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and the stars their influence. He is the great origin of our being, and of all existence; universal nature owns him its sovereign and its head. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Let us enter his courts with thanksgiving, and his gates with praise.

II. Christ is the beginning, considered as Mediator.He is the origin of the church of God; it is he that raises it out of the ruins of the fall. Had it not been for him, it would have had no existence. Is it a temple? He builds it, and is the foundation on which it rests. Is it a garden? He plants it, encloses and separates it from the wilderness, and makes it the object of his delight and care. He is also the beginning to individual saints. Our life is from his death, and all the streams of blessedness flow from his inexhaustible fulness.-More particularly,

1. He is the source and origin of reconciliation, and the beginning of our peace with God. We are by nature in a state of enmity with God, and obnoxious to his displeasure this makes reconciliation necessary, and the whole of it is to be ascribed to the mediation of Christ. Those who were sometimes far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ; for he is our peace, who hath made both one. The word of reconciliation is committed to ministers, and by them it is dispensed; but the work of reconciling sinners unto God, belongs to Jesus only. The great and leading truth of the gospel is, "that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Here our prayers and our tears have no influence; neither our own work, nor the work of the Holy Spirit on our hearts, contribute any thing towards making our peace with God. There is no admission to the divine favour, without a satisfaction to divine justice; and Christ made that satisfaction by his offering on the Without shedding of blood there is no remis

cross.

sion; and when the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sin, Christ offered his own blood once for all, through which we have the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace. When Christ

said, it is finished; the law said, I am satisfied, and God is well pleased. In beholding a bleeding Saviour, we see a reconciled God. Fury is not in me, says the great and eternal Judge; though he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and will by no means clear the guilty. How this is effected, is admirably described by that voice from the excellent glory, which said, "This is my beloved Son," not only with whom, but " in whom I am well pleased."

2. Christ is the beginning, in reference to the change wrought in us by regenerating grace. This change, which is begun in this world and completed in the next, is generally ascribed to the Holy Spirit; yet herein he acts as the Spirit of Christ, in his name and by his authority. "He shall glorify me," says the Saviour; "for he shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you." He conveys to us all spiritual blessings out of the fulness of Christ; and there is not an act that he performs, but Christ is both its origin and end. In the economy of redemption, he is Christ's servant, even as Christ is the Father's servant. Thus the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, is said to make us free from the law of sin and death. Both our title to hea ven, and our meetness for heaven, have their beginning in Christ. He is the source of our holiness as well as of our happiness. Christ within us is the hope of glory, with respect to preparation, as Christ without us is the ground on which it is bestowed. Our eyes are blind till he opens them, and our hearts hard till he softens them. We have no spiritual taste or feeling till be imparts them, and we lie in the grave of corruption till he says, Come forth! Hence it is one of his glorious cha racters, that he is The Life; even that Eternal Life which was with the Father, and is manifested unto us.

We cannot properly be said to have a being till we have life; and that life is alone from Christ. For in him was life, and the life was the light of men. He gives it at first and more abundantly afterwards. Hence an apostle could say, I live, yet not I, but Christ,liveth in me.

3. With respect to the resurrection at the last day, Christ is also the beginning. His resurrection was the pattern and the pledge of the resurrection of all the saints, manifesting both its nature and certainty. He is the first-begotten from the dead, and the first-fruits of them that slept. The same Spirit that revived and quickened him, shall quicken the mortal bodies of all his saints. They virtually arose with him; are made to sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus; and shall actually be raised by that mighty power, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself. Because I live, says he, ye shall live also. The very flesh that lies rotting in the grave, and has been the food of worms, is united to Christ; and in virtue of that union, shall be raised again, and corruption shall put on incorruption, that mortality may be swallowed up of life. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1). We may from hence learn, the honour that is due to Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. It was foretold that he should be great, and he is so. In all things he has the pre-eminence, and to him alone is the glory due. Oh how excellent is his name in all the earth; his glory is above the heavens! When God raised him from the dead, he set him at his own right hand, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under

his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

(2). As Christ is the foundation and the beginning of all spiritual blessings, so these blessings can belong to none but such as are in him. Not one word of comfort is spoken in the scriptures, nor any blessing promised to unbelievers; they possess nothing that is worth possessing, and have a right to nothing that is worth enjoying. Those who are without Christ, are without holiness, and without hope. Salvation never comes to any house, or to any heart, till Christ is first received ; and those who have him, shall inherit all things.

(3). He who is the beginning is also the end; and this secures the happiness of all the saints. He who has begun the good work, will complete it; and he who is the author, will also be the finisher of faith. He has put his hand to the plow, and will not look back. He has loved his own which are in the world, and he will love them to the end. His hand has laid the foundation, and he will bring forth the top-stone with shoutings, grace, grace unto it. "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, oh Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the work of thine own hands-now unto him, who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

SERMON II.

ISAIAH XXXVii. 4.

Lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.

HEZEKIAH being both distressed and alarmed at the invasion of his land by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sends some of his chief officers to the prophet Isaiah, entreating him to use his interest in the court of heaven, in behalf of himself and his afflicted people; hoping that God would be prevailed upon to scatter the gathering clouds; or if not, it would afford some satisfaction that they had not been wanting in their application to him. If prayer be answered, the blessing coming in that way will be doubly sweet; but if not, prayer itself affords some relief. The possibility of acceptance and success is a sufficient motive to the duty Lift up therefore thy prayer for the remnant that is left.

1. The person who is to engage in the work of intercession, was one of great eminence in the church and commonwealth, a good and a great man, a prophet of the Lord, and one who was indulged with peculiar nearness to him. To such a one, prayer is not only a duty, but a delight. Others ought to pray; but he can pray, and cannot but pray. Persons of eminent piety will not be contented with ordinary applications to the throne of grace; they will seek till they find, and wrestle till they prevail. Therefore lift up thy prayer, oh man of God; for the prayer of the righteous availeth much.

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