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know not what will. Well might St. Paul tell the Corinthians, whose past sins he mentions, and those none of the least, that they were “ washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus ;" for he knew a good reason for what he said, and could have told them, as he did the elders of the church of Ephesus, that the blood wherewith they were “ purchased was the blood of God;" Acts, xx. 28. When, therefore, we have the grace given us to fly to Christ as a refuge in the day of our distress for sin, you see what cause we have to discharge all our fears, and what ground to rest our souls upon, in that name by which he is here called, and is from everlasting, “the Mighty God:” for we cannot doubt but that his blood is sufficient to purge the most defiled conscience, and wash out the deepest stains of the foulest heart.
When the prophet had thus revealed the Child that was born, the Son that is given unto us, under his highest name and character of Mighty God, we may suppose he might well have stopped; but as he was directed to add two others, we may be sure it was not in vain ; and that we shall find farther instruction in his fourth name of
Everlasting Father.” But is he not always in Scripture called the Son, as the second person in the Godhead, in distinction from the Father? How comes it to pass, then, that he is here called by a name which does not seem of right to belong to him, viz. “ the Everlasting Father ?” Why, not in respect of his Godhead, or his place and order in it, but on account of the relation he bears to us in his human nature ; and it is worth our while to understand the meaning of this name, and why he is here called by it. We know, by woful experience whose children we are by nature; that we die for the sin of our first parent; are born heirs of his corruption, and
liable to etetnal death; as the root is, so are the branches, so is the fruit, in the course and order of nature. When Adam had brought a curse upon his soul and body by sin, there was a necessity for its being derived to all that sprung from him. When he had lost his true life, the image of God in his soul, he had none to transmit to his posterity ; neither can we, by any acts or endeavours of our own, restore it to ourselves, or recover our forfeited inheritance: for this knowledge of ourselves we are beholden to Scripture, and a melancholy account of our condition it is; but, God be thanked, it is not desperate ; we learn from thence what we are by one father, let us now see what we may be by another.
Christ says, speaking of himself according to the expression in the text, “ Behold, I and the children which God hath given me,” Heb. ii. 13. He, then, is the new Father of his people, and stands to them exactly in the same relation for life that Adam did for death. We are clearly told, that as in one all died, so in the other all shall be made alive; 1 Cor. xv. 22. And his name of “ Everlasting Father" will help us to conceive the manner how this is done. By being grafted into Christ, the true vine, we, as his branches, are of the same condition with the root and stock, live and bear fruit in him. John, xv. “ We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." He takes us into the closest union with himself; and when we are so “ joined to the Lord,” in faith, as to be “one Spirit with him," 1 Cor. vi. 17, our descent is no longer to be reckoned from the first Adam, the author of sin and death, but from Christ, the second Father of us all, in respect of righteousness and life. The prophet says,
“the Everlasting Father;" for so he was in the eternal grant and decree of God before the first man was made; “ according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world
began,” 2 Tim. i. 9: and in whom we are begotten again to a lively hope by his resurrection from the dead." 1 Pet. i. 3. You see, therefore, what a precious mystery is contained in his name of " Everlasting Father,” and how it is to be unfolded. There is one more name still remaining to be well considered by us; for that he who is called “ Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father,” is also,
5. “ The Prince of Peace.” The Prince of Peace in his eternal nature of God; the messenger of God's peace to a world of rebels and enemies, and the purchase of it with his blood, moving the heart to seek after it, and sealing it to the conscience by his Spirit ; creating a disposition to concord, and universal good-will to men, in every soul where he dwells, from a sense of peace with God, and reigning over obedient subjects, and lovers of peace, when it was a stranger upon earth; and men, by being enemies to God, were at enmity amongst themselves,“ living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” He, by the appointment and will of God, took upon himself the office of peace-maker; and when he came down from heaven to put his hand to the work, he was ushered into the world by the multitude of the heavenly host, with the song of praise exactly suited to the great design of his coming, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men.” Through him God was reconciled to men, and men to God, and to one another. And when he might have come to judge the world, and execute God's vengeance upon it for sin, he came peaceably; yea, as the Prince of Peace, loaded, as I may say, with blessings from above, with the offer of heaven in his hand, and the offer of his help to prepare us for it, and conduct us happily thither. Mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, first met together and kissed each other in his person, and then they could join together in a league of friendship on our behalf, who had before set them at variance, and divided them as far asunder as the east is from the west.
You know, my brethren, how Christ wrought our peace, and what it cost him : that he offered his soul and body to the stroke of heaven's justice, that we might never feel the dreadful severity of it in our own persons. You know he took up our sins, and took them away, by
nailing them to his cross, so making peace.” If you are Christians, by Christian belief and instruction from the Bible, you know that as we were enemies to God by wicked works, he would always have been an enemy to us, and we must have lain for ever under the sentence and curse of the law, if Christ had not been made a curse for us, and established our peace upon sure grounds by the righteousness of his life, and the sufferings of his death. You are told from the mouth of God, and are hearing continually from this place, that “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins ;” and that, “ being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And would to God you were rooted and grounded in this peace, valuing it as the treasure of your souls, and all walking with God as dear children in the comfort of it! For I would begin my exhortation from this name, though it is the last
1. Christ offers himself to be known by you under his character of “ Prince of Peace.” He does not want a name of honour, or an empty title for himself; he would be known to you in the power of it. For his names are all life and power; and he calls upon, and invites you this day to receive and rejoice in the grace and mercy of his peace. Know your want of it; value it, pray for it, hold .
, it fast as your title to the joys of heaven. Do not think to make amends for a broken law, or patch up a deceitful
peace with God, by any works or doings of your own. They are necessary in their time and place; and when you are “ God's workmanship, created to them in Christ Jesus,” he will make them good works, and know how to reward them : but your first great work is to seek after his peace, knowing that you are undone without it; and to pray for it as a gift from him, which you have not the least shadow of a right or title to in yourselves. If you know not this; if you are not grounded in this faith, and do not pray for God's peace in Christ as for your lives, deceive yourselves no longer. You are not in the way of life. You are not Christians. A smooth, civil life, if it was much better than it is, and with a form of religion added to it, does not make you so. Christ's peace you want, and his peace you must have, or have no peace for ever. It must be all in all to you, gladly received, and welcome to your hearts, as a pardon to one under a sentence of death. Sense of your want of it, and cordial, joyful acceptance of it, is the very thing which proves you believers, and out of the reach of condemnation. It must be the beginning and end of all you do; and if this foundation is not laid in you, whatever else you do, you are building upon the sand, and great will be your disappointment in a day of trial. O Jesus! thou Prince of Peace! glorious is thy name for lost sinners. Have mercy on us, and apply it to our hearts, in all the virtue, strength, and comfort of it.
2. Again, what is Christ to you in his other names ? and, if I may be allowed the expression, what use do you
, put him to? He is wonderful in himself, and in all he did and suffered ; but do you desire and trust to find him so to you? Working the great miracle of your conversion, freeing you from the guilt and bondage of sin, giving you new wills to fear, to love, to praise God, and