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"joy," so they again rejoiced at the birth of Him by whom the world was made. For no sooner had the angel of the Lord delivered his message, " thofe glad tidings of great joy" to the shepherds, " but suddenly there was with "him a multitude of the heavenly host prais*? ing God, and faying—Glory be to God in "the highest, and, on earth, peace, good-will "towards men." And the ground of our joy, and the reason of this anthem being fung by the choir of heaven, is expressed in the words of my text, "For unto us is born this day, in "the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ "theJLord."
In discoursing on these words, it will be necessary to enquire, who the Saviour is, declared by the heavenly herald, and what are the offices He sustained to entitle Him to this high character—secondly, who are the people He came to fave :—Aster which I shall conclude with some reflections suitable to this day's solemnity.
I. He, who came to seek and to fave that which was lost, was no other than both God and man: " God, of the substance of hi.s Fa"ther, begotten before the world; and man,
"of the substance of his mother, born in the "world: perfect God and perfect man: and "as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, "so God and man is one Christ."
It was expedient that our surety mould be man, because He was to perform that perfect, and exact, obedience, which God required of us; that, thereby having fanctified our nature in himself, God might once more look upon, and be pleased with, it; and He now, in heaven, intercedes with his Father, to accept us through his mediation. Now, had he been only God, he would have been free from all subjection, and could have paid no obedience—" being equal to his Father, as touch"ing his Godhead :" but then, He, assuming our nature, was " inferior to his Father, as "touching his manhood:" and in this capacity, "Christ came into the world to do "the will of God, and yield obedience to "Him."
Again, obedience being a debt we owe to God, and God having decreed, that his justice should be fatisfied, *' it behoved Christ to suf"ser, and then to enter into his glory." But the Godhead is of that infinite perfection that it.
cannot suffer; so that if he had had no other nature, he could not have paid that debt for us, the punishment due to sin. It was also fit that God's justice should be fatisfied in that nature, which had transgressed; and that the fame nature should suffer the punishment, which had incurred the guilt. And, therefore, so transcendent, was the love of the Son of God towards the sons of men, that rather than they should still lie under the power of death, he resolved, at an appointed time, by becoming incarnate, to accomplish our falvation.
But then, that our redemption should be complete, our Redeemer was to be God, as well as man. For had he been only man, why .would not the sentence have been pronounced against him, as well as against the rest of Adam's posterity \ "Thou shalt surely die; "for dust thourart, and unto dust thou shalt "return :" and if so, "instead of faving others, "he could not have faved himself." BuJ..sup. pofe him to have been created innocent, and to have retained his innocency, he could not have made "fatisfaction for the fins of the *' whole world:" it could be no sufficient ransom for thofe innumerable multitudes that
** were to be redeemed to God, out of every "kindred, and tongue, and people, and na
Besides, could man, or angel have wroughtour falvation for us, it was not fit that we should owe such an inestimable blessing to any other person, than to him who created us; because the value ofour redemption, being more than that of our creation, it would engage us to love our Redeemer, more than our Creator: and therefore, in the work of our redemption, God would not give us occasion to love an angel, or a faint, better than himself. The Son of God, who "fits at his right hand, by whom he made ': the world, He must restore all things," that the blessings of our creation, redemption, and all other good gifts might meet in Him, and we be thereby obliged to "love him with all •' our heart, with all our foul, with all our "mind, and with all our strength."—" The *' Church," fays St. Paul, " is purchased with '* God's own blood." Thus is our redemption
wrought out by him who is "the blefled and ** only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord "of lords!"
By considering the offices our Saviour fiif
. tairrec), tained, we shall the better understand how, and in what sense, he may be said to fave us.
He was a prophet: this word, in a strict fense, signifies one who is enabled, by the Holy Ghost, to foretel things to come. Our Saviour foretold the manner of St. Peter's death, and the long life of St. John. But, in a larger acceptation, the word is put to denote a person who is endowed with power, to interpret, and make known, the will of God. St. John acquaints us how well qualified he was for this office, "He was in the bosom of the Father." He made a full declaration of his Father's will, in those sermons, parables, and discourses, which we find recorded in the four Evangelists. He taught upon what terms, and conditions, blessedness was now to be had,under the dispenfation of the Gofpel. He revealed, some commands of God, which were before, either not at all, or so obscurely, revealed, in the Old Testament, that men thought themselves not obliged to observe them. He freed many passages from the false glosses which the Pharisees had put upon them; and, as the Apostle speaks, "He brought life and immortality to "light through the Gospel." He instituted