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blessed." May we imitate these eastern sages, and not feel ashamed to confess our attachment to him, who once appeared as an infant at Bethlehem; for it became him, in taking our nature, to assume it from its earliest state, and in all things to be made like unto his brethren, sin only excepted.
Thus saith the Lord, a voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.-Jeremiah xxxi. 15.
It will not be difficult to discover the mourning prophet referred to the murder of the infants of Bethlehem, when it is remembered that Rachel the beloved wife of Jacob, was the mother of Benjamin, which tribe, with that of Judah and the family of Levi, after the revolt of the ten tribes, formed the kingdom of Judah. We are told the wise men came to Jerusalem, to inquire from the Jews themselves, at what place their long promised King should be born; and when told Bethlehem was the the honoured spot, they departed with a charge from Herod, then king of Judah, to return and bring him tidings, that he also might go and worship the infant King. But his hypocrisy was soon discovered.
Under pretence, that the wise men had offered him an insult in not returning to Jerusalem, he issued an order, to destroy all the children in Bethlehem, from two years old and under. An order in every point of view, most cruel, unjust, and cowardly, and which the most hardened wretch must have shuddered to execute. The mind cannot conceive an act of greater barbarity, than the murder of so many innocent babes, in order to be sure of one, even the holy child Jesus. It does not appear that any of their parents had offended the cowardly tyrant, whose heart was harder than the nether mill-stone. What wonder if the voice of lamentation and wo was heard, when the murderer's sword was (to use the prophet's language) made drunk with blood, with the blood of helpless infants, who were torn from the arms of those who would gladly have shed their own blood in the rescue of their babes; but the armed ruffian band, like their master, were insensible to pity, and deaf to the cry of mercy. Well might Rachel, a mother in Israel, have wept, had she witnessed this cruel order executed on the infants of her race! How enviable the lot of those youthful martyrs for the cause of Christ, compared to his, who, though seated on a throne, trembled at the name of Jesus, even when an infant at Bethlehem.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,-Isaiah ix. 6, 7.
THESE words, like numerous other passages in the word of God, are far too sublime to be attached to a mere creature; at the same time, they certainly express ideas which cannot be attributed to Deity. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given," is language improper to be applied to Godhead, while the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, are titles too Godlike to belong to humanity. In what light are we to view them, if not as descriptive of the person of the God-man, Christ Jesus? To whom but the Messiah, are we to apply this, and the many expressions of a similar kind, which we find so profusely scattered through the sacred volume? It is to the wonderful person of the Messiah, God united to the man Christ Jesus, that we direct our thoughts, as the glorious object presented to the faith of the patriarchs and ancient Israel of God. To him give all the prophets witness. All the types prefigure him. All the shadows are designed to represent him, the substance.
He is exhibited to our view in a variety of characters, relations, and offices; and is not God and man, united in one complex person, clearly revealed in this prophecy? Let us apply it to Jesus :-Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Behold him! a babe
at Bethlehem, subject to all the wants, weakness and helplessness connected with a state of infancy and childhood; such was the holy child Jesus. Unto us a son is given, who is acknowledged to be of David's royal line; yet this son of humanity, is also declared to be the only begotten Son of God, a Son who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. But this Son is not given as a Saviour to fallen angels, they are passed by, although possessed of faculties and powers, far superior to the sons of earth; "God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life," Yes, Christ is the gift of God, and the richest, God could bestow; he parted with the choicest jewel in the treasury of heaven; and God has not such another son to give, even if the redemption of ten thousand worlds required it. How amazing the love that could prompt even God, to deliver up such a son; a son, in whom he declared himself always well pleased; a son whom all the
angels of God are commanded to worship; yet he was given up to shame, reproach, and sufferings; yea, his Father became the chief executioner. "It pleased the Father to bruise him, and put him to shame." Well might the prophet exclaim, "Wonder O heaven and be astonished O earth!" Jesus declared that, as the son of man, all power in heaven and earth was given to him; and surely the government ought to be on his shoulders, for who so fit to manage all, as he who is the Wonderful Counsellor; he who, from all eternity, knew the plans and counsels of Jehovah, and with whom he concerted and contrived the creation and redemption of man; and was it not between the Father and this Son, that the council of peace was settled and established, and is it not a covenant well ordered in all things* and sure," and does not that part of it published to us in the written word, proclaim it the work of a Wonderful Counsellor? He indeed is wonderful, both in his person and work: the wonders of his love are here past finding out; the wonders of his grace are now unsearchable, and it is reserved for an eternity to discover all the mysteries in the Wonderful Person of the God-man, Christ Jesus, which are here incomprehensible.
*Zech. vi. 13