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wisdom from the wise, and courage from the made him silent in the dust. “ I have behaved brave : and to confound all his devices. more 'undutifully towards my father and my
He knew also, that it was equally easy for sovereign, than ever Absalom did towards his. God to turn again his captivity. He knew I will bear the indignation of the Lord, bethat his wisdom is infinite, his power almighty, cause I have sinned against him. Why should his resources endless; he knew that “his a living man complain, a man for the punishcounsel shall stand, and he will do all his ment of his sin ? Surely it is meet to be said pleasure.” It would be well for us to remem- unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will ber this in our difficulties, and to view a not offend any more. That which I see not, change in our distressing circumstances, as teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will turning simply on the will of God. “ If he do so no more. speaks the word, I shall be healed. If he The other was—his Ignorance. For while favours my cause, I am released. He knows the former convinced him that he had no how to deliver.' Nothing is too hard for the right to choose, this persuaded him that he Lord.' It does not become his people ever had no ability. He knew that he had often to despair. He cannot come too late. Balaam been deceived; deceived both by his hopes may prepare altars, and offer sacrifices; but and fears; that he had desired things which how can he curse whom God hath not would have been his ruin, and dreaded things cursed ?' Nebuchadnezzar may heat the fur- which had proved some of his chief mercies; nace, and the faithful servants of God may be that “the way of man is not in himself, it is even thrown in; but the God whom they serve not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” is continually able to deliver them. Had he Hence he referred himself to God, as to one interposed earlier, the salvation would not who knew what was best for him, saying, have appeared so marvellous and divine. He Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine often makes our extremity his opportunity: eyes lofty: neither do ! exercise myself in • For the Lord shall judge his people, and great matters, or in things too high for me. repent himself of his servants, when he seeth Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as that their power is gone, and there is none a child that is weaned of his mother, my soul shut up or left.”
is even as a weaned child." III. He professes A FULL ACQUIESCENCE IN There were also two things in God which THE DISPOSAL OF THE ALMIGHTY. “But if aided this acquiescence. First, his Sovereignhe thus say, I have no delight in thee: be-ty: “ Has he not a right to do what he will hold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth with his own? Did not he find me a poor good to him.” Here are no imprecations of shepherd ? Did not he raise me to the throne ? vengeance against seditious subjects, and a -And if he requires me to lay down the rebellious son; no bitter complaints of instru- sceptre, and reduces me back again to humble ments; no “charging God foolishly;" no life he is righteous: his authority is un“teaching God knowledge.” He falls down questionable. I have nothing that I can call at his feet, wishing to be raised up, but will- my own: and he can take nothing that is not ing to remain. He mourns, but he does not his.” murmur.
Secondly, his Goodness. The authority of Thus Eli before him had said, “ It is the God awes us, and we say, Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.”
"Peace, all our angry passions then ; And thus his Son and his Lord long after, and
Let each rebellious sigh almost on the very same spot, exclaimed, “O
Be silent at his sovereign will,
And every murmur die." my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it—thy will be done.” But it is something else that produces the
I have been thinking what helped to pro- cheerfulness of submission. It is the princiduce this disposition in David. Now there ple which actuates him—which is love; it is were two things in himself, and two in God, the end he has in view—which is our profit: which promoted this resignation: and I it is a belief that however things may be mention them because they ought equally to determined, with regard to our feelings they influence us in our calamities.
" shall all work together for our good;" it is There were two things in himself. The a conviction that if we suffer, these sufferings one was—a sense of his own Unworthiness. are as necessary as the knife to the vine; as A consciousness of our desert is necessary to the furnace to the gold; and as medicine to our submission under the afflictive dispensa- the body. This, and this alone can enable us tions of Providence. When this prevails, cordially to say, “Behold, here am I, let him instead of wondering at our trials, we only do to me as seemeth good unto him." wonder at our exemptions and mitigations; Let us be followers of David in this holy and say, " It is of the Lord's mercies that we resignation of ourselves to the pleasure of are not consumed, because his compassions God. There are two reasons why you should fail not.” It was thus with David. A recol- aspire after this state of mind. lection of the ungrateful and guilty part First. It will be very advantageous to yourwhich he had acted, stopped his mouth, and selves. In passing through a vale of tears
you must expect to weep; but as you cannot present—let us view God's hand in all events escape afflictions, surely common prudence and that we may not be afraid of the future will lead you to ask, how you are to bear - let us view all events in God's hand. Amen. them? Now this acquiescence in the will of God is the preparation of the Gospel of peace,
DISCOURSE XXII. with which you are to be shod. Thus prepared, you may travel on through the wilderness—but what will you do if barefooted, when
THE CHILD JESUS. you meet with thorns and briers ? To vary and enlarge the metaphor-impatience turns
(CHRISTMAS.) the rod into a scorpion. While the yoke For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is presses the neck, patience lines it with down; given: and the government shall be upon his and enables the man to say, It is good for me
shoulder: and his name shall be called Won to bear it. There is nothing so likely to ob
derful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The tain the removal of your afflictions, as this
everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah ix. 6. submissive frame of mind. In chastising a child, what would move you like this yield- To him gave all the prophets witness." ing; like the ingenuous confession, My But what testimony was ever borne him like father, I deserve this; and I hope it will be this !—Here we have a prediction at once the useful to me through life?"--I borrow the most clear in its application, the most glo image—“I have surely heard Ephraim be- rious in its contents, the most consolatory in moan himself thas; Thou hast chastised me, its design. And the return of this day renand I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustom- ders it peculiarly seasonable. Let us thereed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be fore indulge ourselves in a few reflectionsturned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely upon his Incarnation—his Empire—and his after that I was turned, I repented; and after Names. that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh; I. WE HAVE HERE HIS COMING IN THE I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because FLESH. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is son is given.” Ephraim my dear son ? Is he a pleasant child? It is remarkable, that all this should be For since I spake against him, I do earnestly spoken of as present. In the time of Isaiah, remember him still : therefore my bowels are the event could only be prophecy—but it is troubled for him; I will surely have mercy proclaimed as history. The Church of those upon him, saith the Lord.”
days could only have expected this blessing; Secondly. Nothing can be more honourable but they mention it as actually enjoyed to religion. To surrender ourselves to the child is born: a son is given! Purpose and Divine disposal is the purest act of obedience: execution, promise and accomplishment, are to subdue our unruly passions, is the greatest the same with God. “One day with the instance of heroism. It ennobles the possessor. Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand It renders him a striking character. Nothing years as one day." The divisions of time is so impressive as the exercise of the passive which with us mark the past, the present, graces. It carries conviction into the minds and the future, are nothing to him, whose of beholders, and forces them to acknowledge being is one continual now, and who says of that there is a reality, and an excellency- himself, “I AM is my name, and this is my because there is such an efficacy in " the memorial in all generations.” And faith, glorious Gospel.” “The ornament of a meek uniting us to God, elevates us into his views, and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great and makes us partakers of his excellences: price."
“ faith is the substance of things hoped for, But you say—Is all this attainable? It is the evidence of things not seen. We readily confess that it is no easy thing thus But for whom is this blessing designed ! to refer ourselves to God; especially in prac. Who are authorized to say, unto us a child tice. We here see the Christian in his best is born, unto us a son is given ? The persons frame, and in his best moments. But it is to whom he was immediately sent were “the practicable—it has been exemplified by thou- lost sheep of the house of Israel.” “He came sands of the same nature and infirmities with first unto his own, and his own received him yourselves. It is practicable-I mean by not.” This was not, however, universally the Divine grace. And this grace is sufficient case. There were some "who were looking for you, and is promised to you. “ Ask, and for redemption in Jerusalem.” Simeon, Anna, it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; and others, eagerly embraced him as "the knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For consolation of Israel.” Some, affected by his whoso asketh receiveth; and whoso seeketh preaching and miracles, also believed in him. findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be all his first followers and his twelve Apostles opened."
also were Jews. Since then, an awful blindWe conclude with the remark of an old ness has happened to this singular people: Divine. That we may not complain of the and even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless What are other children at twelve years when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall of age? The mind is only beginning to open; be taken away. And so all Israel shall be the ideas are trifling and unarranged; it is saved: as it is written, There shall come out the transition from foolish into intelligent. of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away Behold this child when twelve years old, ungodliness from Jacob.”
doing his heavenly Father's business; sitting But he was to be a more general blessing in the midst of the doctors both hearing and " It is a light thing," says God, that thou asking them questions. And all that heard shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes him were astonished at his understanding and of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Is- answers. After this he went down to Nazarael: I will also give thee for a light to the reth, and was subject unto his own parents. Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation And here a large proportion of his life is conunto the end of the earth.” And hence the cealed from our view. We only know that angel said to the shepherds, “ Behold, I bring he received no learned education, and have you geod tidings of great joy, which shall be reason to believe that he laboured with his to all people.” None therefore are excluded own hands; for in one place he is called “ the from hope on this blessed occasion. He is carpenter.” But when he appeared in publie, come to die for the ungodly, for enemies, for he spake “as never man spake.” He healed sinners. Surely here is a sufficient warrant the sick. He raised the dead. He east out for personal and universal application to him. devils. “ He went about doing good.” “ He Unto you—and you—and you—is born this died for our sins: he rose for our justificaday in the city of David, à Saviour which is tion." And he “entered into his glory, far Christ the Lord!" Some indeed will not above all principality, and power, and might, eventually derive salvation from him: but he and dominion, and every name that is named, himself has assigned the reason, and beyond not only in this world, but also in that which this we should not go: “Ye will not come is to come.” What a gift was here! But anto me, that ye might have life." If people this brings us, spurn the remedy, we need not inquire why II. TO CONSIDER HIS EMPIRE: “The gothey are not cured.
vernment shall be upon his shoulder.” The But what is the beneft acknowledged ? utmost that a child can be born to is to fill a Unto us “a child is born," unto us a “son is throne; and we deem this an enviable honour. given.” And is there any thing wonderful But if we should be fortunate enough to reach in this? Do we not hear of it every day? Is the pre-eminence, what a short time does he it not the privilege of almost every family? hold the sceptre, before it drops from his feeAnd is there indeed nothing wonderful in ble hand by the decays of nature; or is forced the birth of an infant? How marvellous is from his grasp by the effects of violence! the union of soul and body! What a myste- But the child Jesus is decreed a permanent, rious thing is human life! How admirable unchangeable authority: “ His dominion is the provision made to relieve its wants, to an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is support its weakness, and to rear its tender from generation to generation. And the God years!
of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall The birth of any infant is a far greater never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall event than the production of the sun. The not be left to other people, but it shall break sun is only a lump of senseless matter: it in pieces, and consume all these kingdoms, sees not its own light; it feels not its own and it shall stand for ever.”. heat; and, with all its grandeur, it will cease And over what a molehill does the most to be: but that infant beginning only to extensive worldly monarch reign! The Babe breathe yesterday, is possessed of reason- lying in the manger claims unbounded emclaims a principle infinitely superior to all pire. There is not a being in the universe matter and will live through the ages of but is either his subject, or his slave. He has eternity!
" the keys of hell and of death.” All the But this child is all prodigy. He is miracu- affairs of this world are under his managelously conceived; and born of a virgin. His ment. Nothing occurs by chance. “It is he coming “shakes the heaven, and the earth, that determines concerning a nation, and conthe sea, and the dry land.” For what other cerning a people,” to establish, or to destroy; child did ever the heavens assume a new to enlarge, or to diminish. They are all in star! Wise men come from the east! An- his hands but “as clay in the hands of the gels descend from glory? Ye rulers of the potter.” He is “King of kings and Lord of earth, “I said, ye are gods;" but, with all lords." They are amenable to his authority; your pride and vanity, at the birth of your they rule by his permission; they are confirst-born son—the stars roll on in their trolled by his power. He girds them and courses-angels pursue their work-the fes- guides them, though they know him not. As tivity is confined to human beings, and to a far as they move in the direction of his pursmall circle of them-neighbouring countries pose, they are invincible; when they oppose scarcely hear of it.
it, a straw checks and overthrows them. He
is peculiarly King in Zion. He is “a Prince" | awful task has the tutor of youth! What a as well as “a Saviour" to his people. They weighty undertaking has the pastor of a conthat know his name not only trust in him, but gregation ! But think of the affairs of a king. submit themselves to him. And their sub dom!! Ask the rulers of this world, whether mission is natural and cheerful, because he government be an easy and an enviable conputs his laws into their minds, and writes cern. How distracted is the head that wears them in their hearts. While they obey his a crown! “I am not able,” says Solomon, commands, they also acquiesce in his dispen- “ to go in and out before so great a people." sations. To him they refer all their temporal “I am not able," says Moses, “ to bear all this concerns, and are willing that he should people;" hence he had assistants provided choose their inheritance for them. Thus he him. The weight of government is too much has a kingdom within a kingdom; a kingdom for one person, and therefore it is divided of grace within a kingdom of his providence among many. A king has his council, his and the one is subservient to the other. ministers, his officers. He cannot be all eye, “ He is head over all things unto the Church, all ear, all hand; he therefore avails himself of which is his body.” He has every thing ne- the eyes, the ears, and hands of others. But the cessary for the defence of his people and the King of saints stands in need of no help: infisuccess of his cause. Therefore this “ king nite as his empire is, he manages the amazing shall reign and prosper. He shall have do whole without fatigue, and without perplexity. minion also from sea to sea, and from the III. LET US REVIEW HIS NAMES. Names river unto the ends of the earth. Yea, all are designed to distinguish, to describe, and kings shall fall down before him; all nations to honour. In common, a single name is sufshall serve him. His name shall endure for ficient for a single individual. Human excelever: his name shall be continued as long as lences and accomplishments are rare and solithe sun; and men shall be blessed in him ; tary. One man attends to the stars, and we all nations shall call him blessed."
call him an astronomer; a second is skilled in Much has been said on the subject of go- the species of plants, and we call him a bom vernment, and volumes have been written to tanist; a third speaks well, and we call him ascertain the prerogative of princes, and the an orator. The name generally sums up all duties of subjects. While men are depraved claims of each. But what a number, and beings, absolute power lodged in the hands what a variety of sublime titles are employed of an individual would be dangerous. Au to show forth the praises of our Lord and thority must therefore be limited; one part Saviour !—" His name shall be called Wonof government must be a balance to another; derful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the and laws must be placed above men. But everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace !" could a governor be found perfect in wisdom First. He is Wonderful. He is so prinand goodness, who in all cases knew what cipally in the constitution of his person. was proper to be done, and would be always Here we see combined deity and humanity; inclined to do it, his power could not be too finite and infinite; all-sufficiency and omniabsolute, nor his authority tvo uncontrolled. potence; weariness and want. This is the Such a being is the Lord Jesus and there great mystery of godliness” which will for fore he is the blessed and only Potentate; ever employ the admiration of the redeemed and has all power given unto him in heaven _"God was manifest in the flesh. In the and in earth."
beginning was the Word, and the Word was But where does this government, thus all with God, and the Word was God. And the his own, rest? • Upon his shoulder.” This Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, may appear to some a coarse image. Ancient (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the poetry, however, has beautified it by repre-only begotten of the Father,) full of grace senting a man bearing upon his shoulders the and truth.” Indeed his whole history appears pillars of the universe. But what was this to be unparalleled. His manner of life; his fabled Atlas ? The world with all its con- mode of teaching; his death; his resurreccerns really depends on the Redeemer- tion; his dealings with his people in provihe “ upholdeth all things by the word of dence and grace--are all marvellous. his power." And government upon the shoul- Secondly. He is Counsellor. He appears der is significant: it implies burden; diffi- for us in court. He is “our advocate with culty. It cannot be administered without the Father.” And while he pleads our cause much labour and care. And this is one rea- above, he guides our affairs below. In “him son among others why we are commanded are hid all the treasures of wisdom and know, “ to pray for kings, and for all that are in ledge." He is the source of all spiritual authority!". Who can need our prayers so knowledge. “I am come," suid he, “a light much! What a charge devolves upon a pa- into the world, that whosoever believeth on rent when Providence puts into his hands a me should not abide in darkness. Counsel is living mercy, and says, “ Take this child and mine!" Yes, blessed Redeemer, every wrong nurse it for me: I constitute thee its governor, step we have taken through life, has been oc and at thy hands will I require it,” What an casioned by our disregarding thy instructions, To thee may we henceforth bring all the dif- destroying our pride and envy, and inspiring ficulties we feel with regard to doctrine and us with humility and benevolence. Peace duty, experience and practice, our condi- within us—by reconciling us to ourselves : tion and our circumstances; and daily and not to our sins—but to our remedy, our dehourly may we ask, “ Lord, what wilt thou pendence, our duty, and condition. When have me to do?"
this takes place, the troubled conscience is Thirdly. His name shall be called “ The calmed; the tumultuous passions cease from mighty God.” And he would not be called their raging; tormenting fears and distracting so unless he were so. Unless he were so, the anxieties give way; we are careful for noattributes which are essential to deity would thing, but in every thing by prayer and supnot be the properties of his nature, and we plication we make known our requests unto should never have read of him in the Scrip- God, and “ the peace of God which passeth tures of truth, as knowing all things, as om- all understanding keeps our hearts and minds nipotent, as everywhere present, as eternal. through Christ Jesus." Unless he were so, the works which are pe- It was thus that he addressed his sorrowculiar to deity could never have been per- ing disciples when he was departing from formed by him, nor the worship which is pe-them: “ These things have I spoken_unto culiar to deity be claimed for him and render- you, that in me ye might have peace. Peace ed to him. We do not here consider this doc- | I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” trine controversially: it stands in a situation And remember that there is no peace worth which shows its importance, and the con- having but his. The ungodly and the people nexion it has with the experience and hope of the world may be insensible of their danof believers. Thus he is mighty to save; no ger; they may banish reflection from their case, however desperate, with regard to our minds; they may live in what they call pleaselves and creatures, can be too hard for him. sure, and say to their soul, take thine easeThis principle enters into all his offices. It but “There is no peace, saith my God, unto gives infinite value to his righteousness, and the wicked.” But Jesus procures, reveals, efficacy to his death. It renders all he does produces a peace the most valuable. “He for us and in us, divine.
healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up Fourthly. He is “ The everlasting Fa- all their wounds." Ye weary and heavy ther,” or, as it is better rendered, “ the Fa- laden—let your burdens be what they may ther of the everlasting age.” So the gospel | --go to him—he will “give you rest : and dispensation is described, as being final with his rest shall be glorious." regard to this world, and in distinction from Such is the Saviour, whose arrival in our the temporary economy of the Jews. It is world we this day celebrate. And what the meaning of the Apostle, when he says, think you of him? 'I know what some think " And this word, Yet once more, signifieth of him. There are some who have this the removing of those things that are shaken, morning by faith embraced the new-born as of things that are made, that those things Messiah, with a rapture expressive of this which cannot be shaken may remain.” And language; "Lo, this is our God; we have hence he adds, “We,” who embrace the waited for him, and he will save us: this is gospel, “ we receive a kingdom which can- the Lord; we have waited for him, we not be moved.” And hence the angel which will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” John saw flying in the midst of heaven, had They no longer feel a void within: they the “ everlasting gospel to preach” unto them no longer rove, asking, “Who will show that dwell upon the earth. Of this dispensa- us any good?” They have found the pearl tion he is the author, the founder. It is de- of great price. His character and his claims rived entirely from him; and therefore, in have fixed and filled their minds. The manthe language of a Jew, he is the “Father”, ger, the cross, and the throne--these are their of it. Hence, real Christians are considered attractions. Here they feel obligations the as his children—"Behold, I and the children most solemn and pleasing; here they find which God hath given me.” And again," he consolation the most refreshing and pure. It shall see his seed.” They derive their new is here they can live, it is here they can die. and holy being from his word and Spirit; and Here it is that they can say, with David, they resemble him: they are “ changed into “Thou art fairer than the children of men;" the same image from glory to glory.” Andwith the Church, “Yea, he is altogether as he is the Father of the everlasting age, so lovely;" — with the Apostle, “Yea, doubtless, he is "the everlasting Father:" the relation and I count all things but loss, for the excelsubsisting between him and his family can lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my never be dissolved; his offspring can never Lord !" be orphans.
But what do you think of him? Has he Finally. He is “ The Prince of Peace.” “no form nor comeliness; no beauty that you And of all kinds of peace. Peace above us, should desire him?" Do you feel no love to by reconciling us to God. Peace around us his name? Do you never pray, “ Lord, save, --by reconciling us to our fellow-creatures, I or I perish ?"_What then are we to think of