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“His name shall be called Wonderful.”—ISAIAH, ix. 6.
ONE evening last week I stood by the sea-shore when the storm was raging. The voice of the Lord was upon the waters; and who was I that I should tarry within doors, when my Master's voice was heard sounding along the water? I rose and stood to behold the flash of his lightnings, and listen to the glory of his thunders. The sea and the thunders were contesting with one another; the sea with infinite clamor striving to hush the deep-throated thunder, so that his voice should not be heard; yet over and above the roar of the billows might be heard that voice of God, as he spake with flames of fire, and divided the way for the waters. It was a dark night, and the sky was covered with thick clouds, and scarce a star could be seen through the rifts of the tempest; but at one particular time, I noticed far away on the horizon, as if miles across the water, a bright shining, like gold. It was the moon hidden behind the clouds, so that she could not shine upon us; but she was able to send her
rays the waters, far away, where no cloud happened to intervene. I thought, as I read this chapter last evening, that the prophet seemed to have stood in a like position, when he wrote the words of my text. All round about him were clouds of darkness ; he heard prophetic thunders roaring, and he saw flashes of the lightnings of divine vengeance; clouds and darkness, for many a league, were scattered through history; but he saw far away a bright spot-one place where the clear shining came down from heaven. And he sat down, and he penned these words: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of
death, upon them hath the light shiaed :" and though he looked through whole leagues of space, where he waw the battle of the warrior “ with confused noise and garments rolled in blood,” yet he fixed his eye upon one bright spot in futurity, and he declared, that there he saw hope of peace, prosperity and blessedness; for said he, “ 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.”
My dear friends, we live to-day upon the verge of that bright spot. The world has been passing through these clouds of darkness, and the light is gleaming on us now, like the glintings of the first rays of morning. We are coming to a
The brighter day, and “at evening time it shall be light.” clouds and darkness shall be rolled up as a mantle that God needs no longer, and he shall appear in his glory, and his people shall rejoice with him. But you must mark, that all the brightness was the result of this child born, this son given, whose name is called Wonderful; and if we can discern any brightness in our own hearts, or in the world's history, it can come from nowhere else, than from the one who is called “Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God."
The person spoken of in our text, is undoubtedly the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a child born, with reference to his human nature; he is born of the Virgin, a child. But he is a son given, with reference to his divine nature, being given as well as born. Of course, the Godhead could not be born of
That was from everlasting, and is to everlasting. As a child he was born, as a son he was given. ernment is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful." Beloved, there are a thousand things in this world, that are called by names that do not belong to them; but in entering upon my text, I must announce at the very opening, that Christ is called Wonderful because he is so. God the Father never gave his Son a name which he did not deserve. There is no panegyric here, no flattery. It is just the simple name that he deserves; they that know him best will say that the word doth not overstrain his merits, but rather falleth infinitely short of his glorious deserving. His
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name is called Wonderful. And mark, it does not merely say, that God has given him the name of Wonderful—though that is implied; but “his name shall be called” so. It shall be; it is at this time called Wonderful by all bis believing people, and it shall be. As long as the moon endureth, there shall be found men, and angels, and glorified spirits, who shall always call him by his right name. “ His name shall be called Wonderful.”
I find that this name may bear two or three interpretations. The word is sometimes in Scripture translated “marvelous.” Jesus Christ may be called marvelous; and a learned German interpreter says, that without doubt, the meaning of miraculous is also wrapped up in it. Christ is the marvel of marvels, the miracle of miracles. “ His name shall be called Miraculous,”
,” for he is more than a man, he is God's highest miracle. “Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh.” It may also mean separated or distinguished. And Jesus Christ may well be called this; for as Saul was distinguished from all men, being head and shoulders taller than they, so is Christ distinguished above all men; he is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and in his character, and in his acts, he is infinitely separated from all comparison with any of the sons of men. - Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips.” He is "the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely." “His name shall be called the Separated One,” the distinguished one, the noble one, set apart from the common race of mankind.
We shall, however, this morning, keep to the old version, and simply read it thus, “His name shall be called Wonderful.” And first I shall notice that Jesus Christ deserveth to be called Wonderful for what he was in the past ; secondly, that he is called Wonderful by all his people for what he is in the present ; and in the third place, that he shall be called Wonderful, for what he shall be in the future. I. First, Christ shall be called Wonderful for WHAT HE WAS
Gather up your thoughts, my brethren, for a moment, and center them all on Christ, and you will soon see
IN THE PAST.
how wonderful he is. Consider his eternal existence, “ begotten of his Father from before all worlds,” being of the same substance with his Father: begotten, not made, co-equal, coeternal, in every attribute “very God of very God.” For a moment remember that he who became an infant of a span long, was no less than the King of ages, the everlasting Father, who was from eternity, and is to be to all eternity. The divine nature of Christ is indeed wonderful. Just think for å moment, how much interest clusters round the life of an old man. Those of us who are but as children in years, look up to him with wonder and astonishment, as he tells us the varied stories of the experience through which he has passed. But what is the life of an aged man ? How brief it appears when compared with the life of the tree that shelters him. It existed long before that old man's father crept, a helpless infant, into the world. How many storms have swept over its brow! how many kings have come and gone! how many empires have risen and fallen since that old oak was slumbering in its acorn cradle!
But what is the life of the tree compared with the soil on which it grows? What a wonderful story that soil might tell! What changes it has passed through in all the eras of time that have elapsed since, “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” There is a wonderful story connected with every atom of black mold which furnishes the nourishment of the oak. But what is the history of that soil compared with the marvelous history of the rock on which it rests—the cliff on which it lifts its head ? Oh! what stories might it tell, what records lie hidden in its bowels. Perhaps it could tell the story of the time when “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the earth.” Perhaps it might speak and tell us of those days when the morning and the evening were the first day, and the morning and the evening were the second day, and could explain to us the mysteries of how God made this marvelous piece of miracle—the world. But what is the history of the cliff compared with that of the sea that rolls at its base—that deep blue ocean, over which a thousand navies have swept, without leaving a
furrow upon its brow? But what is the history of the sea compared with the history of the heavens that are stretched like a curtain over that vast basin ? What a history is that of the hosts of heaven-of the everlasting marches of the sun, moon, and stars! Who can tell their generation, or who can write their biography? But what is the history of the heavens compared with the history of the angels? They could tell you of the day when they saw this world wrapped in swaddling bands of mist-when, like a new-born infant, the last of God's offspring, it came forth from him, and the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy. But what is the history of the angels that excel in strength, compared with the history of the Lord Jesus Christ ? The angel is but of yesterday, and he knoweth nothing; Christ, the eternal One, chargeth even his angels with folly, and looks upon them as his ministering spirits, that come and go at his good pleasure. Oh, Christians, gather with reverence and mysterious awe around the throne of him who is your great Redeemer; for “his name is called Wonderful,” since he has existed before all things, and “by, him all things were made;
and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Consider, again, the incarnation of Christ, and you will rightly say that his name deserveth to be called “Wonderful.” Oh! what is that I see ? Oh! world of wonders, what is that I see? The Eternal of ages, whose hair is white like wool, as white as snow, becomes an infant. Can it be? Ye angels, are ye not astonished ? He becomes an infant, hangs at a virgin's breast, draws his nourishment from the breast of woman. Oh wonder of wonders! Manger of Bethlehem, thou hast miracles poured into thee! This is a sight that surpasses all others. Talk ye of the sun, moon, and stars; consider ye
the heavens, the work of God's fingers, the moon and the stars that he hath ordained; but all the wonders of the universe shrink into nothing when we come to the mystery of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a marvelous thing when Joshua bade the sun to stand still, but more marvelous when God seemed to stand still, and no longer to move