Page images

born. Soon must they appear be- sired in this world? But as it is the fore the bar of God. Life is wast- common nature of man, in the time ing, death is fast approaching; and of prosperity, to forget both himself a soul once lost can never be re- and God; even so did Adam ; who trieved. Let them, then, make baste , having received but one commandto flee from the wrath lo come, and ment at God's hand, namely, that he feceive Christ, as he is offered to should not eat of the fruit of the tree them in the Gospel, as the Lord of knowledge of good and evil, did, their righteousness, and the Lord nevertheless, most unmiydfully, or their ruler; as their Prince, as well rather wilfully, break it ; forgetting as their Saviour; and, in the name the strict charge of his Maker, and of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit giving ear to the crafty suggestions of the living God, they shall be of that wicked serpent the devil. washed, sanctified, and finally saved. Thus it came to pass, that as before

he was blessed, so now be was ac

cursed; as before he was beloved, so FAMILY SERMONS. No. XXXV. now he was abhorred; as before Luke ii. 8.- Unto you is born this Lord, so now he was most vile and

he was precious in the sight of the day, 2 Saviour, which is Christ wretched. Instead of the image of the Lorde

God, he now bore the image of the Among all the creatures that God devil. Instead of a citizen of heamade in the beginning of the world, ven, he was now become the slave wonderful and excellent as they of hell, retaining no part of his forall were, there was none, as the mer purity, but being altogether de. Scripture testifies, to be compared filed; so that he now seemed to be to man; who, as well in his body only a mass of sin; and therefore, as his soul, excelled all the rest, as by the just judgment of God, was the sun esceeds in brightness every condemued to everlasting death. star in the firmament. He was This miserable change not only made in the image and likeness of affected Adam, but his posterity for God. He was endued with all kind ever : so that all who are descended of heavenly gifts : he had no spot from him, experience the same fall, of uncleanness in him: he was and are subject to the same punishsound and perfect in all his parts: ment which he by his offence had his reason was uncorrupt: his under- deserved. St. Paul, in the fifth standing was pure and good: his chapter of the Romans, instructs us will was obedient and godly. He that “ hy the offence of one (namely, was made altogether like unto God, Adam), judgment came upon all men in righteousness and holiness, in to condemnation;" that as in Adam wisdom and truth; in short, in all all have sinned, so ja Adam have all kind of perfection.

men received the reward of sin, that Wben man had been thus created, is to say, have become mortal, and God, in token of his great love to subject to death, having in themhim, placed him in Paradise, where selves nothing but everlasting damhe lived in all peace and enjoyment, nation both of body and soul. abounding in every good thing, and They became," as David says, wanting nothing which he could“ corrupt and abominable; they justly desire to have ; for « God were all gone out of the way; there made him to have dominion over was none that did good, no, not one.” the work of bis hand, and put all What a wretched state was this to things under bis feet.” Was not which man was now reduced ; de. this a full, perfect, and blessed con- stroyed and condemned by sin, so dition! Could any thing be well that he had nothing to look forward added to it, or greater happiness dea to but death and hell! It would

[ocr errors]

ha re been no wonder had he been curse of the law, and make perfect driven into utter despair by this fall satisfaction by his death for the sins fronı life to death, from salvation to of all people. He sent his dear and destruction, from heaven to hell. only Son, Jesus Christ, “ born of a But behold the great goodness and woman, made under the law, that tender mercy of God in man's be- he might redeem them that were half! Though the wickedness of man under the law, and make them the was such that it deserved not to be sons of God by adoption." Was forgiven, yet, that he might not be not this a wonderful display of love without hope and comfort, God or- towards us, who were his open enedained a new covenant, promising to mies; towards us, who by nature send a Mediator into the world, who were children of wrath and fireshould make intercession for man, brands of hell? “ In this was maniwho should appease the .wrath and fested the love of God towards us, indignation of God against him on because that God sent his only-beaccount of sin, and deliver man gotten Son into the world, that we," from the misery into which he had who were his enemies, "might live fallen by disobeying the command. through him. Herein is love; not ment of his only Lord and Master. that we loved God, but that he loved This promise was first made to Adam us, and sent his Son to be the prehimself, immediately after his fall, pitiation for our sins.” “When we when God said to the serpent, “I were yet without strength,Christ died will put enmity between thee and for the ungodly. For scarcely for a the woman, and between thy seed righteous man will one die; yet perand her seed : it shall bruise thy adventure for a good man some would head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” even dare to die: but God commendThe same covenant was afterwards eth his love towards us, in that, while more amply and plainly renewed to we were yet sinners, Christ died for Abraham, when God promised that us." Such expressions as these do in bis seed “ all the nations of the the apostles employ to set forth and earth should be blessed.” It was magnity the tender mercy and great again confirmed to Isaac in the same goodness of God towards mankind, words. And that mankind might in sending down to them a Saviour not despair, but live in hope, God from heaven, even Christ the Lord;never ceased to publish and repeat a blessing so great, that not only can it by his prophets, who foretold

no tongue well express it, but no heart even the time, the place, and the can even rightly conceive it. manner of his birth; the afflictions The Jews, indeed, deny that Jesus of his life, the nature of his death, is the true Messiah, the Sariour of the glory of his resurrection, the the world so long promised; and establishment of his kingdom, and they look and wait for another

. the deliverance of his people, with They expect that the Messiah shall all their circumstances. And all come, not as Christ did, like a poor this was done that the promise and pilgrim, meek and lowly; but like a covenant of God, made unto Abra- valiant and mighty king, with great ham and his posterity, concerning power and dignity. They expect the redemption of the world, might him, not attended, as Christ was, be fully believed.

by a few fishermen, and men of no Now, when the fulness of time worldly estimation; but by conquerwas come, God, according to his co- ing armies, and by a train of the great venant and promise, sent a Messiah and noble, the princes and mighty or Mediator into the world: not men of the earth. They do not think such an one as Moses, or Joshua, or that Messiah shall suffer an unjuse David ; but such an one as should and ignominious death, as Christ did; deliver mankind from the bitter" but that he shall subdue all his enemies, and erect such a kingdom on eating and drinking, sleeping and the earth as has never yet been wit- waking, preaching the Gospel to the nessed. While they delude them- people, weeping over Jerusalem, payselves with these groundless fancies, ing tribute for himself and Peter, and they deny and reject Christ. There- suffering death, can we refuse to acfore is « Christ crucified unto the knowledge that he was perfect man Jews a stumbling-block, and to the as we are? Therefore do we find him Greeks foolishness;" because they called in Scripture sometimes the Son think it a thing contrary to all rea- of David, sometimes the Son of man. son that the Redeemer and Saviour -On the contrary, when we behold of the world should be treated as him forgiving sins, working miracles, he was; should be despised, reviled, casting out devils, healing men with scourged, condemned, and at last only a word, knowing the thoughts cruelly slain. But while they thus of men's hearts, baving the seas at act, let us, who hope and expect to his command, walking on the waves, be saved, both sted fastly believe and rising from death to life, and ascendboldly confess that the same Jesus, ing into heaven, do we not see him who was born of the Virgin Mary, proved to be perfect God, co-equal was the true Messiah and Mediator with the Father as touching his godbetween God and man, promised and head? “I and the Father are one.” prophesied of so long before. For This he said in respect to his godas truly as God liveth, so truly was head. But in reference to his manJesus Christ the true Messiah and hood he saith, “the Father is greater Saviour of the world; even the same iban I." Jesus who, as this day, was born of Indeed the necessity of our salvathe Virgin Mary, by the power and tion did require such a Mediator and operation of the Holy Ghost. Saviour, as under one person should

We are taught in Scripture, that be a partaker of both natures: it was this our Lord and Saviour Christ requisite he should be man; it was consists of two natures; of his man- requisite also he should be God. For hood, being thereby perfect man- as the transgression came by man, and of his godhead, being thereby so was it meet that the satisfaction perfect God. “ The Word,” that should be made by man. Death is to say, the second Person in the being the just reward of sin, thereTrinity, " became flesh, and dwelt fore, in order to appease the wrath among us.” “God sending his own and satisfy the justice of God, it Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, did was expedient that our Mediator what the law could not do.” “ Christ, should be such an one as might take being in the form of God, took upon upon him the sins of mankind, and him the form of a servant, and was sustain death, their due punishment. made in the likeness of men, being Moreover, he came in flesh, and in found in fashion as a man.” " God the same flesh ascended into heaven, was manifest in the flesh, justified in to testify unto us, that all faithful the Spirit, seen of angels, preached people who stedfastly believe in unto the Gentiles, believed on in him, shall likewise come unto the the world, received up into glory.” same place whither he, our chief " There is one God, and one Mediator Captain, is gone before. Lastly, he between God and man, the man Christ became man, that we might receive Jesus." These passages plainly prove the greater comfort both in our that both natures, God and man, are prayers and in our adversity, wben united in Christ Jesus. And if any we consider that we have a Mediafarther proof of this truth were wanttor who really partakes of our nature; ing, we should have only to consider " who also is touched with the feel. the life which he led and the works ing of our infirmilies, having been in which he did whilst on earth. When we all points tempted like as we are.” behold bim hungering and thirsting, For these and other causes it was

most needful that Christ should comedom, his true friends and brethren, in the flesh.

the elect and chosen people of God. But as no created being, who is For, as St. Peter saith, “ He bare only a creature, has, or can have, our sins in his own body on the tree; power to destroy death and give and by his stripes we were healed.” life; to overcome hell and purchase For whereas before, “we were as heaven; to remit sins, and give sheep going astray,” he, by his righteousness; therefore it was coining, hath now brought us back needful that our Messiah, whose again to the true “ Shepherd and proper duty and office that was, Bishop of our souls." "He died should be not only perfect man, for our sins, and rose again for our but also full and perfect Gud, to the justification;" thus making us "a end that he might fully and perfect- chosen generation, a royal priestly make satisfaction for mankind. hood, an holy nation, a peculiar Christ appeared, and quenched the people.” “ For we ourselves also wrath of his Father, not in that he were sometimes foolish. disobedient, was only the Son of man, but much deceived, serving divers lusts and more in that he was the Son of God. pleasures, living in malice and

Thus have we heard from Scrip- envy, hateful, and hating one anoture that Jesus Christ is the true ther. But after that the kindness Messiah and Saviour of the world; and love of God our Saviour towards that he was by nature and substance man appeared, not by works of perfect God and perfect man; and righteousness which we have done, also for what cause it was expedi- but according to his mercy he saved ent it should be so. Now, that we us, by the washing of regeneration may be the more thankful to God on and renewing of the Holy Ghost, this account, let us briefly consider which he shed on us abundantly, the manifold and great benefits through Jesus Christ our Saviour: which we have received by the that we, being justified by his grace, birth of this our Messiah and Sa- should be made heirs, according to viour.

the hope of eternal life,” through Before Christ's coming into the hope and faith iu his blood. world, all men universally, in Adam, In these and other passages of were nothing else but a wicked and Scripture, is set before our eyes, as perverse generation, corrupt trees, it were in a glass, the abundant stony ground full of brambles and grace of God, received in Christ briars, lost sheep, prodigal sons, Jesus; which is so much the more unprofitable servants, unrighteous to be admired because it did not stewards, workers of iniquity, the spring from any desert of ours, but brood of adders, blind guides, sit- from his mere and tender mercy, ting in darkness and the shadow of even when we were utter enemies death : 10 be short, nothing else to bim. but children of perdition, and inhe- But that we may the better onritors of hell-fire. To this truth St. derstand this, let us cupsider the Paul bears witness in different pase end of his coming ;.so sba!) we persages of his Epistles, and Christ ceive how great are the benefits himself also, in several places of which the nativity of Christ has his Gospel. But after Christ came brought to us, miserable and sinful down from heaven, and took our frail creatures. The end of bis coming nature upon him, he made all tbose was to save and deliver his people, who would truly receive him and to fulfil the law for us, to bear witbelieve bis word, good trees, and ness to the truth, to teach and good ground, fruitful and pleasant preach the words of his father, branches, children of light

, citizens give light into the world, to call of heaven, sheep of his fold, mem- sinners to repentance, to give rest bers of his body, heirs of his king. 10 them that are weary and beavy

laden, to cast out the prince of this way. And because he is our only world, to reconcile us to God in the Master, our only Teacher, our only body of his flesh, to destroy the Shepherd and chief Captain; there* works of the devil; and, lastly, to fore let us become his servants, his become a propitiation for our sins, scholars, his sheep, his soldiers. and not for ours only, but also As for sin, the fleshi, the world, and for the sins of the whole world. the devil, whose servants and bond

These were the chief ends for slaves we were before the coming of which Christ became man; not for Christ, let us utterly cast them off, any advantage he could derive from and renounce them, as the great it, but only for our sakes; that we enemies of our souls. And being might understand the will of God, once delivered from their cruel tybe partakers of his heavenly light, ranny by Christ, let us never fall be delivered from the power of Sa- into their hands again, lest our latter tan, released from the burden of sin, end should be worse than our bejustified through faith in bis blood, ginning. But “he that endureth and finally received up into ever- to the end, shall be saved." "Be lasting glory, there to reign with thou faithful unto death, and I will him for ever. Was it not a great give thee a crown of life.” • He and singular love of Christ towards that putteth his hand to the plough mankind, that though he was the and looketh back, is not fit for the " brightness of his Father's glory, kingdom of God." Therefore let us and the express image of his person,' be « stedfast, unmoveable, always he should nevertheless humble him- abounding in the work of the Lord.” self, and take upon him the form of Let us receive Christ, not for a time, a servant, and this only to save and but for ever; let us become his serredeem us? Oh! how inuch are we vants, not for a time, but for ever; bound by this goodness of God! let us believe bis word, not for a How many thanks and praises do time, but for ever; remembering we owe unto him, for this our salva- that he hath redeemed and saved tion, wrought for us by his dear and us, not for a time, but for ever, and only Son Jesus Christ, who became a will receive us into his heavenly pilgrim on earth, to make us citi- kingdom, there to reign with him, zens of heaven; who became the not for a lime, but for ever. To Son of man, to make us the sons him therefore, with the Father and of God; who became obedient to the Holy Ghost, be all honour, praise, the law, to deliver us from the curse and glory, for ever and ever.of the law; who became poor, to Amen*. make us rich; vile, to make us pre

• The reader of the above sermon will eacious; subject to death, that we

sily recognize in it, " An Homily concerning might live for ever! What greater the Nativity and Birth of our Saviour Jesus - love than this could we desire at the Christ.” The alterations which it lias underhands of God!

gone do not in any degree affect the sense. Let us not, therefore, ever forget They consist chiefly in the omission of a few this exceeding great love of our passages, which seemed less seasonable in the Lord and Saviour, nor shew our- present day than they were in the days of selves upthankful towards him; but Elizabeth ; and in the occasional substituie let us love him, fear him, obey him, tion of a mure modern phraseology, which and serve him.

has served rather to abate than to aggravate Let us confess him with our mouths, praise him with

the intensity of particular expressions on the

Had the our tongues, believe on him with subject of bunian corruption.

Bishop of Lincoln, or the Quarterly Reour hearts, and glorify him by our viewers, met with the same language in any good works.

Christ is the light: modern divine, they would doubtless have let us receive the light. Christ is reprobated it as Calvinistic. This, at least, the truth; let us believe the truth.

we may venture to say, that they will find it Christ is the way; let us follow the difficult to produce, from the writings of any


4 U

« PreviousContinue »