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NEW EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE,
FOR JANUARY 1815.
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
In selecting a subject which them personally, as revelation is should furnish a suitable introduc- silent upon the subject, it is useless tion to the present undertaking, to conjecture; but we have abunwe have been relieved from the dant evidence that to Enoch, the difficulties that usually attend every seventh in descent from Adam, adpreliminary address, by two ob- ditional manifestations were given; vious considerations. One is the for he who could prophesy so annual return of that particular clearly of the second coming of season, when the christian world, Christ, with ten thousand of his in general, have agreed to com-saints, to raise the dead and judge memorate THE BIRTH of the il- the world, must have been well lustrious founder of their religion: informed of his previous appearthe other, and certainly the more ance to effect the great work of important reason is, that the event man's redemption, and put away itself lies at the foundation of the sin by the sacrifice of himself. new and evangelical economy. Gen. v. 21—-24. Jude 14, 15. But When the evangelist Mark under- to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, took to commit to writing, for the and Jacob, still larger accessions benefit of all succeeding ages, the of divine light were afforded, and life of the blessed Saviour, he com- even these were gradually augmenced his delightful theme with mented, by the ministry of Moses, these words, “The beginning of the Psalms of David, and especially the gospel of Jesus Christ, the by the predictions of the prophets, Son of God." Let this be ad- those holy men of God, wlio mitted as our apology for entreat- spake as they were moved by the ing the candid attention of our Holy Spirit,” and whose great obreaders to a few reflections on this ject, in all their writings was, “to grand and interesting occurrence. testify beforehand the sufferings of
1. An intimation of the Saviour's Christ and the glory that should birth, though comparatively an ob- follow.” Thus the light of revescure one, was given to our first lation bore a striking resemblance. parents, soon after their defection to what takes place in the natural from a state of innocence, in the world, when from the first dawn divine promise that “the seed of of twilight, the heavenly luminary the woman should bruise the ser- sends forth his cheering beams pent's head." Gen. iii. 15. What with increasing lustre, and“shineth further discoveries of the designs more and more unto the perfect of eternal mercy were made to day,” But,
2. When “ the fulness of time" | thy holy city, to finish transgreshad arrived, “God sent forth his sion, to make an end of sins, and Son." Gal. iv. 4, 5.
to make reconciliation for iniquity, “ He spake, and bade four thousand years
and to bring in everlasting righteRoll on: at length his Son appears;
ousness-then shall Messiah be cut Angels with joy descend to earth, off, but not for himself.” Dan. ix. And sing the great Redeemer's birth.”
24-26. To this period of time, Now the promises of eternal mercy, were the views, the hopes, the which the blessed God had from anxious expectations of the people time to time been graciously pleas- of God under the former dispensaed to communicate, and the various tion uniformly directed; and if we predictions of the prophets, all be consider its importance, we shall gan to receive their accomplish- not wonder that the breathing of ment. In particular, it had been their souls should be, “Oh that promised to Abraham that in his the salvation of Israel were come seed all nations of the earth should out of Zion!" Psal. xiv. 7. But be blessed. Gen. xxii. 18. This the promise was at length accomthe father of the faithful under- plished, and stood as a promise of the Messiah, 3. All the heavenly host particiwho was to descend from his loins, pated in the joyful event. No and he was consequently led to sooner had the virgin brought forth look forwards with eager expecta- the holy child Jesus, at Bethlehem, tion to the day of Christ's appear-than an angel of the Lord appeared
Gal. iii. 16. John viii. 56. to the shepherds as they watched Isaiah had foretold that “ A virgin their flocks by night, and anshould conceive and bear a son, nounced the good news of the Sawhose name should be called Im- viour's birth. “ Behold I bring manuel,” ch. vii. 14. and, rapt in you glad tidings of great joy, vision into distant times, he antici- which shall be to all people; for pates the actual accomplishment unto you is born this day in the of the prediction, representing him- city of David, a Saviour, which is self as a spectator of the wonderful Christ the Lord. And suddenly event. Unto us a child is born, there was with the angel a multiunto us a son is given; and the lude of the heavenly host praising government shall be upon his God.” Luke ü. 6-13. These shoulder, and his name shall be ministering servants of the Most called Wonderful, Counsellor, the High, who wait around his throne, Mighty God, the Everlasting Fa- ever ready to do his will, had been ther, the Prince of Peace.” ch. ix. 6. spectators of his divine operations yet this astonishing language was when he called the universe into used more than seven hundred existence; they then contemplated years before the prophecy was ful- with sacred delight the successive filled. But, not to enlarge on so displays of his power, and wisdom, copious a subject, it may be re- and goodness in the creation of marked that the prophet Daniel the heavens and the earth; the seems to have nearly consummated sun, moon, and stars; the various the knowledge of the Old Testa- tribes of living creatures with which ment saints on this point, when he this lower world was peopled; and announced both the exact time of lastly, in that masterpiece of the Messiah's appearance, and the way divine architecture, the formation in which he should bring redemp- of man-man the image and glory tion to his people Israel. "Seventy of God—the sovereign of this (prophetical) weeks,” or four hun-lower world--and the representadred and ninety years,
are deter- tive of Deity over the other creauurned upon thy people, and upon tures; they were witnesses of all
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. this, and, as the Almighty himself came poor, that we through his informed his servant Job, “the poverty might be made rich.” morning stars sang together, and 2 Cor. viii. 9. How unspeakable all the sons of God shouted for was his condescension and grace! joy.” Job xxxvii. 7. But a new “The children being partakers of theatre was now opened on which flesh and blood, he also himself they were called to contemplate likewise took part of the same,” the character of the blessed God, that he might die for their sins and in a light in which they had never redeem them from eternal misery. before beheld it. They were to Heb. ii. 14. It was for this that survey his glory, not merely in the “God was manifest in the flesh.” works of creation and providence, 1 Tim. iii. 16. that “the image of but in the accomplishment of the the invisible God,” became a man great work of man's redemption; of sorrows and acquainted with and, therefore, on beholding the grief-was persecuted, afflicted, very first step of the wonderous and, at length, by the hands of plan, when they saw the Saviour, wicked men, crucified and slainthough only a babe lying in the his holy soul made a sin-offering manger at Bethlehem, destitute of for us, though he personally knew all earthly pomp and grandeur, no sin, in order that a way might they brake out into the most en- be opened for the exercise of raptured strains of triumph, and mercy and forgiveness to guilty chaunted the celestial anthem, mortals, consistently with the “Glory to God in the highest, claims of eternal justice, the hoand on earth peace, good will to nour of the divine law, and all the men.” Luke ii. 14. Yet these attributes of Deity. Of praise, blessed spirits are not personally to the Majesty of heaven, for the interested, as we are, in the riches salvation which, in his pity, he of redeeming grace!
provided for us without our cost 4. The birth of Christ affords or charge; and, for his faithfulness to the human race a perpetual in accomplishing what he had in theme of wonder, gratitude, and mercy promised. How favoured praise. Of wonder, that rebellious is our lot! The things which man should be the object of spe- prophets and kings desired to see, cial grace and favour, while re- yet of which they died without bellious angels were passed by, the sight, it is our high privilege and left in a state of helpless to behold the accomplishment. despair, shut up to the blackness Luke x. 24. The day-spring from of darkness for ever; being re- on high hath visited our benighted served in everlasting chains to the world, to give light to us who sat judgment of the great day. Matt. in darkness, and in the shadow of xxv. 41. Jude, ver. 6. Not such death, and to guide our feet into is the case with man; for God the ways of peace. Luke i. 78. hath not appointed us to wrath, We are no longer called to wait for but “ he has so loved the world as the coming of the Messiah, or to give his only begotten Son, that pray for the fulfilment of the divine whosoever believeth in him, should predictions concerning his mission; not perish, but have everlasting eternal truth hath ratified what eterlife; for God sent not his Sonnal mercy promised, and has thereby into the world to condemn the raised a perpetual revenue of praise world, but that the world through from all the heirs of salvationhim might be saved.” John iii. For now, no more shall Israel wait, 16, 17. Of gratitude, to the a- No more the Gentiles lie forlorn; dorable Redeemer, who, “though Lo! the desire of nations comes,
BEBOLD! THE PROMISED SEED IS BORX he was rich, yet for our sakes be