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lasting reign, as that King whose dominion shall know no end.

Thus, although the sons of Judah, returning from their captivity, might weep over the ruins of that temple, towards which their aching eyes had so long been turned, yet might they find consolation under their sorrows, and encouragement in their holy exertions to restore the house and worship of their God. They might lament that the ark of the covenant no longer stood within the mystic veil ; yet they were called on to rejoice, that the messenger of a better covenant, a covenant ordered in all things and sure, was shortly to appear. They might feel the want of those mysterious symbols, by which the highpriest pronounced the oracles of Jehovah ; but they would shortly be able to listen to the divine oracles, not by communication through a fallible mortal, but from the very source and fountain of the truth itself. No sacred fire might now descend upon the altar to consume the sacrifice; but the true Paschal Lamb would soon be offered, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire, would be the glorious privilege of the believer in Christ. The Shechinah, that shining symbol of the divine presence, might be withdrawn, but the person of the Messiah would impart to the courts of the temple a sanctity that no symbol could bestow ; for there would the very

Son of the Eternal appear, the brightness of bis Father's glory, the express image of his person. Thus were those, who were ready to write Ichabodover Jerusalem's sanctuary, as the record of departed glory, consoled by the anticipation of a still brighter splendour, when he, who was the desire of all nations, should make it the scene of his ministry, the scene in which he should display his early wisdom, and his miraculous power, the place in which he should assert his divine authority, and deliver those instructions, which should serve as models for the future teaching of his chosen servants. Thus would Jerusalem be made the centre of spiritual light and knowledge, from whence the infant church might spread abroad over all the kingdoms of the world ; till, at length, the distinctions of Jewish and Gentile ceremonies should be absorbed in one pure and undefiled religion, and the varied nations of the earth should become one family, acknowledging the true God as their Father, and looking up to him in hope of eternal blessedness, as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

The complete fulfilment of this remarkable prophecy must afford us a strong and convincing proof of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ; and may serve also to show us, that the Almighty Governor of the universe is not let and hindered in the prosecution of his designs, by those circumstances that cause such astonishment and

surprise among the sons of men; nay rather, those very events, which alarm and confound human projects, are made by him the means of furthering his gracious purposes. We may learn to repose, then, with confidence upon his promises ; we may draw the richest hopes from the expectation of his support. The church of Christ, which he hath purchased with his own blood, is not deprived of his succour, amid the conflicts and the struggles of human turbulence and strife. The dispensations of Providence may involve his faithful people in the commotions that surround them; but their God is their guide and their defence, and the storm, which he raises and directs, will eventually tend to the purification of his church, and the advancement of her highest interests. We also, as Christians, are bound to look forward to another, and still more glorious advent of the Son of God. We are also taught to expect, that his approach will be ushered in by times of trouble and of distress, and we ought therefore to be looking forward to that kingdom that shall not be moved. sume not, as some, with daring conjecture, to fix the day and hour which no man knoweth, but the Father only; yet are we authorized to call upon

Christians, the denizens of an eternal kingdom, the heirs of an incorruptible crown, to look to that crown and that kingdom, rather than to the things of earth, which will shortly be

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as the small dust of the balance, and which ought to be esteemed, even now, at no higher value, by those who look for the appearing of the Lord.

Let, then, our faith have its perfect work; let us learn to form the due estimate of earth and heaven: it will furnish that peace which the world can neither give nor take away; and amid all the changes and chances of this mortal life, it will enable us to persevere stedfast unto the end, secure in the love of him who died for us, and rose again, and who will shortly come to receive us to himself, and to welcome us to that kingdom which hath been prepared for those that love him, from the foundation of the world.

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SERMON XVIII.

THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.

(Christmas Day.)

LUKE ii. 14.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,

good will toward men.

Such were the triumphant strains, in which the heavenly host celebrated that wonderful event, which their angelic leader had announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem. The Son so long foretold was now given; the child so long promised was now born; and these were the sounds of holy congratulation and of joyful praise, which his attendant angels poured forth, as they contemplated this glorious accomplishment of the counsels of Jehovah. The mystery which they had desired to look into, the mystery that had for ages been hid with God, was now revealed. God was now manifest in the flesh the eternal word had become incarnate, and had

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