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behalf of his beloved children is strikingly exhibited in the Revelation of St. John:9 “ I saw," saith the evangelist, “ another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” And when the Lord was about to send the ministers of his vengeance through Jerusalem," he first bade one go through the midst of the city, and set a mark upou the foreheads of the men that sighed and that cried for the abominations that were done in the midst thereof. Men may scoff at the righteous now, and think that there will be time enough hereafter to be sealed: but they will find to their dismay that the seal is the Lord's; it is in the hand of his Spirit; at his sovereign disposal ; and if, when he calls, they refuse; when he stretches out his hand, no man regards; he will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh. Behold, now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of salvation. The day is at hand when the stoutest heart shall quail for fear, and the sealed ones alone will dare to look up and lift up their heads, for their revii. 2, 3.
Ezek. ix. 4.
demption to which they are sealed draweth nigh. Into the new Jerusalem “ there shall in nowise enter ... anything that defileth, neither whatever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” “ And whosoever” is “ not found written in the book of life” will be " cast into the lake of fire.” Those of you who have surrendered your hearts to be sealed by the Holy Spirit, and are in consequence conformed to the image of Christ, have your names registered on high : to you belongs the apostolic congratulation, “ Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him”—like him in body as we now are in spirit; yes, we shall be like him," for we shall see him as he is.” May the Lord give you each grace to adopt as your own the holy resolution of the psalmist, “ As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness.” 2
| 2 Ps. xvii. 15.
1 Cor. i. 30, 31. “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption : that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
We are met together this day,1 brethren, to commemorate a fact now indeed become familiar to our minds by the reiteration of its history, but which, however thus rendered powerless in its influence upon many a heart, has not lost a whit of its stupendous character. That fact is the incarnation of the Son of God; the coming into the condition of a creature of him who from everlasting was the Great Creator; the fulfilment in time of that mysterious and lofty purpose, which,
1 The nativity of our Lord.
before the foundations of the world were laid, occupied the counsels of the Eternal.
In the passage of Scripture whence the text is taken, we have the apostle pouring contempt upon the pride of human glory; exhibiting the nothingness of man, the infinity of man's Maker: he sets forth the completeness of Christ and his salvation; he describes the source whence all this blessedness originally springs to the believer; it is from the Father : and he states, too, the blessed truth, that for us, worthless and feeble as in ourselves we are, for us this great salvation is provided.
Consider then, first, the completeness of Christ as represented in the text. He" is of God made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
In the first place, he is made unto us of God “ wisdom.”
My brethren, the faith of the Gospel is not contrary to reason, however high it soars above her finite comprehension. There is nothing in the whole revelation of God's truth which is in any degree contrary to reason, though in that truth there is contained much to which unassisted reason could never of herself have attained, and to which, now that it is revealed, she must submit the adoration of her faith. And God and man” would
» Hooker, Eccl. Pol., book i. sect. 11.
indeed be very near neighbours, if man's reason were able to take a survey of all the counsels and appointments of the Most High. Some truths3 there accordingly are in which it becomes us rather to adore the depth of his infinite wisdom, than to attempt to sound, or to hope by searching to reach the bottom of it. But this is not altogether the character of the method of man's redemption. The apostle, in the former part of this chapter, has declared that, though the subject of his preaching is “ to them that perish foolishness," yet, unto them which are called, Christ is not only “ the power of God," but also “ the wisdom of God.” In the way of salvation, then, by Christ Jesus, we are summoned to behold his wisdom. Let us endeavour to obey the summons.
The angels sinned: in his justice God left them to a merited perdition. Man sinned: in his sovereignty God set his heart on man to redeem him. But how shall this gracious purpose be effected consistently with his own nature and the maintenance of his holy law ? He had prescribed the terms on which alone man could hold communion with his Maker, the creature with his Creator. That law was the transcript of his own perfections ; its demand on man was perfect holiness: no unholy thing could abide in his pre
3 Barrow, vol. vi. p. 40, ed. Hughes.'