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(160.) THE ADVENT OF CHRIST. 221
the mount, shone, so that the children of Israel could not sted
fastly behold him,” so should all of us, though with a less daz
zling lustre, shine in our proper orbit—The stars indeed can shine only when the sun, is withdrawn; but the brighter the Lord Jesus shines, the more shall we reflect his image—Let us then “walk in the light as God is in the light;” and let “our path be as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day”—] ADDRESS 1. Those who, though living in the midst of the light, have never yet seen it - [Such are without excuse—God would “make the scales to fall from our eyes,” if we would but call upon him—But our rejection of the light will be the occasion of our more aggravated condemnation—“ If Christ had not come and spoken unto us we had not had sin; but now we have no cloke for our sin”—Let us then cry to him, like those of old, “Lord
open my eyes”—Then shall we no longer walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’—j -
2. Those who, though they have had some views of Christ, are yet in darkness [The sun in the heavens is sometimes obscured by intervening clouds: thus also “the sun of righteousness” is sometimes veiled; and we are left to walk many day, without any cheering views of his countenance—If this be the case with us, letus tarry his leisure, and wait patiently for his return—Let us not say, “My sun is set to rise no more;” but rather, “When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me”—Thus in his light you shall see light;" “the light that is sown for you shall in due time spring up; yea, your light shall rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noon-day—]
3. Those who are enjoying the light of the Redeemer's countenance - ... [Jesus is the light and glory, not of the church militant
only, but also of the church triumphant:” and to “behold his
glory as the glory of the only-begotten of the Father” is an anticipation and foretaste of heaven itself—“In his favour is life; and his loving-kindness is better than life itself”—Let the enJoyment then of so rich a mercy stir you up to glorify his name; that so, while you behold his glory, you yourselves may be changed into his image from glory to glory," and, by making
• 2 Cor. iii. 18. . . P 1 John i. 7. q Prov. iv. 18.
* John ix.41, and xv. 22. * John viii. 12. Eph. v. 14. * Mich. vii. 7–9. u Ps. xxxvi. 9. × Ps. xcvii. 1 1. * Isai. lviii. 10. * Rev. xxi. 23, 24. * John i. 14.
- 2 Cor. iii. 18. * ,
your light to shine before men, may stir up others to glorify him also"—j - --
• Matt. v. 16. - ... '
CLXI. The Messi AH's Advent. Isai. xl. 9. Say unto the cities of judah, Behold your God.
THE gospel with all its sublime mysteries is regarded by the generality with coldness and indifference; whereas the most indistinct prospects of it were sufficient to fill the patriarchs and prophets with holy rapture—It was a view of its divine author which drew forth from the prophet this animated exhortation—He saw Jesus as it were already incarnate, and called upon the daughters of Zion and Jerusalem to proclaim and celebrate his advent’— That, which he proposed to them as the subject of their song, is the one great subject also of our ministrations— To call your attention unto Jesus, to set him forth as crucified before your eyes, and, with an exalted voice, to cry, behold your God, this is our commission—But before we proceed to execute it we shall • I. Shew what is implied in this commission We cannot fail to observe, what the prophet so strongly intimates, --~ - - 1. That Christ is God - [This is a fundamental article of our faith—The Godhead of Christ is that which stamps a value on his sufferings, and renders the whole of his undertaking so meritorious and effi. cient—It would be to little purpose to say with Pilate, “Behold the man,” if we could not also add with the prophet, “Behold your God"—But we are not left to doubt of this important truth: it is clearly established in almost every page of the sacred volume: we need go no further than to the writings of Isaiah; and we shall find it expressly asserted, that the person who was to be “a Child born, and a Son given to us,” was THE
Mighty GoD"—He was therefore to be called Emmanuel, because he was God with us"—In the very chapter before us, (161.) THE MEssIAH's ADVENT. - 223
* It should be read as in the margin, “O daughter, that bringest good tidings to Zion,” &c. It was customary for women to celebrate the praises of God in public on remarkable occasions. See Exod. xv. 20, 21. and l Sam. xviii. 6, 7. - * .
b Isai. ix, 6. - * Isai. vii. 14. with Matt. i. 23.
his forerunner, John the Baptist, was commissioned to cry, Prepare ye the way of THE LoRD, (Jehovah) make straight in the desart an high-way for our God"—But we need not multiply words on this subject, since the voice of inspiration universally proclaims him to have been, “God manifest in the flesh,” “God over all, blessed for ever”—] 2. That the knowledge of Christ is of universal importance * . . . [It was through all “the cities of Judah,” and with her “voice lifted up with strength,” that the daughter of Zion was to celebrate the Messiah's advent—And whence the need of such zeal and labour, but on account of the universal importance of those glad tidings?—Indeed there is no other thing which men so much need to be acquainted with as the work and offices of Christ—No attainments can save them, if they be ignorant of Christ; nor can any past sins condemn them, if they be truly acquainted with this divine Saviour—“This, as our Lord himself tells us, is life eternal, to know God as the only true God, and Jesus Christ” as our mediator and advocate with the Father—So excellent is this knowledge, that St. Paul “counted all things but loss and dung in comparison of it”8—It is the one mean of obtaining reconciliation with God, peace of conscience, and deliverance from the power of sin"—O that all were aware how deeply they are interested in receiving these glad tidings!—We should proclaim them with infinitely greater pleasure, if we had not so much reason to complain, that “they are counted as a strange thing”—]
Taking for granted these fundamental and indisputable truths, we shall
II. Endeavour to execute the commission
view in which we are to behold our God; we shall there
fore direct your attention to him . . .
1. As descending from heaven [Lo! he comes from his bright abode: but in what form does he appear? Does he descend in solemn pomp, attended with myriads of the heavenly host? Does he visit the palaces of the great, and assume our nature in its most dignified appearance? No: He is born of an obscure virgin, and has no better Place for his reception than a stable—Go, look into his mean abode; see him wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and lying in a d Ver, 3. ° 1 Tim. iii. 16. Rom. ix. 5.
f John. xvii. 3. g Phil. iii. 8.
manger; look, I say, and behold your God!—what marvellous condescension! how does it almost exceed belief! yet, incredible as it appears, we must again say, Behold your God—] o:
2. As sojourning on earth
[Surely, no sooner could his incarnation be known, than
all the world, like the eastern magi, must flock to worship him." so one might reasonably hope: but what is that “weeping and lamentation” that we hear? The young child's life is sought: the children from two years old and under are massacred through the whole district, that no possibility may be left for his escape: and he is saved only by the special interposition of his heavenly Father. See his parents fleeing with him by night to a distant, an heathen, land, nor daring to return to their native country till the death of their blood-thirsty persecutor! But this was only the beginning of sorrows—View him afterwards when he assumed his proper office as the Prophet of his church: no sooner did he open his commission, than the short-lived applause afforded him, was turned into the most cruel indignation; and, if he had not by an exertion of his own almighty power effected his escape, his very first sermon had proved his last"—But to pass over to the period of his death —Whom is it that we see prostrate on the ground, and bathed in a bloody sweat? Who is it that those cruel soldiers are mocking, buffeting, scourging? Who is it that is nailed to onder cross; and that we see expiring under such an accumulated weight of shame and misery?—To all this we answer, Behold your GoD—]
3. As exalted to glory [Hitherto we have witnessed nothing but his humiliation —But the shame of his cross was quickly rolled away—In vain were the stone, the seal, the watch: he burst the bands of death, and rose triumphant—Henceforth we are to view him ascending amidst myriads of exulting angels, sitting on the throne of his glory, dispensing blessings to the church below, and receiving the adorations of his church above—Sinners, list up thine eyes to heaven, and behold thy once crucified, but now exalted, Redeemer—Now he shines forth in all his glory, and says to thee, even to thee, “Behold me, behold me”–0 that every eye might see him, and that all, who have pierced him by their sins, might mourn and be in bitterness, as one that mourneth for his first-born son!"—Soon, indeed all shall see him: the time is shortly coming, when he will descend from heaven again, not however to stand, as before, like a criminal
k Matt. ii. 1 1. | Matt. ii.16—20. m Luke iv. 28–30. n Isai. lxv. 1. o Zech. xii. 10. ".
at man's tribunal, but to execute judgment on the assembled universe; and then, happy shall they be who have beheld him here with suitable affection; they shall behold his face with inexpressible delight; and be the spectators of his glory and the partners of his throne to all eternity—] -
1. The careless - * [Know you what the sins, which you commit so lightly have occasioned? Go to Calvary and behold your God; and then judge whether sin be so light and venial a matter as you are ready to imagine!—The Jews and Romans were the imme
diate actors in that bloody tragedy; but your sins, and the sins
of an ungodly world, were the real occasion of all that your God endured; and, while you continue in your sins, you “crucify him afresh, and put him to an open shame”—Ah! Did David
cast away the water, for which the lives of three men had been
endangered, and will not you cast away the sins which have actually shed the blood of God?P–Let this thought induce you to put away the polluted cups from your lips; and let “the love of Christ constrain you to live unto him who died for yow and rose again”— -
2. The heavy-laden
[To you especially the Saviour cries, “Look unto me, and beye saved,” “Come unto me and find rest unto your souls”— Consider well, who it is that thus invites you; it is your Saviour, and your God; there can be no want of efficacy in his blood, or of power in his arm: he is a strong rock, a sure foundation, an all-sufficient help—Trust then in him; and, as a sight of the brazen serpent healed the dying Israelite, so shall a view of your divine Saviour prove an effectual remedy for all your wants—You shall soon, like Thomas, exclaim with holy rapture, “My Lord and my God;” or, in the language long since dictated to you by the spirit of prophecy, “ Lo, this is OUR GoD; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LoRD; we have waited for him: we will be glad and re
joice in his salvation”—]
P 2 Sam, xxiii. 16, 17. ‘i Isai. xxv. 9.