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a reproach to be called a carpenter's son, that he is making you by redemption, by the despised because I am a Galilean, lightly spirit of adoption, by the hope of glory to be esteemed because my parents were poor and revealed. Support the horour of your heaignoble, because a paltry monosyllable intro- venly Father's name, prove your relation, duces not my name? Real worth ennobles preserve unclouded your prospects. You itself independent of the breath of kings, it are now in a state of depression, “ in hea. draws obscure progenitors into light, and viness through manifold temptations,” your leaves a fair and honourable inheritance to title lies dormant, your possession is at a disposterity—in a bright example, and a re- tance, but your life is hid with Christ in spectable name.
God, and when he shall appear, you shall Once more, whatever may be our preten- appear with him in glory. Beloved, now are sions or our want of pretension as citizens of we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear this world, we have all equal right and what we shall be, but when He shall apencouragement to aspire after the title, and pear we shall be like him, for we shall see the spirit, and the privileges of the sons of him as he is.” “ Fear not," then,“ little God." He whose generation cannot be de- flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure clared, is not ashamed to call the humblest to give you the kingdom.” “ Ye are & of you, brethren. The end of his coming chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an into the world, of his humbling himself to holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye death, of shedding his blood, was to make should show forth the praises of him who you kings and priests unto God and his hath called you out of darkness into his marFather.” What he is by eternal generation, | vellous light.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
For thus saith the Lord of hosts. Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth,
and the sea, and the dry lund; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: And I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosis: And in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.-Haggai üi. 6–9.
The great Lord of Nature demonstrates the stars withdraw their light; the barrier his existence and divine perfection, in the which restrained the ocean is removed, the original formation, and in the constant pre- windows of heaven are opened, and the earth servation of all things. “He spake and it is overflowed. The rain that falls on Sodom was done, he commanded and it stood fast.” | becomes a fiery tide; the flame of NebuHe upholdeth all“ by the word of his power." chadnezzar's fiery furnace is rendered harmThe continual support of the universe has less air; the hungry lion licks the prophet's accordingly, with the utmost propriecy, been feet. The glaring eccentric comet, the wanrepresented as creation every instant repeat- dering planet, and the fixed star, all, all refer ed. In a system which is all life and motion, us to one original, to one moving, restraining, power almighty, and attention unintermitting, directing, supporting cause. must ever be exerted to maintain life, to car Neither, however, the regular observance, ry on motion, to preserve harmony. Every be- ror the occasional suspension of the laws of ing is subjected to the peculiar law of its own nature are mere wanton displays of power, nature; and the great whole is governed by to amuse the curious, to alarm the fearful, or general laws. Unity, simplicity, multitude, to confound the proud. Every word that provariety, strike the eye of every attentive be- ceedeth out of the mouth of God, and every holder; every individual presents a little act of omnipotence have an important meanworld apart, and the vast combination of in- ing and design. The end at which the Rudividvals forms but one world, animated by ler of the world still aims, is the manifesta. one vital principle.
tion of his own glory in promoting the wisBut Jehovah makes himself known to his dom and happiness of his creatures. intelligent crcatures not only in the stated The prophet, in the passage of the sacred order and harmony of his works, but in the volume which has now been read, is evident. occasional and temporary interruption of ly referring to some signal display of the dithat order, and in deviation from that harmo- vine glory. We behold universal commotion ny. The powers of earth and heaven are raised and settled by the same power; hezshaken; Wie sun is turned into darkness and / ven and earth, the sea and the dry land,
and all the kindreds of the nations shaken, burnt-offering.” But when “sacrifice and of together. Universal attention is excited, fering thou didst not desire, when burnt-offeruniversal expectation is raised, and that ex- ing and sin-offering were not required, then pectation is completely gratified, by the ap- said I, Lo, I come, I delight to do thy will, pearance of the desire of all nations;" by O my God.” This, Christians, like the star ihe restoration of peace to a troubled world; which conducted the wise men of the East, by a lustre bestowed on the second temple leads us directly to the Saviour of the world. which should eclipse the glory of the first. Would you behold the superior glory of the Now, the expression, “the glory of this lat- latter temple, look to Simeon visiting lookter house shall be greater than the former, ing and longing for the consolation of Israel : saith the Lord of hosts," enables us to fix behold him with the babe in his arms, exultthe period, and to discover the person here ing with joy unspeakable and full of glory, described. Haggai lived and prophesied af- in having seen the salvation of God. Look ter the Babylonish captivity, and the imme- to Jesus at the age of twelve years “sitting diate object of his prophecy was to urge his in the temple in the midst of the doctors, restored countrymen to industry and perse- both hearing them and asking them quesverance, in the work of rebuilding the tem- tions," displaying at that tender age, a wisple of the Lord. And as the most powerful dom and dignity far superior to that of Soloand encouraging of all motives he is commis- mon in his zenith. Look to that same Jesus, sioned to assure them, that the period fast ap- in his zeal for the honour of the sacred ediproached when the fabric which they were fice, purging it of these impurities which a then rearing should be invested with much worldly spirit had introduced into it. Listen greater honour, than that of Solomon in all to the divine eloquence which there flowed his glory ever possessed. But if this were from the lips of him who spake as never man meant of temporal splendour merely, the fact spake. Hear him predicting its destruction, contradicts it; for from Ezra we learn, that and establishing the truth of his own mission in this respect, the former temple was far in denouncing against it, and devoting it to superior to the latter; “many of the priests total and irrecoverable ruin. Bchold him on and levites, and chief of the fathers who those ruins, rearing an everlasting and a were ancient men that had seen the first spiritual building, on a rock against which house, when the foundation of this house the gates of hell shall never prevail; and in was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud all this, behold as in a glass the glory here voice;" so mortifying was the comparison. spoken of, the advent of “the desire of all Our prophet himself holds the same lan- nations,” the “ star of Jacob" arisen, Shiloh guage, ch. ii. 3. .“ Who is left among you come, to whom the gathering of the nations that saw this house in her first glory? and shall be, “the Prince of Peace,” by whom how do you see it now? is it not in your eyes peace is proclaimed, and through whom in comparison of it as nothing ?" We must peace is given to “him that is afar off and look therefore for a different kind of glory, him that is nigh." to explain and confirm the prediction: and it In order still farther to justify the applicais impossible to be at a loss about 'an inter- tion of this prophecy to the person and chapretation, when we consider wherein the real racter of the Redeemer, we may inquire into glory of the second temple consisted. Not the import of the other expressions here emin being filled, and overlaid with silver and ployed, to describe the appearances of nature gold, for these are spoken of as comparatively and providence, which signalized the era of vile and contemptible. “The silver is mine, his manifestation in the flesh. " Yet once, it and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts," is a little while.” The reign of prophecy was a claim exactly in the same spirit with that hastening to a conclusion. Haggai was one made in the fiftieth Psalm. “Hear, O my of the last on whom that spirit rested; with people, and I will speak: 0 Israel, and I will Malachi, who lived probably somewhat later, testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. it entirely ceased; and a dark period of I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, or five hundred years without a vision, interthy burnt-offerings, to have been continually vened, till it was revived in one who came in before me. I will take no bullock out of thy the spirit and power of Elias, the forerunner house, nor he-goats out of thy folds: for eve of the Messiah, “the voice crying in the wil. ry bcast of the forest is mine, and the cattle derness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, upon a thousand hills.' I know all the fowls make straight in the desert a highway for of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the our God," Isaiah xl. 3, and it shone in all its field are rnine. If I were himgry I would not lustre in the Messiah himself, " the great tell thee: for the world is mine, and the ful- prophet that should coine into the world." ness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, By hiin it is here intimated that God should or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God speak “ once" for all; that he should be the thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the full and final declarer of the will of God to Most High." “ Lebanon is not sufficient to mankind; " yet once, but no more, burn, nor the beasts thereof suficient for a i “ It is a little while." With God, what is
purposed, is begun to be executed, his agents | by degrees strengthening her wing, and pre. are already at work, time is lost with him paring to take her flight round half the globe. who sees the end from the beginning. “The The succession of those great monarchies, Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as those shakings of the heavens and the earth. . some men count slackness;" " beloved, be this shaking of all nations, led gradually and not ignorant of this one thing, that one day imperceptibly to that happy conjuncture, that is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a fulness of time, that maturity of divine counsel thousand years as one day.” The interval which suited the introduction of Christianity. between the prediction and the accomplish. They arose one after another, they enlarged ment, though a period of five centuries, is, one upon another, till at length the genius in the sight of God, “a little while;" and of Rome, under the permission of Heaven, five centuries, when they are past, are but triumphed over and swallowed up all others, “ a little while" in the eyes of man also. and expanded, opened, united, consolidated, But to what circumstances attending the that wide-extended, well-informed, civilized coming of our Saviour refers the prophet, empire, through which the gospel of Christ when he represents the great God as “shak- was destined to make a progress so rapid ing the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and so successful. To favour this great and the dry land, and all nations ?" It is well event, to procure attention to the Author known that the sacred writers frequently and finisher of our faith, and to render the employ, by a bold figure, the appearances or first appearance of our holy religion at once the natural world to represent and explain more august and more secure, the struggles moral objects. In the case before us, it will of ambition which had so long shaken the be found that both the literal and figurative world, those restless contests for superiority, sense of the words are strictly applicable to subsided at last, suddenly and unexpectedly, the subject. Every one, who is at all ac- into universal peace. That stormy ocean, quainted with the history of mankind, knows which had been for ages and generations in that the whole course of things has been a continual agitation, now all at once sunk constant and successive concussion and con- into a surprising calm; the bloody portal of vulsion, a' shaking of the nations, struggle Janus, which had so long emitted unrelenting for dominion, the progress of empire from destruction to mankind, was shut, and the east to west; and an aspect of the heavenly globe was instantly overspread with tranbodies and influence, analogous to the state quillity, relieved from the din of arms, from of the moral world. The observer of nature the confused noise of the warrior, and the endeavours to trace all these up to their na- horrid sight of garments rolled in blood, in tive causes in the great system of the uni- order to receive the Prince of Peace. verse; the moralist looks for them in the The shaking of the nations, as paving the nature and constitution of man, and the poli- way for the desire of all nations, is striking tician, in the combinations and exertions of to the contemplative mind in another point passion and interest. The Believer, the of view. Philosophy rode triumphant, every Christian, refers all to God, sees him in the question relating to physics, morals, politics, cloud, in the sky; hears him in the wind, in science, religion, was freely canvassed; and the thunder, in the songster of the grove: the noise of the schools in many instances and he sees the swelling tide of nature and drowned that of the ensanguined plain. The providence labouring with one object of pe- introduction of Christianity was preceded by culiar importance; all things are shaken and a remarkable diffusion of knowledge, and composed in subordination to the preparation the radiance of science ushered in the gospel of the gospel of peace.
day, as Aurora announces the approach of Let me compress what I mean to say with the sun, and prepares the world for it
. Egypt, in a narrow compass; and I shall do it nearly Persia, Greece, and Rome, poured from their in the words of an elegant preacher whom I separate urns, those distinct rills of science, have oftener than once had the honour to which meeting in one great channel, became quote in this place. The eastern part of the a mighty flood, and overspread the vast Roworld was, in the wisdom of Providence, first man empire. And thus was revelation enapeopled, great and extensive empires were bled to give a most illustrious proof of its first formed there, and there learning and coming down from above, by diffusing over the the arts were first brought to perfection. world, all at once, a light superior to all col. But while science and empire flourished in lected human wisdom in its brightest glory. the east, a power was rising by degrees in And need we ask who it was that thus shook the western world, which was one day to and settled the sea and the dry land, who resurpass all that had gone before it. Unknown gulated the vast engine, who conducted a ll to the proud empires of the eastern hemi- these great events, and brought them to one sphere, which vainly flattered themselves that issue, concurrence, and conclusion? At the they, divided the world amongst them, this same period of time the promised Messiah power was then silently advancing from con- came; the greatest empire that ever existed quest to conquest, and the Roman eagle was was at the height of its glory: learning
flourished beyond what it had done in any markable circumstances wnich immed ately lormer age: and the world was blessed with preceded, or which accompanied the birth of universal peace.
A coincidence of facts, Christ. every one of which is in itself so extraordi And was all this mighty preparation made nary that it cannot be paralleled by any other to introduce a mere man of like passions with times, clearly points out the hand of that su- ourselves ? Were the heavens from above preme, overruling Power, who from eternity and the earth beneath stirred to meet him at beheld the great plan of his providence his coming ? Did flaming ministers descend through its whole extent, who alone “can singly and in bands, did departed prophets declare the end from the beginning and from revisit the earth, and the dead bodies of saints ancient times the things which are not yet arise to do homage to a creature, their equal, done,” saying, " My counsel shall stand, and their fellow? It is not to be believed. But I will do all my pleasure."
surely this is the Son of God; and to receive To put this beyond all doubt, let it be ob-him, coming for our salvation, what solemnity served, that these events took their rise in of preparation was too great, what homage remotest ages, and were prepared in times of angels and men too submissive, what testi. and countries far distant from and unknown mony of created Nature too ample? “Hoto, each other. Empire which sprang' up sanna to the son of David, blessed is he who amidst the seven hills of Rome; science cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in nursed in the academic groves of Greece; the highest." and religion from the oscure vales of Judea, Is his name and description “the desire of all met at one grand crisis. To one another all nations ?” how fitly applied ! Is light deunknown, they must have been conducted by sirable to the benighted, bewildered traveller the hand of Providence. But meet they did, in a land of snares and of the shadow of and peace from heaven crowned them with death? Is pardon desirable to a wretch conher olive. And thus were the nations shaken, demned? Is the cooling stream desirable to to prepare the way of the Lord; thus “ the the parched pilgrim, and bread to the hungry valleys were exalted, and the mountains and perishing wretch ? Is the friendly haven kills Iaid low, the crooked made straight, and desirable to the tempest-tossed mariner, and the rough places plain," and the high and liberty to the languishing captive? What aspiring thoughts of men were brought into then to an ignorant, guilty, perishing world, captivity to the obedience of Christ.
must that wonderful man be whom Provi. But the heavens and the earth were literal- dence has raised up to be “a hiding place ly shaken, at the coming of “the desire of from the wind, and a covert from the temall nations." Witness that new created star pest; as rivers of water in a dry place; which conducted the eastern Magi to the as the shadow of a great rock in a weary place where the Saviour was born; witness land.” the descent of Gabriel and a multitude of But what if when he shall appear, desire the heavenly host, to announce his arrival; able as he is, a blind world shall see no and witness the other appearances of celestial form or comeliness in him, no beauty why he spirits to minister to the Lord of Glory in his should be desired?" Afflicting thought! temptation and agony, at his resurrection and" He was despised and rejected of men!" ascension into heaven; witness the descent “ He came to his own and his own received of Moses and Elias to the mount of transfigu- him not.” They "denied the holy one, and ration; witness too the eclipse of the sun the just, and desired a murderer to be grantbeyond the course of nature, which marked ed unto them.”. The cry was, "away with the hour of his death, the quaking of the him, crucify him;" his blood be upon us earth, the rending of the rocks, the rising of and upon our children!" O Lord, remove the dead: witness the voice from heaven the film from the eyes of those prejudiced which, like thunder, oftener than once, shook Jews; dispose them to receive “The Prince the echoing air, while God himself declared of Peace,” let him be all their salvation and his well beloved Son, and demanded atten- all their desire. Lord, remove the film from tion for him. All these confirm the testi- my eyes that I may see, in him, whom God mony of the prophet, they point it to the the Father hath sent and sealed, one "fairer Lord Jesus, and inspire joy unspeakable and than the children of men; into whose lips full of glory, on discovering the perfect coin- grace is poured :” that though he may be cidence between prediction and event. To " unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto this auspicious, this all important era we are the Greeks foolishness, He may be unt us now brought; and the next Lecture, with who believe, Christ, the power of Gud, and the divine permission, will detail the re-l the wisdom of God." Amen.
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
LECTURE CXI. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. . And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's wornb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just ; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wise well stricken in years. And the angel answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel, that sland in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. LUKE i. 11-20.
“ The prophecy came not in old time by gous to the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, the will of man; but holy men of God spake Matthew by the face of a man, Mark by that as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." of a lion, Luke by that of an ox, and John by Being determined through the course of that of an eagle. these exercises to avoid every thing that has St. Luke was by profession a physician; the appearance of controversy, I take it for he became early a proselyte to the Jewish granted that you believe and receive the his- religion, and he is generally supposed to tory of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus have been one of Christ's first disciples, and Christ, as delivered in the four gospels ac- of the number of the seventy whom “ He cording to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, sent out two and two into every city and as of divine inspiration and authority. Of place, whither he himself would come.” the four evangelists two were of the number After he had, concluded the history of our of the twelve whom Christ called to the office Lord himself, at the period of his ascension of apostleship, and who recorded events of into heaven, he undertook that of the Acts of which they were witnesses and partakers, the Apostles, and he addresses both his books and transcribed discourses which they heard to a person of amiable character and exalted and well remembered. The other two de- rank, named Theophilus, and in him, to rived their information immediately from every lover of God, in every age of the those“ who from the beginning were eye- Church, who is desirous to know the cerwitnesses and ministers of the word." Their tainty of the things wherein he has been harmony, in every particular of any import- instructed.” On the conversion of St. Paul ance, is a proof of the truth and certainty of to the Christian faith, he seems to have ateach individually, and of the whole. John, tached himself with much zeal and affection as one borne aloft on the wings of an eagle, to that great Apostle of the Gentiles, he beascends into the heaven of heavens, and became voluntarily the companion of his tra. gins his account of his beloved Master with vels and afflictions, and brought down his a sublime and interesting representation of history to his arrival at Rome as a prisoner, his divine nature; for which we refer you to on an appeal to the emperor Nero. His Lect.cviii. Mark introduces the beginning gospel and history of the acts were probably of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God," submitted to the inspection of his illustrious with the voice of a lion “crying in the wil- fellow-traveller, and received the seal of his derness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, approbation. In the preface to the gospel make his paths straight.” Luke ushers in inscribed with his name, he modestly, yet the great Prophet, “the desire of all națions," with firmness, lays claim to the great, the with an account of the conception and birth essential qualification of a historian, namely, of his forerunner John the Baptist, and is of accurate and coinplete information respectcourse led to extract the commencement of ing his subject, “having” says he, “had the evangelical, out of the legal dispensation perfect understanding of all things, from the and he sets out with exhibiting Zacharias in very first :" and the professed end which he the exercise of the priest's office. Matthew had in view is no less worthy of a great and commences at once with the history of enlightened mind, that a respected friend Christ's humanity, as the son of David, the might be established in the knowledge, faith, son of Abraham. For these reasons, the four and hope of the gospel. The tongue of prosacred historians of the New Testament dis- phecy had now been silent for more than four pensation have been distinguished by corres- hundred years. The last word which it had ponding symbolical representations, analo- / spoken announced the sending of Elijah the