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Not in being filled, and overlaid with filver and gold, for these are spoken of as comparatively vile and contemprible. " The filver is mine, and the gold is mine, faith the Lord of hoits," a claim exactly in the fame spirit with that made in the fiftieth Pfalm. : Hear, O my people, and I will speak : 0 Israel, and I will reftity against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy facrifices, or thy burnt. offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy tolds : for every beast of the forest is mine, and the catile upon a thoufand hills. I know all the fowls of the nountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof, Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats ? Ot. fer unto God thanksgiving ; and pay thy vows unto the most High. Lebanon is not fufficient to burn, nor the beafts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering." But when " sacrifice and offering hou did it not desire, when burnt-offering and fin, offering were not required, then said I, Lo, I come, I delight to do thy will, O my God." -This, Christians, like the far, which conducted the wise men of the East, leads us dire&tly to the Saviour of the world. Would you behold the superior glory of the latter temple, look to Simeon visiting it, looking and longing for the confolation of Israel ; behold him with the babe in bis arins, esulting with joy unfpeakable and full of glory, in having seen the salvation of God. Look to Jesus, at the age of twelve years“? Quing in the temple in the midit of. the doctors, both hearing them and asking them queflions," . displaying at that tender age, a wisdom and dignity-tar superior to that of Solomon in his zenith. - Look to that same Jelus, in his zeal for the honor of the sacred edifice, purging it of those impurities which a worldly fpirit had introduced into it, Listen to the divine eloquence which there flowed from the lips of him who spake as never man spake. Hear him predicting its deftruction, and establishing the truth of his own milfion in denouncing against it, and devoting it to, total and irrecoverable ruin. Behold Him 'on those ruins, rearing an eve erlasting and a spiritual building, on a rack against which ihe gates of hell shall never prevail; and in all this, behold as in a glass the glory here fpoken of; the advent of the desire ot all nations,” the" tar of Jacob" arisen, Shiloh come, to whom the gathering of the nations shall be, "the Prince of Peace," by whom peace is proclaimed, and through whom peace is given 10" him that is afar off and him that is nigh."
In order ftill farther to justify the application of this prophecy to the person and character of the Redeemer, we may inquire into the import of the other expreflions here employed, to describe the appearances of nature and providence, which : signalized the era of his manifestation in the flesh. “Yet once, it is a little wbile.". The reign of prophecy was hastening to a conclufion. Haggai was one of the last on whom that spirit rested; with Malachi, who lived probably somewhat later, it entirely ceased; and a dark period of five hundred years, with- . out a vision, intervened, till it was revived in one who came in the spirit and power of Elias, the forerunner of the Mefliah, * the voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God;'. Isaiah xl. 3. and it shone in all its lustre in the Messiah, hiniselt, " the great prophet that should come into the world." By him it is bere intimated that God should speak "once!" for all; that he should be the full and final declarer of the will of God to mankind , " yet once" but no more
" It is a little while." With God what is purposed, is begun to be executed, his agents are already at work time is loft with him who sees the end from the beginning." The Lord is not fack concerning his promise, as some men count flackness;" "beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord, as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." The interval between the prediction and the accomplishment, though.a period of five centuries, is, in the fight of God, Jinle while;" and five centuries, when they are past, are but little while" in the eyes of man also. But to what circumfances attending the coming of our Saviour refers the Prophe er, when he reprefents the great God as
"shaking the heavens and the earth, and the fea, and the dry land, and all nations ?" It is well known that the sacred writers' frequently amploy, by abold figure, the appearances of the natural world to reprefent and explain moral objects. In the cale before us, it will be found that both the literal and figurative sense of the words are strictly applicable to the subject. Every one, who is at all acquainted with the hiftory of mankind, knows that the whole course of things has been a constant and successive consuffion and convulsion, a shaking of the nations, fruggle for dominion, the progress of empire from east to weft; and an aspect of the heavenly bodies and influence, analogous to the state of the moral world. The observer of nature endeavout to trace all thefe up to their native causes in the great
fyftem of the aniverle; the moralift looks for them, in the nature and conftitution of man, and the politician, in the combinations and exertions of passion and interest. The Believer, the Christian refers all to God, sees him in the cloud, in the sky; hears him in the wind, in the thunder, in the fongster of the grove ; and he sees the swelling tide of nature and providence labouring with one object o! peculiar importance; all things are shaken and composed in subordination to the preparation of the gospel of peace.
Let me compress what I mean to say within a narrow cornpafs ; and I shall do it nearly in the words of an elegant preacher whom I have oftener than once had the honour to quote in this place. The eaftern part of the world was, in the wisdom of Providence, first peopled, great and extensive einpires were fir A formed there, and there learning and the arts were first brought to perfection. But while science and empire flourished in the east, a power was rifing by degrees in the western world, which was one day to furpass all that had gone before it. Unknown to the proud empires of the east. ern hemisphere, which vainly flattered themlelves that they divided the world amongst them, this power was then filently advancing from conquest to conquest, and the Roman eagle was by degrees strengthening her wing, and preparing to take her fight round half the globe. The fucceflion of those great monarchies, those shakings of the heavens and the earth, this fhaking of all nations, led gradually and imperceptibly to that happy conjuncture, that fulness of time, that maturity of divine counsel which suited the introduction of Christianity. They arose one after another, they enlarged one upon another, till at length the genius of Rome, under the permission of heaven, triumphed over and swallowed up all others, and expanded, opened, united, consolidated, that wide-extended, well-informed, civilized empire, through which the gospel of Chrift was destined to make a progress to rapid and so success. ful. To favour this great event, to procure attention 10 the Author and finisher of our faith, and to render the first appearance of our holy religion at once more augnft and more fecure, the struggles of ambition which had fo long shaken the world, those restless contests for superiority, łubsided at lait, fuddenly and unexpectedly, into universal peace. That stormy ocean, which had been for ages and generations in continual agitation, now all at once funk into a surprising calm; the bloody portal of Janus, which had so long eminted unrelenting deftruction to mankind, was hut, and the globe was instantly
averipread prepares the
overspread with tranquillity, relieved from the din of arms, from the confused noise of the warrior, and the horrid fight of garments rolled in blood, in order to receive the Prince of Peace.
The shaking of the nations, as paving the way for the desire of all nations, is striking to the contemplative mind in another point of view, Philolophy rode triumphant, every question Teluting to physics, morals, politics science, religion, was freely canvassed ; and the noile of the schools in many instances drowned that of the ensanguined plain. The introduction of Chriftianity was preceded by a remarkable diffusion of knowl2 edge, and the radiance of science ushered in the gospel day, as Aurora announces the approach of the sun, and world for it. Egypt, Perlia, Greece, and Rome, poured from their leparate urns, those diftinét rills of science, which meeting in one great channel, became a mighty flood, and overspread the vast Roman empire. And thus was Revelation enabled to give a molt illustrious proof of its coming down from above, by diffusing over the world, all at once, a light superior to ali collected human wisdom in its brightest glory. And need we ask who it was that thus shook and fettled the sea and the dry land, who regulated the vast engine, who conducted all these great events, and brought them to one issue, concurrence and conclusion? At the same period of time, the promised Messiah came : the greatest empire that ever existed was at the height of its glory : learning flourished beyond what it had done in any former age : and the world was blessed with universal peace. A coincidence of facts, every one of which is in itself so extraordinary. that it cannot be paralleled by any other times, clearly points out the hand of that fupreme, over-ruling power, who from eternity beheld the great plan of his provi. dence through its whole extent, who alone "can declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things which are not yet done," saying, " My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
To put this beyond all doubt, let it be observed, that these events took their rise in remotest ages, and were prepared in times and countries far distant from and unknown to each other. Empire which sprang up amidst the leven hills of Rome; Science nurst in the academic groves of Greece ; and religion from the obscure vales of Judea, all met at one grand crisis. To one another unknown, they must have been conducted by the hand of Providence. But meet they did, and peace from. heaven crowned them with her olive. And thus were
nations shaken, to prepare the way of the Lord ; thus "the valleys were exalted and the mountains and bills laid low, the crooked made straight, and the rough places plain," and the high and aspiring thoughts of men were brought into captivity to the obedience of Chrift.
But the heavens and the earth were literally fhaken, at the coming of " the desire of all nations.” Witness that new created star which conducted the eastern Magi to the place where the Saviour was born ; witnels the descent af Gabriel and a multitude of the heavenly host, to announce bis arrival, and witnels the other appearances of celestial spirits to minister to the Lord of Glory in his temptation and agony, at his resurrection and ascension into heaven; witness the descent of Moses and Elias to the mount of transfiguration ; witness 100 the eclipse of the sun beyond the course of nature, which marked the hour of his death, the quaking of the earth, the rending of the rocks, the riling of the dead : witness the voice from heaven which, like thunder, oftener than once, fhook the echoing air, while God himselt declared his well beloved Son, and demanded attention for him. All these confirm the tellimony of the Prophet, they point it to the Lord Jesus, and inspire joy 'unspeakable and full of glory, on discovering the perfect coincidence between prediction and event. To this auspicious, this all important era we are now brought; and the next Lecture, with the divine permission, will detail the remarkable circumstances which immediately preceded, or which accompanied the birth of Christ.
And was all this mighty preparation made to introduce a mere man of like paslions with ourselves ? Were the heavens from above and the earth beneath stirred to meet him at his coming ? Did flaming minifters descend singly and in bands, did departed prophets revisit the earth, and the dead bodies of saints arise to do homage to a creature, their equal, their fel- . low ? It is not to be believed. But surely this is the Son of God; and to receive him, coming for our salvation, what folemnity of preparation was too great, what homage of angels and men too fubmiffive, what teftimony of created Nature too anıple ? “Hofanna to the fon of David, blefied is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.”
Is his name and description us the desire of all nations ? how fitly applied ! Is lighi desirable to the benighted, bewildered traveller in a land of snares and of the shadow of death ?" Is pardon desirable to a wretch condemned ? Is she cooling Great desirable to the parched pilgrim, and bread to the hun