name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun : and men shall be blessed in him ; all nations shall call him blessed.” (1.) He was foreto!d by Isaiah as “ The Prince of Peace;" and it was added, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” (2.) On another occasion the prophet foretells that "With righteousness shall be judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.” He then proceeds in striking figures to foretell the conversion of savage and cruel men, tu kinder feelings, and the security and happiness which shall result therefrom to all mankind. « The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the

And the sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. THEY SHALL NOT HURT NOR DESTROY in all my holy mountain ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Chap. 11. In his later prophecies the man of God unfolded still more fully the gracious purposes

of the Redeemer's visit, and was lost in extacies of joy while he made known the happiness which he would bring to men.

He calls the afflicted nations to shake themselves from the dust of their mourning, and sing; and he calls on the earth and the heavens, on the inountains and the trees to join the song. “Sing, heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” - The Lord shall comfort Zion : he will comfort her waste places ; and he will make her wildemess like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Sing, O barren,

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

peace : the


thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing thou that didst not travail with child : for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.” “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comfort, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and thy foundations with sapphires. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with tains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall

up and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree : and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” " As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations.'


the fig tree,

of peace."

When the time of his appearance arrived he was hailed as the "day-spring from on high; to give light to them that sat in darkness and the shadow of death ; to guide our feet into the


He was announced as the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel ; as the light of the world, and the salvation of all the ends of the earth. A short time after he had entered on his public ministry he went into the synagogue at Nazareth, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings poor;

he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book and began to say unto them, «This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” As he proceeded in his work it was manifest that he was

to the

indeed the messenger so long expected, and that in him and in his followers the wonderful and gladdening prophecies of former days should be accomplished. “ He spake as never man spake,” and he wrought wonders such as never had been wrought before. “When John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another ? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” The people were astonished at his doctrine, they wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his inouth; and they were beyond measure astonished at his works, and rejoiced greatly for all the glorious things that were done by him.

He attended to no other business while on earth, but the work of doing good. All his words and all his labours were directed to this end, the welfare of mankind. “I am come that they might have life, said he, and that they might have it more abundantly." “God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." If we examine the work of Christ we shall find that he did whatever was necessary on his part to cure the miseries of men, and raise us to a state of present happiness and everlasting joys. Our miseries have their origin in ignorance and sin. These are the parents of all our sufferings on earth, and of all those sorrows which aların us in the future. Sometimes we are tormented with our own sins, and then again we are afflicted with the sins of others. Our ignorance and sin together give birth to all the troubles of our conscience, and to all our fears of death. Even death itself with all the pains and sorrows that attend it are but the elder born of sin. He therefore that would deliver men from


« For this pur

misery and tears, must do it by removing ignorance and destroying sin. He must impart the light of divine truth to men, and win their hearts to God. Such is the plan of redemption formed by God, and executed by his son Jesus Christ. I am the light of the world,” said be,

“ he that followeth me shall not walk in dark-
ness, but shall have the light of life.”
pose was I born, and for this cause caine I into the
world, that I might bear witness to the truth.” “Thou
shalt call his name Jesus,” said the Angel, “ for he
shall save his people from their sins.” “God having

his son Jesus,” said the Apostle,

“ hath sent him to bless you, by turning away every one of you from your iniquities."

To these objects he gave hi.nself through the whole period of his life, and for their attainment he sub-mitted to the bitterness and pains of death. He completed the revelations of God's will, and enriched the world with all the treasures of heavenly wisdom. He unveiled the character of God, and made plain the mysteries of Providence. He abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light; he destroyed him that had the power over death, even the Devil, and delivered those who all their life time were subject to bondage by the fear of death. Every thing that is needful for man's comfort and salvation he has taught, and every thing he taught he has made so plain, that the weakest mind may understand. He not only spoke the truth with his lips, but made it visible by his works. His life and death were sermons, in which he illustrated in the most striking and affecting way, the words that proceeded from his lips. The power, the wisdom and the love of God shone forth in every miracle, and the purity of the divine character was visible in all he said and did. By his Jabours and sufferings he completed the scheme for the world's regeneration, and when he ascended up on high, he sent down upon his disciples the gifts of the Holy Ghost, to enable them to spread the light

[ocr errors]

and blessings of salvation through the earth. Immediately hosts of new-made mer., armed with the power of God, and full of truth and charity, ran to and fro, teaching in every place the lessons of the Saviour, and turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.

The trembling and despairing Gentiles, who had lived without God and without hope, now learned to call the God of Heaven their Father, and to rejoice in hope of everlasting life. The despairing and brokenhearted slaves of superstition saw in the doctrine of Emmanuel the way of life ; and they wept aloud for joy; and thousands that had groped their way in darkness, and had been full of fear, now were joyful as the wrecked and drowning seaman who has reached the shore. In every country where the Gospel was preached a new and unbeard of race of men sprang forth, who neither coveted the pleasures of the world nor feared its pains; but who set their hearts upon a world unseen, and had no other care on earth but to instruct and bless mankind. These formed themselves in every place into societies, and united their prayers, their counsels and their efforts for the conversion of their fellow men. And now for many ages tru:h has been prevailing over error, and righteousness prevailing over sin, and still the glorious work goes on. The religion of the Saviour is combating and driving back the powers of evil; peace and freedom are prevailing over rage and tyranny, the errors and corruptions of a hundred generations are giving way, and whole nations are exchanging their savage superstitions for the Gospel of the Son of God. Bibles and tråcts and missionaries are crossing every sea, penetrating every habitable spot of earth, and scattering the seeds of holiness and joy in all societies of men. And this work shall

go on, until the last remains of ignorance and sin have vanished from the world, and the millions of the human family rejoice together in their God.


« 前へ次へ »