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SERMON V.

REFLECTIONS ON THE DEVOTION OF THE HIGHER ORDER

OF INTELLIGENCES.

Isaiah, vi. 2.

With twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered

his feet, and with twain he did fly. THESE words are a description of the devotion of a seraphim before the throne of God. The prophet Isaiah, in a vision, beheld the glory of God and the adoring seraphims, which surround his throne.

He says. In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his traini filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims : each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. This august, symbolical vision of the glory of the Lord, is described as being made at the temple. The several interposing veils were removed out of the way; and the way into the holiest was made manifest. The Lord appeared to the prophet, sitting on a throne, as in human form. It is the unanimous sense of the church, that all the divine appearances in the old Testament, were made by the Son of God, by whom all the affairs of the church were ordered from the beginning. The throne high and lifted up, seems to have been the place of the mercy-seat, over which the Lord used to appear, and where he reigned as the God of Israel and of the whole earth. And as an exteriour symbol of his majesty, his train, or the skirts of his robes, filled the whole temple. Above or against this throne, stood the seraphim, the burning one; or one of the

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most glorious of the angelick orders, glowing with the holy flame of divine love. They stood, as being employed in celebrating his praises and prepared to execute his mandates. Each of them had six wings; with twain he covered his face. This is an emblem of his inability steadfastly to behold, or fully to comprehend all the glory of the Lord, and of his profound reverence and adoring awe. With twain he covered his feet. This denotes bis humility, as conscious that he and his services were unworthy the notice of the Lord. And with twain he did fly. This is designed to represent his prompt celerity and alacrity, in executing the will of God. The inquiry now is, what benefit can result to us from this representation of the devotion of one of the most exalted spirits above. This subject is calculated to teach us three very important duties.

The first, That we ought to be filled with exalted and adoring views of the character of God. With twain he covered his face.

The second, That we should be filled with deep humility in view of our best performances. With twain he covered his feet.

The third, That we should be inspired with alacrity in the service of God. With twain he did fly.

proceed to show in the first place, that we should be filled with exalted and adoring views of the character of God. The seraphim, in view of the glorious effulgence of the Deity, is represented as covering his face with two of his wings. But is it becoming the highest orders of angels to veil their faces, and to worship the great I Am, with the most profound reverence? Well then may man take his place in the dust ; tremble and adore; and, with the most profound awe, contemplate the glory and perfections of God. These were the views, and this the conduct of the prophet Isaiah, in his august vision of the cherubim and of the throne of the divine Majesty. The Apostle Paul, in his extatick vision, heard things

which it is not lawful for a man to utter. How then must his soul have been overpowered with exalted and adoring views of the character of God ? St. John, the revelator, on the isle of Patmos, had an overwhelming sight of the manifestations of the brightness of the glory of his God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Later saints, eminent for their lives of piety, have experienced similar views in some of their near approaches to him. The Lord is by nature invisible; and as it respects his uncreated glory, he dwelleth in light ineffable. In heaven are manifested the brightest and most perfect displays of the glory of the being and perfections of God. And glorified saints and angels, cherubims and seraphims, prostrate themselves before the throne with the highest reverence and adoration. And how are the supreme wisdom and power, the greatness and goodness of God, wonderfully displayed to the view of man in the works of creation, providence, and redemption. The immensity of the divine works is a theme calculated to fill a contemplative mind with profound astonishment and awe. Let those, who desire clearer and more enlarged views of the glorious displays of the Supreme Being, behold as in a glass the brighter glories of revelation. How wondrous are thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast thou made them all. The heavens declare thy glory; and the firmament showeth forth thy handy work. Says the prophet, With twain he covered his face. Well then may we be filled with exalted and adoring views of the character of God.

Second. This subject is calculated to teach us, that mankind should be filled with deep humility in view of their best performances. With twain he covered his feet. All external symbols are inadequate fully to represent the majesty and excellence of the Lord. Yet they may suit our present state, in which we see through a glass darkly. All the glorified spirits above, cease not day nor night, to render unto God the glory

which is due to his name. . They most perfectly fulfil the law of love, and their obedience is that of sinless perfection. But when they compare themselves and their services with the infinitely amiable and glorious character of God, they behold their comparative nothingness and unworthiness. How then must vile man appear in his sight? Says Job, Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly. How much less in then that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust? Man, as a rebel against God, in an unrenewed state, is considered in a moral point of view, as wholly an unclean thing. And his righteousness is accounted as filthy rags. But let us contemplate the character of mankind as renewed by grace. Let us take a view of some, who have been considered as the faithful servants of God. The sublime vision of the divine Majesty, and the exalted worship of the seraphim, overwhelmed the prophet Isaiah with a sense of his unworthiness and vileness. Then said I, Wo is me! for I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. If glorified spirits above, think nothing of their services, what would become of him, who had presumed to speak to Jehovah, with mortal and polluted lips? The prophet, having compared himself to the seraphims, was never before filled with such humility. Hear Job's confession to the Lord : Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. The zealous apostle Paul, exclaims, Ò wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death: The most holy lives of the greatest saints on earth, that have ever lived, are tarnished with deficiency and sin. They cannot compare with the spotless lives of seraphs. To witness their holy strains and fervent obedience, would be more than mortals could endure. There is not a man upon earth, who would not be

ashamed of his most admired performances, and sink into self-abhorrence, if he had a clear view of the divine glory, and of the worship of heaven. Then may we be filled with deep humility in view of our best performances.

I proceed in the third place, to show, from several considerations, why mankind should be inspired with alacrity in the service of God.

1st. They should be inspired with alacrity, because it is a great work. To work for the great King of the universe, is far the greatest undertaking, in which human beings can be engaged. The magnitude of the employment rises high, when we consider, that they, who devote themselves to the service of God, are engaged in the service of a Being, whose perfections are infinitely adorable and amiable. And, although mankind cannot be profitable to God, by their alacrity in his service, as one man may be profitable to another, yet they can do much for the honour of his name, and the promotion of his declarative glory. They who are engaged in the service of God, are not only working for him, but they are co-workers with him. They are both engaged in carrying on and promoting the same great and glorious work. Says the apostle Paul, We are labourers together with God.' To be engaged in any important human labour or enterprise,demands attention and diligence. But what is the work of man for time, when compared with the work of God and for eternity? How then should mankind, not only engage perseveringly in the service of God; but they should be inspired with alacrity, because it is a great work.

2d. The consideration of the vast number of holy beings, engaged in the service of God, should serve to inspire mankind with alacrity in his service. The employments of all the principalities and powers above, are of the same nature as those of saints on earth. They are the creatures of God, are under the same law and obligations, and are seeking the

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