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The good announced is two-fold also ; a glorious union of virtue and enjoyment : like the evil, imperfect here, and consummate hereafter. The virtue of man in his present state is infantine ; tottering with an unsettled step, and lisping with half-formed accents. In the future state, the mind, advanced to perfect manhood, is completely sanctified, and cannot fail of being completely blessed. To enjoyment and virtue that state is wholly destined. Every thing found in it, as once in the earthly Paradise, blossoms with life and happiness, and, like Adam, all its inhabitants are formed for immortality.

In the last phrase of the text, this good is disclosed to us in the declaration, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.'

God, the author of all things, is the source of all good. • Every good gift,' in this and all other worlds, ' and every perfect gift, is from above ; and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. From him, the ocean, flow all those streams of holiness which water, enrich, and beautify his immeasurable kingdon. His character, his moral essence, is love;' and,

· wherever happiness is found, it may justly be said, that the name of every blessing is like that of the city seen in vision by Ezekiel, · The Lord is there.

With these tidings resounding in their ears, the children of Zion may joyfully say, 'This God is our God for ever and ever.' To their present and everlasting good his boundless power, wisdom, and goodness are by himself graciously consecrated. To renew, purify, preserve, protect, enlighten, guide, quicken, and save them in this world, and to form them in his own perfect image, and exalt them to bis own perfect felicity in the world to come, is declared to be his constant and favourite employment. In that glorious and happy world he will unveil his face to them, and give them to see as they are seen,' and to know as they are known. In the smiles of forgiving, redeeming, and sanctifying love, they will there rove, and bask, and brighten for ever.

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III. I shall consider the messenger who published these tidings.

In the investigation of this subject I shall inquire.
Who he was?
What he became ?

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What he did ? and,
What he suffered?
1. I shall inquire who he was.
(1.) He was a person of supreme glory and dignity.

This divine person was from everlasting, underived, independent, all-sufficient, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, goodness, and power. All things were the work of his hand, and lay beneath his feet. At the head of a kingdom filling immensity and eternity, he was ;' and in comparison with him there was none else. · All nations before him were as nothing, and were counted unto him as less than nothing and vanity.' Angels in his presence veiled their faces, and archangels durst not attempt to penetrate the unapproachable light with which he clothed himself as with a garment. To obey him was their highest honour; to please him was their greatest happiness. In his service they employed all their powers, and found all their transports. Suns lighted up their fires at his bidding ; systems rolled, to fulfil his pleasure; and to accomplish his designs, immensity was stored with worlds and their inhabitants. (2.) He was rich in all good.

All things were not only' made by him, but' for him.” They were his property; they were destined to fulfil his pleasure. When he looked on all the beanty, greatness, and glory, conspicuous in the beings which compose and which inbabit the universe, he beheld nothing but the works of his own hands, reflecting the boundless beauty, greatness, and glory which, in forms and varieties infinite, were treasured up from everlasting in his own incomprehensible mind. If he chose to bring into existence any additional number of creatures, to display new forms and varieties of power, wisdom, and goodness, pre-existent in his own perfect intellect, his choice would instantaneously give them being. To the universe which he had made, he could with infinite ease add another, and another; and fill with worlds, and suns, and systems,

: those desolate wilds of immensity, where the wing of angels never ventured to rove, and whither no created mind ever sent out a solitary thought. Thus the universe of possible things, was his own.

He was rich in the veneration and good will, the complacency and gratiiude, of all virtuous beings. Heaven, through

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out her vast regions, had from the beginning echoed to his praise. • The morning stars' had · sung' his perfections from their birth, and the sons of God shouted' his name · for joy.' The everlasting hymn of that exalted and delightful world had ever been, · Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto our God that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever:' and to this divine ascription every virtuous world had continually as well as solemnly answered, • Amen.'

He was rich in himself. His own mind was the mansion of all things great, excellent, and delightful. Pure from every stain, free from every error, serene without a cloud, secure beyond a fear, and conscious of wisdom and holiness only, himself was an ocean of eternal and overflowing good.

He was rich in the complacency of his Father. He was from everlasting his beloved Son, in whom he was ever well pleased.' •From everlasting was he by him, as one brought up with him. He was daily his delight, rejoicing alway before him.' In the transcendent communion of the ever blessed Trinity, he experienced enjoyment which 'no' created

eye hath seen, or can see,' and which no mind less than infinite can conceive. On this subject beings of yesterday' must not presume to expatiate. With the deepest reverence they can only exclaim, . It is higher than heaven, what can we know?'

2. This glorious person, to accomplish the good' announced in these tidings, became man. ·

Although he was origivally · in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet he made himself of no reputation, took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. In this character of immense humiliation, he lived in this sinful, melancholy world. To man,' who is a worm, and the son of man, who is but a worm,' he allied himself by birth, kindred, and character. All the infirmities of our nature, except sin, he voluntarily assumed ; sprang from a humble lineage, lived in a humble em. ployment, was united to humble companions, and was invariably in humble circumstances. So depressed was he in all things, that he himself has thought proper to say, 'I am a worm, and no man.'

3. In this situation he did all things well.

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His life was filled up with usefulness and duty; was labo rious beyond example, and was wholly consecrated to the glory of God, and the good of mankind. In conformity to this great purpose, he spent all the former part of his life in an illustrious discharge of the duties of filial piety. In his public ministry he taught, with unceasing diligence, the law of God, the ruin of man by his disobedience, and the tidings of his recovery by his own mediation. The way of life he marked out with an unerring hand; the means of lifc he disclosed with a benevolent voice. The duties to which man is summoned, he exemplified in his own perfect conduct. The hopes which man was invited to cherish, he pourtrayed in colours of light. The door of heaven, shut before to this apostate world, he unbarred with his own power; and love invited • labouring and heavy laden’sinders to enter in, and find ‘ rest.' Wandering prodigals, perishing with want and nakedness, and lost to the universe of God, he sought, and found, and brought home to his Father's house rejoicing. Wretches, dead in trespasses and sins,' be raised to spiritual and immortal life. This vast earthly catacomb he entered; and summoned together by his voice the bones of the immense congregation in its gloomy recesses, ' bone to his bone.' The host of skoletons he covered with flesh; and, breathing upon them the breath of life, bade them stand upon their feet, as an exceeding great army for multitude.'

4. To accomplish this divine purpose, he underwent every humiliation, and every suffering.

He was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger. The greatest part of his life he spent in the humble and laborious business of a mechanic, and literally earned his bread with the sweat of his brow. Poor beyond the common lot of poverty, he had not,' while ministering immortal blessings to a world, a place where to lay his head.' For all the suffering he wrought miraculous works of beneficence; but the power with which they were wrought, ready at the call of others, was rarely exerted for himself. At the same time be was hated and persecuted day by day. Wickedness employed all its hostility against him ; its pride and cunning, its malice and wrath ; calumniated his name, invaded his peace, and hunted his life. By his friends he was betrayed and forsaken. By his enemies he was accused of drunkenness and gluttony,

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of impiety and blasphemy, of being the friend of sinners, and the coadjutor of Satan. From the agonies of Gethsemane he was conveyed successively to the iniquitous tribunal of the sanbedrim, to the bloody ball of Pilate, to the cross, and to the tomb. At the close of a life spent in bitterness and sorrow, he consummated all bis sufferings by undergoing that last and greatest of all evils, the wrath of God, poured out apon him as the substitute for sinners.

All these things he foresaw, when he brought these tidings to mankind. They were always before him ; and were indispensable parts of that mediation which he voluntarily assumed. They were undergone, therefore, in a continual anticipation. Every day he was’ literally 'a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.' In the full view of them all, he came to this world, to proclaim 'peace and salvation' to those who despised, rejected, and persecuted him ; who nailed him to the cross, and compelled him to the grave. To these very men he announced all good; himself, his favour, his kingdom, bis house, his presence, his everlasting joy. Think what tidings these are! Think to whom they are published !

Thus, from a summary view of this subject, Christ, in publishing these tidings to mankind, appears invested with supreme amiableness and beauty. No attribute which forms, no action which becomes, the perfect character, is wanting in him. With all things in his hands, with all excellence and enjoyment in his mind, he pitied us, miserable worms of the dust; descended from heaven, became man, lived, and died, and rose again, that we might live for ever. With his own voice he proclaimed, in the tidings of the text, the very things which he has done, and suffered, and the infinite blessings which in this manner he has purchased for mankind. There is now, (he cries,) ' glory to God in the highest,' while there is peace on earth, and good-will towards men.' In this ruined world, so long enveloped in darkness, so long deformed by sin, so long wasted by misery, where guilt, and sorrow, and suffering have spread distress without control, and mourning without hope; where war and oppression have ravaged without, and remorse and despair consumed within ; where Satan has ' exalted his throne above the stars of God, while its sottish millions have bent before him in religious worship ; in this ruined world, where, since the apostasy, real good was never

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