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being. And that man might have the highest assurance, he has spoken to him through one of his prophets, and condescended to draw an illustration from the immutability of those laws which everywhere manifest themselves to the outward senses: "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.'*
* Isa. lv. 10, 11.
· For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the govern
ment shall be upon his shoulder : and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.'
Isa. ix. 6.
What a rich cluster of diadems does the prophet here place in the crown of our Saviour ! Look through all history, and in whom can all these meet, but in the Redeemer of the world? How richly is Jesus entitled to the name Wonderful! And can we close our labors better than by placing this as the last, as the crowning title? We began with viewing Jesus as the first Adam. We found the comparison no less striking than singular. From that point we started. We have seen Jesus as a Vine to strengthen; Bread to nourish; Root to sustain ; a Star to guide; a Sun to warm and enlighten; an Advocate to plead; a Priest to minister; a Lamb for meekness; a Lion for strength. Indeed, figures are drawn from military life; from architecture; from some prevalent custom ; from legal forms; from the animal and vegetable kingdoms; till, in fact, everything is made to render homage to the Saviour of the world.
This word as a name appears in no other instance in our version, but we are told by Hebrew critics that the same word in the original is applied to the
angel who appeared unto Manoah. There our translators have rendered it secret. Judges xiii. 16-23.
· The proper idea of the word,' says Hengstenberg, is miraculous. It imports that the personage here referred to, in his being and in his works, will be exalted above the ordinary course of nature, and that his whole manifestation will be a miracle.' It is derived from the word pâlâ, to separate, to distinguish, to make great or extraordinary.
1. Jesus was Wonderful for the purity of his character.
II. He was Wonderful because of the seeming contrarieties and diverse excellences that met in him.
III. He was Wonderful on account of the originality of his character.
But we know not where to stop in pointing out the peculiarities of Jesus, for his character presents an infinite variety of aspects, and opens an unfathomable depth for contemplation. It was wonderful love by which God gave him, and by which he came. His birth was wonderful; his humility, self-denial, sorrows, were all wonderful. His mighty works were wonderful; his death was wonderful; and his resurrection and ascension, were all wonderful, and fitted to excite admiration and astonishment.
Jesus arose upon the world an object as wonderful and new in his person and office, as the sun when it first took rank among the stars of heaven; and like the solar light, while pouring a flood of radiance on everything else, he remains a glorious mystery.'
I. Jesus was Wonderful for the purity of his character. Before his advent, the world had not seen a
perfect man. True, there had been many great and good men; they had written excellent maxims; but on all their characters there was some stain or impurity. The world had not seen a MAN! The life of Jesus exhibited a moral greatness and beauty, such as the world never saw before. A moral life is disclosed which stands alone and unapproached in its wholeness and symmetry. He was the first being that ever carried out every virtue to the highest point, and the only one who has not been overcome by the Tempter! Wealth, fame, and honor, all came to pay him homage; but to all he said, "Satan, get thee behind me.' At last he expired on Calvary, and prayed for his enemies. And at that hour his character received the last touch from the hand of Divinity, and he stood before the world as a perfect man !
II. Jesus was Wonderful on account of the seeming contrarieties and diverse excellences that met in his character. He was born in a manger, yet destined to be the conqueror of the world; a King, yet no regal splendor and retinue attended him; with no advantages beyond those of his own rank in society, yet he manifested perfect wisdom and goodness; in him was the purity of infancy with the full development of maturity; he possessed all power in heaven and in earth, and yet was ' led as a lamb to the slaughter;' Lord of all, and yet a man! He was clothed with the attributes of Deity, and yet bore our griefs and carried our sorrows;' he was a Lamb, and yet a Lion. A writer, speaking of these strange contrasts, says, ' Against a crown of thorns; against the other ensigns of mock royalty; against the insults and
the anguish which he endured on Calvary, we set the rending tombs, the darkened sun, the portentous division of the veil of the temple, and especially his own opening sepulchre and endless life, and we ask whether the title Wonderful be not eminently appropriate?'
III. Jesus was Wonderful on account of the originality of his character. The originality of the character of Jesus appears in the apparent unsuitableness of the means which he employed as the founder of a new kingdom. The empire of Jesus,' says one, 'was intended to be the great anomaly of the world, and its founder designed that its distinctive character should be seen in the anomalous means employed to erect it. "My kingdom," said he, “is not of this world;" and forthwith he proceeded to illustrate the truth by laying its foundation in his own death, by erecting a cross for its centre and glory.' Let us pause a moment and contemplate him who bears so appropriately the title of Wonderful. I see him walking the streets of Jerusalem, a poor, despised Nazarene; surrounded by wealth, yet 'not where to lay his head;' without arms, without wealth, without fame, without eloquence; with every throne arrayed against him, and every earthly power opposed to him. In the midst of all this he proposes to found a kingdom, which, in its progress, will overturn every other upon the face of the whole earth; one that shall combine within itself the interests of a world. In fine, he contemplates a period when he shall subdue all things, and sit down upon his throne as King of kings and Lord of lords! To accomplish this, he seeks