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answer bèst the purposes of his mission. And so nice was his discernment, so ungearchable his skill, that, whether he denounced judgments or proclaimed mercy, whether he maintained silence or“ witnessed a good confession,” he invariably combined majesty with meekness, and fidelity with love.

Nor (to carry on the metaphor) was he less earnest in fol. lowing, than he was acute in discerning, the path of duty. If he had spent the night in prayer, he still prosecuted by day his labours of love, till he was exhausted with fatigue, and his friends declared that his zeal transported him beyond the bounds of reason: so fully was that prophecy accomplished in him, “ The zeal of thine house hath even consumed me.”]

Such being his qualifications, let us consider II. Our interest in them

This is by no means a speculative subject since it serves to shew us 1. Christ's sufficiency for his work

[The work which Christ had to do for us, was exceeding arduous. He was to obey the law without deviating from it in the smallest point, in thought, word, or deed. If therefore he had been turned aside by any obstacle, or had erred through any inadvertence, or fallen short through any weakness, or exceeded through any temptation, he would have been a violator of the law: and, instead of being a Saviour to us, would have needed a saviour for himself. But by these rich endowments which were communicated to him by the Holy Ghost, he was enabled to maintain an unspotted purity even to the last; and, having fulfilled the law in its utmost extent, he has “ brought in an everlasting righteousness,” which “ shall be unto all and upon all them that believe."

Besides this, he has a work to do in us. He is exalted to be “head over all things to the church,” in order that he may instruct his people in divine knowledge, and counsel them in their difficulties, and strengthen them in their trials, and maintain in them a superlative regard for God. And how should he effect all this, if he himself did not possess an inexhaustible treasure, out of which he might impart to every needy suppliant? But we need not fear, since we are assured, that in him all fulness dwells, and that out of his fulness we may all receive, even grace for grace.? We may therefore safely glory in him as made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and complete redemption.a]

2. The blessings we may expect at his hands

t Mark iii. 21.
FCol. i. 19.

u Johnji. 17.
2 John i. 16.

* Eph. i. 22, 23.
a i Cor. i. 30.

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[That holy.oil which was poured upon the head of our great High-priest, was to descend to the skirts of his clothing, and to the very meanest of his members. Nor are his people called Christians merely as being followers of him, but also as being partakers of the same divine unction. As soon as he was seated on his throne of glory he poured out his Spirit upon his waiting disciples for the very ends and purposes for which he himself had received it.d Instantly they were filled with a “ wisdom and understanding,” which exceeded that of the greatest philosophers. They were endued with such “ counsel and might,” that none could withstand their words, or shake their resolution. And to such a degree were their hearts filled with the love and fear of God," that all sublunary things were divested both of charms and terrors, and the service of God became, as it were, the very element in which they breathed.

Thus may the most ignorant amongst us have “the eyes of his understanding enlightened” by him: to every one of us will he approve himself a “wonderful counsellor:” he will “ strengthen us with might in our inward man:” he will fill us with a most affectionate and reverential regard for God: he will give us both an exquisite discernment of what is right, and a supreme delight in it: and, in a word, he will “transform us into his own image in righteousness and true holiness.”s However different these gifts may appear, and however unequal the capacities of those who are to receive them, they shall be imparted to all according to their measure of faich; and the Spirit that Jesus will bestow, shall work them all, and in all.k] APPLICATION

[It has been seen that Christ“ ascended up on high or purpose that he might fill all things:" moreover he has assured us that, if we ask for the gift of his Spirit, we shall not ask in vain. Let all then direct their eyes unto him. Let the ignorant, the doubting, the weak, and all who desire to have the divine life begun or perfected in their souls, apply to him. Nor let any rest satisfied with low attainments, since he is both able and willing to enlarge our faculties, to increase our sanctity, and to bring us to the measure of his own perfect stature."]

b Ps. cxxxiii. 2. c 1 John ï. 20, 27. d Acts ii. 33. Gal. v. 22. < Isai. ix. 6. f Col. i. 1-11. 8 Eph. iv. 24. h Matt. xi. 25. Isai. xxxv. 8.

Eph. iv. 7. Matt. ix. 29. ki Cor. xii. 4, 11. 'Eph. iv. 10. m Luke xi. 13.

Eph. iv. 13.

CLXIII.

CHRIST'S INCARNATION AND CHARACTER. Isai. ix. 6. To us a child is born, to 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.

THERE is no true peace or happiness in the world except that which arises from the gospel of Christ; for God himself testifies that there is no peace to the wicked _But where the gospel truly prevails, peace and joy im. mediately spring up as its proper fruits--Such a change as this the prophet describes in the preceding context; and then, in the words before us, traces it to its real source-From the words themselves we shall be led to consider I. The advent of Christ to take the charge of his king

dom Though given to us by God, he came in an obscure and humble form

[He was a little “ child, born” in as helpless a state as others, and subject to all the sinless infirmities of our nature. He was indeed in a more especial manner the gift of the Father's love;& the most invaluable gift that God himself could bestow. He was the Child, and the Son, of whom all the prophets spake, the offspring of a virgin, “Emmanuel, God with us.

.But as the end of his coming was to redeem our fallen race, he came in such a way, as was best suited to the accomplishment of his own eternal purpose and grace-]

Yet, notwithstanding his mean appearance, he came to assume the government of the church

[As the Creator of the universe, He must of necessity have also been the governor of it before his incarnation-But now he came to administer the government as mediator; for all judgment was committed to him, not only as the Son of man, but because he was the Son of man!—The church, in a more especial manner, is subjected to him in this view; and he is the head of it, as well for the purpose of communicating his influence to the members, as of managing its concerns-And so entirely is every thing under his coatrol, that not so much as a hair falls from the head of any of his people without either his express command, or righteous permission-As in the days of his flesh he exercised the most unlimited authority over diseases, devils, and the very elements, so now every thing, whether designedly, or against its will, fulfils his unerring counsels-]

* John iii. 16.

John v. 27.

e Eph. i. 22.

We shall the less wonder at his elevation to a throne, if we consider II. His qualifications for the regal office

His being called by any name, imports that He really is what he is called-He is therefore 1. A wonderful Counsellord

[He, in concert with the Father, formed the stupendous plan of man's redemption, a plan in which are contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge Moreover in executing this plan, he has not only defeated all the plots and devices of Satan, but has invariably overruled them for the accomplishment of his own designs-His people too he endues with “wisdom from above," enabling them to discern things hidden from the carnal eye, and guiding them in the way to heaven, so that a wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err thereinf-Who that has known ever so small a part of his ways, must not exclaim with amazement, How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!-] 2. The mighty God

[Angels and magistrates are sometimes called gods in a subordinate sense; but He is "the Mighty God,” “God with us, even God over all blessed for ever”—The dispensations, both of his providence and grace, manifest him to be a “God, wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working”-Indeed, if he were not God, he never could bear upon his shoulder the government of the universe-He must be omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, or else he never could hear the supplications, and supply the wants, of all his people at the same instant--However strange therefore it may seem, He who was a little child, was at the same time the mighty God; it was “the Lord of glory that was crucified;" it was “God who purchased the church with his own blood.”] 3. The everlasting Father

[This title respects not his relation to the Deity (for with respect to that, he is the Son and not the Father) but rather his relation to his spiritual seed, whom he has begotten by his

These

are by many considered as two distinct titles: but, if we unité them, each title will have its proper attribute.

e Col. ii. 3. év ã, scil. musngiw. f Isai. xxxv. 8. $1.Cor. ii. 8. Acts xx. 28.

word and Spirit-But perhaps the words should rather have bee translated; “ The Father of the everlasting age”_The Jewish dispensation was intended to continue but for a limited time; but the Christian dispensation was never to be succeeded by any other: hence it is called “the last times;” and may be considered as “the everlasting age”-Of this Christ is the author; it owes its existence to him as its parent; it is preserved by his guardian care; and the whole family in heaven. and earth who participate its blessings, both bear his image, and inherit his glory-] 4. The Prince of Peace

[In all which Christ has done, whether in planning or executing the work of redemption, he has consulted the peace and welfare of his people-It was to purchase their peace that he became incarnate and died upon the cross-It was to bestow on them the blessings of peace, that he assumed the reins of government, and undertook to manage all their concerns Peace was the legacy which he left to his church when he was just departing from this world; and, on his ascension, he poured it down like a river on myriads of his blood-thirsty enemies: yea, at this very hour does he dispense it according to his own sovereign will, and impart it, with royal munificence, to all the subjects in his kingdom-]

This subject furnishes us with abundant reason 1. For admiration

[If all heaven was filled with wonder at the sight of their incarnate God, and if the “ Angels yet desire to look into" that “great mystery of godliness,” how marvellous should it appear in our syes!-Let us then adore with reverence what we cannot comprehend; and exclaim with profoundest wonder, * Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift”h-] 2. For gratitude

[Has the mighty God become a little child for us, and shall we regard his condescension with indifference!-Is he governing and overruling every thing for our good, and shall we feel no sense of his kindness? Let us rather say, What shall I render to the Lord for all the benefits he has done unto

me?-]

3. For devotedness to God

[If the government be upon his shoulder, we should shew ourselves willing to have it there, and submit ourselves cheerfully to his authority-In vain shall we regard him as the source and foundation of our peace, unless we yield ourselves to him as the governor of our lives)

to 2 Cor. ix, 15.

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