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hitherto its produce in our souls; and if it is not, alas ! in our power to say that we have “ plenteously brought forth the fruit of good works,” and if we have too often wandered from our way, let us again go back to that “ fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom,” and pray for his grace to enable us to “cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light,” that we may meet, with glad hearts, the return of that day on which his “Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility,” and that “ in the last day when He shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and dead, we may rise to the life immortal through Him who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost—now and ever.”
ON THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL.
MATTHEW xxi. 10, 11. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the
city were moved, saying, who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
THESE words form a part of the remarkable account which is written in the Gospel for this day of our Lord's entrance into Jerusalem, with a display of greater triumph than it was customary for him to assume, but which seemed necessary both for the fulfilment of ancient Prophecy, and that He might appear to have laid
* Preached on the first Sunday in Advent.
claim to that Kingdom to which he was born. The triumph, indeed, to all human appearance, was of short duration ; his brows were soon encircled in mockery by the Crown of Thorns, and the Cross was the only throne which he seemed destined to ascend. Yet those circumstances which appeared to destroy His dominion, were, in truth, the very circumstances upon which it has been most firmly established; and at this hour, after the lapse of so many Hundred Years, when, in the services of the Church, we again behold him advancing into the cities and communities of men, the voice of a multitude, increasing throughout every age, still cries aloud before him, “ Hosanna to the Son of David !” and to those who inquire“ who is this?” still replies in the words of holy assurance, “ This is Jesus the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” This increasing authority over the hearts of men, is, in truth, the most Universal Dominion which has ever been exhibited upon earth ; and while the proudest fabrics of human Power have passed away before us as if they had never been, that once lowly Individual whose greatest worldly splendour was displayed in this homely triumph of his en
trance into Jerusalem, has established, and is establishing, a Sovereignty, the traces of which have been deeply impressed upon every succeeding age, and are ever destined to come more and more into view, with the progress of Truth, of Morality, and of Wisdom! This, my brethren, is the great truth, which, in these hours, it is fitting that we should fix firmly in our hearts; that we may meet the Advent of our Lord with feelings suited to so important an event-with that assurance of Faith which regards him as really our Master, and as the universal benefactor and Saviour of the World. With this view, it is customary, at this time, to enter somewhat into the detail of the more remarkable evidences of the Gospel ; nor do I know any consideration more striking as an introduction to such an inquiry than that which is suggested to us by the text, that there is something in the Religion of Christ, adapted to the general feelings of Human Nature—that it is the Religion which the multitude of mankind are ever inclined to follow-and that, whatever may be the doubts of individuals, and the superciliousness with which they may be inclined to say " who is this ?” the general language of the human race ever has been, and still is—“ This is Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
I. That you may have a distinct view of this fact, I request you, in the first place, to
back in imagination to the period of the history now under our review. Throughout the course of his preaching upon earth, our Lord was beloved and reverenced by the people, both on account of the simplicity of his doctrine, and the benevolence of his character ; and although he flattered none of their prejudices, and made himself an object of dislike to their spiritual guides; it is yet evident that He was the Leader, whom, of all others, they were most inclined to follow. They did not, indeed, readily enter into the distinction between an earthly and a Heavenly master, and, accordingly, did not gather around him with a devoted zeal, till they believed that he was about to assume the Sceptre of his Fathers; yet, it was evidently his purity and goodness which had won their affections, and which prompted them with so much warmth to exclaim“ Hosanna to the Son of David ! blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ! hosanna in the highest.” Had He been actuated