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did mean any such thing. Perhaps those expressions of kindness sounding so generally do not include me: perhaps I am excluded, and only deluded by them. When a man cannot say to Christ, O my Saviour !—O my Mediator &c. nor use his intercession with God for the procurement of faith, of grace, of any good thing. 7. It is a ground and motive of charity; there arising thence a more considerable relation between all men; being all the objects of Christ's love and mercy should endear men to one another; it rendereth every man valuable in our eyes, as dear and precious in God's sight. It should make his salvation desirable to us. ‘Pray for all men,” saith St. Paul. The contrary opinion removeth this ground of charity; and so cooleth it. 8. It should consequently render us careful to promote the salvation of others, and fearful to hinder it by ill example, by ill doctrine, by any misbehavior. So doth St. Paul argue, when he saith, ‘Destroyest thou him for whom Christ died ?” 9. It is a piece of justice to acknowlege the right and interest of every man in his Saviour. A wrong to exclude any ; to confine and appropriate this great blessing; to engross, to inclose a common; to restrain that by forging distinctions, which is so unlimitedly expressed. The undertakings and performances of our Saviour did respect all men, as the common works of nature do ; as the air we breathe in, as the sun which shineth on us; the which are not given to any man particularly, but to all generally; not as a proper inclosure, but as a common — they are indeed mine, but not otherwise than as they do belong to all nnell. A gift they are to all equally, though they do not prove to all a blessing: there being no common gift, which by the refusal, neglect, or ill use of it may not prove a curse—“a savor of death.’
SUMMARY OF SERMON LXXV.
LUKE, CHAP. II.-v ERSE 10.
THE proper business of a festival is spiritual joy and gratitude for some notable blessing. Such joy is a duty, or a part of devotion, required by God, and very acceptable to him : this enlarged on. Object of the discourse; first, to descant on or paraphrase the text; secondly, to urge the main duty implied in it. Behold: This is a word denoting admiration, exciting attention, and intimating assurance: this explained. I bring good tidings: I, an angel, a special messenger, and faithful servant of God, bring them, that I may incline you to believe them. Good tidings of great joy: Tidings that may gratify the curiosity of any man : such as may not only satisfy your reason, but touch your affections, by their comfortable nature and beneficial tendency : these I bring To you: to you shepherds ; persons of mean condition and simple capacity, leading this innocent, humble, toilsome, and anxious sort of life; who are little concerned in any great transactions, and can have but small hopes of bettering your condition here by any changes; yet not to princes and great men, but to you who may well represent the greater and better part of mankind, the Lord of heaven vouchsafes to send these tidings of great joy; which shall be To all people; or rather to all the people: that is, to God's ancient and peculiar people, in regard to whom it is said, I was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. To this people primarily, and more immediately did this joy appertain : this farther explained. But in effect the expression is to be understood extensively in reference to all people. Here indeed we have travri ro, Aaj, to all the people; but in the nunc dimittis of old Simeon, we have révrwy rāv Mačv, of all the peoples: other instances quoted. Christ was to be born by nation a Jew, but a man by nature: the Son of Man was a title that he commonly affected, no less than the Son of Abraham, or of David: he was born indeed under the law, but of a woman, and therefore brother to us all, as partaker of the same flesh and blood. This topic enlarged On. We are then all concerned in these tidings; whence our duty must be to listen to them, weigh the purport of them, and diligently contemplate the reasons of that great joy which should be their result: for which purpose it may be advisable to take some prospect of this gospel. The matter of it is the nativity of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: for, to you, saith the angel, is born this day a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord; an occurrence fraught with all the greatest causes of joy imaginable. These fully dilated on. So that as they who celebrate the birth of a prince do mean thereby to express their joy for all the good which they anticipate from his protection and conduct throughout his life; and as they who welcome the sun-rise do imply their satisfaction in the comfort of his light throughout the day, so may the nativity of our Lord afford matter of rejoicing on account of all the train of mighty blessings which succeed it: these enlarged on. But waiving numberless benefits, let us touch only on some of those which have a more close and formal relation to this great event. 1. Let us consider that his nativity imports the completion of many ancient prophecies, predictions, and prefigurations concerning it; that whereas all former dispensations were preludes or preambles to this, now all is come to be fulfilled in the most clear and effectual manner: this head enlarged on, and illustrated from Scripture. 2. Let us consider what alteration our Lord's coming produced, by comparing the state of things before it with that which followed it. State of the old world, then consisting of two parts, severed by a strong wall of partition, described. Miserable condition of the Gentiles, or greater part; also that of the Jews, or lesser part, was involved in much darkness, and subject to the bonds of the law, &c. Such was the state of the world in its parts; and of the whole, it may be said that it was shut up under sin, and that all men sat in darkness, in the region and shadow of death; &c. Now we are all children of the light, and of the day: every child is instructed in saving truths, &c. Now the Spirit of God is poured on all flesh; Jew and Gentile are re-united and compacted in one body; &c. 3. Let us consider that the nativity of our Lord is a grand instance, evidence, and earnest of God's great affection and benignity towards mankind; for in this, saith St. John, the lore of God was manifested; &c. 4. We may consider it as not only expressing simple goodwill, but as implying a perfect reconciliation, a firm peace, a steady friendship, established between God and us: that it did not only proceed from love, but also produced love to us: this topic enlarged on. 5. It infers a great honor and a high preferment to us: not otherwise could mankind have been so dignified, or our nature so advanced : for hence we become allied to God in a most near affinity; so that the words of the psalmist are indeed verified, Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, &c. 6. Finally, if we survey the principal causes of joy and special exultation, we shall find them all concurring in this event.
Is a messenger of good news embraced with joy! Behold the great Evangelist is come, full of the most acceptable news; &c.
Is the birth of a prince to be commemorated with joy by honest subjects? Behold a Prince born to all the world ! a Prince undertaking to rule mankind with all equity, and bringing peace and prosperity to all.
May victory beget exultation 1 See, the invincible Warrior issues into the field, conquering and to conquer.
Is a proclamation of peace, after rueful wars, to be solemnised with alacrity ? Behold then everlasting peace between heaven and earth.
Is recovery of liberty delectable to poor slaves Behold the Redeemer is come out of Sion ; &c. Similar interrogatories continued to the end.