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SERMON ment made by Christ; and by the strong
expressions which are used in describing
are capable of behold-
It produces consequences too extensive for us to explore. God's thoughts are not as our thoughts. In all things we see only in part ; and here, if any where, we see also as through a glass, darkly.
This, however, is fully manifest, that redemption is one of the most glorious works of the Almighty. If the hour of
the creation of the world was great and SERMON illustrious; that hour, when, from the dark and formless mass, this fair system of nature arose at the Divine command ; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy; no less illustrious is the hour of the restoration of the world ; the hour when, from condemnation and misery, it emerged into happiness and peace.
With less external majesty it was attended, but is, on that account, the more wonderful, that, under an appearance so simple, such great events were covered.
III. In this hour the long series of prophecies, visions, types, and figures, was accomplished. This was the centre in which they all met: This the point towards which they had tended and verged, throughout the course of so many generations. You behold the Law and the Prophets standing, if we may speak 'so, at the foot of the cross, and doing homage. You behold Moses and Aaron bearing the ark of the covenant; David and Elijah presenting the oracle of testimony. You be
SERMON hold all the priests and sacrifices, all the
rites and ordinances, all the types and symbols assembled together to receive their consummation. Without the death of Christ, the worship and ceremonies of the Law, would have remained a pompous, but unmeaning institution. In the hour when he was crucified, the book with the seven seals was opened. Every rite assumed its significancy; every prediction met its event; every symbol displayed its correspondence.
The dark, and seemingly ambiguous, method of conveying important discoveries. under figures and emblems, was not peculiar to the sacred books. The spirit of God, in presignifying the death of Christ, adopted that plan, according to which the whole knowledge of those early ages was propagated through the world. Under the veil of mysterious, allusion, all wisdom was then concealed. From the sensible world, images were every-where borrowed, to describe things
More was understood to be meant, than was openly expressed. By. enigmatical rites, the Priest communi
cated his doctrines; by parables and al- SERMON legories, the Philosopher instructed his disciples; even the Legislator, by figurative sayings, commanded the reverence of the people. Agreeably to this prevailing mode of instruction, the whole dispensation of the Old Testament was so conducted, as to be the shadow and the figure of a spiritual system. Every remarkable event, every distinguished personage, under the Law, is interpreted in the New Testament, as bearing some reference to the hour of which we treat. If Isaac was laid upon the altar as an innocent victim ; if David was driven from his throne by the wicked, and restored by the hand of God; if the brazen serpent was lifted up to heal the people ; if the rock was smitten by Moses, to furnish drink in the wilder
all were types of Christ, and alluded to his death.
In predicting the same event the language of ancient prophecy was magnificent, but seemingly contradictory: For it foretold a Messiah, who was to be at once a sufferer and a conqueror. The Star was to come out of Jacob, and the Branch to I 3
SERMON spring from the stem of Jesse. The Angel of
the Covenant, the Desire of all Nations, was to come suddenly to his temple ; and to him was to be the gathering of the people. Yet, at the same time, he was to be despised and rejected of men; he was to be taken from prison and from judgment, and to be led as a lamb to the slaughter. Though he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, yet the Gentiles were to come to his light, and Kings to the brightness of his rising. In the hour when Christ died, those prophetical riddles were solved; those seeming contradictions were reconciled. The obscurity of oracles, and the ambiguity of types, vanished.
The sun of righteousness rose; and, together with the dawn of religion, those shadows passed away.
IV. This was the hour of the abolition of the Law, and the introduction of the Gospel; the hour of terminating the old and of beginning the new dispensation of religious knowledge and worship throughout the earth. Viewed in this light, it forms the most august æra which is to be found in the history of mankind, When