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SERMON III.

THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH.

[THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT.]

HAGGAI ii. 6-9.

For thus saith the Lord of Hosts : Yet once, it is a little

while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the

sea and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations

shall come : and I will fill this house with glory, saith the .

Lord of Hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of

Hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of

the former, saith the Lord of Hosts; and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts.

This prediction is highly sublime and impressive. Within its short compass the solemn asseveration is five times repeated—“ thus saith the Lord of Hosts And the attention, roused by this solemn call, is fixed on events of the most interesting description. “The heavens and the earth, the sea and

the dry land,” are to be “shaken;" denoting mighty changes and commotions among the nations of the earth. This awful preparation ushers in a Personage, whose title marks his exalted character and offices, “ the desire of all nations.” The Jewish temple, rebuilt after the captivity, but inferior in external decorations, and in various important circumstances, to the former temple, was to be “filled with glory," not with the outward glory of silver and gold, but with the spiritual glory of that exalted Personage who was to take possession of it, and thus to make its “ glory greater than that of the former,” and to give in it the blessing of

peace.”

Well calculated was this prediction to answer the immediate design of its delivery; which was, to rouse the desponding and dejected Jews to proceed with the erection of the temple, the foundations of which had been laid, but the building of which had been for many years suspended. For this edifice, mean as was its appearance in comparison with the magnificence of the other, should be distinguished with the pre-eminent glory of the presence of the Messiah, the desire of all nations.

This prophecy may be thus analysed.

1. The preparations for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ—" Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations.”

II. His character as the “ desire of all nations." “ And the desire of all nations shall come."

III. The splendid and interesting consequences of his coming

1. The glory of God was to be manifested in his temple,—"I will fill this house with glory.”

2. The latter temple was thus to be exalted above the former. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

3. Spiritual peace should be conferred.-“ And in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

This prophecy announces,

I. The preparations for the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. -" Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land ; and I will shake all nations."

These figurative expressions denote the civil commotions which were to precede the coming of the Messiah, styled “ the desire of all nations." The revolutions which change the face of the political world, agitating the nations, raising one to dominion, and sinking another under the yoke of bondage, and desolating the fair scenes of social life, are aptly denoted, in Scripture, by those convulsions of the elements that ravage and lay waste the earth. “ I will shake the heavens and

the earth, and the sea and the dry land--and I will shake all nations.” And these changes are introduced by an expression, which denotes that the dispensation, to which they were to be preparatory, should be a final one. Yet once."

“ This word, yet once more,” saith the Apostle, “ signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, that those things which cannot be shaken, may remain“,” A little while.” The time between the delivery of this prophecy, and the Advent of the Messiah, should be short, compared with the time which had elapsed from the first promise of his coming. And it was likewise “ a little while,” before those commotions commenced which preceded his Advent. “ I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.” That is, as the prediction literally declares, “all nations.” The whole political world was to be shaken. The nations were to be in commotion, as 'the sea when swept by a furious tempest, and stirred up from its lowest depths, by the shaking of a mighty earthquake. On the waves of this convulsed ocean, victory and dominion rolled from one empire to another; from the Assyrians to the Medes and Persians, from the Persians to the Grecians, and from the Grecians to the Romans. The Roman eagle, in its towering flight, looked down on all the nations of the earth, and beheld them tributary. But this mighty empire was "shaken;" civil commotions distracted the Roman empire, until the period when the desire of all nations was to come. Then the Roman eagle laid aside his ferocious spirit; and, during the universal calm which distinguished the reign of Augustus, the Messiah, the halcyon messenger of peace, appeared with spiritual healing under his wings.

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2 Heb. xii. 27.

When the Creator of the world speaks, the earth should tremble. Blackness, and darkness, and tempest, proclaimed his presence on Mount Sinai, and announced, that Jehovah was to promulgate his laws to Israel. And wondrous things, the shaking of the nations, civil changes and revolutions, were to precede the last revelation of his will by Jesus Christ. But Jehovah rode in the whirlwind and directed the storm. The convulsions of the political world, which preceded the coming of Christ, prepared the way for the diffusion of his Gospel.

This was true, as it respected the condition of the Jews. The sceptre had departed from Judah, and a lawgiver from between his feet. Tributary to the Romans, the Jews could not exert the arm of temporal power to crush that kingdom which Christ came to establish; but which, like its founder and head, peaceable and spiritual in its character and object, disappointed their fond hopes of temporal dominion; and therefore excited their deadly enmity and scorn.

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