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SERMON XXVI.

PSALM xlv. 2.—-Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

THIS Psalm relates to Jesus Christ, and to the spiritual marriage and unity that is betwixt Christ and his Church.' The latter half, beginning at the ninth verse, contains commendations, admonitions, and promises addressed to the Bride; but the praises of the Royal Bridegroom are placed foremost, as they ought to be. The Psalmist, full of the Spirit of prophecy, can scarcely stop to inform us what that "good matter" is, which his "heart is inditing" -can scarcely state that his poem is in honour of "the King"-before he bursts into that expression of admiring adoration, which you have heard in the text.

My business with you then, this morning, is to speak of Christ; a subject never unacceptable to them that love him; least of all when they meet together to partake of the appointed memorials of that love, wherewith "he first loved them."1 Behold, therefore,

I. THE EXCELLENCE OF HIS BEAUTY. art fairer than the children of men."

"Thou

1. It is not the beauty of his Person, on which the Psalmist dwells with such admiration.-Some have indeed imagined that he, who in all other respects

1 1 John iv. 19.

excelled his fellow-men, must also in outward form have possessed the same superiority. On this head, however, Scripture is wholly silent; it might even be supposed from some passages, that his countenance was deficient in comeliness. Thus Isaiah foretels

concerning him-"His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men." 1 If indeed he possessed any external beauty in early life, yet sorrow, poverty, and hardship seem to have brought on something like premature infirmity; as we may conjecture from the language addressed to him, when little more than thirty, by persons who could only judge of his age from his looks-"Thou art not yet fifty years old.'

2

But inquiries of this kind are vain. There is no real value in personal beauty. Joseph in the house of Potiphar had little cause to be thankful for it: it was to him an occasion of danger-it has often been the cause of sin.-." Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but the woman "-the man-" that feareth the Lord, they shall be praised."3 No! it is for nothing of this kind that the son of Mary claims our admiration-but for

2. The beauty of his Character. Here it is, that Christ was "fairer than the children of men." I will not, in this connection, speak of his Divinitythat sets him above all human comparison; nor of his human wisdom that is an excellence not always deserving of praise. Christ had a more transcendent beauty:

He was unstained by Sin.—Of no other human being could this ever be said. The Christian, even in his righteousnesses-much more in his remaining corruptions-is ashamed to be closely looked upon. He

1 Isaiah lii. 14. 2 John viii. 57. 3 Proverbs xxxi. 30.

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"Hide thy face from my sins," for "I abhor myself! " 2 And how much more abominable and filthy is man," in his natural state, "which drinketh iniquity like water!" 3-But nothing of this kind was to be found in Jesus. Both in his original nature, in his acquired habits, and in his visible conduct, he was without sin. He was (what his people hope one day to become) harmless and undefiled; "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." But, further, He was glorious in Holiness. To do the will of God, was his "meat" 6-equally natural to him, equally gratifying and habitual, equally necessary to his very existence. "Whatsoever things were true— whatsoever things were honest-whatsoever things were just-whatsoever things were pure-whatsoever things were lovely-whatsoever things were of good report; if there were any virtue, if anything praiseworthy; all, all were found in him, at all times-in the highest perfection-in full and harmonious union.-And this may shew us the reason, why men in general are so blind to the excellences of the character of Christ. Unconverted sinners have no love for holiness, and therefore cannot set a due value on Him, who in this respect was fairer than the children of men." has, in their estimation,

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no form nor comeliness, neither is there any beauty that they should desire him." No, brethren; a new birth is required, if we would see his features as they really are. Once become "partaker" (in however small a degree)" of the Divine nature; "9 and you will then "behold his glory. . . . full of grace and truth." 10 You will "count all things but loss, for the excellency of the

1 Psalm li. 9.

5 Eph. v. 27.

8 Isaiah liii. 2.

2 Job xlii. 6. 3 Job xv. 16.

6 See John iv. 34.

9 2 Peter i. 4.

4 Heb. vii. 26. 7 Phil. iv. 8.

10 John i. 14.

2

knowledge" of him. You will say "How great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty!" And if such be the admiration of his disciples, while they "walk by faith," what must be the rapture of those glorious inhabitants of the heavenly world, who see his face continually! Brethren, "all the angels of God" are at this moment "worshipping him; " 3 while the spirits of the just find their highest bliss, in beholding his glory, and singing his praises.

But again, the Psalmist dwells upon

II. THE GRACE OF HIS COMMUNICATIONS. For the Son of God did not remain at a distance, contented with the worship of angels and the love of his Father. He " was made flesh, and dwelt among us." And "what manner of communications" were those which he held with us, ignorant and sinful beings? They were all marked with grace. Never did he open his mouth, but it appeared that "grace was poured into his lips."-This may refer to

1. The gracefulness of his address. It was noticed even by his unbelieving countrymen at Nazareth-for "all marvelled, at the graceful words which proceeded out of his mouth; "4 and, on another occasion-" How knoweth this man letters?"5 Thus many admire the style of his Gospel-they call it affecting, elegant, beautiful-who look no further. Even the Infidel, with an air of insolent condescension, allows that 'there are some fine things in the bible!!' Nay, a man may feel a secret awe, like that which made the officers exclaim-" Never man spake like this man! "6 and yet not discover the real grace which flows from his lips. It is to be seen, chiefly, in

1 Phil. iii. 8.
+ Luke iv. 22.

2 Zech. ix. 17.

5 John vii. 15.

3 Heb. i. 6.
6 John vii. 46.

2. The graciousness of his words.-What do they make known to us-what do they proclaim? Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord." 1 To the " labouring and heavy-laden," he cries-"Come unto me, and I will give you rest!" To the afflicted-" Weep not ! " 3

To the

Even over the

To the guilty. I have found a Ransom! "4 faithful-"Ye are my friends! "5 obstinate he sheds the tear of compassion—“ If thou hadst known, even thou, the things that belong unto thy peace! "6 Nay, go and hear those lips yourself: how does he speak to Zaccheus ? to Nathanael? to the widow at Nain? to the woman that was a sinner? to the dear family at Bethany? Is it not all grace, love, and affection? Is the grace scanty? is it not "poured into his lips?" But again, hear him speaking-not to Apostles, not to Jews only, not to those alone who saw, touched, and handled him—but to YOU! Yes, to you he says it-"Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth!"7 Hear again"Whosoever will, let him come ! "I will in no wise cast him out." 8 Go back and listen to that gracious prayer which he makes for his Apostles, and observe how it proceeds-" Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also that shall believe on me through their word." 9 O sinner, whosoever thou art, that prayer was for thee, if thou wilt but accept the grace which it describes. To thee at this moment he is saying- All things are ready; repent-believe my gospel-and be happy for evermore!'-What is this, but grace? unmerited, rich, overflowing grace-poured into, and falling from, the lips of him, who is "fairer

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