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and fathers *, he speaks of a more distinct and appropriate knowledge of him, who is from the beginning, as the peculiar privilege, and distinguishing attainment of the fathers. He speaks of him that is from the beginning, so often, that we can be at no loss to determine whom he intends by the expression. He applies it to him who was in the beginning with God of, and whom he and the other apostles had heard, had seen with their eyes, and touched with their hands I. An eminent divine || points out some especial seasons in the christian life, in which, he thinks, the peculiar pressures of the soul may obtain the most sensible and immediate relief, by direct application to the Saviour. But there are some believers, who find themselves, almost continually, in one or other of the situations, which he marks as occasional. However this may be, I am ready to take it for granted, that they who really and cordially believe the Deity of Christ, do, at least at some seasons, and upon some occasions, expresly direct their prayers to him. If precedents be required to warrant this practice,
* 1 John ii. 14. + John i. s. I John i, 1-3. | Owen in his Christologia.
the New Testament will furnish them in abundance. I shall select but a few. The apostle Paul bowed his knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, but he often prayed to the Lord Jesus. He prayed to him in the temple *, and when he obtained that answer, My grace is sufficient for thee f. To him, the prayer of the apostles and disciples was addressed, previous to the lot, which was to determine a successor to Judas I. And to him Stephen committed his departing spi, rit !l, an act of trust and worship of the highest kind, and at the most folemn season. In short, it is a strange inconsistence, if any, who acknowledge his Deity, question the propriety of praying to him. What is it, more or less, than to question the propriety of praying to God?
IV. This solemn worship and praise, is referred, ultimately, to him who sitteth upon the throne. To the great and glorious God, thus known and manifested, in and by, and with the Lamb that was slain.
The mediatorial kingdom of Christ, will have a period. He will reign as Mediator,
* Acts xxii. 17–21. + 2 Cor. xii. 9. Ads 1. 24. | Acts vii. 59.
till he has fubdued all enemies under his feet, and perfected his whole work. Then his kingdom, in this sense, will cease. He will deliver it up to the Father, that God may be all in all *. This passage is difficult, that is, the subject is too great, for our faculties, in their present state of imperfection, fully to comprehend. For the difficulties we meet with in scripture, are, more pro, perly, to be ascribed to our ignorance. The Son, as man, is even now subject to the Father. And God is undoubtedly all in all, at present, and from everlasting to everlast. ing. But his kingdom, here, is to be taken, figuratively, for the subjects of his kingdom, his people, whom he received as a trust and a treasure. These he will deliver up, and the form of his administration and government over them, will be changed. They will then have no more sins to confess, there will be no more dangers requiring the care and tenderness of a Shepherd, no enemies to be controlled, and the ordinances and means of grace, accommodated to their wants and weakness, while in this world, will be no ļonger necessary. But Messiah, the Lamb * Çor, xv, 28.
that was flain, will ever be the Head, and Lord of the creation, the medium of communication of the light and love of God to his people ; and God in him, the object of their eternal adoration and praise.
Then the grand, ultimate, final cause of all the manifestations of God, will be completely obtained. The glory of the great Creator and Lawgiver, the splendor of all his perfections, will for ever shine, without a vail or cloud, and with a brightness which could not have been known, by creatures, had not the entrance of evil, given occasion for a display of his wisdom and love, in overruling it to the praise of his glorious grace.
Thus, according to the measure of my ability and experience, I have endeavoured to point out to you the meaning and importance of the well-chosen series of scriptural passages, which are set to music in the Oratorio of the Mesiah. Great is the Lord MESSIAH, and greatly to be praised ! I have attempted to
teaches us, concerning his person, undertakings and success; the misery of those whom he came to save, the happiness to
which he raises them, and the wonderful plan and progress of redeeming love. But who is sufficient for these things ? Alas! how small a portion of his ways are we able to trace! But I would be thankful, that the
desire of attempting this great subject was Cu put into my heart, and that having obtained :- help of God, I have been preserved and en.. abled to finish my design. Imperfect as my * execution of it has been, I cannot doubt that
the various topics, I have been led to insist on, are the great truths of God. For what is properly my own, the defects and weaknesses, which mix with my best services, I entreat his forgiveness, and request your candour. But I do not hesitate to say, that the substance of what I have advanced, deserves and demands your very serious attention.
It is probable, that those of my hearers, who admire this Oratorio, and are often prefent when it is performed, may think me harsh and singular in my opinion, that of all our musical compositions, this is the most improper for a public entertainment. But while it continues to be equally acceptable, whether performed in a church, or in the theatre, and while the greater part of the