord our Sanctifier, to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for Thou hast created all things.' Thou hast created outward things : mayest Thou so create and raise up our glorified body, that we may be fit for life etemaL But Thou dost work in the inward
THE HOLY TRI ITY. 323 heart also : Thou art a Spirit^ and Thy work is spirit ; create us again inwardly after Thine own image ; create in us peace, and faith, and love, and joy ; create is us that seed of eternal life which is fit for Thy spiritual kingdom, that our spirits and bodies may be alike Thy work alone. * For Thy will, Lord, we are and were created.' And what is Thy will concerning us ? Is it that we should, according to our various lot, enjoy pleasure or suffer pain for a few years, and then be no more ? Is it that we should do useful or mighty works which should remain to after times, prolonging in a manner our life even when we were dead ? Or is it that we should be a monument of Thy justice ; that being alone of all the thousand worlds which Thou hast made, buried in evil, and turned away from Thee, we should alone be an eternal warning, condemned to bear the fierceness of Thy wrath for ever ? one of these are Thy will towards us, for Thou hast given to us Thy Son and Thy Holy Spirit. If we were but bom to enjoy or to suffer for a few years, why should Christ have died for us ? — a sacrifice so infinite for an end so small, and which in this respect has not altered our condition, for we enjoy and suffer still ; and the good are many times they who suffer, and the evil are they who enjoy ? If we were bom to do mighty or useful works for after ages, why was the Spirit given, whose works are not
of such a kind ; while they who do such works, do them many times by a £eur other spirit than Thine ? Above all, if we were bom to be a monument of Thy justice, then Thou wouldst have given us neither Thy Son nor Thy Spirit ; Thou wouldst not have redeemed those who were bom to eternal death; Thou wouldst not have created anew by Thy Spirit of Holiness those who were to be for ever the children of wrath. But Thy will towards us is far other ; that we should Y2
S24 THE HOLY TBI ITT. be born again into Thy heavenly kingdom^ nerer to die any more. For this Thou hast made ua onoe and again after Thine own image, the image of Thy holineas ; for this Thou hast redeemed us ; for this Thy Holy Spirit has been given to us : — that so the process of our heavenly birth might go on without ceasing, the parts of our heavenly nature being fiEuhioned day by day by Thy hand, when as yet there were none of them ; that so, when oor full time is come, and the heavenly nature is ripened so as to bear to be bom into its own proper world, it may be delivered from this mortal body, and receive a new and incorruptible body, and so be truly bom* If this is Ood^s will towards us^ — ^if for this we are, — for this we were created, — for this were put into this fisdr world, with so much to do in it, — what shall be said of us, if we live wholly against God's will, if in every day and every hour of our lives we are living as He would have us not ? By what right do we thus, as it were, steal a life to whicli we have no title, for we were not made to please ourselves ? By what right do we live, and are yet not being daily born for our eternal being ? What if in another sense than St, Paul's we are not being bom daily^ but
daily dying ? What shall the end then be, but according to the beginning ; and if God's Spirit is not quickening us, and forming us for the kingdom of God, is there not another spirit busy upon us, forming us after another and a hellish nature, and making us be born daily, — if we may use such contradictory language, — until we are ripened for a life which is death eternal ?
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