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intended to give him new light; but for this purpose he judges it expedient first to make him feel his present ignorance; which thetriumph of this ironical question must have set before him in a glaring light. In the prophetical writings of the Old Testament,examples of a more austere irony abound ; but we shall nowhere find an instance in which it is more forcibly applied than by Malachi in the text. “ Ye have wearied the Lord," says this eloquent prophet to the infidels of his times, “ Ye have wearied the Lord with your words.” He makes them . reply “ Wherein have we wearied him?" He
“When ye say, Every one that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord ; or when ye say, Where is the God of judgment ? — And are ye then in earnest in the sentiments which you express ? Is this your quarrel with Providence, that the blessings of this life are proiniscuously distributed ? Is it really your desire that opulence and honour should be the peculiar portion of the righteous - poverty and shame the certain punishment of the wicked? Do you of all men wish that health of body and tranquillity of mind were the inseparable companions of temperance
disease and despair the inevitable consequences of strong drink and dalliance? Do you wish to see a new economy take place, in which it should be impossible for virtue to suffer or for vice to prosper? — Sanctified blasphemers ! be content: Your just remonstrances are heard ; you shall presently be friends with Providence: The God of judgment comes ; he is at hand: He comes to establish the everlasting covenant of righteousness - to silence all complaint .- to vindicate his ways to man - to evince his justice in your destruction --- to inflict on you a death of which the agonies shall never end." All this reproach and all this threatening is conveyed with the greatest force, because with the greatest brevity, in those ironical expressions of the prophet, “ The Lord, whom ye seek ; the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in.” But although these expressions are ironical, they contain a positive character of the come; for the true sense of irony is always rendered by the contrary of that which it seems to affirm : The Lord and Messenger whom infidels are ironically said to seek
and to delight in is the Lord whom they do not seek, the Messenger in whom they cannot take delight - the Lord who will visit those who seek him not, the Messenger in whom they who have not sought the Lord can take no delight, because he is the messenger of vengeance.
This then is another character of the person to come,
that he is to execute God's final vengeance on the wicked. But as this may seem a character of the office rather than of the person, it leads me to treat of what was the second article in my original division of the subject, culars of the business upon
person announced in the text is said to come. There remains, besides, the application of every article of this remarkable prophecy to Jesus of Nazareth. These important disquisitions we must still postpone; that no injustice may be done to this great argument, on your part or on mine, on mine, by a superficial and precipitate discussion of any branch of it; on yours, by a languid and uninterested attention.
MALACHI, iii. 1, 2.
And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly :. come to his temple, even the Messenger of
the Covenant, whom ye delight in : Behold
He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming ?
and who shall stand when he appeareth?
We have already considered the several characters by which the Messiah is described in this text of the prophet. He is the Lord of the temple at Jerusalem : He is, besides, the Messenger of that everlasting covenant of which the establishment is so explicitly foretold by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel : He is also the Lord whom the profane seek not the Messenger in whom they delight note that is, he is the appointed
judge of man, who will execute God's final vengeance on the wicked. We are now to consider the particulars of the business on which the person bearing these characters is to come.
It may seem that the text leaves it pretty much undetermined what the particular business is to be; intimating only in general terms that something very terrible will be the consequence of the Messiah's arrival : “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth ?" You will not wonder that the appearance of that “Sun of Righteousness, who hath arisen with healing on his wings,” should here be spoken of in terms of dread and apprehension, if you bear in remembrance what I told you in my last discourse, - that the prophet is speaking to the profane and atheistical -- to those who had nothing to hope from the mercy of God, and every thing to fear from his justice. To these persons the
year of the redemption of Israel is to be the year of the vengeance of our God. The punishment of these is not less a branch of the Messiah's office than the