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SERMON XXXIV.

OPPOSITION TO MESSIAH IN VAIN.

Psalm ii. 4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the

Lord Mall have them in derifon.

T HE extent and efficacy of the depra

1 vity of mankind, cannot be fully estimated, by the conduct of heathens destitute of divine revelation. We may say of the gospel, in one sense, what the apostle says of the law, It entered that fin might abound *. It afforded occasion for displaying the alienation of the heart of man from the blessed God, in the strongest light. The sensuality, oppression and idolatry which have prevailed in all ages, sufficiently prove the wickedness

* Rom. v, 20.

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have read offer two points for the consolation of those who love him, and for the timely consideration of those who have hitherto disregarded him.

I. That be fitteth in the heavens.

II. The notice he taketh of his enemies. He smiles at their rage, and treats both their power and their policy with contempt.

I. He whom God has anointed (therefore called MESSIAH) he against whom kings and rulers, nations and the people rage, sittetb in the heavens. He has finished his great work, and entered into his rest; having by himfelf purged our fins, he is immoveably feated on his throne, at the right hand of the Majesty on high *. He is the Head, King and Lord of principalities, dominions and powers, poffefsed of all authority, unchangeably fixed over all, God blessed for evermore of. In this character he is the Representative, High Priest, Advocate and Shepherd of all who put their trust in him. He is ever mindful of them. While he is preparing a place for them near himself, by the power of his Spirit he maintains an intercourse with them, and manifests himself to them as he does not * Heb. i. 3. + Rom. ix. 5. .

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to the world. By his providence, which ruleth over all, he manages their concerns upon earth, supplies their wants, and gives them present and effectual help and support in their time of trouble. To him their eyes and hearts are directed, they look to him and are enlightened *, strengthened, and comforted. And under his protection they are safe. He having taken charge of them, and engaged to save them to the uttermost, no weapon formed against them can prosper. Now they may draw nigh to God with boldness, for they have one who ever liveth to make interceson for them. Now they may lay aside all anxious uneasy cares, for they have a mighty Friend who careth for them. Now they may fay, each one for himself, I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord Jehovah is my strength, and my fong, and my salvation t. Whether you have indeed fled to him for refuge as the hope set before you, committed your soul to him, and accepted him in all his offices, as your Prophet, Priest and King, is a point of experience ; if you have he knows it, for he enabled you to do it; and he will not disappoint the hope, and

* Pf. xxxiv. 5. + Ila. xii. 2. VOL. II.

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expectation, which he himself has wrought in you. If you have, methinks you must know it likewise. Have you pot done it more than once? Do you not daily repeat this surrender of yourself to him? It is certainly possible to affent to the truths of the gospel, considered merely as doctrines or propositions, yea to plead and dispute for them with much seeming earneftness, and yet to be entirely a stranger to their power. But I trust that they to whom I now speak will understand me. Our Lord reminded Nathanael of what had passed under the figtree *, when he thought himself alone. Do not I remind you of seafons, when no eye but the eye of him who feeth in secret was upon you ? Did not you then and there, once and again, accept him as your Saviour upon the warrant of his own word, devote yourself to his service, resign yourself to his difposal, and entrust yourself to his care? Then fear not. He that fitteth in the heavens is on your side. If the premiffes be well grounded, the inference is sure. And though many may rise up against you, they shall not prevail, for he will teach your hands to war, and yaur fingers to fight, will cover your bead in the day of battle, and in the end make you more than conqueror. For the battle is not your’s, but the Lord's. Your enemies are his, and his cause is your's. They who associate against him shall be dashed in pieces, as the billows break and die upon a rocky Thore.

* John i. 48.

II. The feebleness and insignificance of their rage against MESSIAH, is intimated by the manner in which he notices their proceedings. He holds them in derifon, he laughs them to scorn. He has them perfectly under his controul, holds them in a chain when they think themselves most at lìberty, appoints the bounds beyond which they cannot pass, and can in a moment check them, and make them feel his hook and bridle, when in the height of their career.

It is the Lord's pleasure not only to favour and to support his people, but to do it in such a way that it may appear to be wholly his own work, and that the praise belongs to him alone. And therefore he permits their enemies for a season to try if they can prevent his designs. For a season, things take such a course that their attempts seem to . L2

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