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by Christ Jesus. (a) But let the promises be ever so great, or numerous, either for time or eternity; either for body or soul, they are all made in Christ Jesus, flowing from bis Father's good will to Adam's sinful race.
5. EVEN the threatenings are the blessed effects and proofs of his good will to the human race. For although they are awful, and delivered in a very prompt and positive stile, yet they are in fact, no more than so many kind warnings to prevent our runing headlong to eternal ruin. Jehovah warns us that we may shun the danger; and is not that a blessed instance of his loving kindness, his good will to us? . This will leave men without excuse, because there is danger; but then there is a remedy, and such as neglect that remedy have nothing to expect but a fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation from the Lord. But as there is a refuge, his language is, escape for thy life; look not behind thee. For depend upon it, this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world ; but men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. Let us take the friendly warning; seeing the name of the Lord is a strong tower; let us run therein, so shall we be safe.
6. THE good will of God is manifest in
(a) Phil. iv, 19.
granting us so many comforts in life; in giving us rain and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. All these are forfeited mercies on our part, but given us back in the covenant of redemption. The earth originally was exceeding fruitful no doubt, but when man had sinned, as the head of God's works, all were lost, and a curse ensued; Cursed is the ground for thy sake, was the awful sentence, thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee. (a) But he that spared not his own Son, but freely gave him up for us all, with him he freely giveth us all things. So that godliness is really profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come. A sense of this would sanctify all our table comforts; we should view them as the gift of God, swimming to us through the channel of the Redeemer's blood, and we should use them with sobriety and gratitude.
7. To crown all; as the last proof, which I shall recount, is the glory which he has prepared for us hereafter. Indeed if that were not the case what would all which I have been declaring avail ? Hope, we know, is the spring of all action here below; and hope is a pleasing expectation of some good which is before us. This stimulates the soldier, the sailor, and the hus
(a) Gen. iii. 18.
bandman; the men of wealth, pleasure, or honour; and why should it be excluded from the christian? No doubt but it was an encouragement to the faithful Israelites in the wilderness, that they were going to a land of corn and wine and oil, a land flowing with milk and honey, a delightsome land, and the glory of all lands. This hope is reckoned by some to be selfish, and is almost reprobated; but if so, I do not see why, the joys of eternity are so often set before us by way of encouragement. Our Lord incouraged his disciples in all their trials to remember, that he went to prepare a place for them, and would receive them to himself, that where he was there they might be also. Even of himself it is said, that for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross and despised the shame; and in this we need not be ashamed to follow his example. There we shall meet our living head, and, with the redeemed of the Lord, see the King in his beauty, and the land which is afar off.
LET us wonder at, and adore the loving kindness of our dear Redeemer, which caused him to stoop to the mean circumstances of human nature, even in its most abased state. A sordid stable the place of his nativity, a manger his cradle, a few poor shepherds his human attendants. O how contrary to the wisdom of this world! He might well say, My kingdom is not of this world. Shall his followers seek great things in this world ? Do they not see the contempt which our blessed Lord cast upon all which the world counts great and good ? Be content with your lot, knowing that is best for you which God hath appointed. O may we learn a child-like simplicity in contemplating our abased Creator, remem. bering what he said, Except ye be convert. ed and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of God.
IT is a dispute, among the antiquarians, respecting the precise time of our blessed Lord's nativity; some assert it must have. been in summer, and their reason is, because of the shepherds keeping watch over their focks by night ; but others think it rather a proof of its being in winter, believing that the sheep would need to be watched more in winter than summer, as being more liable to the incursions of wild beasts, or the depredations of thieves. However, it is a matter of no consequence ; it is cause of thankfulness that the thing is true ; and he that regardeth a day, let him regard it to the Lord, and let it be done with reverence; and if we rejoice let it be in the Lord ; let us “ kiss the Son, lest he be angry with us and we perish from the right way." Let Us not keep the feast with revelling and foolish amusements, but in such wise as is becoming those who own the Lord who bought them.