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tures, is in the plural number (ashrei), and means blessedness. And in allusion' to him of whom he speaks, he is truly blessedness. The Hebrews used this word for the most part plural, because they thought (and thought rightly) that blessedness is not confined to one object, but includes many. So that, when considered as referring to Christ, he is indeed in the fullest sense of the word, blessedness. Some call him the God-man of blessedness!

Pause, reader, look at Christ! Is he not the foundation of all blessedness? Doth he not comprehend in himself all blessedness? Is he not essential to all blessedness? And if possessing him, have we not all blessedness, whatever else is wanting.

With respect to his title in this Psalm, of none but Christ could what is here said be true. He only walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful.

But we must not stop here. Christ is the whole and sole blessedness of his people, both in time and to all eternity. “Men shall be blessed in him." For there is not a single blessing out of Christ for all the race of men. Reader ! is he your ashrei, your blessedness ?

One word more. While Christ is known, and felt, and enjoyed, as all blessedness, and God our Father blesseth us “ in him with all spiritual blessings;" doth your heart go forth in blessing him ? It is true, indeed, we cannot add to his glory with our faint praises, no more than we can increase the thunder with our voices, or add to the sun's light by a candle; yet Jesus loves the good word and good will of his people. He saith, “ whosoever offereth me praise glorifieth me,” Ps. li. 23. The hearty amen of his people, is grateful to God's amen to his people. For this is the line of distinction between his people and the world. All God's works must praise him, but it is the saints which give thanks to him. His works praise him because they are the displays of his power: and they praise him passively. But his saints alone give thanks to him, for they do it actively. Reader ! I ask again, is Jesus your blessedness? And do you see Jesus as all blessedness, and all fulness of blessedness in himself? Then when we read of him as in this, or any other place of scripture, take the sweet word as the ashrei, indeed as the Hebrews did, and say, blessed and blessedness is the God-Man Christ Jesus !

II.

“ THE TENDER MERCY OF OUR GOD;" OR, AS THE MARGIN

RENDERS IT, “ THE BOWELS OF THE MERCY OF OUR GOD."-
Luke i. 78.

The reader, in order to enter into a clear apprehension of this very precious portion of scripture, should be told, that the original word (splanchna) which our translators have rendered tender, is also rendered by them in the margin, bowels. And indeed this is more correct. For as the learned, who know the original, cannot but very well know also, that the word (splanchna) is plural, and a noun of itself, and therefore cannot be joined with another noun in the same case, but of necessity, as is here done, it puts the noun following (eleous) mercy, in the genitive case. Hence, the correct reading is, as the margin renders the passage,

“ the bowels of the mercy of our God."

Moreover, the word itself, (splanchna) is uniformly rendered in the scriptures, bowels. Thus Acts i. 18. 2 Cor. vi. 12. Phil. i. 8. and in the Hebrew, Ps. xxv. 6. margin. But yet more eminently striking in the 40th Psalm, 8th verse, where the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking

of himself under the spirit of prophecy, most blessedly saith, “ I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” In the margin it is, “ in the midst of my bowels;" that is, wrapped up in my very nature. All within me is holy. The law is in me, innate, part of myself, formed in my being, and in the midst of my bowels.

Reader, pause over this view of the subject, before we go further. We see from it, that the very nature of Christ is such, that all the gracious .acts which mark the features of his character, flow from him as naturally as streams from a fountain, for they are in his very nature, yea, in his bowels. Not only from him, but in him. Not only the acts of Jesus, but Jesus himself. His person, which is more precious than all his works. For he must cease to be Jesus, before that he can cease to be what he is, both in himself and to his people; for all come from what he is. Neither can any thing tend to lessen or take away the everlasting security his church hath in him. He saith himself, “ because I live ye shall live also.” And those scriptures shew the cause. A man may lose an arm, a leg, yea both arms and legs and yet live. But the bowels can never be torn from the body and life preserved. Oh! lovely views of the all holy, all lovely Jesus! Oh sweet security to our being, and well being, and blessedness in Jesus! the splanchna, the bowels of Jesus, yearn over all his people; and he enters into a fellow feeling for all the persons and concerns of his people. Now do I see a blessedness in what Paul said to the church, which I never saw before; “ God is my record,” said the affectionate servant of his most compassionate Lord; “ God is my record; how greatly I long after you all, in the bowels of Jesus Christ," Phil. i. 8. But we must not stop here.

More beauties open to us in this sweet verse of scripture. The day-spring " A body,

from on high is said to have visited us, through “ the bowels of the mercy of our God.” Hence we discover, that though all our blessings flow to us, in and through a nature like our own, and come with a tenfold sweetness when from Jesus's bowels, our's are refreshed, and the love of his heart pours into our hearts; yet all that Jesus hath, and is, and ever will be, considered as in his Headship and Redeemer fulness to his church, he is from the joint love, and grace, and favour of all the persons. of the Godhead. This is a precious addition to the blessed view of Christ's splanchna. Let us dwell a little upon it.

It was God our Father formed the human nature of Christ, with this tenderness of bowels. said Jesus, (speaking to the Father) " thou hast prepared me,” Heb. x. 5. And hence the command of God to love his people, is among the law, Jesus saith, was written in his heart, or in the midst of his bowels. And hence James, when speaking of God's love as instanced in the case of Job, makes use of the very same word as Luke hath here done, only compounding it with another which makes it more expressive. The Lord, said he, " is very pitiful, and of tender mercy," The words " tender mercy,” are (polie splanchnois) “ full of bowels," James v. 11.

And to shew no less that God the Son was the same, in those rich acts of grace, when assuming our nature for this express purpose, he is represented by the prophet Hosea as saying, “ I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies,” (or bowels, as it might be read) Hos. ii. 19. Hereby sweetly corresponding to that other scripture of the prophet, where the Lord promiseth “ to rejoice over his people with his whole heart, and with his whole soul,” Jer. xxxii. 41,

And that we may not overlook the very blessed part which God the Holy Ghost hath taken in the formation of the body of Christ, most sure it is, that by his overshadowing the virgin, as this same chapter relates, his incarnation was accomplished; and his unction of Christ without measure, became the cause, as the Lord Jesus himself declared, of his preaching good tidings to the meek, healing the broken heart, and the like. Hence, the whole Persons of the Godhead were all engaged in forming the human nature of Christ, whereby (as this passage renders it) the person and grace of Christ Jesus is blessedly called “ the bowels of the mercy of our God.” Compare together the scriptures in proof, for they are most precious: Psalm xl. 5—10. with Heb. x. 5–10. Heb. ii. 16. Luke i. 35.

And now what saith the godly reader to those things? Doth he behold the very great blessedness contained in these words, “ the bowels of the mercy of our God?” Yes! if so be God the Holy Ghost hath regenerated him, and he, whose scripture it is, hath not only caused the words to be written in the bible, but engraven them in the reader's heart. Oh! the unspeakable nearness and dearness in which the church in Christ is formed in the affections of Jehovah. They are conceived in the womb of his mercy, in the bowels from whence that mercy comes. So that they are as natural and dear to God, as the bowels of a man are dear to himself. No wonder then that we hear the Lord speaking of them as of Ephraim of old: “ Is Ephraim my dear sop! is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still, wherefore my bowels are troubled for him: I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord,” Jer. xxxi. 20.

“ BY MYSELF HAVE I SWORN, SAITH THE LORD.”-Gen. xxii. 16.

Reader! have you ever duly pondered the solemn and gracious truth contained in those words?

If not,

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