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A MEDITATION FOR CHIRISTMAS-DAY.
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that who. soever believeth in him shoulil not perish, but have everlasting life. John ii. 16.
WONDER, O heavens! and be astonished, ye inhabitants of the earth, at the unparalleled love of the adorable Jesus! Angels, in their most exalted strains of harmony, and men, with all the ardour of the most fervent praises, cannot sufficiently admire, nor fully celebrate, the condescending love of our glorious Immanuel, our incarnale God and Saviour!
Such was the stupendous boundless love of the adorable Jesus to mankind, who were dead in trespasses and sins, that, thuugh he was the Ancient of Days, he became an intant of days? O how great the condescension! He, who is the everlasting Father, in whom dwells the essential fulness of the Godhead bodily, is born of a Virgin! He wbo tlleth immensity with his presence, whom heaven, yea, the heaven of heavens cannot contain,'is encircled with tlesh and blood, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and reposing in the inhospitable mani ger! O deep humiliation of the Son of God, the Creator of the World! He who possesseth the adoration of angels, be fore whom the glorious hierarchies of heaven, cherub and seraph, potentates and thrones, veiled their faces! and unto wlioin ten thousand times ten thousand did winister, is now associated with the herds of the stall! What astonishing humility! What unexampled meekness was here! A coarse stable, instead of a superb palace, entertains the infant Deity! and the horned brutes reside with him who is King of kings and Lord of lords! How fluctuating is all worldly glory, and what reason have men to be proud of an illustrious lineage, when they contemplate Joseph and Mary, of the royal house of Judah, sojourning in a stable and yet behold the glory ! A star directs the wise men of the east to the honoured spot, and a multitude of ministering spirits hymn the birth of the adorable Jesus! Never was the birth of any earthly prince so highly honoured.
O glorious and pleasing truth! God was manifest in the flesh! He, the most high God, blessed for evermore, consented to become man, to save a guilty race from destruction, and open to them the gates of eternal life. What inconceivable pity filled his beneficent mind, when, as our glorious Sponsor, he engaged to become the Son of man, lo take upon bim the humble form of a servant, to magnify the holy law by his life, and to satisfy its penal demands by the uputterable agonies of crucifixion and death. O! love, beyond example or degree!
0! for this love, let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break,
The Saviour's praises speak ! Oh, the fathomless depths, amazing heights, lengths, and breadths, of the love and condesension of the dear, divine, and holy Jesus! O the grace and love of the blessed Saviour! Grace that has passed by angels, some of the first-born sons of light, who are reserved in everlasting chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day! whilst man, worm of the earth, is the object, the chosen object of love! the sovereign, saving, unmerited, unconditional, everlasting love of Jehovah! Surely, we have the greatest reason to join with the beloved disciple, and with every intelligent being in the exclamation, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us ! Love, matchless, special, and peculiar, not common to all, but to the chosen race in Christ Jesus only.
"Oh for a glow of ardent gratitude !
To celebrate Jehovah's matchless love! It was decreed, “ That without shedding of blood there could be no remission ;' therefore when the Prince of glory laid aside the splendors of ineffable divinity, and stooped from heaven's etherial height, he said to his Father, 'Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure; then said I, Lo, I come ; in the volume of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea, thy law is in my heart.' This was the Father's will.' He accepted the sufferings of the just for the unjust; and when the holy Lamb, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, he was an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. The Son of God, as our substitute, underwent all that the law demanded from sinners; the rigorous, righteous conditions of which he undertook to perform as the federal head and public representative of all the elect, who lay under its tremendous curse. The obedience of our adorable Sponsor was as perfect as divine rectitude could require; and as excellent as eternal wisdom could desire. Its purity, ils spirituality, its extensiveness, could find in him no transgression in thought, word, or deed. By the sacrifice of himself he hath exhausted the curse, removed the vengeance, and procured pardon, peace, and heaven for sinners. For sinners! O charıning word ! for perishing sinners : for sinners of all kinds and all degrees, the guiltless Lamb was slain. Redemption's work is finished? Shout, ye inhabitants of Zion, for the Captain of salvation is made perfect through sufferings! God spared bim not! From Calvary, with dyed gar
ments, he came! In the wine-press of God's wrath he trod down our potent foes ; bruised Satan's head; conquered the world ; vanquished sin, death, and the grave! Hear with rapture; hear, ye sin-burthened souls, inviolate truth proclaim the only begotten of the Father was given, that whosoever (extensive mercy !) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
The adorable Jesus, as our divine Surety, undertook the work of reconciliation; he suffered all that justice demanded, and thereby made a complete atonement for sin comunitted, such as would be commensurate with the awful glories of the offended Legislator, and the severe sanctions of the broken law. He wrought out a full and complete righteousness, conformable in every punctilio to the positive precepts of the divine law; a righteousness in which the faming eyes of infinite unblemished holiness can discover neither fax nor deficiency. By this righteousness the believer is acquitted from every charge, is perfectly justified, and shall be eternally saved. None can be saved by the covenant of works; for all Adam's posterity are, by the Fall, brought into an estate of sin and misery ;' and consequently cannot fulfil the conditions of that covenant, namely, perfect obedience. There is no salvation for any but by the covenant of grace, of which Christ is the Mediator; he is the Mediator of the New Covenant, and his blood speaketh better things than that of Abel. Come, ye naked souls, wlio have no robe to hide your pollution with, no obedience sufficient to answer the sublime demands of Jehovah's law, or on account of which you may advance a solid plea for divine favour, and the mansions of eternal felicity, o come to the adorable Jesus! to Him who justifies the ungodly, who saves eternally all those who believe in his precious name. Look to the cross of Christ ! Fly, instantly fly on the wings of faith to the bleeding wounds, to the meritorious righteousness, of the divine Redeemer. 'Tis there, and there alone, you will find an open friendly asylum from all that is terrific or destructive in time or eternity! Look, therefore, to this almighty Saviour, this Friend of sinners, ye prisoners of hope. His blood will cleanse you from all your accumulated aggravated guilt; his resplendent robe will recommend you to the Almighty's favoar, and make you shine brighter than the loftiest seraph in the realms of eternal day. The free participation of favours inestimably precious as these, will not, cannot fail to pour through the soul something of that ecstatic flow of adoring gratitude, expressed in these remarkable words, . Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gitt! and in that triumphant song:
• Glory to God, in highest heav'ns supreme,
Be spread abroad: good-will tor’rds favour'd mer!
The grand transactions, sweetly, clearly shines.'
A CONCISE VIEW OF THE PRESENT STATE OF EVANGELICAL RELIGIOY
TIROUGHOUT TIIE WORLD.
[Curcluded from p. 455.]
THE ISLANDS OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN. The adventurous spirit of our navigators, and the ene larged circle of commercial speculation, have brought sato view a multitude of islands in the Pacific Ocean, hitherto al most unnoticed and unknown. The loss of America induced the British government to look out for some other distant region of the earth to wbicia we might transport the outcasts of society, who bad endangered the peace of their fellow, citizens by their crimes, and where, secured from escape, they night, by a life of labour, bę rendered useful to the nation they had injured and dishonoured, and thus again be restored to society, corrected and amended. New Holland, the largest island in the known world (if it be reckoned such, instead of a new continent). was fixed upon as the place of settlement; and Botany Bay at first, and shortly after Port Jackson, became the seat of the first colony. After struggling with the greatest difficulties for subsistence, they, by degrees, surmounted all obstacles; and, often on the verge of ruin, bare Jately risen to an increased stability and prosperity beyond every expectation ;-their agriculture flourishing, their hands multiplied, and their pumerous flocks of sheep proinising a supply of the finest wool to the parent country. A variety of settlements bave progressively been formed at Sydney Cove, the Hawksberry, Parainatta, at Norfolk Island, and more lately al Port Dalrymple on Van Diemen's Land; and every appearance promises stability and increase, though hitherto at a great expence to the mother country. It is a singular circunstance attending this expedition, that the first chaplain of the colony, who embarked with the first cargo of con victs, was a man of an excellent spirit, and a faithful ininister of the Lamb of God. His labours were indefatigable in the
colony; and when he returned to his native land, his successor, the worthy Mr. Marsden, laboured with equal zeal and dili gence in his station, and endeavoured to make a crucified Jesus known to the vilest of mankind, as well as to those who equally needed the saine Saviour. Returning with his family for a while, with a view to obtain fellow-workers for the in creasing calls, it pleased God to give him favour in the sight of the governinent; and never couid a wiser and inore politic (as well as Christian) step be taken. They allowed him to chose associates in the ininistry, and schoolmasters of his own mind and principles,ấso satisfied were our rulers with his conduct. With these he is returned to the station for which Pro. vidence and Grace seemed to have fitted bim, and where a still greater blessing, I trust, will attend their ministrations.
A series of events, some of them very afflictive, drove thither, from Tongataboo and from Otaheite, some of the Brethren who had been sent from the London Missionary Society. There some of them have fixed with their families, and contribute greatly to maintain the knowledge of divine truth in the colouy. They teach the rising generation, in schools erected for that purpose, where the children of convicts, orphans, and others, are initiated in the principles of true Cbristianity"they preach at the different setulements, on the Lord's Day, to the convicts and settlers, and have met so great encouragement as to form congregations, and erect places of worship. The natives, few, dispersed, and awfully stupid, seem hitherto to have resisted not only all religious in. struction, but every approach to civilization, but the colony, by a continued accession of banished ones, is growing in extent of cultivation and improvement, puts on daily a more promising appearance, and gives hope that the vast expence incurred, will in time be repaid to the mother country by i19 produce. · Meantime, what, in our view, is the most important consideration, the religion of the Son of God seems to take foot, and afford expectations that from thence a beam of glory may dart on the auljacent lands, and add one link inore to the chain of causes, and means of spreading the knowledge of a Redeemer's grace to the isies of the sea that are afar utt. The Society and friendly Islands were the first objects of the Missionary Society. The impulse arising from the first very specessful voyage of the ship Duff, was strongly felt, not only through the Britislı dominions, but in every Protestant country in the world. A divine ardour seemed to be kindled in every land for Missionary exertions; and they have continued increasing to the present day. The vast contributions increasingly made for its support, and the number of persons at present employed in the work, with yearly additions, encourage confidence, that He who hath begun will perfect the same, till the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the