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Messiah, and still fewer desired his coming. But do not the guilty sigh for pardon, the captives for liberty, the oppressed for a deliverer? does not the debtor need a surety; the weary and heavy laden rest; the diseased a physician; the young a guide; the aged a support; the distressed a comforter; the hungry food; the thirsty water; the ignorant an instructor; and the wanderer shelter? That these things are desired by all people and nations, none can deny ; but it is in Christ alone we can find a supply for all our spiritual wants, and a remedy for these, and a long list of unmentioned ills. In Jesus there is a fulness to supply all our need. He has pardon for the guilty, "liberty for the captive;" he is the "surety" of the debtor, and the "physician" of the sin-sick soul; he will be a guide to youth, and "even to hoar hairs he will be with them;" he is the "water of life," and the "bread that cometh down from heaven;" his "flesh is meat indeed," and his "blood drink indeed :" he will teach the ignorant wisdom, and "deliver the oppressed;" he calls to him the "weary and heavy laden," promising to "give them rest;" he bids the mourner be of good comfort, for he will give "the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;" and truly he is the refuge of the destitute.
In short, it is only in him, and from him, we can find supplies for all our spiritual wants; with him is "life," "light," "liberty," and "joy." Surely if all nations did but know him, all nations would love him too; for he is justly described by the Church as "the altogether lovely, and the chiefest amongst ten thousand." The fulfilment of the latter clause of the prophecy, was literally accomplished when Jesus (the second person in the revealed order of the Trinity), in our nature, entered the temple. Surely that must be acknowledged a far more glorious distinction, than the ten thousands of gold and silver which ornamented the former house. Yea, it was a greater honour to have the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, personally teaching in the temple, than the five signs which constituted the greatest glory of the former house. They were only intended to exhibit to our view a God in Christ. The temple and its contents were but figures of the things signified, even the Messiah. The second temple was honoured not with types, but the person; not with the shadows of the good things to come, but the substance, even Jesus, the Son of the most High. At twelve years of age, Jesus was found in the temple, in the midst of the Doctors of the Law, both hearing and asking them questions. Often, in the days of his
flesh, did he visit the temple, and from within its walls, did he instruct the people, and declare his divine mission. To those who deny that Jesus was the Messiah, this promise must for ever remain unfulfilled; for the second temple never did, either in its buildings, or decorations, surpass, or even equal the glory of the former. It is now seventeen hundred years since the second temple was destroyed, and all its stones laid level with the dust. Thus are they reduced to the alternative of representing God as failing to fulfil his promises; a sentiment, it might be supposed, any man would shudder to advance, and much less maintain. To those who receive "the truth as it is in Jesus," there appears a beautiful harmony between the promise, and the accomplishment; they can exclaim, truly did "the glory of the latter house exceed that of the former," for it was honoured with the personal presence of Jesus, the "Christ of God," ""the Lord of life and glory," "the prince of peace." Of whom, it may be justly observed, that he is the only source from which true and lasting peace can be expected without the fear of a disappointment; and this "peace is made through the blood of his cross."
And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in behold, he shall come saith the Lord of Hosts.-Mal. iii. 1.
THE coming of the Messiah was anticipated with much impatience and pleasure by the Jewish nation, and particularly about the time Augustus Cæsar was Emperor of Rome, in whose reign, it will be remembered, Jesus was born. The period according to Daniel's Prophecy being arrived, the attention of all classes of the people was so excited by his expected advent, that when John came," all men mused in their hearts, if he were the Christ or not." But he disclaimed all pretensions to being the Messiah, and pointed to Jesus as the illustrious person, whose coming had been so long foretold. We find many instances recorded, which prove the Jews to have been on the look out for their long promised deliverer. Aged "Simeon waited for the consolation of Israel :" it had been revealed to him, by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had 66 seen the Lord's Christ:" when the child Jesus was brought into the temple, the aged prophet took him up in his arms, and exclaimed, with holy joy, "Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace,
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation &c., &c." Anna the prophetess, also, "spake of him to all that looked for redemption in Israel." Frequently during the life of Jesus do we hear the people exclaim,-surely, this is "the prophet that was for to come." We find the Priests and Levites, persons, it must be supposed, best acquainted with the writings of the Old Testament, requesting Jesus to tell them plainly, if "he were the Christ or not." The Lord whom they “sought, suddenly came to his temple;" yet when "he came to his own" nation, "they received him not," for their minds were darkened by their false notions of a temporal king. This prophecy loudly proclaims the Godhead of Jesus, for to ascribe a temple to any but God is idolatry; a sin most strictly forbidden throughout every part of the word of God. Jesus is also the Messenger of the covenant. He publicly proclaimed the nature of the covenant ratified in the Court of Heaven, between the persons of the glorious Trinity, even the covenant of redemption, which is "well ordered in all things and sure," and was concluded ere the hills were made, or the mountains brought forth; when this "earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.'
*Prov. viii. 22-31.