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us with the extent of it :-“ He hath remem " bered his mercy and truth toward the house “ of Israel, and all the ends of the world have “ seen the salvation of our God.”—“ He hath « remembered his mercy and truth toward the « house of Israel.”—Doth God then ever forget to be gracious ? or doth he not always remember the promises which he made to a thousand generations? Far be it from the Almighty thus to deal with his creatures: we are fluctuating and unstable; but God is the rock of ages; in whoin is no variableness, neither shadow of turning: he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. But he is said to remember his mercy and truth toward the house of Israel, because he now performed what he long before promised in due time should come to pass : for God hath given mankind hopes of this great salvation, even from the beginning of the world : and he afterwards particularly renewed the promise of it to Abraham and Jacob, and to their posterity from time to time, which is here, called the House of Israel. And from thence he is said in another place, “ to remember his holy co-6 venant, and the oath which he sware unto " our father Abraham.” And from hence it was, that the Jews had a prior claim to all the world in the interests of the Saviour, who was Lorn as on this day: for though redemption by
Christ Christ be common to all nations, yet salvation was peculiarly of the Jews. Christ was to be born of their stock, and of Jewish, parents ; which therefore made Simeon justly call him, “ A light to lighten the Gentiles, but the glory 56 of the people of Israel.” For the same reason the Gospel was preached first to the Jews, and not to the Gentiles till after they had refused it. And agreeably to this, St. Paul stiles our Sa. viour Truth in respect of the Jews, and Mercy in respect of the Gentiles; because to the one, he was directly promised, but not to the other. And this is what the Psalinist also here expresses,“ He hath remembered his mercy and s truth toward the house of Israel.” .. .
But, blessed be God, the knowledge of sąlyation is now no longer confined to the Jews: the partition wall is broken down, and all the ends of the world have seen the salvation of God. Nay, so much is the face of things changed, that we, who were once sinners of the Gentiles, enjoy the bțight sunshine of heavenly trụth, whilst his once favoạrite people are shut up in wilful and gross darkness. Let their fate, therefore, be a warning to ourselves, and whilst with pity we look down upon their forlorn and desperate condition, let us take care not to pro#3
voke God by our sinful ingratitude to reduce us to the same state of blindness and infidelity.
So sensible was the Psalmist of the gratitude we owe to God for the work of our redemption, that, in the following verses, he calls upon all creatures to rejoice and praise his name for so inestimable a blessing. He first addresses himself to men:-“Shew yourselves joyful unto the 6. Lord, all ye lands.; sing, rejoice, and give ** thanks. Praise the Lord upon the harp; < sing to the Lord with a psalm of thanksSsgiving. With trumpets also and shawms, 0 16 shew yourselves joyful before the Lord the 6. King.”
And surely, if we rightly consider, we cannot want much exhortation to join in this language of triumph. The very thought that the great God of heaven condescends to be mindful of us, is enough to dry up our tears and comfort our hearts : but when we farther consider, that out of his exceeding great love towards us, he condescended to take our nature upon him, and to visit us, as at this time, in great humility; that he submitted to poverty, shame, and reproach ; and at length died upon the cross, to save us from éternal death, and procure for us everlasting life; this cannot but fill our hearts with joy,
and our tongues with praises, This is such an inexpressible blessing of God that the Psalınist thought all the voices of all the men that ever ļived upon the earth insufficient to declare it, and therefore he farther calls upon all creatures, things animate and inanimate, to join in the general chorus of exultation : -" Let the sea so make a noise,” says he, "and all that therein “ is; the round world, and they that dwell " therein. Let the floods clap their hands, and " let the hills be joyful together before, the “ Lord.” The meaning of which is, That as the inanimate things here mentioned have a · share in our deliverance, so, if they were endued with sense and voice, as we are, they would testify their joy by some outward signs and demon. strations. For sin has so debased the works of nature, and made such havock in the world, that even inanimate things feel the sad effects of: it; which made St. Paul say, “The creature “ itself was made subject to vayity;" and " that by reason of sin the whole creation "groaneth and travaileth together in pain.” But through the redemption of Jesus Christ, sin is destroyed, and the creatures re-instated in their former dignity ; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; therefore, if they had any knowledge of . 1 4
what passed in the world before the coming of our Saviour, as they would be sensibly affected with grief for the sad effects of sin, so now they would testify their joy, if they, like us, could see what wonderful works the Son of God hath wrought for us. For this reason, therefore, it is, that the Psalmist calls upon them all to be joyful before the Lord.
And to strengthen the cause of this universal joy, he farther adds, “ For he is come to “ judge the earth : with righteousness shall he * judge the world, and the people with equity." The scripture says, “The Lord comes," as often as he manifests his presence in any place, either by some remarkable effect of his goodness, or by some visible symbol of his majesty: but here by his coming is properly meant that great and remarkable display of his mercy, when he really came in person; when he took our nature upon him, and came into the world by that miracụ. lous birth, which we this day commemorate. It is not therefore à prophet, or an angel, or a seraph, or the highest of the heavenly host, that cometh to judge the world, but the only begotten Son of the Father :-it is that Jesus who was foretold by the prophets; who was born of a virgin ; whom the wise men of the east, directed by a star, came to worship; whom Herod