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SERM. it goes upon its departure; we can only

know, some from tradition, and some from ocular proof, that mysterious and uncommon as such an appearance may be, it does sometimes happen. God forbid I should compare the stupendous mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God with any trivial event; but it may not be amiss to shew, that above us, even in the visible operations of nature, many things seem to be passing, quite inexplicable and inscrutable to us in the present state of our faculties, and that therefore, though the mystery be great, that God should ever be manifest in the flesh; much greater would the mystery be if God, who made all flesh, could not, for any ends of his Providence, assume our nature, and appear among us.

And upon what occasion is it that we Christians are taught to believe that God was manifest in the flesh ? Let a Prophet answer; for where shall we find words more appropriate ?

66 To bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows ; to be wound

; ed for our transgressions, to be bruised for our iniquities ; to take upon him the chas




tisement of our peace," that through bis SËRM.

stripes we might be healed.You must all be acquainted with this interesting description of our Saviour's mission. But let us examine it a little more minutely: The griefs and sorrows, wounds and stripes, above enumerated, have a two-fold meaning : First, a literal and true one; for our Lord, as you all know, did endure much affliction in the great work of our redeinption. Merciful and beneficent as his coming was, yet how ungratefully was he received ! He came to bis own, and bis own received - him not ;" he came to bring nothing but

good tidings of great joy,” and yet he was condemned as a malefactor, and ignominiously nailed to the cross. But there was a further end in these bitter mockings and cruel scourgings; he came, we are told, tomake expiation for the sins of the whole

world;" to reconcile fallen man to his merciful and gracious Maker; to avert the anger of an offended Deity, from those unable, through the weakness of their nature, to abide its force, and to take it upon himself; even to die for our sins," and



SERM. " give himself a ransom for all." It was, XX. therefore, the wages due to sin that he

came to receive on our account, and he received them to the full. Besides the cruel and disgraceful termination of his precious life,“ never was any sorrow like to bis sor

row, wherewith the Lord afflicted him in bis fierce anger." The account of his arrest, trial, condemnation, and crucifixion, as it stands in the writings of the Evangelists, is such a history of unprovoked insult, cruel malice, and unjust judgment, as never before or since appeared upon re'cord. But in all this, nevertheless, God's mercy was prominent and conspicuous; through the gate and grave of death, terrible as it was rendered by the malice of his persecutors, he was all the while opening to us the gates of everlasting life. By his stripes we were healed; for though, indeed, he descended to the grave under the weight of

every insult and oppression that could be laid upon hin, yet he “ rose

again" afterwards " for our justification," ascended into heaven, and now sitteth on the right hand of God, our advocate and

mediator !


If we

mediator! Now was not this an occasion SERM, on which, if ever, we might naturally XX. expect, from the acknowledged goodness and loving kindness of God, that he might condescend to become manifest in the flesh? It inatters not so much what we are here, as what we may become in a higher state of existence. Here the very best of us are poor and weak, and, in every sense of the term, miserable sinners. were naturally incapable of ever being exalted to a higher state, then indeed God might possibly leave us to take our chance with the beasts that perish; but reason and revelation both concur to give us far different hopes. We are taught to believe that, one time or other, we shall be translated to another world, where we shall be admitted, as the Apostle to the Hebrews expresses it, not only to the company of “ innumerable angels,and of “ the spirits

of just men made perfect," but to the very presence of

of “ Jesus, the mediator of the new Covenant,and of “ God the judge of « all.Now, if such are the hopes we may reasonably indulge, then we need no





SERM. longer wonder at any method God should

please to adopt to bring us to himself, as to the mere possibility of the thing. As sinners, great indeed seems the mystery that God should condescend so far as to take our vile nature upon him, but as capable of redemption, of being justified tlırough Christ, of being made heirs with him, “ according to the hope of eternal life,then the case is altered, and we know not how far it may have been consistent with the attributes of Almighty God to have condescended, in order to accomplish our rescue and redemption. Though humility grace

which no true Christian would ever seek to lay aside, yet perhaps it may sometimes be allowable to take such a view of our nature as the above, and, without forgetting whereof we are made, to contemplate the great hope of our calling, with such exultation as is just and reasonable ; for thus, perhaps, may we be the easier brought to comprehend somewhat of that great and stupendous mystery, " God manifest in the flesh.That he should come to save sinners is a mystery of

is a



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