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nothing of. But this makes no difference at all between us in what we have to do.

Now, if the fear of God and the intention to do righteously be the common foundation, the general spring of all these modes of religious duty, is it not wisest and best, in settling the conditions of God's favor, to go to the bottom of the matter at once? If we have the source from which all other religious principles and duties take their rise, we may feel sure of all its legitimate effects. But if we have only one of the effects, we cannot feel sure of the rest. How then can it be feared, that this simple principle of the religious character is not adequate to produce the desired results in the soul, though a secondary principle, derived from it, is? Must it not contain in itself the elements, the germs of all its effects? By the conditions of the case, it is acknowledged a much broader spring of action than any particular obligations deduced from it. They are limited; this is universal in its operation.

Let us take the instance of faith. You may tell me you believe a certain truth which has wonderful power over your religious character. But, if I have a true reverence for God's authority and determination to obey him, I can tell you that you cannot go beyond me in faith; for I not only believe that truth, if it be a truth, but I cannot do otherwise than believe everything which I have reason to think God has said. If I fear him I cannot for my life help doing this. I would die sooner than reject one particle that he has uttered. For I cannot but feel that death would be an infinitely less

evil than this. If I have not sufficient reasons to think he has declared what you believe, then this same fear of him and wish to do right prevents my belief of it; and I presume you will think it as useful in deterring me from the belief of what is not true, as in compelling me to the belief of what is.

Or again, suppose you place religion principally in performing a certain act or class of actions, whether of fices of devotion, or bodily mortifications, or strenuous efforts to save souls and enlarge your communion, or anything else. I place religion in the fear of God prompting to all works of righteousness. Who has the advantage? Who is likely to do most? In striving to obey all his commands, I shall of course do that which you do, if it be commanded by him, and more too. If it be not his command, I have the advantage of you in not doing it; for there must be something wrong or at least unnecessary in it; and then the energy expended upon it would be better reserved for something decidedly useful.



'FOR unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and



his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.'

This passage has been generally understood as predicting the birth of the Saviour, though some critics of considerable eminence, and among them the celebrated Grotius, have appropriated it to Hezekiah, the son of king Ahaz. It is not our intention, at present, to state the reasons on which this latter opinion is founded. We will suppose that the passage was originally intended to refer to the Saviour, and will proceed to offer an explanation of it in this view.

The language of the prophet is borrowed from the style of royalty, and represents the Saviour as a king, and the establishment of his religion as the setting up of a kingdom. Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, that is, he shall bear the burden of government. And what are the characteristics of his reign? Truth, justice, meekness, forgiveness and peace. God has made him head over all things to the church. And he shall reign till he has subdued all enemies under his feet. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the interests of his kingdom.

The prophet declares that, his name shall be called Wonderful. By an idiom of the Hebrew language, the word, name, it may be observed, is here redundant. His name shall be called, is the same as, he shall be called. So to call upon the name of the Lord, is the same as to call upon the Lord. It is evident that the prophet did not intend to predict the

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proper name of the Saviour, but only the qualities of his character, which should merit and receive the splendid epithets, employed by the prophet.

He shall be called wonderful. The propriety of this epithet is seen at once by every one, who remembers anything of the birth, the youth, the spirit and character, the good deeds and wise instructions, the dignity and the humiliation, the life and the death of Christ. He was wonderful in being welcomed into the world by the homage of sages and the songs of angels; in his increase in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man; in his conversation with the wise men of his nation, when only twelve years old; in receiving the holy spirit without measure at the age of manhood, and in being addressed by the voice from heaven, This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased;' wonderful in all the words that he spake, and all the acts which he performed; in his superiority to his nation and age; in the vast extent of his conceptions, the sublimity of his doctrines, and the unrivalled excellence of his precepts; wonderful in piety to God and benevolence to man, and above all in the generous sacrifice of his life for the salvation of man; in the miraculous phenomena that accompanied his death; in his speedy return from the mansions of the dead, and in his glorious ascension to the right hand of God. Well then might the pen of inspiration predict that he would be called 'wonderful.'


The next epithet applied to him is that of Counsellor. And the propriety of this epithet will appear

evident, when it is considered what was the source of his wisdom, and what the character of the instructions he has given. He is a counsellor because the spirit of the Lord rested upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord. He was in the bosom of the Father; he drank in wisdom from the pure fountain of eternal truth; in him were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. What question is there worthy of an immortal being to ask, which our great counsellor will not answer? He may not, indeed, throw light upon your schemes for laying up the treasures which the moth and rust may corrupt; but he will tell you how to use them, so that when they fail, ye shall be received into everlasting habitations. He may not gratify your curiosity in questions of doubtful disputation, or communicate that knowledge of the material world, which the faithful exertion of your own faculties is able to acquire. But ask of him the character of the God who hideth himself, or who is hidden from his creatures behind the veil of the material world; ask of him the origin, the nature, the duty, the destination of man; ask of him the cause of those apparent disorders in the moral world which are mingled with such a profusion of order and beauty; ask him whence the blessings come that we enjoy, and whence the calamities that afflict us; ask him how you may attain the favor of Him whose hand moves the springs of all your happiness or misery; ask him what will become of you, when your

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