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also, I will make him, my First-born, higher than the kings of the earth.” In which word also the Holy Ghost, in the mouth of Paul, maketh his dignity above all angels to consist: Heb. i. 5, “ Unto which of the angels said he at any time, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” Now, if the mystery of Christ's superiority to all kings and to all angels be in this, that he could say unto God, My Father; and if this special dignity he did derive from his being born of a virgin, by Divine and extraordinary generation, as the angel expressly testifieth to Mary; it follows, that this peculiarity, of his being the woman's Seed and the Father's Son, is indeed the very sign of that increase of government and of peace, without end and for ever, which is prophesied of Immanuel ; is therefore the security unto the offspring of David of eternal and universal government over the nations and over the worlds; is the sign and security of the breaking of all confederacies of all nations (antichristian, like Ephraim; and infidel, like Damascus) which should gather themselves together against the Lord and his Anointed. In reference to which destruction of the confederate powers and wickedness the second Psalm is indited, which turneth also

upon his prerogative as the Son of the Father : (ver. 6) “ Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion : I will declare the decree : The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee: ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession: thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces, like a potter's vessel.”

To me, therefore, laying all these things spoken concerning the Father's Son together, it seemeth, that under the confederacy of Ephraim the apostate, and Syria the heathen, against Ahaz the head of David's house, in whose loins Messiah lay, is set forth in the great fore-ground of prophetic history the idea of those successive combinations of the apostate church and unbaptized world against the throne of God, and especially of that consummating confederacy which is described in all the Prophets, from Moses unto John, and set forth at large in the xixth of the Apocalypse : while in that word, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive," which was given as a sign of the subversion of that first confederacy of Rezin and Remaliah's son, is set forth that contrary law of Divine energy and holiness, fixed in a Man of womankind, who should evermore prevail to extinguish every new hydra head as it appeared, and in due time should possess all the kingdoms, sitting upon the throne of David.

And here I may step aside to open the ancient fable, or muthos, of Hercules the son of Jove strangling the serpent in his cradle-that is, the Son overcoming the devil from his childhood—then contending with the hydra of wickedness, and beating down head after head, until nothing but the fire, the lake of fire, would quell him; into which the devil is to be cast impotent at length. But Hercules received from her he loved, and for whom he went into servile offices, a poisoned garment, with which being clothed, he was all envenomed, and cast himself headlong into the sea; shadowing forth most orthodox doctrine : How Christ, for the love he bore the human soul, consented to become a servant to her, and to be clothed with her body of sin and death, and to give up his life of his own accord, and for a season to be translated to his Father's throne, that he might come again in the might of his father, and not only assail and overcome the giant brood, sons of heaven and of earth—that is, of the soul, derived from God, and the body from the ground--but likewise reclaim the earth itself, and bring it into subjection and blessedness for

ever.

But to returnIf any one inquire further, why his being the Seed of the woman should qualify him for bruising, the serpent's head, as it shewed itself in the successive confederacies of the wicked against the word of the Lord and the Lord's anointed King, I answer, that God, by preparing a body of fallen humanity for his Son through the power of the Holy Ghost, and his Son by taking it, did begin the work of destroying the potentiality of evil in creation, and expelling it out of living creation into the lake which burneth, which is the second death. All evil which had been conceived in the apostate angels was poured forth in its strength into the fallen world of nature, whereof man's soul, man's will, is the sovereign. To destroy the devil and his works, to destroy the liar and his lies, which God from the beginning had resolved on, and unto which all things, good and evil, were steadily working together; it became him to send forth his Son, made of a woman, that he might encounter all the power of the devil, the world, and the flesh, in our nature, and overcome them all; and by dying destroy him that had the power of death; and by rising from the dead leave him with his sceptre broken, denounce him an usurper, shew sin as an ephemeral phantom, and the sinful form of things as but their condition of changing and passing onward unto a state of perdurable blessedness. The whole kernel of the mystery of God's blessed government of all things in a state of blessedness, is therefore contained in the promise of a virgin conceiving a Son; of a living one coming forth from the substance of manhood without the cause of life; or, in other words, of the unmanifested Life informing with life the substance of fallen womanhood, and taking it from the devil's mastery, through the jaws of death, up aloft, above all place and power, to the right hand of the throne of God. Though we, low-minded generation that we are, have fallen from the admiration of this great mystery, it is the ancientest of this world's oracles; and it was the most famous of the hopes of nations, who looked for no amelioration whatever until the time that the Virgin's Child should be revealed. Witness the beautiful verses of the Pollio of Virgil, which he himself acknowledgeth to have come from the Sybilline books; which Bishop Horsley, in his famous Essay, regardeth (I think justly) as the relics of the prophecies which had been preserved amongst the Heathens.

Ultima Cumai venit jam carminis ætas;
Magnus

ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo.
Jam redit et Virgo; redeunt Saturnia regna;
Jam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.
Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum
Desinet, ac toto surget gens aurea mundo,
Casta fave Lucina.

Virg. Ecl. iv. 1. 4-10. Which, for the sake of the unlearned, I translate word for word; “Now cometh the last age of the Cumæan (sybil's) song; the great order of ages revolveth anew. Now also the Virgin returneth, and the Saturnian kingdoms return : now the new progeny descendeth from heaven on high. O chaste Lucina, do thoù but favour the growing boy, that the iron rule may at length cease, and the golden arise over the whole world.”—This prophecy of Isaiah did indeed become the sign of blessed government and golden days unto the weary world ; and when our Lord appeared there did exist, by the confession of the heathen themselves, a universal expectation in the East, of a Divine Personage, who was to arise and take the government upon his shoulder. It existed amongst the Jews more fervently than amongst others; but it was common unto all the nations of the earth, and is to be found in the heart of all their religion and philosophy: so that bere also, as in the preceding prophecy of Ephraim's being broken, we have for witnesses, if not the Jewish nation, who have busily corrupted or destroyed their testimony hereof, though they were not permitted to corrupt the Scriptures, yet of all the surrounding nations, who could have obtained it only from the sacred books, or from the coeval traditions of Moses and the Patriarchs, who referred back again to the first promise, or rather the curse upon the serpent, given under the Fall

. It doth but remain further, that we open the mystery of the name “ Immanuel;" which being interpreted, saith St. Matthew, is “God with us.” Now it is a thing worthy of remark, that the angel had immediately before instructed Joseph to call his name, not Immanuel, but Jesus. Where then, or how, it may be asked, was Christ called Immanuel ? No where is he so called in Scripture, save in the next chapter of this prophecy, where it is said (ver. 8), “ The stretching out of the Assyrian's wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel :” and in the 10th verse, where it is said, that “the counsel of the heathen shall not stand, because of Immanuel."

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Now both these passages refer to a time and an action which is not yet accomplished; though it hath had its beginning; for the counsel of the Assyrian and his confederacy have not yet come to nought, and the stretching out of his wings doth still overspread the land of Immanuel. Moreover, it may be truly said, that Immanuel did not purchase the land until he had kept the conditions of the Old Testament, which stood in perfect obedience to the Law; and therefore it could be called Immanuel's land only with reference to a time posterior to his incarnation. And, since his incarnation, he hath not been with us, but absent from us. But before he departed, he gave a promise that he would come again, and receive us unto himself; “ that where I am, there ye may be also :” that is, he maketh a distinct promise, against a future time, that he and his people should never more be separated as they are at present. The present, therefore, is not the time when he can be properly called Immanuel; for by his own account he is not with us in person, but only in spirit, in the Comforter. Wherefore Paul saith (2 Cor. v. 8), that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord;" and (ver. 6), that “to be at home in the body is to be absent from the Lord.” And the time specified by the same Apostle, when we shall be ever with the Lord (1 Thess. v. 17), is at the descent of Christ from heaven, the resurrection of the righteous dead, and the change of the righteous living. With no propriety, therefore, I deem, can the name of Immanuel be applied to the days of his flesh, during which, though the Word did tabernacle amongst us, it was only for a day, and not for a permanency; a brief season followed by a long absence, which again is to be followed by an eternal presence and residence with us. Besides, while he abode in the likeness of sinful flesh, he was not the Son of God to the knowledge of the natural man, but only to the knowledge and confession of the spiritual man; because it is written, “ No man can say that Jesus is the Son of God, but by the Spirit of God:” and again, it is written, “ Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Besides, our blessed Lord, in the days of his flesh, did perform none of those great works which are prophesied of Immanuel in the following chapter; which are, to deliver his land from the Assyrians, to bring the counsel of the heathen to nought, to multiply the nation, to break the yoke of their burden, to sit upon the throne of David, and to establish the boundless government thereof for ever. Against what time, then, shall this name of Immanuel come to him by right? When he shall come in the glory of his father, to take up his eternal residence in the midst of men.

And when is this? In the new heavens and the new earth and the new Jerusalem ; when all things

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shall be generated new, and the former things be passed away. Upon which regeneration, or restitution of all things, there is heard (Rev. xxi. 3) a great voice out of heaven, saying, “ Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them; and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God; (literally) and God himself, or the very God, shall be with them, their God.” This is spoken by a great voice out of heaven, and is announced to John as the great characteristic of the new dispensation of the world. God himself with them, is the Greek translation of Immanuel ; so that it would be, “ Immanuel shall be their God.” In that dispensation, therefore, which is about to come upon the earth, the Son of the Virgin shall both be, and be known to be,

Immanuel, or God with us.” And this indeed shall be his distinction in that day, from the invisible, incomprehensible Godhead of the Father, who is not with us, but worshipped as apart from us; or rather, who is every where, and therefore not peculiarly any where. At present, Christ is not “God with us,” but God with the Father, seated on the Father's right hand; but then he shall be “ God with us," and not God with the Father : so that the successive conditions of the Son seem to be these three ;-his eternal dwelling-place in the bosom of the Father; his present seat at the right hand of the Father ; and his permanent abode with men ; in the last of which I include the days of his flesh, which was to us the seal of all the promises and prophecies concerning the eternal manifestation of God, and the pledge of his coming to reside permanently with us, against the dispensation of the fulness of the times. He attained in the days of his flesh unto the humiliation of being the Virgin's Son. He hath taken this lowly degree of existence, and seated it in honour and glory at the right band of the Father; and the Father, who hath given him this honour, is reducing all creation under his government; which being accomplished by Him, as the Agent, as the Right Hand of power, the Sword of Judgment, the Man of War, he shall then come and settle himself in peace over the obedient earth, dwelling in the midst of his people, and enjoying the name “ Immanuel,” which may haply be that new name promised unto every one that overcometh (Rev. iii. 12); and of which it is said (Rev. xix. 12), that "he had a name written, that no man knew but he himself.” for verily, to know this name Immanuel, no creature attaineth to, as no creature may presume to claim it for himself. It importeth the Divinity of God united to the humanity of man: and of this mystery, though we know the consolation, yet is no man conscious to the depths thereof. How Christ comprehendeth the Godhead's incomprehensible and incommunicable essence, and at the same time doth accommodate, bound, and limit it unto the form of a human act, is a mystery which I

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