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and to impose on the infant a name, that should mark his office in the world. 1. The appointment of the name - God had often condescended to assign names to men

[Sometimes he had made an 'alteration in their names;a and sometimes totally changed them

Sometimes he had assigned a name before the child was conceived

In these things he always acted with unerring wisdom

When men have attempted to give significant appellations, they have only manifested how ignorant they were of futurity

But God sees all things from the beginning to the end

And his designation of Christ's name was a prognostic of his character-]

The appellation given to the virgin's son was peculiarly suitable

[“ Jesus” simply means a Saviour;e and was a common name among

the Jews It was sometimes assigned to those who were great deliverers

It had been given in a peculiar manner to the son of Nun

He was eminently a Saviour, as leading the Israelites into the promised land, which Moses was not permitted to doba

But Christ, whom he typified, is a far greater deliverer-He “ does that for us which the law could not do”

He leads the true Israel of God into their heavenly Canaan-]

So remarkable an event may justly lead us to enquire into II. The reason of that appointment

Waving all other reasons, we notice two before us 1. To fulfil a prophecy

· Abram and Saraï to Abraham and Sarah. b Jacob to Israel.

• John, Luke i. 1S. .d Eve named her first child, “ Cain,” which signifies, getting; thinking perhaps that she had now gotten the promised seed: having probably soon discovered her mistake, she called her second son “ Abel,” which signifies, vanity. But how misnamed were both! This proved a martyr for his God; and that, a murderer of his own brother. e Acts xiii. 23.

f Neh. ix. 27. & Numb. xiji. 16. Which name is precisely the same with “ Jesus,” and is so translated Acts vii. 45. and Heb. iv. 8. k Deut. i. 37, 38.

i Rom. viii. 3. Acts xiii. 39.

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[Isaiah had foretold that the Messiah should be called Emmanuelk_

From the event it appears, that God did not intend this prophecy to have a literal accomplishment

We may expect however that the spirit of it should be accomplished

Now the name “ Jesus" was in fact equivalent to Emmanuel

“ Jesus” means “divine Saviour;" and Emmanuel, God with us!

And the evangelist himself tells us, that the imposition of that name was in order to the fulfilment of this prophecy"-] 2. To declare the infant's office and character

[The virgin's child was to be the Saviour of the worldHe was to save his people by price, and by power-They were under sentence of eternal condemnationHis life was the ransom to be paid for their souls-Hence they are called his purchased possession' They were also in bondage to sin and SatanP—

And he was to make them a peculiar people, zealous of good works

Yea, he was ultimately to place them beyond the reach of all the penalties and pollutions of sin

It was of importance that this great work should be represented in his very name

And the text informs us that the name was given him for this very purpose-] INFER

1. How precious aught the name of Jesus to be to all bis followers!

[What benefit can be bestowed like salvation from sin A deliverance from its dominion is an unspeakable blessing

The godly desire it no less than deliverance from hell itself

And how delightful is pardon to a burthened conscience! How sweet is a sense of God's favour in a dying hour!

What joy must the.glorified soul possess in the day of judgment!

Yet Jesus has bought it all with his own most precious blood

k Isai. vii. 14. I See Bp. Pearson on the Creed, p. 70, 71, m Matt. i. 22, 23. n Matt. xx. 28. • Eph. i. 14. See also. I Cor. vi. 20. and i Pet. i. 18, 19, p Luke xi. 21. 2 Tim. ii. 26,

9.Tit. ii. 14.

He has bestowed it freely on all his faithful followers
He will impart it liberally to all who will believe on him
Is there not reason then for that divine anathema?-

Will not the very stones cry out against those who refuse to praise him?-

Let Jesus then be precious to us all

Let us adopt the grateful strains of that sweet Psalmist of Israel

2. How vain is it to expect salvation in the ways of sin!

[Sinners seem to entertain but little fear about their souls

They even encourage one another to commit iniquity with greediness

But they cannot possibly be saved in such a state

If they could, the angel should have assigned a very different reason for the appointment of Jesus' name In that

case, Christ would have been a minister of sin But who must not, with the apostle, express his abhorrence of such a thought?

Our Lord has plainly told us what shall ere long be his address to self-deceiving sinners Let us then “ flee for refuge to the hope set before us”.

And tremble lest we provoke the Saviour to become our destroyer-]

ri Cor. xvi. 22.

s Ps. ciii. 14. t He should rather have said, “ He shall save his people in their sins u Gal. ii. 17.

x Matt. vii. 23.

CLIX. CHRIST'S ADVENT A GROUND OF JOY.

Ps. xcviji. 1—9. O sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath

done marvellous things: his right hand and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation; his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord the King: Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the Lord: for He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

THE Psalms are generally read as the effusions of a devout mind, whilst their reference to Christ is almost entirely overlooked—This, which is now under our consideration, like the 96th with which it accords, confess. edly relates to Christ: the very language of ver. 3. is used by Mary, Zacharias, and Simeon, in the divine hymns whereby they celebrated his advent in the flesh-It contains I. Some grounds and matter for our joy

In the three first verses the Psalmist describes in figu. rative expressions, and in the last verse he expressly specifies, tive proper ground of our joy

The incarnation of Christ seems to be the subject here referred to

[Christ is “ the LORD” Jehovah," the King” of kings, and Lord of lords, who “is come to judge the earth," and to exercise dominion, not, like the judges of Israel, over one nation only, but over all the nations of the world-Nor under his government will any partiality be shewn either to Jews or Gentiles; on the contrary, it is administered with perfect righteousness and equity:" his laws are equally binding on the rich and poor: his invitations are equally extended to the most abandoned sinner, and the most decent moralist: his benefits are equally conferred on all according to their attainments in holiness; and his judgments will be inflicted with equal severity on the proudest monarch and the meanest beggar-With him is no respect of persons; and whatever difference he may put between one man and another in this life, he will manifest at last, that, though clouds and darkness were around about him, righteousness and judgment were the basis of his throne]

This is indeed a ground for the most exalted joy

1. It is the most " marvellous” occurrence ti.at ever the world beheld

[That God should be manifested in human flesh, in order to redeem his enemies from destruction, and to purchase to himself a church with his own blood! great indeed is this mystery of godliness: it has heights and depths that can never be explored-]

a Luke i. 54, 55, 72. and ii. 30-32.

2. It is the one mean of “ victory” over death and

hell

[Satan, the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, had usurped dominion over the whole race of man, which he would have retained for ever, if God himself had not interposed to rescue us from our sore bondage But how should even God himself effect this great deliverance? No way was found, but for God himself to take our nature, and become our substitute-What joy then should not the execution of this plan excite in our hearts-] 3. It opens salvation to a ruined world

[By this was “ made known” the way of “righteousness and salvation” through a vicarious sacrifice: nor was it any longer set forth in types, but“ openly,in plain explicit declarations; and that, not to the house of Israel only, but “ in the sight of the heathen”-How should we benighted Gentiles rejoice in this!-]

4. It is the richest display of God's “ mercy and truth'

[It was in this incomprehensible mystery that "mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other-When the incarnation of Christ was first promised to the world, it was a most stupendous act of mercy: after that, the accomplishment of it was an exhibition of truth and faithfulness: yea, it was virtually, the substance of all the types, the completion of all the prophecies, the consummation of all the promises—Who must not rejoice in it!-]

After stating such grounds for joy we may add with confidence II. An exhortation to rejoice

The animated exhortation of the Psalmist imports that 1. We should feel an interest in this great event

[It is by no means sufficient to acknowledge Christ in a mere speculative manner; we should consider ourselves as the subjects of his kingdom, and seek to participate the blessedness of his people. Let us then enquire, not merely whether we believe that Christ came into the world, but whether we have been filled with wonder at his “marvellous” condescension? Let us ask ourselves whether “his right hand and his holy arm have gotten him the victory” over our rebellious hearts? Whether he have made known” to us the sufficiency of “his righteousness," and the excellency of “his salvation?” and whether “his mercy and truth” have been magnified in the VOL. II.

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