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us in human shapes? Could such enormities possibly obtain, if the mild and merciful spirit of the gospel generally prevailed? But it shall prevail at last, and then the nations Jhall learn war no more *.
How transporting the thought! That a time shall yet arrive, when the love of God and man, of truth and righteousness, shall obtain through the earth. The evils (and these are the greatest evils of human life) which men bring upon themselves, and upon each other, by their wickedness, shall cease j and we may believe that the evils in the natural world will be greatly abated. Sin will no longer call down the tokens of God's displeasure, by such public calamities as hurricanes, earthquakes, pestilence, and famine. And if some natural evils, as pain and sickness, should remain, submission to the will of God, and the compassion and tenderness of men towards the afflicted, will render them tolerable.
If this prospect be desirable to us, surely it will be the object of our prayers. The Lord will do great things, but he will be enquired of by his people for the performance. * Jfa. ii. 4..
But to many persons, the extension of dominion and commerce, appears much more desirable. The glory and extent of the British government has been eagerly pursued; and the late diminution of our national grandeur and influence, has been much laid to heart; while the glory of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the conversion of the Heathens, are considered by the Politicians and Merchants of the earth, as trivial concerns, unworthy of their notice, or rather, as obstacles to the views of ambition and avarice. But it is said of Messiah, and of his church, tfhe nation and kingdom that will not serve thee, Jhallperijh *. The word of God may be flighted, but it cannot be annulled. And it is more a subject for lamentation than wonder, that our national prosperity should decline j when we are indifferent, yea, adverse, to that cause, which the great Governor of the world has engaged to promote and establish,
* Isa. lx. it.
ral language, men, whether high or low, rich or poor, one with another, are compared to worms and potsherds of the earth j but they are by nature so strongly infected by pride, that they cannot invent titles of honour answerable to the idea they have of their own importance, without intrenching upon the divine prerogative. Thus sovereignty, majesty, holiness and grace, and other attributes which properly belong to God alone, are parcelled out among the Great. But let the great and the mighty know, that wherein they speak proudly, Messiah is above them. The whole verse (of which the latter clause only is in the Oratorio) offers two points to our meditations.
I. How he is represented as wearing bin title. It is written, or inscribed, upon his vesture dipped in blood, and upon his thigh. Either upon that part of his vesture which covers his, thigh; or, upon the upper part of his vesture, and upon his thigh likewise.
II. The title itself. King of kings, and Lord of lords. Whatever power the kings and lords among mankind possess, is derived from him, and absolutely subject to his controul.
I. The manner in which he wears his name or title. It is written upon his vesture, and upon his thigh.
1. This name being written upon his vesture, denotes the manifestation, and the ground of his authority. It is written upon his outward garment, to be read, known, and acknowledged, by all beholders. And it is upon his bloody garment, upon the vesture stained with his own blood, and the blood of his enemies; which intimates to us, that his government is founded upon the success of his great undertaking. In the passage from whence this verse is selected, there are three names attributed to Messiah. He has a name which no one knows but himself *, agreeable to what he declared when upon earth. No man, mhti, no one, (neither man nor angel) knoweth the Son, but the Father; this refers to his eternal power and Godhead. A second name, The Word ofGod-f, denotes the mystery of the divine personality. The name in my text imports his glory, as the Mediator between God and man, in our nature, which, when he refumed it from the grave, became the feat of * Ver. 12. t Ver. 13.
all power and authority; which power, we are now taught to consider, not merely as the power of God, to whom it essentially belongs, but as the power of God exercised in, and by that Man, who died upon the cross for our sins. In consequence of his obedience unto death, he received a name which is above every name *. This inscription his own people read, by the eye of faith, in the present life, and it inspires them with confidence and joy, under the many tribulations they pass through, in the course of their profession. Hereafter, it mall be openly known and read by all men. Every eye shall see it, and every heart must either bow or break before him.
2. It is written upon his thigh. The thigh is the emblem of power, and is the part of the body on which the sword is girded -f*. By this emblem we are taught, that he will assuredly maintain and exercise the right which he has acquired. As he has a just claim to the title, he will act accordingly. Many titles among men are merely titular. So the king of Great-Britain is styled likewise king of France, though he has * Phil. ii. 9. + Ps. adv. 3.