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discover the folly of Polytheism; though they had even faint notions of existence after death; yet were their ideas perplexed, confused, and uncertain ; they wanted that glorious illumination, which brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel.
The profound ignorance of the grand mass of the Gentiles, and the light which they received from our Saviour, is alluded to, not only in the verse which forms the text, but also in many other passages of Isaiah. 66 I the Lord have called thee in righte
ousness, and will hold thine hand, and " will keep thee, and give thee for a cove66 nant of the people, for a light of the
Gentiles. To open the blind eyes, to “ bring out the prisoners from the prison, 16 and them that sit in darkness out of the “ prison-house. Then the eyes of the blind “ shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf « shall be unstopped. And the eyes of them " that see shall not be dim, and the ears
66 of them that hear shall hearken. Hear ye deaf, and look ye blind that ye may
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, I will lead them “ in paths that they have not known, I 66 will make darkness light before them, " and crooked things straight. They shall « be turned back, they shall be greatly “ ashamed, that trust in graven images, 66 that say to the molten images,
ye are our gods.” Again he
Bring forth " the blind people that have eyes, and the « deaf that have ears." Can any language more strongly, more beautifully, more poetically, depicture the mental darkness of the people than this? But on the effect which Christianity had on the Gentiles, I shall enlarge more fully on a future occasion. The prophecy of Daniel, that Christ should come before the destruction of the second temple built by Herod; the expectation of
Simeon and Anna, that our Saviour was now about to come; the acknowledgment of Josephus, the great historian of the Jews, and of Simeon and Anna, that our Saviour actually was come, are all corroborating proofs, that sacred and profane history agree in the time and circumstances of the Messiah's appearance, and justify the advice of our blessed Master to the Jews: “Search " the Scriptures, for in them ye
ye 6 have eternal life, and they are they which
testify of me.” Such are the observations I have thought proper to lay before you, as a preface merely to further information; if I shall be thought by some, to refer too much to profane history, my apology is, that in this age of scepticism, whenever the authenticity of the holy Scriptures is called in question, “ the times s require it.” I am well aware, at the same moment, that though historical ac
counts may amuse your fancy, improve your understandings, or inform your minds; that though the application of prophecies, may strengthen and confirm your faith; it is only from the sacred volume of the Gospel, that you can derive and collect incitements and injunctions, to the amelioration of your morals, the amendment of
hearts. From those inspired writings, let us study to acquire wisdom unto salvation; let us read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of God's holy word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which he has given us in our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST.
ISAIAH XI. 10.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse,
which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.
HAVING, in a former discourse, re
marked on the time of the Messiah's
coming, and shewn the coincidence of sacred and profane history in that event,
proceed now to relate and comment upon the Birth of Christ, and to shew how remarkably the prophecies are fulfilled, in the circumstances of himself, his incarnation, and his family. “In those days, (says “ the text) there shall be a root out of