Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

scribing his distress and aflliction of mind for the obstinate infidelity of his countrymen, the Jews, in terms highly expressive of his truly patriotic concern. His brethren, who were they? Their defcent was honourable, and their privileges peculiar, and truly glorious. Who are Ifiaelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, whose are the fathers, the renowned patriarchs, and illustrious prophets, those lights from heaven, and holy apoftles, teachers of the world ;. and at the head of these, and who infinitely outThines them all, came Chrift, as to his human descent, and who, yet according to his eternal existence, is God, over all blessed for evermore.Hail! ye people highly favoured of the Lord; happy had ye yet been, had ye known in this the merciful day of your visitation, the things which belonged to your peace, your city, your palaces, your glorious temple, had continued to this day with increasing splendor; but to all your other crimes, when Jesus, the desire of all nations, came to his own, you, his own people, received him not, but, with wicked hands, crucified the Lord of glory; therefore your punishment was signal as your guilt was unequalled ; and ye remain a terrible monument of the divine indignation against ingidelity, to every age and nation of the world.

In illustrating the text, I shall, through divine aslistance,

I. Delineate the mediatorial character of Chrift; and thew in what respects he may be faid to be “ blessed.

II. In what sense he is God over all blessed.
III. Improve the subject.

1. Preliminary Remark. Man, in his first estate, when coming out of the hands of his creator, must have been a creature truly glorious. He ftood high in the scale of being, and was placed at the head of all other creatures in this world. His erect posture, by which he touched the ground by a very small part of his frame, bespoke his exterior dig. nity a.-But his mental powers, so strong and comprehensive, and the beautiful lustre of his Maker's glory adorning his mind, made it like Solomon's holy of holies, every part being overlaid with pure gold, served as a consecrated temple, where the Deity would walk, saw his own image, and rejoiced in the work of his hands.

But the facred volume informs us of the fatal change that took place of all this happiness and dignity-Man violated the law of his God, and in the moment of transgression felt the weight of this dismal reverse. Sin, that ugly monster, entered, and death followed, and gave man a mortal wound.

Behold him then in a threefold point of view :

Refpecting his Maker, he fell under accumulated ruin. The image of God, after which he was formed, was defaced, and a far different image set up in his heart, even of him who had seduced him from his allegiance ; darkness in the understanding, rebellion in the will, sensuality in the affections. The justice of God threatened a penalty he could neither fatisfy nor sustain ; the law of God still challenged obedience, which, alas, he had neither power nor inclination to perform. The very gifts and bounties of God with which he was surrounded, intended not only for his comfort, but for his instruction, leading him as by so many steps to their gracious author, became the occasion of withdrawing further from his duty, and increasing, as well as aggravating, his ingratitude.—Thus stood man with respect to his Maker.

With respect to his fellow creatures, instead of that harmony and love, and milk of human kindness his neighbour; violence, rage, envy, and confusion, overspread the world, and filled it with scenes of blood and death!

towards a Charron on Wisdom, p. 100.

Respecting himself-here was misery indeed! he could sometimes fly from his neighbour, but never from himself. Hurried by restless desires towards things either unsatisfying or unattainable; haunted with cares, tortured with pains, and ftung with remorse, while conscience, like Daniel's hand writing on the wall, or like David's prophet, Nathan, saying, Thou art the man, filled him with terror; and vanity, like a worm, destroyed the root of every flower that promised the fairest success. Such is the faint picture of man. Miserable in this life; more miserable still in the continual dread of losing such a life, miserable most of all, that neither his fancy can form, nor his fear conceive the consequences of dea he dreads, which will drag him to the immediate presence, and to the tribunal of an incensed Almighty, and ever living God! Such accumulated woes, felt and feared, might make him cry out, in anguilh, Would to God I had never been born, and mine infant eyes had never seen the light.

2. Remark. That a Mediator was absolutely necesfary, on every account, if grace was to be extended to man.

Since the fall it did not consist with the honour of God to converse with apoftate man; nor was he, in his unhappy circumstances, capable of conversing with God. But since it was the merciful design of God to dwell again with men, and diffuse the blessings of religion among them, it was fit fome expedient should be fallen on for restoring finners, on honourable terms, to the divine favour; for securing the return of the Holy Ghost to their hearts, and for rendering them capable of those divine pleasures, which by fin had been totally with

held, pedient had been fixed upon in the eternal councils, and the son of God bowed the heavens and came down as Mediator betwixt God and Man; he puts off the crimson robes of the judge, and put on the bowels of the Father, and announced, in promises, types and prophesies, that God in very deed would dwell with man upon earth, and after the revolution of 4000 years, this long expected, this auspicious babe was bora. . It may seem that these preliminary remarks were an unneceflary digression from the subject; but when I observe that the offices, names, and mediatorial character of Christ, were all relative; all had a refpect to the people he was to fave, I hope I shall be forgiven. I return now to the I. Head; which was to delineate the mediatorial character of Christ, and shew in what respects he may be said to be blefied. : And in describing this glorious character, I wish to be led intirely by the light of Revelation. Overwhelmed with the prospect of his future glories, confequent upon his temporary fufferings, the enraptured Prophet, lfaiah, crys out-And who fall declare his generation! And without all doubt says Paul-Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifested in the

flesh. In the preceding preliminary remark, I have enumerated some of the high and important purposes why he was born, and for what causes he came into the world. Others vaft, and truly divine, will appear in the further prosecution of the subject.

He shall be called, Wonderful; and so indeed he was; he is Christ over all blefied; he is also God, over all blessed, for ever. The word Christ, signifies anointed, or qualified for fome high and eminent designs. The word blessed, signifies chofen, or selected for these purposes and intentions. Thus the

Angel,

Angel, Gabriel, address the Virgin Mary-Blessed art thou among women.

To which her cousin Elizabeth added-- And blessed is the fruit of thy womb. He shall be set apart and anointed by the Holy Ghoft, for the mighty purpose of saving a loft world.

The ancient prophets who foretold Christ's coming, appear transported with the view of his glory. Not only the New Testament, but also the Old, represent the Messias as the most remarkable and most honourable person, that ever appeared on the stage of the world: it speaks of him as a glorious governor, a prince, a king, a conqueror, besides other magnificent titles of the greatest dignity; shewing that his government should be extensive and everlasting, and that his glory hould fill the whole earth. But while the prophets foretel his greatness, they foretel also his meanness; they shew, indeed, he was to be a glorious king, but a king who was to be despised and rejected of men ; and that after the great expectation that men would have of him, he was to pass over the Itage of the world, unobserved and disregarded.

About the time of his coming, the Jews were big with hopes of him as the great deliverer, and chief ornament of their nation. And if history may be credited, even the heathens had a notion about that time, which possibly was derived either from the Jewith prophefies, or from heathen oracles, which God over-ruled sometimes to announce truth, that there was a prince of unparalleled glory, to rise in the east, and even in Judea, in particular, who was to found an universal monarchya. But their vain hearts, like that of most men in all ages, were fo intoxicated with worldly pomp, that that was the only greatness they had any notion or relish of; this

made

a See Suetonius Vita Tiberii, Taciti Annal. Cudworth's Intellectual Syftem, Gales's Court of the Gentiles, Stillingfieet’s origines Sacræ.

« PoprzedniaDalej »