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to ask how you are to bear them? Now this acquiescence in the will of God is the preparation of the gospel of peace, with which you are to be shod. Thus prepared, you may travel on through the wilderness—but what will you do if bare-footed, when you meet with thorns and briars ? 'To vary and enlarge the metaphor, impatience turns the rod into a scorpion. Patience lines the yoke with down, while it presses the neck; and enables the man to say, it is good for me to bear it. There is nothing so likely to obtain the removal of your afflictions as this submissive frame of mind. In chastening a child what would move you like his yielding ; like the ingenuous confession, “ Indeed, my dear father, I deserve this; and I hope it will be useful to me through life”-I borrow the image
_“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoan himself thus : thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented ; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh. I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son ? Is he a pleasant child ? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bow. els are troubled for him : I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.”
Secondly. Nothing can be more honourable to religion. To surrender ourselves to the divine disposal is the purest act of obedience; to subdue our unruly passions is the greatest instance of heroism. It ennobles the possessor. It renders him a striking character. Nothing is so impressive as the exercise of the passive graces.
It carries conviction into the minds of the beholders, and forces them to acknowledge that there is such a reality, and such excellency-because there is such an efficacy in the glorious gospel. “ The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price.”
But you say—Is all this attainable? It is. We readily confess that it is no easy thing thus to refer ourselves to God; especially in practice. We here see the Christian in his best frame, and in his best moments. But it is practicable—it has been exemplified by thousands, of the same nature and infirmities with yourselves. It is practicable-I mean by divine grace. And this grace is sufficient for you, and is promised to you: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for whoso asketh receiveth, and whoso seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
We conclude with the remark of an old divine: “That we may not complain of the present, let us view God's hand in all events : and, that we may not be afraid of the future, let us view all events in God's hand." Amen.
THE CHILD JESUS.
(CHRISTMAS.) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.- Isaiah ix. 5.
- To him gave all the prophets witness.” But what testimony was ever borne him like this? Here-we have a prediction at once the most clear in its application, the most glorious in its contents, the most consolatory in its design. And the return of this day renders it peculiarly seasonable. Let us, therefore, indulge ourselves in a few reflections--upon his incarnation_his empireand his names.
I. We have here his coming in the flesh: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given."
It is remarkable, that all this should be spoken of as present. In the time of Isaiah, the event could only be prophecy—but it is related as history. The church of those days could only have expected this blessing; but they mention it as actually enjoyed— a child is born; a son is given !” Purpose and execution, promise and accomplishment are the same with God. One day with the Lord is “as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day.” The divisions of time which with us mark the past, the present, and the future, are nothing to Him whose being is one continual now, and who says of himself, “I
AM is my name, and this is my memorial in all generations.” And faith uniting us to God, elevates us to enter into his views, and to partake of his excellencies : “ Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
But for whom is this blessing designed ? who are authorized to say unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ? The persons to whom he was immediately sent were “the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He came" first “unto his own, and his own received him not.” This was not, however, universally the case. There were some " who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem.” Simeon, Anna, and others ea. gerly embraced him as “ the consolation of Israel.” Some by his preaching and miracles also believed in him; all his first followers and his twelve apostles also were Jews. Since then, an awful “ blindness has happened” to this singular people : and “even to this day when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart : nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, there shall come out of Zion, the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
But he was to be a more general blessing. It is a “light thing,” says God, “ that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou may est be my salvation unto the end of the earth." And hence the angel said to the shepherds, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL PEOPLE.” None, therefore, are excluded from hope on this blessed occasion : he
is come to die for the ungodly, for enemies, for sinners. Surely here is a sufficient warrant for personal application to him. Unto you—and you-and you " is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord !"Some, indeed, will not eventually derive salvation from him ; but he himself has assigned the reason, and beyond this we should not go : 66 ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” If people spurn the remedy, how can it cure them ?
But what is the benefit acknowledged ? Unto us " a child is born," unto us “ a son is given.” And is there anything wonderful in this ? Do we not hear of it every day? Is it not the priviledge of almost every family ?-And is there indeed nothing wonderful in the birth of an infant ? How marvellous is the union of soul and body! what a mysterious thing is human life ! how admirable the provision made to relieve its wants, to support its weakness, and to rear its tender years ! • The birth of any infant is a far greater event than the production of the sun-the sun is only a lump of senseless matter ; it sees not its own light; it feels not its own heat ; and, with all its grandeur, it will cease to be: but that infant, beginning only to breathe yesterday, is possessed of reason-clainis a principle superior to all matter ; and will live through the ages of eternity !
But this child is all prodigy. He is miraculously conceived ; and born of a virgin. His coming “shakes the heaven and the earth, the sea and the dry land.” For what other child did ever the heavens assume a new star ?wise men come from the east ?-angels descend from glory ? Ye rulers of the earth, I said ye are gods; but with all your