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gry perihing wretch ? Is the friendly haven defirable to the tenupeft-tolied mariner, and liberty to the languishing captive ? What then to an ignorant, guilty, perishing world must that wonderful man be whom Providence has railed up to be “a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempeft ; as rivers of water in a dry place ; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
But what if when he shall appear, defirable as he is, a blind world shall lee" no forın or comeliness in him, no beauty why he should be desired ?" Afflicting thought ! "He was despised and rejected of men ?" "He came to his own and his own received him not.” They" denied the holy one, and the just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto them.” The cry was “away with him, crucify him ;" his “ blood be upon us and upon our children !" O Lord, remove the film from the eyes of those prejudiced Jews; dispose them to receive “ The Prince of Peace,” fet him be all their falvation and all their desire. Lord, remove the film from my eyes that I may see in him, whom God the Father hath sent and sealed, one " fairer than the children of men ; into whofe lips grace is poured :" that though he may be " unto the Jews a stumbling Llock, and unto ihe Greeks foolishness, He may be unto us who believe, Chrift, the power of God, and the wisdom of Cod." Amen.
LECTURE LECTURE IV.
LUKE I. 11-20. And there appeared unto him an Angel of the Lord landing on
the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias jaw him he was troubled and fear fell upon him. But the Angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: For thy prayer is heard ; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear theerfon, and thore fhalt call his name Juhn. And thou shalt have joy and giad. ness; and many fall rejoice at his birth. For he fall be great in the fight of the Lord, and Mall drink reither - wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filed with the Holy Gholt, ever from his mother's womb. and many of the children of Ifrael fall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and Power of Elas, to turn the hearts of the Fathers to the children, and the d /obedient to the wi/dom of the jujt ; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the singel, whereby shall I know this ? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the Angel answering said unto him, I am Gabrie el, that stand in the presence of God; and am fent to speak unio thee, and to fhew thee these glad traings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believejt not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their Jeason,
" THE prophecy came not in old time by the will of man;
1 but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Being determined through the course of these exercises to avoid every thing that has the appearance of controversy, I take it for granted that you believe and receive the history of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as delivered in the four gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as of divine inspiration and authority. Of the four Evangelists two were of the number of the twelve whom Chrift called to the office of apostleship. and who recorded events of which they were witnesses and partakers, and transcribed discourses which they beard and well remembered. The other two derived their in.
formation immediately from those "who from the beginning were eye" witnefles and ministers of the word.” Their harmony, in every particular of any importance, is a proof of the truth and certainiy of each individually, and of the whole. John, as one borne aloft on the wings of an eagle, ascends into the heaven of heavens, and begins his account of his beloved Master with a sublime and interesting representation of his divine nature'; for which we refer you to Lecture I. Mark introduces "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God," with the voice of a lion “crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” 'Luke ushers in the great Propbet, "the desire of all nations,'' with an account of the conception and birth of his forerunner John the Baptist, and is of courfe led 10 extract the commencement of the evangelical, out of the legal dispensation ; and he sets out with exhibiting Zacharias in the exercise of the priest's office. Matthew commences at once with the history of Christ's humanity, as the son of Da. vid, the son of Abraham. For these reasons, the four sacred historians of the New Testament dispensation have been diftinguished by corresponding symbolical representations, analogous to the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, Matthew by the face of a man, Mark by that of a lion, Luke by that of an ox, and John by that of an eagle."
St. Luke was by profession a physician ; he became early a proselyte to the Jewish religion, and he is generally supposed to have been one of Christ's first disciples, and ot the number of the seventy whom “ He sent out two and two into every city and place, whither he himselt would come." After he had concluded the history of our Lord himself, at the period of his ascension into heaven, he undertook that of the acts of the Apostles, and he addresses both his books io a person of amiable character and exalted ránk, named Theophilus, and in him, to every lover of God, in every age of the Church, who is desirous to kņow" the ceriainiy of the things wherein he has been instructed.” On the conversion of St. Paul to the Chriftian faith, he seems to have attached himself with much zeal and affection to that great Apostle of the Gentiles, he be came voluntarily the companion of his travels and afflictions, and brought down his history to his arrival at Rome as a prisoner, on an appeal to the Emperor Nero. His gospel and history of the acts were probably submitted to the inspection of his illuftrious fellow-traveller, and received the leal of his approbation. In the preface to the gospel inscribed with his
name, name, he modestly, yet with firmness, lays claim to the great, the essential qualification of a historian, namely, accurate and complete information respecting his subject," having,” says he,' had perfect underitanding of all things, from the very first:" and the profesled end which he had in view is no less worthy of a great and enlighiened mind, that a respected friend might be established in the knowiedge, faith, and hope of the gospel. The tonguç of prophecy had now been Gtent for more than four hundred years. The last word which it had spoken announced the sending of Elijah the prophet, to precede the great and notable day of the Lord, to work a remarkable change in the temper and character of mankind, to prevent the earth from being “ smitten with a curse.”
A period of darkness and disorder succeeded. The land which had been for ages so renowned in history seems as if blotted out of the globe ; the people, which had been hung up as a sign before the eyes of so many successive generations, seems to be extinguished and loft ; the predi&tions and promises which conferred upon them such high importance, and du. zation so extended, leem to have been deteated and rendered of no effect. The throne of David, whose permanency was so often, and so folemnly declared, has funk into the earth and disappeared. The representative of the royal line of Judah is sunk into an humble carpenter: and all hope of revival is at an end. But the Lord hath spoken and shall he not do it, he hath promised and shall be not bring it to pass ? Yes, but not at the season, nor in the way which human wisdom would have prescribed, nor by means which human wisdom would have employed. Behold light once more, and suddenly, shines out of darkness : the land of Israel rises once more into importance ; Jerusalem rears her head among the nations, the kar ot Jacob arises, " a rod springs out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots;" and the glory of the latter temple eclipses that of the former, "The Evangelist informs us that at this eventful pericd Herod was King of Judea. “Princes are often among the inferior actors in the great drama of Providence. Their will shakes the nations of the earth, but the hearts and arms of Kings themselves are in the hands of the Lord, to be by hirn turned which way Toever he will. This man has by some been dignified with the addition of "the great ;" an appellation more fre. quently bestowed as a reward to splendid vice, than as a trib. • ute to modest merit. Herod the great! and yet a paltry substitute of a Roman Emperor, an habitual Nave to the vilest of hu.
man passions, envy, lust, jealousy, cruelty, revenge. The inspired perman gives him no names, either go d or bad, but simply tells his story as far as it is connected with that of Him by whom “ Kings reign and Princes decree judgment.” The reign of Herod to us ferves merely as a prologue to introduce the more important name and history of an ancient, obscure prie it called Zacharias, and our attention is instantly called away from the splendor, noise and intrigue of a busy, vain-glo. rious, debauched court, to contemplate the humble concerns of a private family, and the noiseless performance of a religous. service.
How different are the ideas affixed to the terms great and little by sober reason and popular opinion, by the wildom of . God and the folly of man! Weighed in the balance of the fanctuary, Herod tawning on Augustus, or on one of his ta. vorites, diffolved in luxury, Itained with blood, inflamed with · resentment, is little and contemptible ; while the aged priest, reconciled to the will of God, who had written him childlefs, purluing the calm tenor of his way, fulfilling the unoftentatious duties of his place and itation, " rigtheous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless,” çommands affection, etteem and respect. This venerable pair, Zacharias and Elizabeth, were both of the tribe of Levi, on which the office of priesthood was entailed. Boh nature and religion taught them to consider the gift of children as a blessing; but the hope of that blessing they seem now calmly to have refigned, and they are quietly linking into the decline of lite, if not with the confolation of leaving their name and office to their children, poflelling nev. ertheless that of mutual affection, of a devout spirit and a conscience void of offence. The midnight of nature is the dawning of the day of grace; and he who in wisdom and justice brings to nought the wisdom of the worldly prudent, “ raiseth up tne poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill, that he may set him with princes, even with the prin. ces of his people. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.”
The Prince of Peace is ready to make his public entrance on the grand theatre, and it is time for his harbinger to pre. pare the way, and for the herald to announce his approach. And where shall we look for him ? Turn your eyes to Judea. to Jerusalem, to the temple. See, the lot is prepared, to determine whose turn it should be to burn incense before the Lord in the holy place. Providence prelides over it, and