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shipped and served the Creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever: Rom. i. 23, 25.
What . paffed for Religion among them, and which was established by their Laws, and interwoven into all their Systems of Policy, was an absurd Polytheism and Idolatry. And even their wise Men and Philosophers, instead of reclaiming them from their idolatrous Superstition, countenanced it by their Maxims, and fell in with it in their Practice. They were at the famo Time sunk into the most monstrous Depravity and Corruption of Manners; of which St. Paul gives a most striking Description, Rom. i. 26–32. And, as to the Jews, the only People among whom the Knowledge and Worship of the true God free from Idolatry were preserved, some of them, as the Sadducees, denied a future State ; others, as the Pharisees, the most applauded Sect among them, turned Religion into a mere outward Form and Shew, to the Neglect of real substantial Piety and Virtue; and by their corrupt Gloffes perverted the true Defign of the moral Law, and made it of na Effect by their Traditions. They had also, for the most part, loft and perverted the true Sense and Meaning of the antient Prophecies relating to that great Saviour whom they professed to expect. Instead of spiri
tual Blessings, and a spiritual Salvation, they had their Hearts wholly fixed upon worldly Enjoyments and Advantages, which they trusted he would procure for them in the highest Degree ; and that he would bring all other Nations into Subjection to them. And it appears from their own Historian Josephus, that the People in general were become exceedingly corrupt in their Prace tice. It might therefore be said, as St. Johra represents it, that the whole World lay in Wickedness. I John v. 19. The true Sense of Religion seemed to be in Effect loft among Men : And the State of Things was continually growing woise and worte, por was there any Prospect of recovering froin it without an extraordinary Interpofition of Heuven.
At this Time and in these Circumstances it was, that the wonderful Person, who had been so long promised' and foretold, made his actual Appearance in the World. And the Design of his Coming is thus representa ed by himself, and by those that published the Gospel in his Name, and under the Direction of his Spirit ; That þe was the Light of the World, and came to give Light to them that fat in Darkness, and in the Shadow of Deaib; and bath brought Life and Immortality to Light : That he came to seek and ta
save thot which was loft : That whosoever believeth in him svould not perish, but should bave everlasting Life : That he was sent to blejs us in turning us away from' our Iniqui, ties, and to proclaim Deliverance to the Captives ; that, being freed from their miserable Bondage to Sin and Satani, they might be made Partakers of the glorious Liberty of the Children of God: That he came to give bis Life a Ransom for many, and to sked his Blood for the Remision of Sins, and to bring us out of a State of Condemnation and Wrath into a State of Peace and Reconciliation with God: Finally, For this Purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy ihe Works of the Devil, and be the Author of a glorious Resurrection and eternal Salvation to all them that obey him.
This is a general Account of the salutary Design of Christ's Coming into the World; which must therefore fill the Heart of a good Man with a Uncere and solid Joy. Justly did the Angel declare, when he published the Redeemer’s Birth, Behold, I bring you good Tidings of great Joy, 'which shall be to all People ; for unto you is born a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord ; and with the Angel there was a Multitude of the heavenly Holt, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, on Earth Peace, Good
will towards Men. Luke ii. 10, 11, 13, 14. Surely then it becomes us of the human Race to rejoice, who are more nearly concerned; and this is what I propose distinctly to fhew in the farther Prosecution of this Subject.
On Delighting in the gracious Methods of
our Redemption by Jesus Christ.
We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom we have received the Atonement,
HE Redemption of Mankind by
Jesus Christ is a glorious Subject for our Thoughts, and exhibiteth such marvellous Displays of the Divine Wildom, Grace, and Love, as tend to excite in the believing Soul the highest Emotions of Joy and Admiration. It was observed in the preceding Discourse, that, accordįng to the Representation made to us in Scripture, the wise and benevolent Scheme