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of righteousness should arise upon mankind with healing under His beams, many prophets, and king's, and righteous men looked forward with ardent expectation, in the hope of beholding Him in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed; the Seed of the woman, who should bruise the head of the old serpent, the devil; the Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the people should be; the Star of Jacob, the bright and morning Star, which should cheer the with its light; the Sceptre of Israel, which should subdue all nations to its dominion; the Lamb of God, which should be provided for a burnt-offering, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

The dying patriarch Jacob exclaimed in reference to the coming of the Redeemer, I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.35 The Royal Psalmist uttered his longing desire, O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion.36 Such were the feelings of many, indeed of all the servants of God, until the fulness of the time was come when God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 37 The fulfilment of the prophecies which went before respecting Him from the beginning, or rather, from the time of the fall of our first parents, was hailed by all them that looked for redemption in Israel. When Simeon took up in his arms the child Jesus, he blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.38 He desired to see nothing more in this world, after having set his eyes upon the Redeemer of mankind, God manifest in the flesh,99 though appearing as a feeble, helpless infant. Anna, the prophetess, likewise gave thanks unto the Lord that her life had been spared to fourscore and four years, in order that she might be favoured with the sight of the infant Saviour. It is our privilege to be able to compare the predictions of the word of God with their accomplishment; and to see that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord God spake concerning this matter; all are come to pass, and not one thing hath failed thereof. 40

36 Genesis xlix. 18.

36 Psalm xiv. 7.

37 Galatians iv. 4, 5.

The text relates the wonderful fact of the incarnation of EMMANUEL, God with us , 41 and it tells us who and what He was; that He was the only begotten of the Father, who displayed such glory, as had never before been witnessed' by mortal eyes, to those who were favoured with the sight; and who was full of grace and truth, which He manifested for their benefit, that out of His fulness they might receive continual and renewed supplies according to their need. May

38 Luke ii. 29,30. 391 Tim. iii. 16. 40 Josh.xxiii. 14. 41 Mat.i. 23.

the considerations here presented to us, lead us to rejoice in our Almighty Saviour, while we commemorate His birth into our world. And may He manifest His glory and His grace to our souls, to our great and endless comfort.

The Gospel for this day commences with a description of the Person, whose incarnation is related in the text. The Evangelist opens his narrative with a majesty and simplicity becoming the subject of which he treats. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is here called THE WORD. A reason seems to be given in the eighteenth verse of this chapter why this title is ascribed to Him. No man hath seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. So also our Saviour asserted, Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.4The Apostle therefore observed that God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.43 Our Lord Jesus Christ, as THE WORD or God, made known the Divine Being to mankind in a way that no other person ever did or could. He alone could say on this subject, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen." But it may be proper to mention, that the Messiah was known to the Jews by the title of the Word, previous to His incarnation; as it appears from the Chaldee paraphrase, which is said to have been made after their return from the Babylonish captivity, for the purpose of explaining the holy Scriptures to the people in the language they had learnt

42 Matthew xi. 27.

43 Hebrews i. 1.

44 John iii. 11.

g their long residence in Babylon. There the hundred and tenth Psalm begins, The Lord said to His Word. And Hosea i. 7, is rendered, Iwill redeem them by the Word of the Lord their

durin

God.

This Word was in the beginning. The same term is applied to the creation. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But it is also said of Wisdom, The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was ; before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.

I was by Him, as One brought up with Him, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him. 43

But it is truly said of Jehovah alone, Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever

hadst formed the earth and the world, even from

everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.46 Yet the Apostle says of the Lord Jesus Christ, He is before all things, and by Him all things con

Then

Thou

45 Proverbs viii. 22-25, 30.

46 Psalm xc.

2.

sist.“ The Divine power and Godhead of Christ, and at the same time His personal distinctness from the Father, are intimated when it is said, The Word was with God, and the Word was God. Here is a distinction, and yet an entire union; a distinction of persons and unity of essence.

And in order to express more strongly the eternity of THE WORD, or to impress it more deeply upon our minds, that it might not be possible to mistake the doctrine stated, it is repeated, The same was in the beginning with God. So it is said of the Messiah, Out of Bethlehem shall He come forth unto Me, that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting:48 He existed before any of the works of creation.

The proper Deity of Christ having been thus asserted, the Evangelist proceeds to prove it most effectually, by declaring that all things were made by Him; or, that He is God, because He is the Creator of all things. This is the proof which Jehovah gives of His own Almighty power, in opposition to all false gods. The prophet Isaiah asks,49 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? To whom then will ye liken

47 Colossians i. 17. 48 Micah v. 2. 49 Isa. xl. 12, 18, 22, 26, 28.

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