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If the foundation be destroyed, says the psalmist, what can the righteous do? The righteousness of the best man upon earth is, as the scripture declares, but as filthy rags before God. But, blessed be his name, the Lord Jehovah is our righteousness and strength. This doctrine administers relief, in every case, and is an inexhaustible source of comfort. Do numberless sins and transgressions oppress our soul? Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, saith the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, whose power sustains the universe, and whose inclination is equal to his ability to save us. It was for this end that he assumed our nature into personal union with his Deity; that, as God manifest in the flesh, he might stand related unto us, as bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, and encourage the most unlimited confidence in his compassion and love.
Whatever blessings, therefore, we need, for time and eternity, let us ask them in the faith of this promise of our gracious Redeemer, Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. In every intricate step of providence, let us apply to the heavenly Counsellor, for he is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. And if we know any thing of the evil of sin, and of the plagues of our own hearts, and are in bitterness on this account, let us call to our grateful remembrance, that it is the office of the Prince of Peace to revive the spirit of the humble, and the heart of the contrite-to hear the
groaning of the prisoner, and regard the prayer of the destitute-to give power to the faint, and to them that have no might to increase strength.
Is the government of the church committed unto the Redeemer? Then they only are to be accounted the loyal, the obedient subjects of Christ, who, from evangelical principles, submit to his laws. The authority, the protection, and love, of our glorious King, demand of us the most cheerful and unreserved obedience to all his commands. And his commandments are not grievous, since, by his grace, and the influence of his Spirit, he disposes and enables his subjects to perform what he requires, and renders their services acceptable to God, through his intercession, and the merits of his obedience and sufferings.
4. This subject speaks terror to the wicked.
Alas! that you should despise or neglect the glorious characters of Immanuel. He is the great Prophet, the Counsellor of the church; he is also the High Priest of our profession, and the King of Zion. But you are unwilling to receive any benefit, either from the word or ordinances of this great Prophet: you care not about an interest in the pardoning mercy of God, through the meritorious sacrifice of this High Priest: and, far from obeying the righteous laws of the Sovereign of the universe, you, and vast multitudes in the world, have either thoughtlessly or wilfully combined with the powers of darkness against the Lord and his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He
that sitteth in the heavens will bid defiance to so vain and impious an attempt. The Lord will one day speak to his enemies in wrath, and inflict a severe but deserved punishment upon them, in his righteous displeasure. Be wise, therefore, in time. Be exhorted to break this covenant with hell, and with all the enemies of the mighty God; for they are also the greatest enemies of your own precious and immortal souls. Many enemies have, in our day, risen up against the Saviour. It may be, you think that you abhor their conduct; but, if you profane his Sabbath, if you wilfully break his holy commandments, you are indeed involved in the same dreadful guilt. And your rebellion is attended with this terrible aggravation, that you know what you are doing: they do not. The transition from superstition to infidelity is more easily accounted for than an open defiance of the mighty God, in a land of light, where we have been so long and so highly favoured with the gospel of Christ. This is the condemnation, says he who is to be our judge, that men have loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. But the Lord, if you apply to him, will readily forgive you. He is exalted, as a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance, and the forgiveness of sin. And he is not only merciful and compassionate, but liberal and generous: he will give you strength to perform whatever he requires of you, and will crown your labour of love with a gracious recompense of reward, an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory.
If so much grace, and so tender mercies, affect
you, as an evidence of your sincerity, let me entreat you to retire from the house of God with a determined resolution to spend the Sabbath in a religious way, and to dedicate a certain portion of your time daily to search the scriptures; to meditate on your present state, as it is connected with that which is to come, and which is eternal. The benefit and unspeakable advantage of such a practice will soon appear in your life and conversation. It is in this way that you are taught to look for the divine blessing. Above all, pray for the enlightening and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit: this is the great promise under the gospel, and it is the office of this Divine Agent to take of the things which are Christ's, and shew them unto And may God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shine into your hearts, to give you the knowledge of the glory of God, as it shines in the face of Christ. May he strengthen you, by his grace, to do his will, and render your persons and services acceptable, through the merits and intercession of the Child who was born, the Son who is given, on whose shoulder the administration of the kingdom of Providence and of Grace rests-whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.
From the whole of what has been said, we may learn, that we ought to entertain adoring and admiring thoughts of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.
Angels are transported with the view of him.I beheld, says the apostle John, in his vision of heaven, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And the spirits of the just made perfect are represented as singing praises to him that was slain, and hath redeemed them to God by his blood. And shall not we, who are so immensely indebted to the great God, our Saviour, join our feeble notes of praise with their's, and admire and adore their God and our God, their Lord and our's? And to excite us the more to this noble exercise, this highest privilege of our nature, let us frequently contemplate this bright constellation, this glorious assemblage of our Redeemer's characters, which we have attempted to exhibit to your view. May we see more and more of the glory of the Mighty God, as it shines in the face of Christ; and may we be changed daily more and more into his image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.