G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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shed must be sprinkled. It was not enough that the passover was
killed, that the blood of the lamb was poured out, but it must be ap-
plied — as the blood was sprinkled on the door-posts, so the blood of
the atoning Lamb must be applied to us by faith.

For my part, I see no reason why the application should not take
place this instant. I feel assured that, as to many, it has taken place
already; but I fear as to some, I fear as to several, the application
has not yet taken place ; and if you die before it occurs, it had been
better for you never to have been bom. And .why do you not look
for the application to be made just now ? You very likely will admit
with the preacher, that the application must take place some time or
other, some how or other, before you die ; but then you have a strange
way of settling the matter. At present you think some how or other,
in some undefinable and mysterious manner, the thing is to take place ;%
I tell you it is to take place by the application of the truth of the gos-



13& THE BNGLISH PULPIT.

pel, and I know of no time and no occasion so likely for the application
to take place as wlien you are hearing the gospel in which the truth ia
revealed ; as when you are in the house of God, and on the day of
God. You are at the pool-side, but I want you to get Into the pool.
It was quite mournful, it was quite melancholy, to hear the story of
the man lying at the pool all those years. You are here, get into the
pool. You must not be at it, merely, but must step in. May the an-
gel trouble the waters, that you may wash and be well ! May you be-
lieve and be saved, believe and live, and live for ever. Amen.



SERMON XI.

THE SONG OF ANGELS,
BY REV. EDWARD PARSONS, JR.

'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men."



' — Luke ii. 14.



Nothing was ever, humanly speaking, more unlikely, than that the
cause of the despised and persecuted Nazarene should have survived
its universally-furious opposition, or escaped its apparently inevitable
disgrace. For, in the external character of Jesus, there were no glo-
ries that were calculated to arrest the attention, or to secure the ap-
plause of a wicked and a corrupted world. If you refer to his birth,
he was born in a manger. If you refer to his circumstances, he was
" a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." If you refer to his
state, he was so poor, that, though " the foxes had their holes and the
birds of the air their nests, he had not where to lay his head." If you
refer to his mission, he came to commence no earthly dynasty and to
establish no earthly throne ; for he came " to seek and to save that
which was lost." If you refer to his name, he assumed no name re-
nowned in the schools of philosophy, or in the annals of war ; for his
name was called Jesus, because " he should save his people from their
sins." If you refer to his authority, " his kingdom was not of this
world." If you refer to his followers, they were twelve poor, illiterate,
and uneducated fishermen. If you refer to his appearance, " his vis-
age was marred more than any man's, and his form more than the
»8ons of men." If you refer to his death, he died upon the summit of
Calvary. He had glories ; but they were invisible by mortal vision.



SONG or THE ANGELS. 137

He gained victories ; but they were solely the conquests of truth over
error. His robe was the mockery of royalty; his sceptre was a reed ;
his throne was his cross ; and his diadem neither glittered with jewels,
nor blazed with gems, because it was " a crown of thorns."

But the cause of this despised individual has survived ; it has sur-
vived, increasing its glory and extending its praise ; it has survived,
while the desolating hand of time has subverted the firmest foundations
ofthuman policy, and blasted the brightest glories of human fame.
And this evening, exulting in its perpetually-increasing triumph, dui-ing
the long period of eighteen hundred years, we anticipate the happiness
of the hour which is approaching, when the nations shall rejoice in the
beams of " the Sun of righteousness," and in the splendor of the mil-
lennial day.

Now it has been one demonstration of the superior glory of the Sa-
vior, that it has been identified with the ministry of angels. The an-
gels, indeed, as " the morning stars sang together," and as " the sons
of God," they " shouted for joy," when the Savior created this visible
universe. The angels, as you see in the context of this passage, were
with the Savior when he entered into our world, to die for our sins, the
"just for the unjust, to bring us unto God." They followed him through
every stage and step of his mediatorial undertaking, oft wondering how
and where the scene of love would end. When he died, they sur-
rounded his cross, as astonished spectators of that sad scene of unut-
terable abasement and distress. When he rose from the dead, they
rolled away the stone fi*om the mouth of his sepulchre.

" They brought his chariot from above,
And bore him to biti throne ;
Clapp'd their triumphant wings, and cried,
' The glorious work is done !' "

Now, the words of my text constitute the song of the angels, in con-
nexion with the mediation and work of Jesus ; for the shepherds were
feeding their flocks on the plain of Bethlehem, " and suddenly there
was with the angel," who appeared to them, " a multitude of the hea-
venly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good-will toward men."

In these words, my dear friends, there are three topics, to which, by
the divine help and blessing, it is my intention now for a few moments
to direct your attention. First, you will allow me to request you to
refer to the brightness of the divine glory; the angels exclaimed,
" Glory to God in the highest." Secondly, to the excellency of the
divine influence ; they said, " on earth peace." And, thirdly, to the
immensity of the divine love ; they said, " Good-will toward men."



138 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

And then we shall attempt to close the discourse, by applying the prin-
ciples contained in it to the object which has more immediately con-
vened us.

In the first place, then, let us refer to the brightness of the di-
vine GLORY. The angels exclaimed, " Glory to God in the highest."

Now there is nothing so essential to the moral happiness of intelli-
gent beings, as proper views of the character and of the glory of God.

Since God is the only source of moral obligation, an acquaintance
with his character is essential to the due discharge of that obligation.

You will always find the moral characters and principles of men to
be excellent or degraded in proportion to the accuracy of their acquaint-
ance with the divine character and claims. In proof of this, you have
only to refer to the history of the world, and you will find that distorted
ideas of the character of God have always been connected with the per-
petration of enormous crime. Look to the ancient Greeks and Romans;
why was it, that, according to the testimony of Cicero himself, the most
unnatural lusts and disgusting impurities were not only tolerated among
the homes of private life, but even committed in the temples of their
deities — but because of their distorted ideas of the character of God ?

Look to the ancient Britons ; why was it, that our forefathers acted
on the demoniacal notion of human sacrifices, and imbrued their hands
in the blood of their captives and victims — but because of their dis-
torted ideas of the character of God ? Look to the Indians ; why is
it, that the wretched Hindoos cast their writhing bodies beneath the
wheels of the gigantic idol's blood-stained car, plunge their offspring in-
to the waves of the Ganges, and light up their country with the lurid
glare of the funeral piles of devoted widows — but because of their
distorted ideas of the character of God ? Look to the modern French ;
why was it, that in their country, during a recent revolution, deeds
of barbarism and of cruelty, of licentiousness and of pollution, of un-
precedented and almost infernal atrocity, were perpetrated, which
are enough to turn back the eyes of the observer with disgust and with
horror — but because of their distorted ideas of the character of God ?

Abstracted from proper views of the character of God, every motive
to the pursuit of holiness must be annihilated ; vice must extend its
encroaching claims and its polluting power ; and the whole immortal
being, as the inhabitant of a fatherless and forsaken world, must be
descending to the mansions of darkness and despair.

It is here, then, you see the distinguishing excellency of the media-
torial work of the Savior. He has revealed all the perfections of God,
all the claims of the great Legislator upon the obedience and reverence
of his creatures, and all the sanctions which are appended to his laws,



SONG OP THE ANGELS. 139

in the joys and the sorrows, the terrors and the triumphs of the invis-
ible world. " No man hath seen God at any time ; the only-begotten
Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." —
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory
of God in the face of Jesus Christ." But it is not enough to say this.
It is not enough to say that the Lord Jesus, in his mediatorial work,
has revealed the character of God ; we must also say that he has glo-
rified the character of God. And the accuracy of the ascription of
the angels, when they said, " Glory to God in the highest," can soon
be made apparent by a few appropriate considerations.

Behold, in the person and in the work of Christ, the glory of the
divine wisdom. For the wisdom of God is so illustriously displayed
in the mediation of Jesus, that he is expressly called " the wisdom of
God ;" the gospel which he proclaimed, is designated " the wisdom
of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained
before the world unto our glory ;" and we are told by the same apos-
tle, that " to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, hath
been made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God." Ad-
mire, in the mediation of Christ, the wisdom of God — in the consti-
tution of the Savior's person, so that, while as man he could be afflicted,
and could suffer, and could die, as God could be exalted, and could be
enthroned, and could be adored — in rendering the entrance of sin
actually subservient to the noblest display of the perfections of God,
and the highest happiness of man — and in such a complete baffling
of the powers and principalities of hell, that we are healed by our Sa-
vior's wounds, crowned by our Savior's cross, absolved by our Sa\aor's
condemnation, enriched by our Savior's poverty, and glorified by our
Savior's disgrace. Here alone there was abundant reason for the
exclamation of the angels," Glory to God in the highest."

Again, behold in the mission and in the work of Christ, the glory of
the divine poiver. Power was glorified in the creation of the fabric of
the universe ; po'oer has been glorified in the perpetual revolutions of
the planetary worlds, of which the universe is composed. But all the
manifestations of the power of God, that have ever been presented to
us in the works of creation or in the dispensations of proridence, sink
into absolute insignificance, when compared with its manifestation in
the mediation of Jesus. Go, and muse on the ministry of Christ. —
What though he was nailed to the accursed tree — what though he was
taunted, in the midst of liis dying agonies, by the scoffing blasphemers,
who said, " If thou be Christ, save thyself and us : if thou be the Son
of God, come down from the cross." What though his disciples were



140 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

lost in despair, and his enemies were rejoicing in the imagined infamy
of his cause, when he was consigned to thelowlj sepulchre of the rock,
with a hand of Roman soldiers for his guard — was there not power,
■when, amidst the agonies of death, he changed the heart of a blas-
pheming malefactor, and took his renovated spirit with him, as a trophy
of his grace, to the kingdom of heaven ? Was there not power, when
he bore for us the burden of that wrath, which would otherwise have
sunk us down to the lowest and to the deepest hell ? Was there not
power, when he broke the dart of death — when he demolished the
throne of the king of terrors — when " through death he destroyed
him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and delivered them,
who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage ;"
so that he " hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel ? " Was there not power in the supernatural
effects which attended the first preaching of his gospel, by which the
whole fabric of Gentile idolatry and Jewish superstition was overthrown,
and the banner of the cross was elevated above the palaces of the
Csesars ? And has there not been power in the emancipation of mil-
lions and myriads from the thraldom of their corruption, who are now
consecrating all the faculties of their being, and all the duration of
eternity, to the utterance of his praise ? Where is the individual, who,
in connection with these observations, does not again see the justice of
the ascription of the angels — " Glory to God in the highest ?"

Again, you may behold, in the mediatorial work of the Savior, the
glory of the divine holiness and justice. If every son and daughter
of Adam were to be cast into unquenchable fire — if every angel in
heaven were to be united with those fallen spirits, who are reserved in
blackness and chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day
— if the earth which we inhabit were to be transformed into a multi-
tude of worlds — if every blade of grass — if every atom of sand —
if every drop of dew — if every particle of earth were to be changed
into incomprehensible numbers of intelligent creatures, and if all, on
account of sin, were to experience the devouring wrath of God, and
were to welter forever in seas of fire rolling in the caverns .of the
damned, it would form no such manifestation of the justice and holiness
of God, as is presented to us in the mediation of Christ.

O what a groan was that !
Heard from heav'n's highest throne to earth's deep centre.
'Twaa our enormous load of heavy guilt,
Which bow'd his Mossed head, o'crwhelm'd his cross.
Made groan the centre, hurst earth's marble womb.
With pangs, strange paugs, deliver'd of her dead.
Hell howi'd, and Hcav'n that hour let fall a tear;
Henv'n bled, that man might live ; beav'n wept, that man
Might never die.



SONG OF THE ANGELS. 141

Who can stand on the hill of Calvary — ■ who can stand under the
shadow of the cross — who can see the Savior's head hanging over his
agitated bosom — who can perceive the spear of the murderer pene-
trating his heart, and then who, after contemplating these things, and
recollecting that every pang that he bore, and every tear that he shed,
were all on account of the guilt of our offences — where is the indi-
vidual, I say, who, after adverting to matters like these, is not ready,
with overwhelming gratitude and with penitent tears, to adopt the lan-
guage of the seraphim, and to cry, " Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of
hosts ; the whole earth is filled with his glory ? " Do you not, then,
my friends, again see the justice of the angelic ascription, " Glory to,
God in the highest ?"

But behold again, in the mission and in the work of the Savior, the
glory of the divine love. Now suppose a monarch seated upon a throne
of unbounded royalty and power, suppose him surrounded with all the
insignia of despotic authority, suppose him covering continents with his
armies and the ocean with his fleets, and surpassing, in the grandeur
of his achievements, the most splendid exploits of ancient or of mod-
ern times ; then suppose, that he were to pass from the splendor of his
court and the radiance of his royalty, with all the meltings of pity, to
reheve a single family, bowed down with wretchedness and abandoned
to despair ; I would ask you, whether that one single act would not
redound more to his glory than the most illustrious achievements of his
policy, or the most splendid successes of his arms. Now, my friends,
what is all this compared with the love of God for a lost world, as dis-
played in the mediatorial work of Jesus ? Although our Savior had
existed from distant ages in his own uncreated being, perfectly happy
in himself and surrounding his throne with a lustre, before which
even angelic intelligences were confounded — although he had created
a universe of worlds, so vast that if the whole system of which we
form a part were to be annihilated, its loss would no more be felt than
the subtraction of a blade of grass from the fohage of the field, or the
fall of a leaf from the verdure of the forest — yet, when miserable
man rebelled, when he raised his arm against Him who could have
crushed him with a stroke or damned him with a frown, he descended
to this almost imperceptible spot in the realms of being ; he assumed
the body of man, who is a worm ; he descended to the lowest recesses
of sorrow and woe ; he died an ignominious death upon the cross ; he
made atonement for sin and reconciliation for iniquity ; he reunited
heaven and earth ; he filled the whole celestial world with the trophies
of his grace, and he raised countless multitudes of the redeemed to a
happiness sublimer than that of Eden, and to honors more exalted than

S



142 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

those of the angels, to the very throne of Deity, the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit, the eternal all in all. stupendous love !
infinite mercy ! grace beyond degree ! He descended ; he was
born; he suffered; he wept; he bled ; he expired. When the Savior
came into our world, Jehovah smiled with unexpressible tenderness
from the throne of his dominion : the groans of the whole creation,
which has travailed in pain until now, were hushed into a momentary
pause ; a thrilling note of joy resounded to the extremities of the uni-
verse ; angels, as you see in the context of this passage, resting for a
moment from their customary employ, crowded to heaven's battlements,
as admiring spectators of the wonderful scene ; and man that was a
rebel was pardoned, man that was a wanderer was reclaimed, man that
was condemned was blessed, man that was accursed was redeemed.
" Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, and might, and majesty
and dominion be unto him, that sitteth upon the throne, and to the
Lamb for ever and ever." Do you not, then, again see the justice of
the angelic ascription, " Glory to God in the highest ? "

And here I must advance one step further, and I shall only make
the observation, before I proceed to the second part of my discourse :
in the mediatorial work of Christ, you have all the perfections of God
in harmony. Here there is not the glory of mercy at the expense of
justice ; here there is not the glory of wisdom at the expense of power ;
but the glory of all the divine attributes united. Here unsuUied jus-
tice, and immaculate hohness and infinite grace are all mingled ; not
one of them darkens or echpses the other, but they shine with united
beams and concentrated radiance.

" Here his whole name appears complete,

Nor wit can guess, nor reason prove
Which of the letters best is writ,

The power, the wisdom, or the love."

Thus, with this line of illustration, we might proceed to an almost
indefinite extent ; but enough, I trust, has been adduced to you to show
the justice of the ascription of the angels, when, adverting to the medi-
atorial work of Immanuel, they said, " Glory to God in the highest.''
There, then, is the brightness of the divine glory.

Let us now proceed, in the second place, to refer to the excellen-
cy OF the divine influence. The angels, you observe, not only said,
" Glory to God in the highest," but they also said, " On earth peace."

Now, my friends, one of the greatest evils, by which our world can
be afflicted, is to he found in war. It is one of the most hideous of
all the train of sin. Ever since the time of the first murderer it has
stalked over our world, brandishing the torch of the incendiary, and



SONG OF THE ANGELS. 143

marching to the Tvork of destruction, preceded by terror and flame,
followed by devastation, creating the riot of death and the carnival of
the grave. Go to the field of battle ; and amidst the alternations from
cold malignity to furious rage, amidst the cries of the wounded, the
shrieks of the dying, the dashing of Aveapons, and the clangor of ar-
tillery, learn the demoniacal character of war. FoUoay the march of a
hostile army through a devastated country : and while you see opulent
cities plundered by a brutal soldiery, and abandoned to the reign of
cruelty and lust, the habitations of peaceful industry committed to the
flames, and humanity itself expiring before its progress, confess again
the demoniacal character of war. Eefer to the invariable influence of
war upon those nations where a fondness for it has prevailed ; it has
annihilated the agriculture and commerce of the richest nations that
were ever presented to our view by the geography of the globe. And
more ; it has emptied earth and peopled hell ; it has been employed to
make angels weep and fiends triumph over the deplorable aspect of this
guilty world. Only think, for a moment, of the numbers that war has
destroyed ; you are told, by one of the best historians of ancient or
modern times, that, in fifty battles that were fought by CfBsar, he
trampled upon the corpses of 1,192,000 of his fellow-creatures : and it
is no exaggeration to say, that war has actually immolated a greater
number of individuals than are now to be found upon the surface of
the earth. Now suppose that, by some exertion of supernatural power,
the whole earth were to be depopulated, suppose that its cities were to
be destroyed, that its houses were to be emptied, that its inhabitants
were to be annihilated, and that the whole world were to become a
great charnel-house or cemetery, filled with the bleaching bones and
corrupting bodies of the dead ; how intensely shocking is the idea !
But this chimera of destruction, war has actually realized ; this immen-
sity of ruin, war has actually accomplished ; and had it not been for a
restrahiing providence, by war human society would long since have
become extinct, the last man would have expired, and God would have
been despoiled of the revenue of his praise.

But let it be remarked, that the spirit of Christianity is essentially
the spirit of peace. And when the angels contemplated the crimson
seas of human gore which have stained the soil of almost every coun-
try under heaven, and then when they remembered, that, by the tran-
quillizing influence of the gospel of Christ, the passions of man would
be assuaged, and the Hon transformed into a lamb, so that, in process
of time, the whole universe would be a temple of amity and concord,
over the gates of which the inscription would be found, " Behold how
good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity ! "



144 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

Do you not see abundant reason why they should associate with the
ascription of " Glory to God in the highest," the exclamation, " on
earth, peace ? "

I have said that the spirit of the gospel is essentially the spirit of
peace : find me a single man, who has been brought to be subject to
the power of the truth, whose passions are not calmed, and whose vio-
lence is not subdued. I have said that the spirit of the gospel is
essentially the spirit of peace ; no sooner were its influences extensive-
ly diffused, than those infamous gladiatorial spectacles, so common in
the latter ages of the Roman empire — to which even females, forget-
ting the mildness and tenderness of their sex, crowded to see their
fellow-creatures dying by the dagger's point, or amidst the bowlings of
wild beasts — sink into oblivion. Again, I have said that the spirit of
the gospel is essentially the spirit of peace : one of its fundamental
principles is, " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; " and one of
its unalterable maxims is, " If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he
thirst, give him drink ; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon
his head." Once more ; I say, the spirit of the gospel is essentially
the spirit of peace ; and when that enrapturing era shall arrive, when



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