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it is come! the joyful day is come!“ I bring you tidings of great joy," said the angel," for this day the Saviour is born.”
I see not why the predictions of the glorious days are not as full and as plain as were the predictions of the Messiah; nor why we may not as firmly believe the setting up of his kingdom, as of old, they believed his coming in the flesh. It is certain this is a great objection of the Jews against our Jesus being the true Messiah, that the things prophesied of the Messiah have never been fulfilled in him. That the nations should beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more. And that there should be nothing to hurt or offend; the knowledge of the Lord fiiling the earth, as the waters do the seas, &c. &c. Nor do I see any possibie way to answer their objection, but to say, these things are still to be accomplished.
Aud if they should be accomplished in all that GLORY, in which they are painted in the prophetic descriptions, nothing hinders but that this plan, of all possible plans, may at last actually prove to be the best ; in all respects the best. Most for God's glory, and most for the goud of the system too ; yea, so far as we are able to see, it seems as if this must be
It is matter of the greatest joy, that all the affairs of the universe are conducted by infinite wisdom. It is an honour that belongs to God, to govern the world which he has made; to govern bis own world; to lay out and order the affairs of his own family. We think we have a right to lay out schemes for our own families, and should take it ill if our children or servants should dispute our right. Sovereign monarchs, in tiine of war, think they have a right to lay out a plan of operation for an ensuing campaigo, and would take it ill if their right should be disputed by a private soldier. Much more bas God a right to lay out an universal plan, for the conduct of all things, in a world to which he has an original, underived, absolute right; nor can he look upon the worm that dares dispute liis right, but with infinite contempt and detestation. And, O what matter of infinite joy it is, that he has taken this work upon himself! not left things to the devil's control; nor to be decided by the lusts of an apostate
world ; nor left all things to mere chance; but himself, in infinite wisdom, has laid out an universal plan; a plan perfect in glory and beauty. No mortal, that loves his plan, will think of disputing bis right to lay it. And no mortal, that loves God himself; that loves his law, and loves his gospel, can be an enemy to his universal plan ; for they all partake of the same nature, and shine forth in the same kind of beauty; holy, just, and good.
Oye seed of Jacob! Joseph is safe, and Benjamin is safe ; the honour God is safe, and the good of the system is safe ; all is in good hands, and under the conduct of infinite wisdom. For the counsel of the Lord shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. (Isai. xlvi. 10.) Wherefore, set your hearts at rest. For let the state of the world and of the church look ever so dark, you may safely trust in the Lord, and stay yourselves upon your God, who is engaged in honour to conduct all well : and, for his GREAT XAME's Sake, he will not fail to do it. (See Ezek. xx.) You therefore, may, with the utmost serenity, leave the government of the world with him, and put an implicit faith in his wisdom and fidelity, and have nothing to do but your duty. Nothing, but to attend upon the business he has marked out for
a faithful sol. dierin an army, who trusts his general to conduct affairs, while he devotes himself to the business he is set about; and the more he rejoices in the wisdom of his general, the more alert will he be in discharging the duties of a soldier. Wherefore rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice. Let this be your
first maxim, The Lord reigneth ; and this your practice, Let the earth rejoice. (Psalm xcvii. 1.)
But it must be with an holy joy ; with such a joy as results from a supreme love to God, and hatred of sin, as an infinite evil : with such a joy as St. Paul describes, (1 Cor. xiii. 6.) Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but in the truth : for no other joy will answer to the nature of God's universal plan, which is altogether suited to exalt the Deity, and set sin in an infinitely odious point of lighi, and to cause truth and right universally to take place.
There are some who say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of satan : who say they trast in the Lord,
while, at the same time, the name of God is blasphemed through their unrighteous and ungodly lives. So once there was a mixed multitude came out of Egypt, and joined in the general joy at the side of the red Sea, merely from selfish views; but the Lord knew how to try them, and their joy, ere long, was turned to murmuring. For their hearts were not yet right; and their carcasses fell in the wilderness.. bij
O, ye seed of Jacob ! trials, many trials are yet to be expects ed: dark and gloomy days, while the dawning light of the glorious morning comes gradually on. Get ready, therefore, for
, trials. Be willing that all flesh-should be brought low, und that the Lord alone should be exalted. (Isaiah ji. 17.) Seek meeks ness, ye meek of the earth, for it may be, ye may be hid in the day of the Lord's anger. - (Zeph. ii. 3.). For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, all that do wickedly, shall be stubble ; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Son of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings. (Mal, iv. 1, 2.) Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Dan. xii. 4.) Many shall be purified and made white, and tried ; but the wicked shall du wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand: but the wise shall, understand, (Verse 10.) Blessed is that man who shall overcome all trials, and be true to the Messiah's interest through all changes; for he shall stand in his lot at the end of the days, in the gene, ral assembly of the just in heaven. (Verse 13.) Waợch, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke xxi. 36.)
Humility, self-diffidence, entire dependance on God, the inward source of constant watchfulness and prayer, perfectly become us, and are exactly suited to the state of things in the intellectual system, Satan, a glorious archangel, fell; Adam the father of the human race, fell; all mankind are now in a fallen state ; the powers of darkness determined on our ruin. No room, therefore, is left for pride, self-confidence, self-dependance. Hell is our proper due ; and free grace, through Jesus Christ, our only hope. Snares and dangers
are all around us. Watch and pray, therefore, that ye enter not into temptation.
God is the only being by nature immutably good. Were we innocent, we might possibly fall; and God would be un
; obliged to hold us up. Now we are sinners; now we are already fallen creatures; there is no hope in our case, but we shall totally and finally fall, if left to ourselves, and as certainly perish as we now exist. And whither shall we look for help, but to the only immutable Being? And how? but through the means and mediation of Christ ; being infinitely unworthy that God should hold us up. And yet our eternal interest lies all at stake.
“O, THOU FATHER of our spirits, amidst ten thousand dangers, apostate, self-ruined, self-destroyed, helpless, hell our due, we look to thee ! O, help us ! O, hold us up! O, keep us, by thy power, through faith unto salvation ; to the glory of thy free grace through Jesus Christ ! Amen.
Now to him who loved us and gave himself for us, to him be glory, honour, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.