persuade sinners to be reconciled to God. So the celestial angel preached the Gospel to the Shepherds in the field of Bethlehem, when he published the birth of
the Savior. So the apostolic angels preached the Gospel when they went forth as ambassadors for Christ, and inculcated repentance and faith. So the
ordinary angels of the Churches have continued in every age to preach the Gospel, as far as they have faithfully professed and taught the doctrines of Jesus and his apostles.
This Gospel is here called EVERLASTING not merely because it was devised in the eternal counsel of peace between the Father and the Son, and because it is
established by an everlasting covenant, which renders all the benefits well ordered, sure, and perpetual; but it is thus denominated with particular emphasis, in
this prophecy, to indicate that the Gospel, which should go forth from the midst of the Churches, and be sent to all the nations of the earth, would be the
same Gospel which had always been maintained by the faithful followers of the Redeemer; the same which all believers embraced under the Old
Testament; the same which the Apostles preached and the primitive Christians professed; the same to which the sealed of the Lord bore witness during the
persecution of antichrist; the same for which the Churches at the Reformation protested, and which has since, by many of those Churches, been preserved in its
purity. The very same weapons, and no other, which had been mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds heretofore, should now be effectually employed.
This ascertains that, at the period intended in the vision, the doctrines of grace would be faithfully preached; that the missionaries sent out from the midst of
the Churches would be, like Barnabas, good men, full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith; that they would not
accomodate their message to the pride of philosophers, to the prejudice of infidels, or the bigotry of idolaters? But honestly, plainly, and boldly preach Christ,
and him crucified; Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, by whom alone sinners can come to the Father; that, without flattery or disguise,
they would call transgressors to repentance, and offer a Savior to the chief of sinners.
2. To what doth the angel call? What is the import of his proclamation? In three comprehensive sentences a summary of the whole is exhibited - Fear
God; give glory to him; and worship him. By the FEAR of God, the whole of true religion, as it respects principles and practice,
is often expressed;
particularly a veneration for the infinite majesty of Jehovah, and a holy dread of his judgments. The Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and everlasting King;
at his wrath the earth shall tremble. Who would not fear thee, O King of Nations? For to thee doth it appertain.
But the fear particularly inculcated by the Gospel is here especially intended; not a servile dread, which urges awakened sinners to despair, and extinguishes
devotion; but a holy reverence, blended with such perfect love as casteth out slavish fear. The spirit of adoption seals the foregiveness of sins - is an earnest of
acceptance in the beloved - and excites in his people a filial fear. There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
Give GLORY TO HIM, is added by the angel, as another comprehensive summary of the Gospel call. In all his divine attributes God is infinitely glorious.
The heavens declare his glory. The whole earth is full of his glory. All his works praise him. He is glorious in his holiness and fearful in his praises. But
in the face of Jesus Christ the glory of God shines most conspicuously. In the salvation of guilty, depraved, and helpless transgressors, through the
imputed righteousness of the blessed Immanuel, glory redounds to God in the highest. The Gospel displays the glory of his majesty; and wherever it is rendered
the wisdom and power of God unto salvation, it instructs the redeemed to give glory unto the Lord.
The angel concludes with the authoritative command,