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eye like that which the worshipping Israelites carefully observed, and gratefully remembered. contemplated in the wilderness of Sinai, and which He is a child born unto us,' that is, for our caused even Moses to exclaim, 'I do exceedingly benefit. He was given to us that he might be fear and quake,' but a glory equally real, and given for us a sacrifice to God of sweet smelling incomparably more effulgent; the concentrated savour. The gift was perfectly free, and is inglory of all the divine perfections, not dimly sha- estimably precious. God had no greater or dowed forth, but clearly and intelligibly mani- better gift to bestow. And he gave it not befested. Let us behold his glory by making it the cause he might not honourably have withheld it, object of our devout contemplation, the theme of but because sinners could not be saved without our study, and our song of praise; and “behold it. Truly “in this was manifested the love of ing, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord,' 'let us God toward us, because that God sent his only seek to be changed into the same image, from begotten Son into the world, that we might live glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the through him;' and · herein is love, not that we Lord.'
loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.'
The humiliating circumstances of the Saviour's
birth must not be overlooked. These were all THIRTEENTH DAY.MORNING. expressive of extreme indigence and lowliest
abasement. His mother was the wife of an * Unto us a child is born, and his name shall be obscure and humble carpenter. His first dwellcalled, The mighty God,' Isa. ix. 6.
ing was a stable, and a manger his bed. Even • Of whom speaketh the prophet this?' There ordinary comforts and accommodations were is only one Being in the universe to whom this denied him. But in the birth of Christ the lowlanguage can with any appearance of truth or liness of assumed humanity was connected with consistency be applied. It is he who was in intimations of essential divinity. A voice from the form of God, and thought it no robbery to heaven declared him to be the Son of the Highbe equal with God, but who took upon him the est. An angel from before the throne descended form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a to announce the event of his birth, and a host of man;' who is at once the Creator and a creature, angels joyfully hailed the announcement with a the everlasting Father and an infant of days; song of celestial melody, proclaiming 'glory to who combines in one mysterious person supreme God in the highest, and peace on earth, gooddignity with the deepest abasement, the majesty will to men.' The inhabitants of Bethlehem of heaven with the meanness of earth, the pe- regarded him not, but eastern sages,
travelling culiar attributes of Deity with the common pro- from a distant land, and guided by a supernatural perties of humanity.
star, hastened to do him homage. The Old Testament saints were enabled to To the eye of sense, indeed, the birth of view the birth of Christ as an event already Christ presented a scene of abject poverty and past. Regarding it in the light of inspiration wretchedness. The child lay in all the helplessIsaiah foresaw its certain approach, and could ness of infancy, needing support, and imploring anticipate the angel's message to the shepherds sympathy. But to the view of an enlightened of Bethlehem: “Fear not; for, behold, I bring faith the stable of Bethlehem exhibited a specyou good tidings of great joy which shall be to tacle of sublime and surpassing interest. In any all people. For unto you is born this day in the circumstances the birth of a child is an event of city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the incalculable importance. It is the production of Lord.' Jesus is said to be the Lamb slain from an immortal spirit, destined to spend an eternity, the foundation of the world; with equal pro- either in the light of God's countenance, or in priety he may be pronounced the child born the misery of outer darkness, where the worm from the foundation of the world. Jewish | dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Who patriarchs and prophets realized the fact of the can tell to what extent he may become the inSaviour's birth, not only as an object of hope, strument of good or of evil! Of unspeakably but a source of joy and thanksgiving. What greater importance is the birth of a prince, the was to them an article of faith, is with us a mat- heir of a throne, the guide and the guardian of a ter of history. We do not anticipate a future, nation's destinies! But how momentous beyond but commemorate a past event, when we say, all comparison, and above all comprehension, • Unto us a child is born.'
must be the birth of Him who is the Prince of The gracious design of Christ's birth should be l all the kings of the earth, and of whom it was predicted, and his name shall be called, The Shield, he will give grace and glory, and will mighty God.'
withhold no good thing from them. This name has been given to him, not by the But as he is theirs, so they are his. If they wisdom of fallible man, but by the word of the may warrantably expect so much from him, how true God; not in obscure and doubtful terms, much is he entitled to demand from them. Ye but in language plain and unequivocal; not in a are not your own; for ye are bought with a few, but in many instances. As his name is, so price: therefore glorify God in your body, and is his character. He proved himself to be the in your spirit, which are God's. "Speak, Lord, mighty God by the words of truth which he for thy servant heareth. As for me and my uttered, and the wonders of power which he per- house, we will serve the Lord.' formed. At his bidding the waves ceased their raging, and devils abandoned their victims. His word gave health to the sick, hearing to the deaf, eyes to the blind, speech to the dumb, feet
THIRTEENTH DAY.-EVENING. to the lame, and life to the dead. A virtue And again, rohen he bringeth in the first-begotwent out from him which produced immediate cures upon all to whom it extended, how distant
ten into the world, he saith, And let all the soever in place, or hopeless in condition. His
angels of God worship him,' Heb. i. 6. omnipotence reached to the souls of men as well | The scriptures afford little information with reas their bodies, and discovered itself in tranquil gard to the angels of God. Yet some interesting lizing the troubled mind, in healing the wounded particulars have been recorded. We read of the spirit, in converting the heart of stone into flesh, angels which kept not their first estate, but left and the principle of enmity into a spirit of their own habitation, and are reserved in everlove.
lasting chains under darkness unto the judgment The believing followers of Christ have learned of the great day. Hence we learn that there are to call him by the name of the mighty God.' fallen angels as well as men. But their apostacy They have seen its inscription written by the was not universal. Those that maintained their finger of God, and shining forth as with the light allegiance are called "holy angels. With respect of a sunbeam on the page of inspiration. To the to their residence we are told that they dwell in evidence of scripture has been added the testi- the more immediate presence of God, before mony of experience. By revealing his Son in whom they offer up the homage of their united them, God has effectually convinced them of his and unceasing devotion. We read of an innumerdeity, and constrained them with Thomas to ex- able company of angels,' all of whom are animated claim, 'My Lord and my God.' They have the with one spirit of reverence, humility, zeal, and witness in themselves, and from what they have gratitude. They "excel in strength, and they felt of his gracious power they know and acknow- exert their strength in fulfilling the pleasure of ledge him to be indeed the mighty God. This their Creator, and in promoting the ends of his conviction is at once strong and unanimous. On government both in providence and grace. Anmany other points they differ in opinion, but gels are God's messengers to declare his will, and with respect to the deity of Christ they are all his ministers to execute it either for mercy or of one mind. They all repose in him an un- judgment. God's church and people derive imlimited confidence, and render to him, supreme portant benefits from their instrumentality; for honour.
' are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to What may they not expect from him who is minister to them which are the heirs of salvation. the mighty God! All things are his in nature, The angel of the Lord encampeth round about providence, and grace. But all that he is and them that fear him, and delivereth them. But has is theirs, for he is not ashamed to be called it is their highest privilege to serve him of whom their God.'
Therefore all things are theirs, the whole family in heaven and earth is named ; whether the world, or life, or death, or things. And when he bringeth in the first-begotten present, or things to come. His infinite resources into the world, he saith, And let all the angels are pledged to supply them with all necessary of God worship him.' good, as well as to support and deliver them It is to the period of our Lord's incarnation from all existing evil. He hath provided for that this emphatic injunction obviously refers. In them a city. And he is preparing them for it, his pre-existent state he had been the object of and will put them in personal and everlasting worship to angels who saw his glory, and acknowpossession of it. He is their Sun, and their ledged his divinity by presenting to him in common
with the Father and the Holy Spirit the expres- | God in the highest.' In the wilderness, which sions of the most profound adoration and fervent had been the scene of his triumph, they attended praise. His mediatorial abasement in taking our him to supply his wants, and congratulate him nature upon him, did not lessen his claim to these on his victory. They stood by him in the garangelic ascriptions, but on the contrary invested den to strengthen him under the weight of his him with a new and most peculiar title to them. mysterious agony. They uncovered his sepulchre Accordingly, he had no sooner made his appear- to open the way for his resurrection ; and they ance upon earth, “in the form of a servant,' and were present at his ascension to comfort his disin fashion as a man,' than a voice, proceeding ciples, and announce to the church the event of from the eternal throne, asserted his supreme his second coming. On these and other occasions, dignity in the command : “And let all the angels during the days of his flesh, the angels of God of God worship him.' By this order the babe discovered their zeal for his glory, and declared lying in the stable at Bethlehem, in circumstances their readiness to do him homage. of apparent meanness and destitution, exposed to But their feelings of devotion are fully exthe contempt of a world which he had made, was pressed in the services of the heavenly temple. notwithstanding declared to be the Lord of angels, There the glories of the Lamb fill every heart and not only worthy of the respect which was with love, and every mouth with praise. All the due to their superior, but entitled to the worship angels of God worship him, 'whether they be which belonged to their Creator.
thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.' For it does not admit of a doubt that the wor- They cover their faces with their wings in the ship required from the angels by this command contemplation of his greatness, and under the is strictly and properly of a religious nature. As consciousness of their own insignificance. It is a the reward of the Saviour's humiliation we are willing, united, and harmonious service which informed that “God hath highly exalted him, and they render to him. No constraint is employed, given him a name which is above every name; that no reluctance felt, no hypocrisy assumed. Their at the name of Jesus 'every knee should bow, of worship has nothing in it of cold indifference or things in heaven, and things in earth, and things empty formality, but is full of ardour and energy, under the earth. And that every tongue should and at the same time pure, perfect and perpetual, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of offered without interruption, and to be continued God the Father.' He claims from angels the wor- without end. ship of adoration, which is expressive of reverence, From the command imposed upon the angels humility, confidence, and gratitude in the highest we learn both the Saviour's dignity and our possible degree. But they are commanded to duty. God is the only proper object of worship, give him also the worship of their submission and and he will not give his glory to another. But service; for it is not the homage of the lips merely when he brought in the first-begotten into the that is required or will be accepted, either from world, he said, “ let all the angels of God worship angels or men, but that of the heart and life. him.' If Christ is adored by all the hosts of We read that 'angels, authorities, and powers were heaven, surely he may be worshipped by the subject to him ;' and he not only rules over them inhabitants of the earth. If he claims the homas subjects, but makes use of them as instruments age of angels, much more. is he entitled to the to fulfil his purposes, and promote the interests worship of men. The law given to them must of his kingdom. The command is most just and be also the rule for us. Their practice should be reasonable that all the angels of God should wor- our pattern. We have a law for ourselves, no ship him. Their worship is due to the perfec- less explicit in its terms, and if possible still more tions of his Godhead ; it is no less due to the peremptory in its demand, for it is the declared honour of his mediatorship. By the angels them- will of God that “all men should honour the Son, selves the command is understood in its most even as they honour the Father.' comprehensive import; they cordially approve "To them that believe he is precious.' In of it, and yield to it a cheerful and perfect obe- their estimation he is infinitely worthy of the dience.
warmest love, and of the highest honour. They During his abode on earth Jesus had to bear cannot, in their present state, equal the purity, the scorn and contempt of men, but he was hon- the fervour, and elevation of angelic worship. oured with the worship of angels. They ex. But they are by grace enabled to offer a tribute pressed their joy at his birth in a song of pious of devotion no less acceptable to Christ than that exultation and thanksgiving, doing honour alike of angels; the offering of a sincere, humble, conto the Son and the Father, by ascribing 'glory to trite and devoted heart. And they have the prospect of being made like unto the angels, with know that thou art a Teacher sent from God;'. whom they shall unite as fellow worshippers in and even the soldiers who had been sent to singing the song of the Lamb, serving him day apprehend him were constrained to acknowand night in his temple, having washed their ledge, “Never man spake like this man.' He robes, and made them white in his blood. “And differed from all other teachers, and was superior I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels to them all, both in the matter and the manner round about the throne, and the beasts, and the of his instructions. As he is the wisest and best elders; and the number of them was ten thou- of teachers, his followers should be the most sand times ten thousand, and thousands of thou- humble and diligent of scholars, looking into the sands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the perfect law of liberty, and continuing therein, Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and not being forgetful hearers, but doers of the riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, word, that they may be blessed in their deed. and glory, and blessing
It was predicted that Christ should be not merely a prophet, but a prophet like unto Moses. Many prophets arose after Moses, but
none of them could be pronounced like unto him. FOURTEENTH DAY.-MORNING.
All that Moses was, and infinitely more, may
be affirmed of Christ. Moses, however, did not * The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a claim equality with the Messiah, but only a
Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, resemblance to him; and the resemblance may like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken,' easily be traced in a variety of important parDeut. xviii. 15.
ticulars. Moses was held in high estimation by the Jew- In Moses the office of prophet was combined ish people. They gloried in being called his with the character of redeemer; he rescued the disciples. Yet they practically disregarded the people of Israel from the yoke of Egyptian optestimony of Moses in rejecting Christ, who ex-pression. Christ redeemed his people from the posed their inconsistency, and said to them, “If curse of the law, from the tyranny of satan, and the ye believed Moses, ye would believe me, for he bondage of corruption. He delivered not their wrote of me. Like all the other scriptures, the bodies only, but their souls, and accomplished for writings of Moses testify of Christ; in particular, them not a temporal but an eternal redemption. we know upon the authority of Stephen, an in- Jesus was like Moses, both a laugicer and a prospired interpreter, that he pointed to the Mes- phet. He put an end to the observances of the ceresiah in these emphatic words, “ The Lord thy monial law which Moses had instituted; but he conGod will raise up unto thee a prophet from the firmed the obligation of the moral law, to which midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; he added some peculiar precepts of his own, and unto him shall ye hearken. This prediction de- illustrated the whole in his perfect example, scribes the Saviour's character, and declares the which possesses the force of a law. Moses acted
the part of a guide to the Israelites in their way A prophet is a person who foretells future to the promised land; so Jesus, the Captain of events. The Jews themselves were one salvation, was made perfect through sufferings, occasion compelled to admit the prophetical that he might bring many sons unto glory. His character of Christ; for, in obvious allusion to this presence attends them like the fiery cloudy prediction of Moses, they said, Of a truth this pillar, both by day and by night. He will guide is that prophet which should come into the them by his counsel, and receive them into his world. The spirit which had been poured out glory. Besides, Moses exercised the authority of upon him above measure was the spirit of pro- a ruler, and Jesus has been anointed King on his phecy. Of the predictions which he uttered holy hill of Zion, and shall reign till he shall some were fulfilled before his ascension, others have put all his enemies under his feet. On received their accomplishment soon afterwards. various occasions Moses acted the part of an inOf those which remain to be accomplished, it tercessor, and either mitigated or averted threatmay be affirmed that heaven and earth shall ening judgments. Jesus, too, made intercession pass away, but his word shall not pass away till for the transgressors by dying for them on earth; all shall be fulfilled.'
and he ever liveth to make intercession for them But he did also the work of a public in- in heaven. In all these points of view Christ structor, which formed an essential part of the was raised up a prophet like unto Moses. prophetical office. Nicodemus could say, “We Yet in these, and in every other respect, he
was a prophet far superior to Moses. As a mercy or of judgment. “Hearken diligently prophet he infinitely surpasses Moses in the dig- unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let nity of his person, in the extent of his power, your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your in the excellencies of his character, in the value ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul of his ministrations, in the permanency of his shall live; and I will make an everlasting coveoffice, in the number and force of his claims. nant with you, even the sure mercies of David.' If therefore the people of Israel were required under the most awful penalties to obey the word of Moses, how much more is it incumbent on us to yield obedience to the voice of Christ? FOURTEENTH DAY.-EVENING. • Unto him shall ye hearken. These words declare
Seeing that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for The sinner's duty. It includes the exercise of
if they escaped not who refused him that spake considerate attention. This is the first step to con
on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we version. A most important point has been gained
turn away from him that speaketh from heawhen the mind of the sinner is awakened to
ven,' Heb. xii. 25. serious concern about salvation, so as to make it We have here an admonition, and an argument, the subject of earnest and prayerful inquiry. both of which, by alarming our fears, combine The gospel demands, and will bear the most to enforce a most important duty. But in order minute and scrutinizing investigation. It speaks to understand the meaning of the admonition, and to the understanding and the judgment, as well feel the force of the argument, it is necessary that as to the conscience and the heart, and says, we should be made acquainted with the charac• Whoso hath ears to hear, let him hear.' It is ter of the Speaker, and also with the subject of the sinner's duty to hearken by
his address. Believing the word of Christ; for this,' says
The character of the Speaker possesses the he, “is the work of God, that ye believe in him highest claim to our attention. He is invested with whom he hath sent. And the faith which he supreme authority over us, and has an unquesrequires is not a mere act of the understanding, tionable right to dictate to us in all matters both of but a principle of the heart, consisting in the faith and practice. It is his sovereign prerogative exercise of a simple and affectionate confidence, to deal with us, and with every thing that belongs working by love, and enforcing obedience. They to us, and every thing that concerns us, according that know his name put their trust in him, and to his sovereign pleasure. Besides he is a Being of whilst they believe all his doctrines to be true, perfect veracity. His word may be implicitly dethey esteem his precepts concerning all things to pended on, 'for he is not a man that he should lie.' be right. To hearken expresses-
When he speaks, it is with the voice of truth Submission to the authority of Christ: the and wisdom. Nothing, therefore, which proceeds submission of the will to the guidance of his from him can be either erroneous and hurtful, or word, of the heart to the influence of his love, even trifling and unprofitable. For he unites and of the life to the demands of his law, and of infallible wisdom with infinite love. He has the the circumstances to the disposal of his provi- best interests of those whom he speaks to deeply dence. He demands an affectionate and unre- at heart. His design is to make them happy; and served submission; and he is entitled to it both he points out a way that will ensure their hapas a testimony of respect to his authority, and piness both in time and for eternity. And he an expression of gratitude for his redeeming can give full effect to every word he utters, by a grace. All who live by him, he disposes to live power to which all things are possible. He to him and for him. His love to them is speaks, and it is done ; he commands, and it evinced by their devotedness to him. They stands fast. In him all the promises of God are daily kneel at his footstool, and inquire, · Lord, yea and amen ; for he is both faithful and able to what wilt thou have me to do?'
perform. But his holiness constitutes the chief To us the word of his salvation has been sent. glory of his character. In him is no sin. He It is his voice that speaks to us in every part of cannot look upon sin. And there is no sin so it, and we are called on by every consideration heinous and so offensive in his sight as the sin of of interest and duty to hearken to it with a refusing him that speaketh from heaven; it teachable, obedient, and prayerful attention, is a sin which he has expressed his determination whether it addresses us in the language of doc- to punish “ with everlasting destruction, from the trine or precept, of promise or threatening, of presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his