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Son of God, manifested and given to us children of
Who can fathom this ? O reason, be still ! The sea is here much too broad, and greatly too deep; thy discernment and speculation can here find no bottom. When we reflect upon the love to man, which God has manifested towards us in the birth of Christ, in this infant at Bethlehem, is it not wonderful ? God, who possesses every thing in himself, and requires neither the services of angels nor of men, condescends so far as to become a poor child; who can comprehend this; is it not wonderful ? Hence it is certainly the case, that the more a man seeks, with his natural and rational powers to enter into any particular mystery of God, the more he stumbles and falls at every turning.
That which is wonderful in the person and incomprehensible in the philanthropy of Jesus Christ, incites us loudly to a child-like devotion. Now, if I give a long description, and travel far and wide with my reason, to search out how this is, and how it can be, that God and man are in one person, what nourishment does my spirit derive from it? If I make a great circuit and reflect what has induced God to give his Son to mankind, and how every thing flows down to man through him; the more I try to search into this, the more obscure does it become to me; it is too wonderful; I can find no bottom in this depth. Now, I thank my dear Saviour that he is wonderful, and is called wonderful; and with this I am satisfied. He is wonderful in his person ; let me but become a devout child, that most humbly bows before him, and
worships him ; heartily astonished and rejoiced, that there is such a depth in it, that neither I, nor all men, nor the angels themselves, are ever able to comprehend this mystery, either in time or eternity. O, this mystery would not be of such value to me, if it could be searched out! nor would any of the mysteries of God be so dear to me, nor would they be divine, if every one could comprehend them. A mystery proves itself to be of divine origin, only when all human reason must be silent before it.
This, my dearest friends, ought also to teach us, when we read or hear of divine mysteries, in the Scripture, or elsewhere, that we ought only so to hear or read, that we may live thereby, that our souls may be edified, and that we may be incited to devotion and to the glory of God, and induced to love our Saviour. We have then learnt and attained already the whole contents of the Scriptures. But we must always read them devoutly, and in true childlike devotion. If our gracious God gives us here and there a morsel, we must heartily thank him for it, and not cast it away; but with respect to what still continues sealed to us, we ought greatly to rejoice that God's word and mysteries are so profound and unsearchable.
Christ is not only wonderful in his person, but he is also wonderful in his divine perfection, beauty, and loveliness ; yea, all that is in him, is wonderful and incomprehensible. All that can be said in his praise, is mean, yea nothing compared with the thing itself. We must here say also, come, taste,
and see, how perfect, how lovely, how friendly Jesus is! The Queen of the kingdom of Sheba came to hear Solomon's wisdom, and to see his riches ; and on hearing and seeing them, she was struck with astonishment, and as it were beside herself, and said, the half has not been told me of the pomp, and order, and wisdom. Ah, my dear friends! if we had ever so many Christmas days, nay, if we heard, read, and spoke ever so much in praise of our Immanuel, from one year's end to another : yet all this would not be the thousandth part of it. When, by happy experience, we find him, in our hearts: we are then constrained to confess and say, He is wonderful; I could never have thought, that God was such a God, and that such delights, such infinite perfections are to be found in Jesus. 3. When the world seeks out its objects, and pourtrays them to the best advantage, we may boldly strike off half the value. They are not worth so much; the world only makes its objects appear great and glorious; it promises mountains of gold; but they are mere promises. He that has experienced, he that has seen, contemplated, tasted and enjoyed, what the world possesses, goes away mortified, and with downcast looks, and must think in his heart, Is there nothing more to be found in the world than this? I could never have supposed it! But the very reverse is the case with our dearest Saviour ; he is infinitely wonderful, in his perfections and excellencies. My friends, you cannot believe it ; come and taste therefore; the table is now spread;
you may all find refreshment in his most gracious names, which are full of healing virtue for poor sinners.
Jesus is wonderful in his form. Much of what was great, glorious, and excellent concerning the Saviour, had been prophecied of him, for many thousand
years. At length he came ; but how did he come? As a poor little infant, and in utter poverty. Now this was the form, of which so much had been said ; but it did not please the people. He had no form nor comeliness, which could please the world, the lofty, the proud, the self-conceited, and the prudent people. The Jews expected quite another kind of, Messiah ; he was to be a man of splendour and authority, who could deliver them from the Roman yoke, and make them a glorious and fortunate people in the world. Such a forn was what they expected; and yet the Messiah came as a poor
child! Ah, my dearest friends! is it not the case even to this day? The celestial glory appeared only to the shepherds in the field. The Pharisees probably thought, if it had but appeared to great, and reputable, and learned people: the thing might be the sooner credited: but these people have probably only imagined that they have seen a heavenly vision; it has been, very likely, nothing but an illusion. But
my dearest friends, let us not be offended at the mean appearance of Christ and his members. Not many wise, (although some,) not many mighty, (although some), not many noble, (although some
noble), has God chosen ; but things that are foolish in the sight of the world, and things that are weak, and ignoble, and despised. (1 Cor. i. 26-29.) And such is the case, even in our day : reason still always thinks, if there were but many reputable people amongst the pious! and even if there were only a few such amongst them; but they are so thinly scattered; they consist mostly of mean and vulgar people, who suffer themselves to be deceived, and only run with the rest ; whilst the prudent remain behind. My friends! be children in simplicity; Christ had also this appearance. The children of God do not seek and make any splendid appearance ; but they seek undisguised hearts, simplicity, lowliness, contempt of the world, and all that which the world esteems. This is the form of the members of Christ.
Christ is wonderful in his ways. Jesus Christ is unspeakably wonderful in his ways and dealings with his people. At one time he grants sweetness to the soul; at another, he places her again in bitterness. One that has long walked in the grace
of God, is again obliged to wander in barrenness and darkness; whilst for a prodigal son, who is scarcely returned from the husks, a feast is prepared, and à nuptial robe is given; he is refreshed, he is adorned, and can live happily and joyfully. God is wonderful in his ways, that he may put to shame all our ways. He is wonderful in not suffering us to
say, beforehand, how it will fare with us, in our religious course. At one time, he exalts his