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and the first promise of the Gospel; when Adam, by his awful apostacy from the path of rectitude, eternally benighted, not only himself, but all his posterity, in misery and woe: Thus was man in gross darkness, going headlong down to the pit of destruction, when, lo! a voice was heard which might well astonish both heaven and earth, for it was the voice of mercy, the Lord God saying, as it were, Suffer him not to go down to the pit, for I have found a ransom, Job *xxiii. 24. ; when, to the wonder of angels, and the astonishment of men, he said in effect, as he said with respect to the natural world, “ Let there be light."
When he gave that infinitely merciful and unspeakably precious promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent, Gen. iii. 15. this no doubt surprised Adam with joy inexpressible, and enkindled such a flame of gratitude in his soul as eternity itself shall never be able to extinguish.
This first promise of the gospel, like the natural dawn, unfolded itself still more and more, through all the Old Testament dispen
sation, until at length it shined in the perfect day in the new.
When Christ Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, arose with healing in his wings, and shone on our earth, in a body of flesh, for about the space of thirty-three years; though, indeed, he had no form nor comeliness in the eyes of those who were still in a natural state,---how salutary were his beams to those who believed in his name! He, to the apprehension of his enemies, finally set on the cross, when he yielded up the ghost : while the sun in the firmament hid his face with a sable covering, as ashamed to behold his Creator's sufferings ; and the vail of the temple rent in twain from top to bottom; to shew that the way to the holiest of all was then made clear, and the shadows of the morning, viz. the types and ceremonies of the Mosaical dispensation, terminated in the great antitype Christ Jesus, the Sun of righteousness; who, to the unspeakable joy of his people, but terror of his enemies, quickly arose from death, behind which cloud his humanity had set, for a very short time, ashering in the broad day of the everlasting gospel, to shine with additional splendour through all eternity. It is true, as he was God, his glory was the same from everlasting, and could admit of no increase---but as he was man, it certainly did : “ being “ found in fashion as a man, he humbled “ himself, and became obedient unto death, “ even the death of the cross; wherefore God “ also hath highly exalted him, and given “ him a name, which is above every name, “ that at the name of Jesus every knee “ should bow, of things in heaven, and things “ in earth, and things under the earth : And “ that every tongue should confess that Je* sus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the “ Father.” Phil. ii. 8, 9, 10, 11,
Since, now, “ life and immortality are” clearly “ brought to light through the gos“ pel,” 2 Tim. i. 10; and “ through the ten“ der mercy of our God the Day-spring from “ on high hath visited us,” Luke i. 78., even us, in this island of the sea, where our fathers “ who sat in darkness saw great light; “ and to them who sat in the region and sha"dow of death light is sprung up,” Matt. iv. 16. even him (who is the Sun of righteousness, with healing in his wings, Mal. iv. 2.) through whose blessed rays they saw their benighted situation, and were enabled to come out of the dark howling wilderness of sin, from the snares of Pagan and Romish superstition, and made to walk in the way everlasting, Psalm cxxxix. 24.; and since to us, their children, the light of the glorious gospel still shineth in our land, how ought we to rejoice in God our Saviour, who “ hath “ broken down the middle wall of partition,” Eph. ii. 14. and, as well as the Jews, hath visited the Gentiles with salvation.
For my part, I desire to sing with the sweet Psalmist of Israel, that “ the lines are fallen “ unto me in pleasant places,” Psalm xvi. 6.; May I walk in the light of his countenance, Psalm lxxxix, 15. while here, and at length enter into that “ city, which hath founda“ tions, whose builder and maker is God,” Heb. xi. 10.; where there is “ no need of $the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in “ it; for the glory of God” doth “ lighten " it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, and “ the nations of them which are saved shall 6 walk in the light of it,” Rev, xxi. 23, 24,
He, whose star conducted the wise men of the east to the humble place of his birth,
Matt. ii. 2. 9, 10. still “ holdeth the seven “ stars in his right hand,” Rev.ii. 1. ministers of the everlasting gospel, to direct those who are made wise to salvation, 2 Tim. iii. 15. ; not only in the east, but in north, south, east, and west, to that city of habitation, Psalm cvii. 3. 7., his kingdom of glory : May I follow their light, in so far as they are enlightened by the glorious Sun of righteousness, until at length I enjoy his beams in that land of bliss, where “ the inhabi“ tant shall not say, I am sick, and the peo“ ple that dwell therein shall be forgiven “ their iniquity,” Isa. xxxiii. 24., and reap that endless harvest of light and gladness, which is sown for the righteous and the upright in heart, Psalm xcvii. 11. in the springtime of grace, in the field of the everlasting gospel, by the good Husbandman, “ the Fa“ ther of mercies and the God of all com“ fort,” 2 Cor. i. 3.
Some of the inclosures into which it is divided, where this good seed is sown, are, the field of meditation and contemplation, the valley of prayer and praise, the green pastures of the Scriptures, and the mount of the preached gospel, with its verdant suma