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God with us, Isa. vii. 14.; and that divine Child which was born, and that Son which was given to us, (at the time before described,) is the mighty God, and the everlasting Father, as well as the Prince of Peace, Isa. ix. 6. He is that God, whose throne is for ever and ever, Psalm xlv. 6.; and though a man, yet such a man as is also God's own fellow, Zech. xiii. 7. Now, if we consider his descent, with respect to his divine person, it must necessarily be, that though he be God the Father's Son, and begotten by him, Psalm ii. 7. yet “his going forth must have beeu from of old, from everlasting.” And it is accordingly true, that the Lord
possessed him in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. He was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was." Being thus necessarily stopt from looking any further than to eternity, and to Him that inhabits eternity, in considering the original of his divine person, ceed to take notice, that, in his human nature, he descended from the loins of Abraham, Gen. xii. 3. ; of Isaac, Gen. xxvi. 4.; and of Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 14.; from the tribe of Judah, Gen. xlix. 10.; and from the royal family of David, Psalm lxxxix. 35, 36.; and that, in a way surprisingly different from any ordinary human generation, “a virgin conceived and brought forth this Son, whose name is Emmanuel ;” and “ this new thing did God create in the earth, that a woman hath compassed a man,” Jer. xxxi. 22.
The place where our blessed Saviour was born, was Bethlehem Ephratah. This town, though but little
among the thousands of Judah, was honoured
with being the place out of which he came forth who is the Supreme Ruler in Israel, Micah v. 2. Here he was born : but this was not the place of his chief and principal residence; that was Galilee of the nations. “ This people, who had walked in darkness, saw this great light among them : even upon them who had dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, hath this light shined,” Isa. ix. 1, 2.
The circumstances of his appearing in the world were low, mean, and abased; very different from the expectations men had entertained of the Messiah; and therefore “ he was despised and rejected of men; they hid their faces from him; he was despised, and they esteemed him not,” Isa. liii. 3. Nay, many were astonished at him, “his visage was so marred, more than any man ; and his form more than the sons of men,” Isa. lii. - 14. So far was his appearance from that glory and majesty, that pomp and splendour, which was expected in the Messiah, that he was considered as a worm and no man; a reproach of men ; and despised of the people," Psalm xxii. 6. Even the priests and rulers themselves, who should have been the builders of the Jewish church, 6 refused this stone, which is become the head of the corner," Psalm cxviii. 22. And the reason of this was, that they saw no form nor comeliness, no riches nor honour, no magnificence nor beauty in him, that they should desire him, Isa. liii. 2.
The characters in which he appeared in the world were those of a Prophet, Priest, and King: to each of which it is proper to speak something particularly
The Lord our God did, in the person of our blessed Saviour, raise up unto his people a Prophet, like unto Moses, the greatest and most eminent prophet of the Jewish church : “ he puts his words into his mouth, that he might speak unto them whatsoever he commanded him;" and held bis people under the strongest. injunction upon their peril, “to bearken to the words which this prophet should speak in his name,” Deut. xviii. 18, 19. And as our Lord Jesus Christ was destined by God the Father unto the prophetical office, he cheerfully undertook it. “ Lo, I come (says he): in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart," Psalm xl 7, 8. And as he cheerfully un. dertook, so he diligently and faithfully discharged, this sacred and important trust. He, as a derful Counsellor,” Isa. ix. 6., preached constantly to the people, and made known the whole mind and will of God to them; and could make this appeal to bis heavenly Father, “ I have preached righteousness in the great congregation. Lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation. I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation,” Psalm xl. 9. He constantly preached among the people the blessed and joyful news of a glorious salvation from their sin, guilt, danger, and misery.
“ The Spirit of the Lord God was upon him, because the Lord had anointed him to preach good tidings unto the meek ; he sent him to bind up the broken-hearted; to pro
claim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, and to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," Isa. Ixi. 1-3. He exercised most tender compassion to dark, doubting, and tempted souls. 66 The bruised reed did he not break; and the smoking flax did he not quench, until he brought forth judgment unto truth,” Isa. xlii. 3. :“ He strengthened the weak hands; and confirmed the feeble knees; and said unto them of a faint heart, Be strong, fear not.”. Isa. xxxv. 3. He warned the careless and secure sinners of their misery and danger; and “proclaimed unto them the day of vengeance of our God," Isa. Ixi. 2. He warned them to be 5 wise, to serve the Lord with fear; and to kiss the Son, lest he should be angry, and they perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little," Psalm ii. 10–12. He made the pathway of salvation plain before the eyes of all those who believe in him, like a “ highway, where the wayfaring men, though fools, could not err,”. Isa. xxxv. 8. He considered his people as his flock; and took care of them, as a most watchful and careful shepherd. “He fed his flock like a shepherd; he gathered his lambs with his arm; he carried them in his bosom, and gently led those that were with young," Isa. xl. 11.
I next proceed to give you a view of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the great High Priest of our profession. As such, he undertook to make an atone.
ment and expiation for our sins. “He bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. God laid upon him the iniquity of us all ; and he made his soul an offering for our sins," Isa. liü. 4, 5, 6, 10. Thus “ he finished the transgression, made an end of sin ; and made reconciliation for iniquity,” Dan. ix. 24. He likewise wrought out a perfect righteousness for sinners, whereby they should be justified before God, and accepted of him. “God raised up this righteous Branch unto David, in whose day Judah is saved, and Israel dwells safely; and this is the name whereby he is called, The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS," Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. He is “one who speaks in righteousness, mighty to save,” Isa. Ixiii. 1. For “ he has brought in everlasting righteousness," Dan. ix. 24. As a Priest likewise, he brings us into a covenant-relation to God. He is “ the Messenger, or Angel, of the covenant," Mal. iii. ). The Lord, in an accepted time, heard him; and in a day of salvation has helped him, has preserved him, and given him for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth,” Isa. xlix. 8. the blood of his covenant, God has sent forth his prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water;" and God has promised that “ he will keep his mercy for him for evermore; and that his covenant shall stand fast with him,” Psal. lxxxix. 28. Thus the counsel of peace was between God the Father and him. In a word, as our Priest, he is “our Advocate with the Father, and makes intercession for transgressors,” Isa, liii. 2. Thus we see, that according to God's