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indeed the child of promise long before the patriarchal dispensation spread itself abroad in the land of Canaan. By faith, even in the most early days, the elders obtained a good report; offered an acceptable sacrifice'.

and by faith, Abel This could not have

been the case without an original revelation.

And if

we penetrate a little nearer to the first spring of salvation, we shall witness a grateful promise indeed, that the offspring of our first parents, who brought sin into the world and all our woe, should ultimately bruise the serpent's head, and "through death, destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil "." That this is a great mystery must be acknowledged; but, as a confirmed doctrine of the Gospel, must be believed―believed, not merely as an historic fact, but as the foundation of our Christian dispensation. The purpose doubtless is most beneficial; and though the Almighty has permitted the enemy of our salvation to "walk about seeking whom he may devour "," we may rest assured that he will be permitted to devour none but those who, virtually or really, renounce the allegiance of our God and Saviour.

If we have evidence of this inestimable promise, disbelief of it becomes tenfold sinful. The distinction of the Apostle is this-" Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith." When we perceive, then, a long train of prophecy bearing

1 Heb. xi. 2.

2 Heb. ii. 14.

3 1 Pet. v. 8.

4 Rom. xi. 20.

on this one event, when we have been enabled to see that event accomplished; when we live after the fact, and are made acquainted with the inestimable benefits to be derived from it; that the child of promise has bruised the serpent's head, by being himself bruised, and put to grief as a substitute for those who had been led astray by the wiles of the seducing serpent; when the blessings of his appearance have been felt in the breasts of the faithful; when the Comforter has come to soothe the orphan hearts of the miserable and heavy-laden-what can we say but that the voice of joy and gladness has cheered the desert, that "the branch of the Lord is beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel1!"

To enumerate the prophecies, would here be out of place; but to lay the elect corner-stone on this foundation, as the peculiar grounds of spiritual deliverance, is to establish a principle, which infidelity, with its fullest train of sophistry, is unable to remove, or destroy.

As the original sin of our first parents was the sole cause of the loss of their happy abode, and degraded and obscured the fine faculties with which they were endowed; as that sin has been but too fatally transmitted to their posterity in every succeeding age, and is still predominant in our own; the Almighty, in the depth of his divine mercy and goodness, proposed a

1 Isa. iv. 2.

deliverer to propitiate for his fallen creatures. The plan of Providence, as declared in the Scriptures of truth, was intimated in every age, obscurely perhaps at first; but sufficiently intelligible to excite hope; afterwards, in language that could not be mistaken; till at length the time came that Christ burst upon the world and completed the general joy.

1

I speak here collectively-waiving the hardness of the Jew and the resistance of the Gentile :-but anticipating that day of Messiah's triumph, that one day, if I may so say, when "the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying, Hosannah to the Son of David: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosannah in the highest '!" Is there any one duly impressed with the necessity of a Redeemer, with the true value of a Deliverer-and such a Deliverer !—“the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person "," and one "who, his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree;" is there any man so tame of soul, so destitute even of self-love, as not to hail his appearance with the most joyful acclamations?

This is, indeed, the advent of the child of promise : and to every one who receives him graciously, he is the child of promise still: as he enters no man's doors but with this benevolent assurance, this day is salvation come to this house. The promise is completed in

1 Mat. xxi. 9.

2 Heb. i. 3.

31 Pet. ii. 24.

4 Luke xix. 9.

the breast of every true believer—the fruit of David's body now rests on David's throne. Good old Simeon departed in peace when he had received the infant Jesus in his arms; and Anna, the venerable and aged prophetess, spake of him to all those that looked for redemption in Israel.

While our hearts are warm with expectation, let not our bodies faint with apprehension, either under the pressure of sin, sorrow, or affliction. These, indeed, are evils that no man can support without assistance far beyond his own; but he must not forget that help is at hand in the person of the promised child, who came with healing on his wings, with consolation sweet as his pure spirit, with salvation which his merits and his mercies only can communicate. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Rest then here on the omnipotence of this most explicit prophecy; repose with confidence that he who is all this, can bestow all that he possesses; and be assured, that the Prince of Peace is the holy child of promise.

May the benefits of this promise cheer and cherish the heart of every Christian: "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ "."

1 Isaiah ix. 6.

2 Tit. ii. 13.

III.-Expectation of the Messiah.

WHEN "all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not'," we may imagine that the expectation of the child of promise in the minds of the people of Judea, must have been in the highest degree of excitation. That this was really the case, the language of the Roman historians, and of Josephus, bears a striking testimony to the voice of sacred prophecy. "There was an ancient and general opinion," said Suetonius, "prevalent in all the east, that the Fates had decreed that at that time the superiority of power should spring from Judea"." The adaptation of this passage to the prophecy of Micah is very remarkable, "out of thee (Judea) he shall come forth unto me that is to be a ruler in Israel"." And Tacitus informs us, that "a great many were persuaded that it was contained in the ancient books of the priests, that at that very time the East should prevail, and that they who were to command were to spring from Judea." The final expression in both the historians is the same; ut Judad profecti rerum potirentur. By his reference to the ancient books of the priests, commentators suppose that Tacitus had the Jewish Scriptures in view, and referred to the prophecy of Zachariah, who describes the expected

2 Suet. Vesp. c. 5.

1 Luke iii. 15.
4 Tacit. 1. 21. c. 13.

3 Micah v. 2.

5 Zac. vi. 12.

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