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Christ. And particularly that at This S Er M. time when we commemorate his Birth, we keep the Feast, not with the Leaven of* Malice and Wickedness, or of Rioting and Debauchery; but 'with the unleavened Bread of Sincerity, Soberness, and Truth
The Prediction of the Messiah.
Isaiah ix. 6.
OD, the Supreme GovernourS Erm. and Lord of the Universe; H. who worketh all things after ^"V^ the Counsel of his Will; having appointed, in the unsearchable Wisdom
S E R M. of his Government that the Method by ". which sinful men should be brought un
^*^"' to Salvation, should be by his Son's appearing and suffering in the Flesh j thought fit, from the Beginning of the World, to give men at first obscure Notices, and afterwards 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 satisfy us, that tho' we do not perhaps know in particular what all the reaibns are, yet
Hn in reality there always are in the things Sermthemselves the greatest and strongest reasons, ". upon account of which every thing that ^"V^ 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 os the Woman Jhould bruise the Serpent's Head: "And afterwards a little further to Abraham, by showing him that in His seed Jhould all the Nations of the Earth be blessed: Then, with still more distinct circumstances, to Mases'y 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