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When we look abroad among the creatures of God, 'and sigure to our imagination those which are not km, we can conceive strength in one, beauty in another, saithfulness in a third, and wisdom in a fourth: but in Jesus Christ all those excellencies are united; "for it 'pleased the Father," says the apostle to the Colosiians," that in him should all sulness dwell."' In a word, he has every excellence in the highest decree; almighty power, unerring wisdom, insinite goodness, unblemished truth, anil spotless holiness j every thing, indeed, capable of exciting the desire of an intelligent being: for in him, says the apostle, dwell all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He insinitely transcends the highest created being in the independent excellence of his nature. Othersderive their excellencies from him as streams from a fountain; but he is the source and sp-ring whencethey flow. The glories- of Christ are persectly adequate to the most enlarged desires of the foul: and,• to add no other circumstances from the excellencies of his nature which should make him be desired of men, the beauty of all other things sades away, but the loveliness of Christ endures to eternity: "Jesus "Christ, the same yesterday, to day, and for ever."' Never, indeed, was there such shining piety, never such glorious virtue, never such miraculous goodness,. never such unseigned humility, never such invincible patience, and, to say all in one word, never so much of heaven on earth, never so much of God in man, as there was in the temper and character of Jesus; Christ: " He is sairer than the children of men j. "grace is poured into his lips; for God, his God, "has anointed him with the oil of gladness above . "his sellows." This Being, insinitely exalted in his nature. and persections, is worthy of the desire of all nations.
2. This character, the desire of all nations, is due to Christ, from his qualisications as'Mediator between • God and man. As he came into the world to sustain the character, and sulsil the work of Mediator, H 3 «»' so he was in all respects well qualisied to sulsil it. "Who is this," says the prophet, "that cometh
from Edom, with dyed garments fromBozrah? "This, that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in "the greatness of his strength? I that speak in "righteousness, mighty to save." And the Apostle to the Hebrews draws this important inserence from his reasoning; " wherefore he is able to save them "to the uttermost that come to God by him(a)." The mysterious 'union of the divine with the human nature, sitted him in an admirable manner for the work of redemption. As he was God, he was able to offer up a persect sacrisice, and to redeem the Ch.urchby his blood. His divine nature supported him under his susserings, and enabled him to conquer principalities and powers, and nail them to his cross. By his humbling himself to become man, he was capable os yielding obedience to his Father's will. In- a word, the holiness and purity of his character, the sull commission he received from God, and the persect unction of the Spirit, that oil of gladness, wherewith he was anointed above his sellows, conspired to qualify him for accomplishing our salvation. And as he was able, so was he willing to undertake and accomplish it. No sooner was the redemption of fallen mankind proposed in the councils of the Everlasting, than he said, " Lo, I come, in the volume of "the book it is written of me; I delight to do thy
will, O my God." Here, then, we have a noble and engaging description of our Saviour; a Mediator tome into the world, a Mediator persectly qualisied for his work, possessed of every divine excellence, , and yet condescending to appear in our nature.
3. This character is due to Christ, from his offices as Mediator. As the appointed- Mediator between God and man, he was invested with various offices, suited to the disserent wants of sinners. He is a Prophet, to dispel their ignorance ; a Priest, to remove their guilt, and to procure their salvation; and a
(*) Heb. vii, aj.
King, to subdue their enmity, and, by his power, to overcome the enemies of their fouls. In each of these characters, he is insinitely worthy to be the desire of all nations.
(1.) As a Prophet, on account of that divine revelation which he has published to the world. Before the appearance of our Saviour, the nations of men were iining in darkness, and in the shadow of death. A, vail of ignorance overspread the Gentiles; their understandings were darkened; they wandered in wild superstition, and in most abominable idolatry. The Jews themselves, although the chosen people of God, .and savoured with a discovery of his will, had grossly corrupted their religion, and almost lost the knowledge of it, amidst unwritten traditions. In this degenerated, and benighted state of the nations, the Messiah appeared as the light of the world; a light to enlighten the Gentiles, -and the glory of his people Israel. "He came," as the prophet expresses it,- " to destroy the sace of the covering cast over all "people; and the vail that was spread upon the na** tions." He appeared as the great Apostle of our prosession, and Angel of the covenant; the Messiah, and Anointed of the Lord, whom the Father employed for revealing his mind to the world. This, he himself informs us, was the design of his mission: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has "anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; to "bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty "to the captives; recovering of sight to the blind; "and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (a)." AH his discourses to the multitudes, and to his disciples, breathed the wisdom of a divine spirit. He made mankind acquainted with the whole counsel of God concerning their salvation; he consirmed his doctrine by the most unquestionable miracles-; he enforced his precepts by the most powersul motives; and, that nothing might be wanting to teach mentheir. duty, and encourage them to the practice, he gaye
(*) Luke ir. 18, it).
us, in his own lise, a most persect and amiable example of all that he required of us. In what art afsectionate and engaging manner did he instruct and persuade? He spoke with the majesty and authority os a God, and yet with the condescension and gentleness of a man. He fo charmed his audience with the heavenly strains of his doctrine, that all bore him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. Even the officers who were commissioned to apprehend him, were obliged to consess, that never man spake like this man. How tenderly did he expostulate with sinners? How earnestly did he invite the weary and heavy laden to come to him? And with what wisdom and meekness did he bear with the insirmities of his own disciples? The bruised reed he did not break, the smoaking flax he did not quench, till he sent forth judgment unto victory. The excellency of his character, and the value of his instructions as a prophet, are such, that the Christian who has the most exten- sive sense of his duty, and the greatest love for holiness, can sind nothing wanting in his precepts, and nothing more amiable than his lise. A character so persect, could it have existed in any other instance, would have deserved the love and admiration of the human race. But when we consider, that this example, and those instructions, were for the benesit of mankind, what forbids every individual of martkind to regard this Prophet as the object of his constant desire. Let us add, that the ofsice of a prophet, is not consined to the moral instructions which he w»s pleased to communicate, as the rule of our conduct. He has revealed, in the most unequivocal terms, great and important facts respecting the suture destination of man. He has brought lise and immortality to light by the gospel, and given us the knowledge of falvation, through the remission of sin. Desirable to the weary traveller, is the sirst light of the morning. Welcome is the natural sun which gilds the' earth with his rays, which cheers us with his influences,
ences, and guides us in our journeyings and labours. But incomparably more desirable is that Day-springfrom on high, which has visited us; that Sun of righteousness which is risen with healing in his wings, to give light to them who sit in darkness and in the shadow os death, and to guide their seet into the ways of everlasting peace.
(2.) As a Priest, he is worthy to be the desire of all nations. In this character he is represented, in the facred scriptures. He is compared by the apostle Paul, to the high-priest under the Jewish dispensation, who entered into the holy place with the blood of the sacrisice, and made atonement for the sins of the people. But in many respects, the priesthood of Christ was insinitely superior. The high-priest under the law, was himself but a sinsul man; and therefore, needed to ofser for his own sins as well as for the sins of others. But Christ was holy, harmless, and undesiled, and separate from sinners. Though he had made his foul an offering for sin, yet he had done no iniquity; neither was guile found in his mouth. The Jewish high-priests were mortal, and continued not, by reason of death; but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. The priests under the law, offered only the blood of slain beasts, which could not possibly take away sin. But our great High-priest offered up himself, his own precious blood, as a sacrisice and atonement for the sins of the world. Not by the blood of goats and calves, says the apostle to the Hebrews, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. How lovely, then, is Jesus, as a Priest? insinitely more excellent than all the samily of Aaron: But especially when the believer views him by saith as sufsering upon the cross, enduring the wrath of God, and never quitting his station, till justice was sully satissied, and he was able to cry out with the voice of triumph, It is sinished. Considered in this hght, is he not worthy to be the desire of the nations r