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that any of the fallen descendants of Adam can draw nigh to God to supplicate any blessing from His hands.
This peace of God is the greatest blessing that can be enjoyed on earth; it is to those who partake of it a foretaste of the happiness of heaven. And we are to remember that the Lord is at hand, ready to bestow it upon His waiting people, who by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make known their requests unto Him. Let us then seek earnestly to have the peace of God in our consciences, by making Him our refuge at all times in the midst of all the changes and uncertainties of this mortal life; that He may keep us by His mighty power through faith unto salvation; and we may have a good hope that whenever we shall be called out of this world, we shall be admitted into His blissful presence, to rejoice in His salvation for evermore. As the Lord is at hand, let us live as in His presence, seeking His direction and blessing on all occasions, and dismissing all our anxieties and cares by casting them upon Him. Let us desire above all things to please Him in all our conduct. Let us worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; and look forward in faith to the fulfilment of His promises to His waiting people in eternity.
THE DIVINITY AND INCARNATION OF CHRIST.
Hebrews i. 6.
AND AGAIN, WHEN HE BRING ETHI IN TIE .
FIRST BEGOTTEN INTO THE WORLD, HE SAITH, AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP Him.
On this day we commemorate in an especial manner the rising of the Sun of righteousness on our benighted world, after darkness had covered the earth, and gross darkness the people, for several centuries. Four hundred years had elapsed, during which no inspired messenger of God had appeared to denounce His judgments, or to proclaim His mercy; and the knowledge of the true God was almost effaced from the earth. The Jews had set aside the word of God to follow their own traditions; and as for the other nations of the earth, although some of them were most eminent for intellectual wisdom, yet, notwithstanding all
their boasted endowments and acquirements, they knew not God. We have reason to bless God that our lot has been cast in a day when Christianity displays its blissful influence; and in a land where the true light of Divine revelation shines in its native splendour, not debased by absurd superstitions, nor corrupted by impious traditions, introduced in order to make the word of God of none effect.77
Our church takes the opportunity afforded by the celebration of the nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to set before her members some of those passages of holy writ, in which His eternal power and Godhead are more particularly stated. This doctrine appears especially in the Epistle and Gospel for this day; while on the Sunday after Christmas she directs us to those passages which speak chiefly of His human nature; thus teaching us that He was both God and man in one Christ. In the Epistle for this day the apostle produces the fullest proof of the Divinity of our ever-blessed Redeemer; showing that God was manifest in the flesh78 for the salvation of sinners; that He who is over all, God blessed for ever, was made in the likeness of sinful flesh,19 to be the Redeemer of fallen man, to deliver us sinners from going down into the pit of destruction, by becoming our ransom. Well may those who are
interested in the blessings of the redemption of Christ celebrate the season of His birth into our world with joy and gladness of heart. May it be our happiness so to do. And may the Spirit of God vouchsafe His blessing to our consideration of the portion of His holy word, to which our attention is now to be directed.
The apostle begins this Epistle with stating that it was the same God who had inspired the prophets to write the scriptures of the Old Testament, who was the Author of the Christian dispensation. But that in this last age of the world, He had spoken to mankind, not by inferior agents, as formerly, but by His own coequal and coeternal Son, His only begotten. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in timè past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son. This marks the superior excellency of the Christian dispensation to those which preceded it; as our Saviour said in one of His parables, Last of all He sent unto them His Son, saying, They will reverence My Son.80 This was giving the utmost possible proof of His kindness and love to man.
This wonderful exhibition of the love of God to His sinful rebellious creatures having been asserted, a description of the attributes and perfections of the Son of God follows. Whom He hath appointed Heir of all things; by whom also He made the worlds. In consequence of having become man in order to reconcile the world unto Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ was appointed in the counsels of the everlasting covenant Heir of all things; or, when His minority or season of humiliation should end, the Lord and Governor of that world which He Himself had made and came to redeem. To this His office our Saviour referred, when He addressed the Father of heaven respecting Himself, Thou hast given Thy Son power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.81 It is therefore declared that He is Lord of all.82
80 Matt. xxi. 37.
The apostle proceeds to describe His glory and majesty, together with the object proposed by His great humiliation, and His subsequent exaltation. Who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. When the evangelist St. John related the incarnation of our Divine Redeemer, he said, The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.83 And He is styled by our apostle in another place, The image of the
81 John xvii. 2.
82 Acts x. 36.
83 John i. 14.