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to the troubled spirit-peace to the world, by that Gospel which is the Gospel of peace and salvation-and everlasting peace to his redeemed, in his eternal and glorious kingdom.

My brethren, the Messiah, whose glory was manifested in the temple at Jerusalem--the Prince of peace, who there commenced his reign of grace and mercy, was not only “ the hope of Israel,” but “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and for salvation to the ends of the earth.” Subject to error and to sin, to sorrow and death, they desired him as their guide, their saviour, their everlasting comforter and deliverer. In all these respects we need him; and shall we not desire him? Subject, also to error and sin, to sorrow and to death, to whom shall we go, but to this “ word made flesh, dwelling among us, manifesting his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of

and truth". Let him now, then, be the desire of our souls. Let us, in his word and in his ordinances, by penitence and faith, seek him as our only guide, sanctifier, saviour, and comforter; and we shall find that he will be the rest and the refuge of our souls-our rest, under the agitations of sin and sorrow-our refuge, in the hour of death and the day of judgment.. Before the first coming of the Son of Man, the Lord shook the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. But what were the commotions which then agitated the nations, compared with that shaking which shall dissolve the heavens, which shall melt the elements, which shall rend asunder the earth, which shall reach the domains of the grave, and raise the dead; which shall bring you and me, my brethren, to the bar of judgment! Who can then be our refuge, but he who should be our desire ; for he is now our compassionate Redeemer, but will then be our Judge. SERMON IV.

grace

· John i. 14.

THE TIDINGS TO ZION.

(FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT.)

ISAIAH xl. 9.

O thou that tellest glad tidings to Zion, get thee up into the

high mountain : 0 thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid : say unto the cities of JudahBehold your God.

The Church, through the season of Advent, presents to us the sublime strains of the prophet Isaiah. In no other prophet, indeed, could she find sentiments that so fully accorded with the object of her services at this holy season—the celebration of the incarnation of the Son of God of the good tidings, that “ unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given

The chapter immediately preceding that from which my text is taken, contains a prediction of the captivity of the royal family, and people of Judah, by the kings of Babylon. In the verses

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a Isaiah ix. 6.

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which precede my text, the holy Prophet, at the command of God, commissions messengers to bring the good tidings of redemption to the captive daughter of Zion.

“ Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."

In the prosecution of the redemption which these verses announce, God is represented as marching at the head of his chosen people, conducting them in triumph from their captivity into their own land. A harbinger goes before him to announce his approach, and pioneers are sent to level the way for his march. This is the scene described in these verses

“ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.-Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”

All this is applied by the Evangelists, in the New Testament", to John the Baptist, the precursor of our Lord; and thus is established, beyond all controversy, the spiritual import of this whole prediction; which, though it literally relates to the

• Matt. ii. 3, &c.

deliverance of the Jews from captivity, mystically refers to the redemption of man from the bondage of sin and death. Many parts of this prophecy, indeed, relate solely to the coming of Christ, and to the spiritual deliverance wrought by him. This is the case with the next verses, which obviously point out those glorious times when Christ should be manifested as “ a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel."

“ And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

The prophet then introduces a voice solemnly addressing him.

“ The voice said, cry—and he said, what shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely, the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

These words are applied by the Apostle Peter to denote the transitory nature of the Jewish economy, and the permanent duration of the Gospel dispensation. The former, the people, the “flesh,” the carnal Israel, were but as “grass"-soon to pass away; but the latter, “ the word of God,” the Gospel dispensation, “ endureth for ever.” It was

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1 1 Pet. i. 25.

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