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in offering up praise and thanksgiving to the Author of all good, for the numberless mercies which he has poured down upon him; for the defence which GOD has afforded to him, and his family against the dangers of his waking hours, and the perils of darkness; and, above all, for his inestimable love in the redemption of the world, by our LORD JESUS CHRIST; for the means of grace and for the hope of glory, which he has afforded to fallen and sinful man. Encouraging these holy dispositions, and humbly striving to shew forth the praise of GOD, not only with his lips, but in his life also, he will enjoy that peace of GoD which passeth all understanding; he will. be contented and happy in the situation that his Master, who is in heaven, has called him to fill here upon earth; he will be cheerful, not only amid his labour and poverty, but also under his afflictions and tribulations; and finally, when he shall arrive at the end of his weary journey, he will be able to "rejoice with joy unspeakable, and "full of glory," looking forward to "the "end" and reward "of his faith, even the "salvation of his soul." 19.
[For Christmas Day.]
HEBREWS i. 1, 2.
God, who, at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.
'HE words with which the Epistle for
the day begins, allude to the various revelations which have been made of GOD'S will to mankind. The first revelation was made to Adam, in a short and simple way, and included only obedience. "Of every "tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; "but of the tree of the knowledge of good "and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in "the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt "surely die." When our first parents disobeyed GOD, and brought sin, and misery,
and death, upon the world, an additional revelation was made to mankind; and faith was added to obedience. It was now told our first parents, that there should be enmity between their seed and the serpent who had deceived and ruined them; that man should bruise the serpent's head, and he should bruise man's heel; or, as they doubtless understood it, that they should look forwards with faith to that happy time, when a Saviour should appear in the flesh; pay the penalty of man's transgression, by the sacrifice of himself; destroy the works of the devil, and redeem their souls from everfasting death. When, through the wickedness of man, in the days of Noah, GoD thought fit to destroy the whole human race, with the exception of that good man and his family, a further revelation was made of GOD's will to mankind. GOD promised to 66 curse the ground no more for man's sake;" that "while the earth remained, seed-time "and harvest, and cold and heat, and sum"mer and winter, and day and night, should ἐσ
not cease:" he gave to Noah and his descendants permission to eat "of every moving "thing that liveth :" he forbad, under the penalty of death, the "shedding of man's "blood:" and he made a covenant with Noah, that all flesh should no more be cut off by the
waters of a flood, and that there should be no more "a flood to destroy the earth." When God called Abraham, he made another revelation to man; renewed. the promise of a Saviour, which he had given to Adam; and spoke of it in, plainer terms than he had before done; "I will make thy seed as the "dust of the earth;" and "in thy seed "shall all mankind be blessed." To Moses, GOD "spake" in still plainer terms; he delivered to him the ceremonial law, or the law of works, to be observed by his people the Jews, till the coming of that, great prophet, even JESUS CHRIST; and the moral law, or the law of the heart, to be observed by all mankind, and throughout all generations. To the Prophets, till the time of Malachi, within four hundred years of our Saviour's birth, GOD revealed himself "in "divers manners;" and commanded mankind in general, and the Jews in particular, to be obedient, and holy, and good, under pain of the severest punishments; giving them, at the same time, in the word of prophecy, the clearest promises of the Saviour that, in the fulness of time, was to come into the world. But all these revelations were only preparatory to the great and last revelation, which he made in JESUS CHRIST our LORD; "whom he appointed heir of all
66 things, by whom also he made the worlds; "who being the brightness of his glory, "and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his
power," descended, as at this time, from heaven, and came into this world of sinners, that he might redeem us from the curse "of the law;" propitiate GoD in favour of his lost creatures; "speak" to us the words of truth, and shew us the way to everlasting life.
In the following discourse I shall consider the duty we lie under of listening to the words which Gop hath" in these last days. "spoken to us by his Son ;" and the dreadful state those people are in, who turn a deaf ear to what their Saviour says. The great truth which CHRIST speaks to mankind is this, that he came to take away the sins of the world. "Behold," saith St. John, when he saw him, "the Lamb of Gob which "taketh away the sin of the world;" for this purpose he took upon him the nature of man, and dwelt amongst men; subjected himself to all our wants and infirmities, sin only excepted; endured the contradiction of sinners; suffered himself to be insulted and mocked, buffered and spit upon; and at last to be nailed to the cross; and expired by a cruel and shameful death. By this