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As fallen creatures, God is against us, and we are against him. The alienation of our hearts is the great cause of our ignorance of him. We are willingly ignorant. The thoughts of him are unwelcome to us, and we do not like to retain him in our knowledge. Guilt is the parent of atheism. A secret foreboding, that if there be a God, we are obnoxious to his displeasure ; and that if he takes cognizance of our conduct, we have nothing to hope, but every thing to fear from him, constrains many persons to try to persuade themselves that there is no God; and many more to think, or at least to wish, that if there be a God, he does not concern himself with human affairs. What a proof is this of the enmity of the heart of man against him! that so many persons who would tremble at the thought of being in a ship, driven by the winds and waves, without compass or pilot, should yet think it desirable, if it were possible, to be assured, that in a world like this, so full of uncertainty, trouble, and change, all things were left at random, without the interference of a supreme governor. But this enmity, these dark apprehensions, are removed, when the Gospel is received by faith. For it brings us the welcome news, that there is forgiveness with him; that God is reconciled in his Son to all who seek his mercy. In this sense, likewise, Messiah is “Immanuel, God with "us," on our side, no longer the avenger of sin, but the author of salvation.

“Immanuel” is “God with us,” God in our nature still. He suffered as a man, and as a man he now reigns on the throne of glory; exercising all power and authority, and receiving all spiritual worship both in heaven and

He is the head of all principalities and powers, thrones and dominions. Thus man is not only saved, but unspeakably honoured and ennobled. He is Vol. IV.

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upon earth.

brought into the nearest relation to him, who is over all blessed for ever. The angels adore him; but only redeemed sinners can say, “ He loved us and gave him"self for us; he has washed us from our sins in his own "blood* ," he is our Saviour, our Shepherd, our Friend, our, “Immanuel, God with us.”

I shall conclude with a few obvious reflections which offer from this important subject.

What a cold assent is paid to the doctrine of the Godhead of Christ by many who profess and receive it as a truth! They have received from education, from books or ministers, what is called an orthodox scheme of religious sentiments, and with this they are contented. They have not been accustomed to doubt of it, and therefore take it for granted that they really believe it. But as I have already hinted, it is so contrary to our natural apprehensions, that no man can, from his heart, say that “ Jesus Christ is Lord,” unless he be taught of God. And a cordial belief of this point will and must produce great and abiding effects. They who know the Saviour's name, will so trust in him, as to renounce every other ground of confidence. They will love him supremely, and forsake every thing that stands in competition with his favour. They will glory in his cross, they will espouse his cause, and devote themselves to his service. They will make continual application to him, that they may receive out of his fulness grace according to their need. They will obey his precepts, and walk in his Spirit. Happy were it indeed, if all who join in repeating the Creed, and who bow their knee at the mention of his name, were thus minded. But the lives, tempers, and pursuits of thousands, give too sure an evidence, that when they express their assent with their lips, they neither know what they say, nor whereof they affirm. Their acknowledgment of his character has no more salutary influence, than that of the evil spirits when he was upon earth, whosaid, and perhaps with a much fuller conviction,“We “know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God*.'

* Gal. ii. 20.; Rer. i. 5.

2. What a strong foundation does this doctrine afford for the faith and hope of those who indeed know MesSIAH, and have put their trust in him. This truth is the rock upon which the church is built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. “ If God be for us, who "shall be against us?” The difficulties of our warfare are great, the enemies of our peace are many. The world may frown, and Satan will rage; but Jesus has overcome the world, and is greater than all our foes. He will guide his people with his unerring wisdom, support them with his almighty arm, supply them out of the inexhaustible riches of his grace, revive them when fainting, heal them when wounded, plead for them above as their great high priest, manage for them upon earth as their great shepherd, and at last make them more than conquerors, and give them a crown of life!

3. On the contrary, how dreadful must be the state of those who finally reject him, and say in their hearts, “We will not have this man to rule over us!” He is now proposed as a Saviour, he invites sinners to come to him, that they may have life; and assures us, that “ him that cometh he will in nowise cast out*.” Happy are they who hear and obey his voice to-day, while it is called to-day. To-morrow is uncertain. Death may be at the door, and at death our state will be determined for eternity. They who refuse him now, in the

* Mark i. 24,

+ John vi, 37.

character of a Saviour, must then appear at his tribunal, and stand before him as their Judge; and must answer, in their own persons, for all their transgressions of the holy law, and for their contempt of the Gospel of the

grace of God!

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O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high

mountains : 0 Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say

unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God ! It would be improper to propose an alteration, though a slight one, in the reading of a text, without bearing my testimony to the great value of our English version, which, I believe, in point of simplicity, strength, and fidelity, is not likely to be excelled by a new translation of the whole Scripture. But there are, undoubtedly, particular passages, where a small change in the expression might render the sense clearer, and be cqually answerable to the original Hebrew or Greek. The address of this verse as it stands in the Messiah is, O thou that tellest good tidings, &c. as the bishop of London has lately translated it. Zion and Jerusalem are considered by the prophet, not as bringing, but as receiving good tidings; and the publisher of these good tidings is written with a feminine construction. The sense may be thus expressed, “ Let her “ that bringeth good tidings to Jerusalem and Zion,

get up into the high mountains and lift

up

her voice." But the apostrophe is more animated. That it was the custom in Israel for the women to publish and celebrate good news with songs and instruments, is well known. We have an early instance in the book of Exodus. When the Lord had delivered them from the power of Pharoah, and they saw their enemies, who had so lately threatened them, dead upon the sea-shore,

Miriam, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her

hand, and all the women went out after her with “ timbrels and with dances; and Miriam answered

them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed

gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown " into the sea*.” So afterwards, “when David re“ turned from the slaughter of the Philistines, the wo

men came out to meet him and Saul, with tabrets and

instruments of music; and they answered one ano“ther as they played, Saul hath slain his thousands, “ and David his ten thousandst.” Thus likewise Deborah, in her sublime song, represents the mother of Siseras, and her women, singing alternately, from a confident, though vain expectation, that Sisera would return a conqueror.

In

my text, the prophet in prospect of Messiah's appearance, speaks of it as an event suited to excite a general joy. The Gospel, (as the word imports,) is good news, glad tidings indeed! ! the best news that ever reached the ears, or cheered the heart of man. The women are, therefore, called upon to proclaim his approach, on the tops of the hills and mountains from whence they may be seen and heard to the greatest advantage, for the spreading of the tidings throughout the whole country. Zion is as

Exod. xv. 20, 21.

† 1 Sam. xviii. 6, 7.

# Judges v. 28, 29.

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