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praise for the spirit of heaviness'. This very passage, in which the blessed office of the Prince of Peace is so beautifully shadowed forth, was read by Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth : and when he had finished it he cried, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. As though he had said "I am come to sound the trumpet of the Jubilee indeed, and to declare the substance, reality, and fulness of those mercies, present and future, temporal and everlasting which were typified in the festival proclaimed by Moses to your ancestors.” Is it asked, in what manner the Jubilee prefigured the dispensation of love under the gospel of Jesus Christ? I answer,
1. It liberated every slave and bond-servant among the tribes of Israel. No sooner did the trumpet utter that peculiar and joyful sound, which the throbbing heart of every man interested therein would immediately recognize, than the captive stood up in his dungeon, and his fetters fell from his feet. The bondman left the house of his slavery, and felt himself possessed of liberty which no hand of power, or of fraud, might invade. Behold, my brethren, the gracious design of the everlasting gospel. It finds us helplessly obnoxious
1 Isaiah lxi. 1-3.
to the wrath of God. It finds us under captivity to the bondage of the law. The obedience demanded by its stern and unrelenting authority, must be perfect, unceasing, universal. The penalty of sinning against it is eternal death. But lo, the day of Jubilee is come! The gospel has provided the ransom. Christ hath delivered us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. A righteousness is prepared, which human excellence or angelic purity could never have furnished to sinners. Is the transgressor left alone? The law exclaims, “Pay me that thou owest;" and the relentless creditor wreaks his wrath upon the bankrupt debtor. But the Jubilee is sounded ; the page of mercy in the gospel is opened ; liberty is proclaimed to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. The obligations of the law, as a rule of life, remain, and are enlarged: but when the prisoner stretches forth his affections to receive and appropriate the ransom of a Saviour's death, the glad sound of the gospel Jubilee, received into his heart, becomes the signal of his deliver
There is also a bondage to the power of sin and Satan, from which the jubilee of redeeming mercy can alone deliver. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey ? Now the God of this world rules in the minds of the children of disobedience. The natural and unconverted man is employed by this enemy of his soul to earn the wages of sin. He is in a state of spiritual captivity. Samson was not more helplessly bound by the fetters of the princes of Philistia, when his hair was shorn, and his strength departed, than is man by Satan and by sin, before the grace of God visits and liberates him. That grace reaches him in the gospel. He flies to embrace it: the prison doors are opened to him ; and he walks abroad, “in the liberty wherewith Christ makes him free.” Thé gospel comes to open his eyes, to turn him from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. Justification from the penalty of the broken law goes hand in hand with sanctification from the love of iniquity. “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes him free from the law of sin and death.”. The prey is taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive delivered. Evil will indeed be present with the believer through all his walk. The elder principle will struggle with the younger; nature will strive with the influence of divine life within him. He must still frequently cry with the great apostle, O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
But, if he have truly fled to the cross, truly embraced Jesus Christ, as his almighty deliverer, sin shall not have dominion over him; and he shall add, as he finds himself strengthened for resistance, and delivered from the love and
power of iniquity, I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! While he feels his heart enlarged to run the
way of the commandments, he shall look back upon his past captivity with shame and sorrow. He shall contemplate the mercies of his better state, with that deep gratitude and love, which are the genuine impulses of Christian obedience. O Lord, other Lords besides thee have had dominion over us; but henceforth in thee only will we make mention of thy name.
2. It must be added, that the Jubilee restored every man to his own possession, and every man to his own family. The day dawned, the trumpet sounded, the bondman set forth, with his wife and children, and all that he had, to dwell in the bosom of his family, and to possess once more his patrimony and property, in peace and liberty. However alienated, however unworthily or unthriftily sold, however strongly conveyed to the purchaser, or to the usurper, this long expected day annulled the whole transaction, and placed him in the condition which either himself or his ancestor had formerly enjoyed. Now what are the circumstances of sinful man, before the Jubilee of his Saviour's love sounds in his ears, and is received into his heart? He has forfeited the inheritance with which the goodness of his heavenly Father had so richly endowed him. The image of God is defaced within him. He has sold his high and heavenly birth-right, with all its spiritual privileges, like Esau, for a thing of nought. He has bartered the friendship of the Most High, the light of his presence, the possession of his mercies, the hopes of his kingdom, for some unreal and vanishing phantom of earthly and sinful good. The sword of the cherubim is turning every way to hinder him from re-entering paradise, and putting forth his hand, and taking of the tree of life, and living for ever by obedience to the covenant of works. It may be, that he has wasted his substance in riotous living; and has begun to be in want of every mercy which a transgressor needs, to save him from wrath, and enable him to stand before the judge with hopeful anticipation of acceptance. But the voice of mercy addresses him in the gospel. His eyes open upon the light of the great jubilee. He sees the lost possession yet before him. And though, in the lowly contrition of a broken heart, he cries, “ Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son,” yet do the riches of the