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SERMO N II.
[Preached on Christmas-Day.] boo000000000000000000"
ISAIAH ix. 6.
Son is given, and the government
and Lord of the Universe; II. K who worketh all things after my
Rus the Counsel of his Will; having
SER M. of his Government that the Method by 11. which sinful men should be brought un
t o Salvation, should be by his Son's appearing and suffering in the Flesh; thought fit, from the Beginning of the World, to give men at first obscure Notices, and afverwards by degrees clearer and clearer predictions, of a Saviour who should come in the fulness of Time, to be their Redeemer, Mediator, Intercessor and Judge. In which whole Dispensation, as in all other Matters, when we affirm that God disposes things after the Counsel of his own Will, we must always take care so to understand this, and other the like Expressions of Scripture, that it may signify, not what vain and presumptuous men are apt to mean, when They talk of acting according to their own Will and Pleasure, that is, arbitrarily and without reason; but the meaning of this fort of expressions, when applied to God, who can never please to do any thing but what is best, is This only; that his mere Will and Pleasure ought abundantly to fatisfy us, that tho' we do not perhaps know in particular what all the reasons are, yet
in reality there always are in the things Serm. themselves the greatest and strongest reasons, II. upon account of which every thing that m He does, is in itself the best and fittest to be done. Having therefore in perfect Wisdom, as Supreme Governor and Lord of all, determined to bring sinful Man to Salvation by this particular Method; he opened his divine Intention at first obscurely to Adam, by promising that the Seed of the Woman pould bruise the Serpent’s Head: And afterwards a little further to Abraham, by showing him that in His seed should all the Nations of the Earth be blessed : Then, with still more distinct circumstances, to Moles; under the numerous types and shadows of the Law. And lastly, more and more plainly and explicitly, as the Time drew nearer, by full and clear Predictions of many successive Prophets. Under all which several Dispensations, they who obeyed the word of God, according to the manner in which it was Then respectively revealed to them, were each of them entitled to the Benefit of the whole Salvation; and, notwithstanding their
Ser M. different degrees of Knowledge, are all of 11. them finally to be gathered together into
One in Christ; so that He, to whom much is revealed, shall have nothing over; and He, to whom was revealed but little, shall have no lack; when, at the consummation of all things, they shall all meet in one great and general Assembly of the first-born which are written in Heaven ; Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles ; and whosoever have in all Ages, after the pattern of these great Examples, obeyed the Commandments of God as made known to them, whether by the Light of Nature, or by the Law of Moses, or by the Gospel of Christ.
Of all the Prophecies in the Old Testament, concerning this Method which the divine Wisdom has appointed, of bringing men to Salvation ; there is none that contains a clearer and more distinct, a fuller and more particular prediction, than the words now read unto you for the Subject of our present Meditations : Unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given, and the Government Mall be upon his moulder; and bis Name fall be called Wonderful,
1: Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlast-Serm. mping Father, The Prince of Peace. In II. CI discoursing upon which words at This m y Du Time, the Method shall be, to consider out and explain diftinctly the several particubelars, whereof the Text consists, in the all Order they lie; and from each particular of so explained, to infer in its place, as we 22 go along, what may be usefully and pracas; tically deduced therefrom. The Unto Us a Child is born: These words, ed as they found in the English, may seem at He first fight to express nothing more, than of the natural Birth of some eminent person. y But in the strict sense of the original, and
according to the intention of the whole
Prophecy, 'tis plain they must be so une derstood, as if they had been thus rendred; - Unto us is born The Child, absolutely and
by way of eminence; That Child, whom