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in Jesus of Nazareth, who came in all humility, and was cut off, but not for himself, you will acknowledge Messiah the Prince; and you will look for him a second time in glory.
left with us,
Your faith will be much confirmed, if you recollect that the particulars of the business upon which Messiah was to come appear no less evidently in the performances of Jesus than the personal characters in his
The Messiah was to try the tempers and dispositions of mankind. This Jesus does, by the duties to which he calls us, and the doctrine he has
duties in which faith alone can engage us to persist; a doctrine which the pure in heart ever will revere, and the children of this world ever will misinterpret and despise. « Thus many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly.” Messiah was to purify the sons of Levi. The doctrine of Jesus has in many nations reformed the public worship of God; and we trust that the reformation will gradually become general. Us of the Gentiles he has re
claimed from the abominations of idolatry; and hath taught us to loathe and execrate the rites whereby our forefathers sought the favour of their devils (for they were not gods), — the impure rites of human sacrifice and public prostitution ; things which it were unfit to mention or remember, but that we may the better understand from what a depth of corruption the mercy of God hath raised us. Blindness, it must be confessed, is at present upon Israel; but the time shall come when they shall turn to the Lord, and when we shall unite with them in the pure worship of God, and in the just praises of the Lamb.
6 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord ;” Then shall the Lord Jesus come again, to execute what remains of the Messiah's office to absolve and to condemn. God
God grant that every one here may be enabled to “ abide the day of his coming, and to stand when he appeareth !"
LUKE, i. 28.
Hail, thou that art highly favoured! The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.
That she who in these terms was saluted by an angel should in after ages become an object of superstitious adoration, is a thing far less to be wondered, than that men professing to build their whole hopes of immortality on the promises delivered in the sacred books, and closely interwoven with the history of our Saviour's life, should question the truth of the message which the ángel brought. Some nine years since, the Christian church was no less astonished than offended, by an extravagant altempt to heighten, as it was pretended, the im
* Preached on Christmas day.
portance of the Christian revelation, hy overturning one of those first principles of natural religion which had for ages been considered as the basis upon which the whole superstructure of revelation stands. The notion of an inmaterial principle in man, which, without an immediate exertion of the Divine power to the
express purpose of its destruction, must necessarily survive the. dissolution of the body — the notion of an immortal soul — was condemned and exploded, as an invention of heathen philosophy : Death was represented as an utter extinction of the whole man ; and the evangelical doctrine of a resurrection of the body in an improved state, to receive again its immortal inhabitant, was heightened into the mystery of a reproduction of the annihilated
person. How a person once annihilated could be reproduced, so as to be the same person which had formerly existed, when no principle of sameness, nothing necessarily permanent, was supposed to enter the original composition, how the present person could be interested in the future person's fortunes, — why I should be at all concerned for the happiness or misery
of the man who some ages hence shall be raised from my ashes, when the future man could be no otherwise the same with me than as he was arbitrarily to be called the same, because his body was to be composed of the same matter which now composes mine, these difficulties were but ill explained. It was thought a sufficient recommendation of the system, with all its difficulties, that the promise of a resurrection of the body seemed to acquire a new importance from it (but the truth is, that it would lose its whole importance if this system could be established ; since it would become a mere prediction concerning a future race of men, and would be no promise to any men now existing); and the notion of the soul's natural immortality was deemed an unseemly appendage of a Christian's belief, - for this singular reason, that it had been entertained by wise and virtuous heathens, who had received no light from the Christian, nor, as it was supposed, from any earlier revelation.
It might have been expected, that this anxiety to extinguish every ray of hope