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judging, do we conclude, that man, a worm of the dust. who forms the last link in the chain of intelligence, could have God exhibited to him in any way, which would not be equally mysterious? Canst thou by searching find out God; canst thou find or, the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do; deeper than hell what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea!
The fourth name we have to consider is, The Everlasting Father. He is not both Father and Son in the same sense, but in the character of Creator, he is the universal Father; and as the second Adam, the quickening Spirit, the Author and finisher of faith, he is the Father of the church, without whom it could not have existed; by whom it is preserved, and from whom all that belongs to it, is derived. Sinners become the disciples of Christ by being begotten of God; they are kept from final apostacy by him who made and renewed them; and their rich inheritance consists in that eternal life, which he puts into their possession.
Everlasting is a qualifying epithet, which signifies here, among other things, that Jesus Christ is not a derived being; but absolutely self-existent, having no beginning of days, or end of life.
If he is the Everlasting Father, his purpose is like himself everlasting. Many persons connect with an everlasting purpose, or predestination, various horrible ideas; but they do not seem to understand, that an everlasting, or infinite being, can have no new purpose, because that would imply imperfection; and, that all purposes which are carried into operation, must, in this, be alike in their influence, that they will settle the order of things, or leave it as it was before. A purpose of heaven with or without date, infringing the liberty of man, we may all disapprove of, whenever we can find it, but no such purpose can have an existence, and if we have liberty to choose and act for ourselves, all complaints about restrictions, are unreasonable and criininal. If Christ is the Everlasting Father the question about the perseverance of the saints is decided, and ought never to be called up again, for father and children are correlative terms, and when there are no children, there can be no
father. Of course it would be a great incongruity to speak of the Everlasting Father, if in any way he could be deprived of his children; and if one could be lost, all might be lost for the same reason.
Everlasting Father therefore, is a name which clearly conveys these three ideas; that he to whom it is applied existed from everlasting; that whatever he does, is what from everlasting he purposed to do; and, that those whom at any time he owns for his people, he will forever own as sustaining this relation.
The last name in the list of names before us is, Prince of peace. With reference to this name it may be well for us to consider Christ as to several particulars.
When he was about to leave his disciples he said to them, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you, let not your heart be troubled. St. Paul, writing to the Romans says, Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Other scriptures might be quoted, but these are sufficient to show, that when any person has peace he obtains it as a gift from Christ, the Prince of peace. From the benedictions in the sermon on the mount, we may see the error of that judgment which is generally formed concerning what constitutes a happy condition of life. If the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt; and if all are wicked but pardoned sinners, who have an interest in Christ, the case is a plain one; that we are not to look for enjoyment to outward circumstances, since there is no enjoyment where there is no peace, and there is no peace where there is no faith to produce it. How much happier was John in the isle of Patmos, than the emperor on the throne! Thrones; and scepters: and diadems; and purple robes; and the flatteries of a sycophantic court; and the homage, and services of a subjected populace, are like mere baubles of the nursery, having no influence to blunt the stings of conscience, and tranquilize the mind. If individuals have peace, families will have peace,
which are made up of such individuals. Thus the house of Bethany, to which Christ so frequently repaired, contained a
family in the enjoyment of peace, for Lazarus, with his two sisters, may be considered as belonging to the Prince of peace. The voice of rejoicing, and salvation, is in the tabernacles of the righteous; and this is easily accounted for, because the righteous Lord is there, directing the voice to be thus employed. Domestic satisfaction is anticipated by those who are in early life, as the sum of human good; but whether what is anticipated will be realized, must depend upon the principles and character, evidenced by the conduct, of those who form the domestic connexion. Zacharias and Elizabeth must have been a very happy couple, to give a single instance, for it is testified of them, that they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments, and ordinances, of the Lord, blameless. In the families of Lot; of Job; and of David; there was much enjoyment from the same source; but all did not partake of it, and those who did, had heavy trials from those who did not.
The Prince of peace can establish peace in the church. In the church we have reason to look for peace, because it is utterly wrong, and astonishingly strange, that the members of the same body should ever be at variance. But the case is not always as it should be, for animosities and contentions are evils of no rare occurence among those who profess to be brethren. These things are not unfrequently charged to religion, though they ought to be charged to the want of it. Upon the day of pentecost, there was a vast accession to the church, and the record informs us of the peace, and harmony, and love, of that early time. Is it possible that any one can repeat the prayer which Christ gave to his disciples, or make a prayer himself, in coincidence with that, feeling in his heart what he expresses in his words, and yet be disposed to hostility? The spirit of Christ clears the way of obstructions; removes the punctilios which pride magnifies into mountains of difficulty; and devises measures of accommodation which are easily carried into effect. Peace among the members of a church is the most convincing evidence of the presence of Christ in that church; and the state of religion may be always estimated. by this standard.
Christ is the Prince of peace still farther; because it is from him that the nations of the earth derive the blessing. Because nations wearing the christian name only to disgrace it, have had their share in the wars which have drenched the world in blood, does it follow that nothing has been done by christianity; and that nothing will be done, to bring these evils to a termination? Is there no part of the world at the present time, that appears to advantage in this respect, when compared with ancient Syria; Assyria; Egypt; Greece and Rome? If any good has already been eflected, much more may be looked for at a future period. The kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. They shall beat their swords into plough shares;. and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
We are called upon to keep this day as a day of thanksgiving We might make out a long list of temporal, and spiritual blessings, which we have received from God during the year which is drawing to a close, and for which we are under obligation to render him our tribute of thanks. But every year that has passed over our heads, has been crowned with the goodness of God, and has brought us good things much of the same description. We are apt to think more of what we have, or of what we want, of the things of this world, than of our condition as another world is regarded. But certain it is, that if the greatest mercies are overlooked, we are not thankful for those of smaller importance. It is time for us all to inquire whether we can adopt the language of the apostle, and say in sincerity, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. We can if we understand the subject which we have been considering, and are sensible, that our interest is closely connected with it.
An annual thanksgiving is an institution which has much to recommend it. But those who spend it as a mere holyday, will find in the end, that by so doing, they have added
items of consequence to their account of transgression. Hear what God said to his ancient people with respect to their festivals, Your new moons, and your appointed feasts, my soul hateth; they are a trouble unto me, I am weary to bear them. Wherever any are anxiously inquiring what they shall do to be saved; or having obtained a satisfactory answer to this inquiry, are rejoicing in the hope of the gospel, this day will be stamped with a sacred character, and its exercises will be devotional.