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diligently consider his word, but earnestly pray for the illumination of his Spirit, that we may know the truth he hath revealed, and that “ truth may make us free.” We must renounce our own righteousness, and rely on his mediation, as he is the High Priest of our profession, for justification and reconciliation with God. We must renounce our sins, and sinful passions and inclinations, must expect and desire to be redeemed from the power and nature, as well as guilt of iniquity, and become his obedient subjects and servants. We must not only rely ou him as given for us, but must receive him to live in us; not resting in “a name to live, when we are dead," nor in " a form of godliness without the power," any more than in the pleasures of the world, or in the commission of known and avowed iniquity. But at the same time that we are subject to him, as the Lord from heaven, we must be regenerated by him as a quickening Spirit. And inasmuch as he brings “ life and immortality to light by his gospel," and reveals and promises to his people an heavenly inheritance, if we would receive bim we must set our affections on this immortal state, and die to this world with all it contains : we must conduct ourselves as pilgrims and strangers on earth," and casting "the anchor of our hope within the vail, where Jesus, the forerunner for us, hath entered," we must" seek a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” If we overlook, or neglect any of these particulars, we can, with no propriety, be said to receive him whom we this day view as the Child born and Son given.
4. I shall only call your attention to one inference more upon the subject, and that respects the destruction and misery awaiting all those, who, like the Jews, when “ he comes to his own," comes to them as members of his visible church, and comes “that they may have life,” will not receive him, nor make application to him, for the life he came to impart. Has God indeed given us this wonderful, this unspeakable gift? Has he indeed “sent forth his Son to be made of a woman," sent him “in the likeness of sinful flesh, that we may live through him," and receive the adoption of sons here, and the inheritance of sons hereafter ? Then surely he will not connive at, nor overlook the indignity, the insult we offer him, if we reject, or neglect to receive such an inestimable blessing. On this point the inspired writings are sufficiently explicit. Those lively oracles, which have recorded the declaration and injunction of the eternal Father, given forth from the excellent glory when his Son was transfigured upon the holy mount, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye
him :”—the Scriptures, I say, give us clear and full information, what the end of those will be, who refuse obedience to the divine mandate. “ The Lord thy God, says Moses,* will raise up unto thee a prophet-of thy brethren, like unto me : unto him ye
shall hearken.-And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, says Jehovah, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” • Kiss the Son,” says the patriarch David, whose seed as well as Lord he wasst “lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, if his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little.” “ He shall judge among the heathen : He shall fill the places with dead bodies : He shall wound the heads over divers countries." " The stone which the builders refused is become the head-stone of the corner.” And, “Whosoever shall fall on this stone," said this Messiah himself,f « shall be broken : But on whomsoever it shall fall it shall grind him to powder.” Let us hear the apostle on this awful subject. “If the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression, or act of disobedience to the law of Moses, received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which was at first spoken by the Lord, and was afterward confirmed unto us by those that heard him ; God also bearing witness with signs, and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will." Again, “He that despised the law of Moses, died without mercy under two or three witnesses,” that is, if two or three witnesses attested his guilt, 66 of how much sorer punishment,” argues the same divinely-inspired Author, " shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace.
Let me entreat you, my brethren, to consider, and lay to heart these awful declarations of the divine oracles. They are matters of no trivial moment: They concern you all, and that infinitely Do not overlook them. Do not forget them.
Bind them, as it were, about your neck, write them on the table of your heart.” Take care that you do not slight or disregard that divine person, who is the great subject of my text. Remember, though a Saviour, he is also a Judge ; and though - the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin ,of the world," he is also “ the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” If his wrath be
* Deut. xviii. 15, 20.
+ Psal. ii. 12. & cx. 6. & cxyiii. 22. | Matt. xxi. 44:
kindled, yea, but a little, (as David expresses it,) and he seize on the prey, who can deliver it out of his hands ? O hearken to him as a Teacher and Lawgiver. Rely on him as a Mediator and Saviour, and be subject to him as a King and Governor. Follow him as a Master and Leader, and be his true and genuine disciples, and his faithful servants and soldiers. Confess him before men,
whatever shame or reproach, or loss, or suffering, it may cost you, and be faithful unto death ; and when he cometh in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, to take vengeance on those that know not God, and obey not his gospel, he shall be glorified in you, as his saints, and admired, as in all that believe, and shall confess you before his Father, and the holy angels.
ON THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST.
His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah ix. 6.
1. THE Messiah, expected from age to age by the Jews, and acknowledged to be already come in the flesh, by Christians, holds a most distinguished place in both Testaments, in the old as well as in the new.
He has, in every period of the world, been the chief object of the attention and knowledge, the confidence and hope, the esteem and love, and may I not also add, of the reverence and fear of the true people of God. Although rejected by the carnal and worldly builders of the church of God, whether of the Pharisaical or Antinomian stamp, in every age and under every dispensation, yet being placed in Zion by Jehovah himself, as the true and only foundation of that divine edifice, and being also exalted, and made the head-stone of the corner thereof: its truly enlightened and spiritual members build their religion and their hopes only on him. To him they come as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, and as lively stones,” in consequence of their union with him, “ are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by him."
“ To them,” inaruch as they believe in him, “ he is precious,” he is, toun an honour. They are not ashamed of him. They do not deny, or reject, or neglect him. But, on the contrary, glory in, and live to him ; and, though they have not seen, yet they love him; yea, although now they see him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." While they have “ no confidence in the flesh,” and “ worship God in the Spi