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order that they may overcome. For thus our prophet goes on; “ And I will cut off the chariot from
Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the “ battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak
peace unto the Heathen." Could a plainer declaration have been made, that the conquests of Messialı were not to be of a secular nature; that his kingdom was not of this world ? “If my kingdom were of “ this world,” saith he himself, “ then would my
servants fight?." But, lo, he taketh from them the weapons of war. Was there a shield or sword seen among the thousands of the Israel of God? No shield, but that of faith; no sword, but that of the Spirit. Like their great Leader, they encountered their adversaries with patience, and overcame by suffering. So far was the advent of Christ from carrying with it any appearance of war, that the nations at the time lay hushed in the tranquillity of an universal peace. “He spake peace to the Heathen,” as well as to his own people the Jews. The waves of this troublesome world ceased to toss themselves, and a delightful calm seemed to forebode the approach of those halcyon days, when the Prince of Peace should make his abode amongst us; like the stillness of that hallowed night, on which the angelic choir descended, to sing
“Peace on earth;" peace with God, by the pardon of sin; peace with ourselves, by the answer of a clear consience ; peace with one another, by mutual charity. O divine peace, how lovely and how pleasant dost thou appear ! How happy and
9 John, xviii. 36.
heavenly is the kingdom of Messiah, where thou art to be found! Who would not wish to see, who would not labour to promote, the full accomplishment of the last clause of the prophecy we have been considering, in the extension of this kingdom and dominion of Christ from sea to sea, and from the river to the “ends of the earth;" that so all the nations of the world might remember themselves, and turn to the Lord Jesus, as many did at the first preaching of his Gospel! And let the daughter of Zion lead the way, restored to her pre-eminence among the churches. We will not envy her the honour, as she formerly envied us Gentiles, but rather rejoice and shout with her, in the day when she shall be led to acknowledge her King; the King of Righteousness, Salvation, and Peace; the once lowly, but now highly exalted, Jesus of Nazareth ; who, as at this time, came to visit us in great humility, and shall come again, at the appointed hour, to judge the world; when we shall behold him, glorious as Jerusalem herself can wish, riding upon the heavens in power and majesty unutterable, amidst the acclamations of saints and angels.
THE KING OF GLORY.
Behold, he cometh with clouds ; and every eye shall
see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
It is the peculiar supputation of the Christian church, as a pious writer well observes, to begin the year, and to commence the annual course of her services, at this time of Advent, herein differing from all other accounts of time whatsoever. The reason of which seems plainly to be this, because in the numbering her days and measuring her seasons, she does not so much regard the sun in the firmament, as the great Sun of Righteousness, her Lord and Saviour who is in heaven. She considers herself as “re“ deemed from the earth;" and therefore no longer confined to calculations of the world, or obliged to direct herself by the courses of the material luminaries. It is her employment to make known to her children the time of salvation, called in Scripture,
" the year of the redeemed;" and this year was introduced by the everlasting day-spring from
on high visiting her; whereby she became, what the Spirit styles her, in the Revelation, "a city that has “ no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine “ in it, for the Lord God and the Lamb are the light " and glory thereof.”
The lessons and services, therefore, for the first four Sundays in her liturgical year, propose to our meditations the twofold advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching us that it was he who was to come, and did come, to redeem the world ; and that it is he, also, who shall come again to be our judge. These two advents involve in them, and comprehend between them, the whole counsel of God for the redemption of mankind, by the coming of Christ in the flesh, with the final issue of that counsel in respect of each individual, to be manifested at his coming to judgement
The end proposed by the church, in setting these two appearances of Christ together before us at this time, is to beget in our minds proper dispositions to celebrate the one, and expect the other ; that so, with joy and thankfulness, we may now " Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, " which the Lord hath made known unto us,' the Son of God come to visit us in great humility! and thence, with faith unfeigned, and hope immoveable, ascend in heart and mind to meet the same Son of God in the air, coming in glorious majesty, to judge the quick and dead.
And certainly, if any thing can lead men to repentance, and turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of that Just One, the wisdom which maketh
wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, it inust be the united considerations of his mercy and his justice : bis infinite mercy during the day of grace, when all sins, that can be repented of, are forgiven unto men; bis inexorable justice at the day of retribution, when he shall infallibly render unto every man according as his work shall be. And perhaps there is no better method of stirring up our wills to procure an interest, or of discovering the interest we already possess, in the love of Christ, than by viewing in their proper colours the terrors of his judgement, as they will show themselves to the astonished world at that awful hour of his second advent; when the mask put upon false principles and evil actions shall drop off, and all things be estimated by the measures of Christianity, and the standard of the Gospel of Jesus.
The words of the divine and well-beloved John now read, are, it is presumed, not improper for this purpose, as they evidently fall in with the design of our church at this season, and speak the same language with her Advent services" Behold, he com“eth with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they “ also which pierced him ; and all the kindreds of the “ earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." In these words we may observe, I. Christ's advent to judgement, with the
manner of it: “Behold, he cometh with
" clouds." II. The circumstance of the world's beholding him, and the effect it shall produce : “ Every
eye shall see him, and they also which