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the money which he wanted to alleviate his captivity in Babylon. Yet, O Lord God, the Cod of the spirits of all flesh, is there any thing too hard for thee? Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy greut power, and by thy stretched-out arm. Thou art the great, the mighty God, the Lord of hosts is thy name ; great in counsel, and mighly in work.
3. Finally, God turneth the victories of Satan to the ruin of his empire. Here fix your attention upon the work of redemption ; for the perfections of God, which we celebrate to-day, are more illustriously displayed in it than in any other of the creator's wonders. It is, if I may be allowed to express myself so, the utmost effort of the, concurrence of the greatness of his counsels with the abundance of his power. I resume this subject, not for the sake of filling up my plan, but because my text cannot be well explained without it. Those inspired writers, who lived under the old testament dispensation, always mixed something of the gospel redemption with the temporal deliverances which they foretold.
One of the strongest reasons, that they urged to convince the Jewish exiles that God would restore their country to them, was that their return was essential to the accomplishment of the promises relating to the Messiah. Jeremiah particularly uses this method in the verses connected with the text. Why doth he exalt the greatness of God's counsel, and the abundance of his power? Is it only because, as he expresseth it, God would gather the Jews out of all countries whither he had driven them in his fury: so that men should buy fields in the places about Jerusalem ? ver. 37. No, but it is because he would make an everlasting covenant with them, ver. 40. It is because at that time he would cause the branch of righteousness to grow up unto David, ch. xxxii. 15. Who is this branch ? It is he of whom our prophet had before spoken in the twenty-third chapter of his prophecy: Behold the days come that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, ver. 5. It is he of whom Isaiah said, The branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, ch. iv. 2. It is he whom God promised by Zechariah after the captivity, in order to convince the Jews that the promises concerning the branch had not been accomplished by their release : Behold the man whose name is The Branch, he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord, ch. vi. 12. It is he whom the Jews themselves have acknowledged for the Messiah. It is the holy seed, who was promised to man after the fall, and who hath been the object of the church's hope
in all ages.
It is eminently in behalf of this branch that God hath displayed, as I said before, in all their grandeur, the abundance of his power, and the greatness of his counsel. I do not speak here of that counsel, which hath been from all eternity, in the intelligence of God, touching the redemption of mankind. My capacity is absorbed, I own, in contemplating so grand an object, and to admire and to exclaim seem more suitable to our finite minds than to attempt to fathom such a prodigious depth : for where is the genius that can form adequate ideas of a subject so profound ? A God, who from all eternity formed the plan of this universe: a God, who from all eternity foresaw whatever would result from its arrangement: a God, who, from all eternity, resolved to create mankind, although he knew from all eternity that they would
fall into sin, and plunge themselves into everlasting miseries : but a God, who, foreseeing from all eternity the malady, from all eternity provided the remedy: a God, who from everlasting determined to clothe his Son in mortal flesh, and to send him into the world: a God, who, according to the language of scripture, slew, in his design from all eternity, the Lamb
Rev. xiii. 8. But, I repeat it again, my brethren, it better becomes such feeble minds as ours to admire and exclaim, than to attempt to fathom. Let us content ourselves with beholding, in the execution of this divine plan, how the victories of Satan have subverted his empire.
What a victory for Satan, when that Redeemer, that king Messiah, whose advent had been announced with so much pomp and magnificence, appeared in a form so mean, and so inferior to the expectations which the prophecies had occasioned, and to the extraordinary work for which he came into the world, when he lodged in a stable, and lay in à manger!
What a triumph for Satan, when Jesus had no attendants but a few miserable fishermen, and a few publicans as contemptible as their master!
What a victory for Satan, when Jesus was apprehended as a malefactor, dragged from one tribunal to another, and in fine, condemned by his judges to die !
What a victory had Satan obtained, when the
ject of Israel's hopes was nailed' to an accursed tree, and there ended a life, upon which seemed to depend the salvation of mankind !
What a triumphant victory for Satan, when he had inspired the nation of the risen Redeemer to treat the report of his resurrection as an imposture, and to declare an everlasting war against him in the persons of all who durst declare in his favor!
But however, the more impracticable the redemption of mankind seemed, the more did God display the greatness of his counsel and the abundance of his power in effecting it; for he turned all the triumphs of Satan to the destruction of his dominion.
The Branch was lodged in a stable, the King of the universe did lie in a manger; but a star in the heavens announced his birth, angels conducted worshippers to him from the most distant eastern countries, and joined their own adorations to those of the wise men, who offered to him their gold, their frankincense and their myrrh.
His attendants were only a few fishermen and publicans; but this served the more effectually to secure his doctrine from the most odious objections that could be opposed against it. The meaner the vessel appears, the more excellent seems the treasure contained in it: the weaker the instruments employed in building the church appear, the more evident will the ability of the builder be. These fishermen confounded philosophers; these publicans struck the Rabbies dumb; the winds and the waves were subject to their authority; and to their com mands all the powers of nature were seen to bow.
He was apprehended like a malefactor, and crucified; but upon the cross he bruised the serpent's head while Satan vaunted of bruising his heel, Gen. iii. 15. Upon the cross he spoiled principalities and powers, and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it, Col. ii. 15.
He was wrapped in burying clothes, laid on a bier, and, with all the mournful furniture of death, deposited in a tomb : but by this he conquered death, and disarmed him of his sting, 1 Cor. XV.
56. By this he furnished thee, christian, with armour of proof against the attacks of the tyrant, who would enslave thee, and whose formidable approaches have caused thee so many fears.
He was rejected by his own countrymen, even after he had risen victorious from the tomb, laden with the spoils of the king of terrors, Job xviii. 14. but their rejection of him animated his apostles to shake off the dust from their feet against those execrable men, who, after they had murdered the master, endeavored to destroy the disciples, and put them upon lifting up the standard of the cross in every other part of the universe, and thus the heathen world was bound to his triumphal chariot, and the whole earth saw the accomplishment of those prophecies, which had foretold that he should reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. How great the counsel ! my dear brethren, how mighty the work ! Ah, Lord God, there is nothing too hard for thee. Thou art the great, the mighty God, the Lord of hosts is thy name, great in counsel, and mighty in work. Here we
may pause, and very properly come to a conclusion of this discourse; for, though we proposed at first to consider the greatness of God's counsel, and the omnipotence of his working, in a practical light, after having examined them speculatively, yet, methinks, the examination of the subject in one point of light, is the explication of it in both. When we have proved that God is great in counsel, and mighty in work, in my opinion, we have sufficiently shown, on the one hand, the extravagance of those madmen, who, in the language of the wise man, pretend to exercise wisdom and understanding and counsel against the Lord, Prov. xxi. 30. and, on the other, the wisdom of those, who, taking his laws for the only rules of