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far from having any objections against it, that on the other hand, his honour is advanced by it; and therefore he will take the same care of your salvation as he will of his own glory, which is concerned therein.
5. These things may endear the institution of the Lord's supper to you as exhibiting these glories, by sacred emblems, to your senses: therefore you should esteem it, and reverently attend upon it.
It is true, this ordinance represents the Lord Jesus in his lowest state of abasement. But even in his lowest state there appears a peculiar glory. Here I cannot deny you the pleasure of a quotation from that excellent man, Mr. Mac Laurin, once my friend and correspondent, now the companion of angels, an inhabitant of a better world. “Even the meanness of Christ did not wholly becloud his glory: many beams shone through the disguise. His birth was mean on earth below: but it was celebrated with hallelujahs by the heavenly host in the air above. He had a poor lodging; but a star lighted visitants to it from distant countries. Never prince had such visitants, so conducted. He had not the magnificent equipage that other kings have: but he was attended with multitudes of patients, seeking and obtaining healing of soul and body; that was more true greatness than if he had been attended with crowds of princes. He made the dumb that attended him to sing his praises, and the lame to leap for joy; the deaf to hear his wonders, and the blind to see his glory. He had no guard of soldiers, nor magnificent retinue of servants: but, as the centurion that had both, acknowledged, health and sickness, life and death, took orders from him; even the winds and storms, which no earthly power could control, obey him; and death and the grave durst not refuse to deliver up their prey when he demanded it. He did not walk upon tapestry; but when he walked on the
sea, the waters supported him. All parts of the creation, except sinful man, honoured him as their Creator. He had no treasure; but when he had occasion for money, the sea sent it to him in the mouth of a fish.
He had no barns nor corn-fields; but when he inclined to make a feast, a few loaves covered a sufficient table for many thousands. Nor was his glory wholly clouded at his death: he had not indeed that fantastic equipage of sorrow that other great persons have on such occasions, but the frame of nature solemnized the death of its Author: heaven and earth were mourners, the sun was clad in black; and if the inhabitants of the earth were unmoved, the earth trembled under the awful load. There were few to pay the Jewish compliment of rending their garments; but the rocks were not so insensible; they rent their bowels. He had not a grave of his own, but other men’s graves opened to him. Death and the grave might be proud of such a tenant in their territories; but he came there not as a subject, but as an invader, a conqueror; it was then that the king of terrors lost his sting, and on the third day the Prince of Life triumphed over him, spoiling death and the grave. These are the things, my brethren, this ordinance was designed to commemorate: and certainly these are full of glory. 6. These things may
with for meditation this day. Fix your thoughts upon the glories of God displayed in a crucified Jesus; take a survey of the scheme of salvation through his blood, as bringing not only salvation to you, but honour to him; and wonder, love, and adore.
Finally, let us all fall in with this glorious method of salvation; and join with God and Christ, and the whole creation, in glorifying God in this way; and in this way, and none else, we shall find salvation for ourselves.
RELIGION THE HIGHEST WISDOM, AND SIN THE GREATEST
MADNESS AND FOLLY.
Psalm cxi. 10.—The fear of the Lord is the beginning
of wisdom : a good understanding have all they that do his commandments.
WISDOM is a character so honourable and ornamental to a reasonable being, that those who best knew the dignity of their own nature, have had no higher ambition than to be esteemed and called lovers of it. Hence the original of the name Philosopher,t which signifies no more than a lover of wisdom. On the other hand, there is hardly any character deemed more reproachful, or that is more resented, than that of a fool. Men are often as jealous of the reputation of their understandings as of their morals, and think it as great a reproach to be without sense as without goodness.
There is a prodigious diversity in the intellectual capacities of mankind, and their souls differ as much as their bodies; but whether it be owing to the intrinsic difference of their souls, or to the different formation of their bodies, is not my present purpose to determine. Some, that share in human nature, give very little discoveries of reason above the most sagacious sorts of brutes.
* Job xxviii. 28; Prov. i. 7, and ix. 10.
† Pilosopos, quasi pidos copias, a lover of wisdom. This name Pythagoras accepted, when he thought that of Copos, a wise man, was too ostentatious and arrogant for him.
The generality are endowed with common sense, which, though it has nothing brilliant or pompous in it, and does not qualify them for high improvements in science, or making a figure in the learned world, yet it is sufficient for all the purposes of life, and the necessities of a human creature. There are a few also who seem raised beyond their species, and perhaps approach near to the lower ranks of angels by a superior genius. These have been the first inventors and improvers of useful arts and sciences; which others, of inferior understanding, are able to put in practice for their own purposes, though they had not sagacity at first to discover them.
This little world of ours is an improved spot in the creation. How vastly different an appearance does it now make from its original state of pure nature, when it emerged out of chaos, uncultivated by art! What numerous arts and trades have been found out to furnish life with necessaries and comforts! How deeply have some penetrated into the world of knowledge! They have traced the secret workings of nature; they have even brought intelligence from the worlds above us, and discovered the courses and revolutions of the planets.
When you see these discoveries, you would conclude mankind to be a wise race of creatures; and indeed in such things as these, they discover no inconsiderable abilities. Almost every man in his province can manage his affairs with some judgment. Some can manage a farm; others are dexterous in mechanics; others have a turn for mercantile affairs; others can unfold the mysteries of nature, and carry their searches far into the ideal worlds; others can conduct an army, or govern a nation. In short, every man forms some scheme which he apprehends will conduce to his temporal advantage; and prosecutes it with some degree of judgment.
But is this all the wisdom that becomes a candidate for eternity? Has he a good understanding who only acts with reason in the affairs of this life; but, though he is to exist for ever in another world, and to be perfectly happy or miserable there, yet takes no thought about the concerns of his immortal state? Is this wisdom? Is this consistent even with common sense? No; with sorrow and solemnity I would speak it, the most of men in this respect are fools and madmen; and it is impossible for the most frantic madman in Bedlam to act more foolishly about . the affairs of this life, than they generally do about the affairs of religion and eternity. There is such a thing as a partial madness; a person may have, as it were, one weak side to his mind, and it may be sound and rational in other respects. You may meet with some lunatics and madmen that will converse reasonably with you, and you would not suspect their heads are disordered till upon some particular point, and then you are to expect reason from them no more; they talk the wildest nonsense, and are governed entirely by their imaginations. Thus, alas! it is with the generality of mankind in the present case. They are wise for this world; they talk and act at least agreeably to common sense; but hear them talk and observe their conduct about the concerns of their souls, and you can call them reasonable creatures no longer. They “are wise to do evil; but to do good they have no knowledge: there is none that understandeth: there is none that seeketh after God.” To bring them to themselves by exposing to them their madness, is my present design.
The text shows us the first step to true wisdom, and the test of common sense: “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments.” This is so frequently re