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dom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him, his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, Dan. vii. 14. and his subjects must reign eternally with him. When thou, christian ! art confined to thy dying bed, he will approach thee with all the attractive charms of his power and grace : he will say to thee, Fear not, thou worm Jacob, Isa. xli. 14. he will whisper these comfortable words in thine ear, When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: and when through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee : when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee, chap. xliij. 2. He will open heaven to thee, as he opened it to St. Stephen ; and he will say to thee, as he said to the converted thief, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise, Luke xxiii. 43.
This is the fourth idea of the king Messiah, and this is the fourth source of the duties of his subjects. How glorious is the festival of his nativity! What grand, noble and sublime sentiments doth it require of us! The subjects of the king Messiah, the children of the everlasting Father, should consider the economy of time in its true point of view, they should compare things which are seen, which are temporal, with things which are not seen, which are eternal, 2 Cor. iv. 18. They should fix their attention upon the eternity, fill their imaginations with the glory, of the world to come, and learn, by just notions of immortality, to estimate the present life; the declining shadow ; the withering grass ; the fading flower; the dream, that Ayeth away; the vapor, that vanisheth, and is irrecoverably lost, Psal. cii. 11. Isa. xl. 7. Job xx. 8. and James iv. 14.
These, my brethren, are the characters of your king Messiah, these are the characters of the divine child, whose birth you are to celebrate next Wednesday, and in these ways only can you celebrate it as it deserves. We conjure you by that adorable goodness, which we are going to testify to you again; we conjure you by that throne of grace, which God is about to ascend again ; we conjure you by those ineffable mercies, which our imaginations cannot fully comprehend, which our minds cannot sufficiently admire, nor all the emotions of our heart sufficiently esteem; we conjure you to look at, and, if you will pardon the expression, to lose yourselves in these grand objects; we conjure you not to turn our solemn festivals, and our devotional days, into seasons of gaming, irreligion, and dissipation. Let us submit ourselves to the king Messiah ; let us engage ourselves to his government; let his dominion be the ground of all our joy:
O most mighty! thou art fairer than the children of men. Grace is poured into thy lips, therefore God hath blessed thee for ever ! Psal. xlv. 3, 2. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion, saying, Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies ! Thy people shall be willing in the day, when thou shalt assemble thy host in holy pomp !* Yea, reign over thine enemies, great King! bow their rebellious wills; prevent their fatal counsels; defeat all their bloody designs! Reign also over thy friends, reign over us! Make us a willing, people! Assemble all this congregation, when thou shalt come with thy host in holy pomp! Let not the flying of the clouds, which will serve thee for a triumphal chariot ; let not the pomp of the holy angelsin thy train, when thou shalt come to judge the world in righteousness, Acts xvii. 31. let not these objects affright and terrify our souls: let them charm and transport us; and, instead of dreading thine approach, let us hasten it by our prayers and sighs ! Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.
* We retain the reading of the French Bible here; because our author paraphrases the passage after that version. Ton peuple sera un peuple plein de franc rouloir au jour que tu assembleras ton armce en sa sainte pompe. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, ‘in the beauties of holiness, &c. The passage seems to be a prophe tical allusion to one of those solemn festivals, in which conquerors, and their armies, on their return from battle, offered a part of their spoil, which they had taken from their enemies, to God, from whom the victory came. These free-will offerings were carried in grand procession. They were holy, because agreeable to the economy, under which the Jews lived, and they were beautifully holy, because they were not cacted, but proceeded from the voluntary gratitude of the army. In large conquests, the troops and the offerings were out of number, like the drops of such a shower of dew, as the morning brought forth in the youth, or spring of the year. See 2 Chron. xiv. 13, 14, 15. and xv. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. We have ventured this hint on a passage, which seems not very clear in our version.
THE VARIETY OF OPINIONS ABOUT CHRIST.
Matthew xvi. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his
disciples, saying, Who, do men say, that I, the son of man, am ? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But who, say ye, that I am ? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona ; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, who is in heaven.
I Frany prejudice be capable of disconcerting a
it is that which ariseth from observing the various opinions of mankind. We do not mean those which regard uninteresting objects. As we may mistake them without danger, so we may suppose, either that men have not sufficiently considered them, or that the Creator may, without injuring the perfections of his nature, refuse those assistances, which are necessary for the obtaining of a perfect knowledge of them. But how do the opinions of mankind vary about those subjects which our whole happiness is concerned to know? One affirms, that the works of nature are the productions of chance : Another attributes them to a first cause, who created matter, regulated its form, and directed its motion. One says, that there is but one God, that it is absurd to sup