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he whose goodness is infinite, whose power is almighty, will be their Guide and their Guardian; and beyond this scene of their probation, clouded as it is by cares and sorrows, they look, with the steady eye of faith, to the unclouded glories of their heavenly home. They know that if their earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, they have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Yes; there remaineth a rest for the people of God-a rest from the wearisome cares, the painful apprehensions, and the poignant afflictions of this state of probation-a rest which sin does not disturb, which sorrow does not alloy, which death does not invade a rest where God diffuses his eternal and satisfying love. Heavenly Father, admit us to this never-ending rest; and in regard to all the allotments of this mortal pilgrimage, the language of our souls shall be-" It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth to him good."
AN EPIPHANY AND MISSIONARY SERMON.
ISAIAH IX. 15-22.
Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day: neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.
THIS chapter affords a lively specimen of the sublimity and majesty of sentiment-of the elegance, dignity, and variety of imagery-and of the energy, beauty, and sweetness of language, which render so delightful and interesting the evangelical strains of the prophet Isaiah.
Many of the prophecies, it has often been remarked, have a double signification. They deVOL. II.
scribe, in events relative to the Jewish nation and the Zion of Israel, corresponding but more glorious events in the mystical Zion-the Christian church.
The prophecy contained in this chapter may be considered as primarily addressed to Jerusalem at the period of the captivity. Her temple was destroyed, her walls were razed to the ground, and her people were led captive by the tyrant of Babylon. From this state of darkness and affliction the prophet calls upon her to arise, and to shine forth in her glory, as the Zion of the Lord: for he consoles her by the assurances, that, aided by Cyrus and his several successors, her stately palaces should be rebuilt, and her temple rise in glory from its ruins; and thus "the sons of strangers should build up her walls, and their kings should minister unto her."
But the singularly sublime and elevated imagery employed in this prediction, denotes a state of glory and prosperity far more transcendent than any to which the Jewish nation was advanced after their return from captivity. Warmed as the heart of the prophet must have been by the view of the prosperous fortunes of his countrymen, it is apparent that even this enlivening theme was merged in one of infinitely greater transport-the glory of the Christian Zion; when, from "the darkness that covered the earth, and the gross darkness that rested on the people, the Lord should arise upon her, and his glory should be seen upon her; when the Gentiles should come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising; when the sun should no more be her light by day, neither for brightness should the moon give light unto her: but the Lord
should be unto her an everlasting light, and her God her glory."
This day, in the manifestation of Christ to the wise men of the East, and in the homage rendered to him by these representatives of the Gentile nations, may be considered as affording a pledge of the fulfilment of those gracious predictions relative to the interest of the Gentile nations in the blessings of the Redeemer's merits, and to their accession to his spiritual kingdom.
And this day, my brethren, does the church seek to make you instruments in the more complete fulfilment of these gracious predictions, by exciting you to contribute the means of promoting the extension and purity of the spiritual Zion.
The concluding part of this chapter, commencing at the verses which I have read, very fully predicts the accession of the Gentiles to the church, and its glory and prosperity. An explanation of this part of the chapter, therefore, will afford an opportunity of observations suited to the present festival, and to the charitable collection to which your attention is called.
The first verse of the passage which I have recited to you, predicts that the church, which had been subjected to the most grievous affliction and persecution, should be exalted to a state of unexampled prosperity
"Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations."
Jerusalem, at the period of the captivity, was "forsaken and hated;" all that "passed by clapped their hands at her, hissing and wagging their
heads at the daughter of Zion." Yet was she freed from the rod of the oppressor, and rebuilt and beautified. In a certain degree this prediction was fulfilled, as it respects the temporal Zion: it will be more strikingly fulfilled, when the nation of the Jews, so long exiled and dispersed, shall be gathered to the Christian fold, and dwelling again in their own land, shall, agreeably to another prediction of this prophet, "build the old wastes, and raise up the former desolations;"* and when, released from the bondage of sin and unbelief, and constantly employed in God's service, they shall be "named the Priests of the Lord, and shall be called the Ministers of our God."
But more illustriously still will this prediction be fulfilled, in those days when the Lord, having mercy upon the Christian Zion and her faithful members, now in this state of trial and suffering under the opposition and persecution of the ungodly, shall exalt them above the scorn and malice of their enemies, giving them peace and triumph; so that all nations being united to her spiritual fold, he will make her "an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations."
The prediction is continued in the next verse— "Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
The accession of the Gentiles, and the affection and devotion of the converted nations to the church, are here, and in many other passages, expressed by their wealth and power being made tributary to
* Isaiah lxi. 4.