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forward, but rather, like the sun upon the dial of Abaz, did go back ten degrees, and vail his splendor in a cloud. There have been sights matchless and wonderful, at which we might look for years, and yet turn away
and say, “I can not understand this; here is a deep into which I dare not dive; my thoughts are drowned; this is a steep without a summit; I can not climb it; it is high, I can not attain it !” But all these
Ι things are as nothing, compared with the incarnation of the Son of God. I do believe that the very angels have never wondered but once, and that has been incessantly ever since they first beheld it. They never cease to tell the astonishing story, and to tell it with increasing astonishment too, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary, and became a man. Is he not rightly called Wonderful ? Infinite, and an infant-eternal, and yet born of a woman- -Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman's breast-supporting the universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother's arms King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph-heir of all things, and yet the carpenter's despised son. Wonderful art thou, O Jesus, and that shall be thy name for ever.
But trace the Saviour's course, and all the way derful. Is it not marvelous that he submitted to the taunts and jeers of his enemies—that for a long life he should allow the bulls of Bashan to gird him round, and the dogs to encompass him? Is it not surprising that he should have bridled his anger, when blasphemy was uttered against his sacred person? Had you or I been possessed of his matchless might, we should have dashed our enemies down the brow of the hill, if they had sought to cast us there; we should never have submitted to shame and spitting; no, we would have looked upon them, and with one fierce look of wrath, have dashed their spirits into eternal torment. But he bears it all-keeps in his noble spirit—the lion of the tribe of Judah, but bearing still the lamb-like character of
“The humble man before his foes,
A weary man, and full of woes. I do believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the King of heaven,
he is won
and yet he was a poor, despised, persecuted, slandered man ; but while I believe it I never can understand it. I bless him for it; I love him for it; I desire to praise his name while immortality endures for his infinite condescension in thus suffering for me; but to understand it, I can never pretend. His name must all his life long be called Wonderful.
But see him die. Come, O my brothers, ye children of God, and gather round the cross. See your Master. There he hangs. Can you understand this riddle: God was manifest in the flesh, and crucified of men? My Master, I can not understand how thou couldst stoop thine awful head to such a death as this—how thou couldst take from thy brow the coronet of stars which from old eternity had shone resplendent there; but how thou shouldst permit the thorn-crown to gird thy temples astonishes me far more. That thou shouldst cast away the mantle of thy glory, the azure of thy everlasting empire, I can not comprehend; but how thou shouldst have become vailed in the ignominious purple for awhile, and then be bowed to by impious men, who mocked thee as a pretended king, and how thou shouldst be stripped naked to thy shame, without a single covering, this is still more incomprehensible. Truly thy name is Wonderful. Oh thy love to me is wonderful, passing the love of woman. Was ever grief like thine ? Was ever love like thine, that could open the flood-gates of such grief. Thy grief is like a river; but was there ever spring that poured out such a torrent ? Was ever love so mighty as to become the fount from which such an ocean of grief could come rolling down ? Here is matchless lovematchless love to make him suffer, matchless power to enable him to endure all the weight of his Father's wrath. Here is matchless justice, that he himself should acquiesce in his Father's will, and not allow men to be saved without his own sufferings; and here is matchless mercy to the chief of sinners, that Christ should suffer even for them.
- His name shall be called Wonderful.”
But he died. He died ! See Saleni's daughters weep around. Joseph of Arimathea takes up the lifeless body after it has been taken down from the cross. They bear it away to
the sepulcher. It is put in a garden. Do you call him Wonderful now?
"Is this the Saviour long foretold
To usher in the age of gold ?" And is he dead? Lift his hands! They drop motionless by his side. His foot exhibits still the nail-print; but there is no mark of life. “Aha,” cries the Jew, “is this the Messiah ? He is dead; he shall see corruption in a little space of time. Oh! watchman, keep good ward lest his disciples steal his body. His body can never come forth, unless they do steal it; for he is dead. Is this the Wonderful, the Counselor ? But God did not leave his soul in Hades, nor did he suffer his body—“his holy one”—to see corruption? Yes, he is wonderful, even in his death. That clay-cold corpse is wonderful. Perhaps this is the greatest wonder of all, that he who is “Death of death and hell's destruction” should for awhile endure the bonds of death. But here is the wonder. He could not be holden of those bonds. Those chains, which have held ten thousand of the sons and daughters of Adam, and which have never been broken yet by any man of human mold, save by a miracle, were but to him as green withes. Death bound our Samson fast, and said, “I have him now; I have taken away the locks of his strength; his glory is departed, and now he is mine.” But the bands that kept the human race in chains were nothing to the Saviour; the third day he burst them, and he rose again from the dead, from henceforth to die no more. Oh! thou risen Saviour—thou who couldst not see corruption—thou art wonderful in thy resurrection. And thou art wonderful too in thine ascension, as I see thee leading captivity captive and receiving gifts for
“His name shall be called Wonderful.” Pause here one moment, and let us think-Christ is surpassingly wonderful. The little story I have told you just now —not little in itself, but little as I have told it—has in it something surpassingly wonderful. All the wonders that you ever saw are nothing compared with this. As we have passed through various countries we have seen a wonder, and some older traveler than ourselves has said, “ Yes, this is wonderful
to you, but I could show you something that utterly eclipses that.” Though we have seen some splendid landscapes, with glorious hills, and we have climbed up where the eagle seemed to knit the mountain and the sky together in his flight, and we have stood and looked down, and said, “How wonderful !" saith he,
I have seen fairer lands than these, and wider and richer prospects far.” But when we speak of Christ, none can say they ever saw a greater wonder than he is. You have come now to the very summit of every thing that may be wondered at. There are no mysteries equal to this mystery; there is no surprise equal to this surprise; there is no astonishment, no admiration that should equal the astonishment and admiration that we feel when we behold Christ in the glories of the past. He surpasses every thing.
And yet again. Wonder is a short-lived emotion; you know, it is proverbial that a wonder grows gray-headed in nine days. The longest period that a wonder is known to live is about that time. It is such a short-lived thing. But Christ is, and ever shall be wonderful. You may think of him through threescore years and ten, but you shall wonder at him more at the end than at the beginning. Abraham might wonder at him, when he saw his day in the distant future; but I do not think that even Abraham himself could wonder at Christ so much as the very least in the kingdom of heaven of to-day wonders at him, seeing that we know more than Abraham, and therefore wonder more. Think again for one moment, and you
say of Christ that he deserves to be called Wonderful, not only because he is always wonderful, and because he is surpassingly wonderful, but also because he is altogether wonderful. There have been some great feats of skill in the arts and sciences; for instance, if we take a common wonder of the day, the telegraph -how much there is about that which is wonderful ! But there are a great many things in the telegraph that we can understand. Though there are many mysteries in it, still there are parts of it that are like keys to the mysteries, so that if we can not solve the riddle wholly, yet it is disrobed of some of the low garments of its mystery. But now if you look at Christ any how, any where, any way, he is all mys
tery; he is altogether wonderful, always to be looked at and always to be admired.
And again, he is universally wondered at. They tell us that the religion of Christ is very good for old women. once complimented by a person, who told me he believed my preaching would be extremely suitable for blacks-for negroes. He did not intend it as a compliment, but I replied, “Well, sir, if it was suitable for blacks, I should think it would be very suitable for whites; for there is only a little difference of skin, and I do not preach to people's skins, but to their hearts.” Now, of Christ we can say, that he is universally a wonder; the strongest intellects have wondered at him. Our Lookes and our Newtons have felt themselves to be as little children when they have come to the foot of the cross. The wonder has not been confined to ladies, to children, to old women and dying men; the highest intellects, and the loftiest minds have all wondered at Christ. I am sure it is a difficult task to make some people wonder. Hard thinkers and close mathematicians are not easily brought to wonder; but such men have covered their faces with their hands and cast themselves in the dust, and confessed that they have been lost in wonder and amazement. Well then may Christ be called Wonderful.
II. “ His name shall be called Wonderful.” He is wonderful for WHAT HE IS IN THE PRESENT. And here I will not diverge, but will just appeal to you personally, Is he wonderful to you? Let me tell the story of my own wonderment at Christ, and in telling it, I shall be telling the experience of all God's children. There was a time when I wondered not at Christ. I heard of his beauties, but I had never seen them; I heard of his power, but it was nought to me; it was but news of something done in a far country-I had no connection with it, and therefore I observed it not. But once upon a time, there came one to my house of a black and terrible aspect. He smote the door ; I tried to bolt it, to hold it fast. He smote again and again, till at last he entered, and with a rough voice he summoned me before him; and he said, “I have a message from God for thee; thou art condemned on account of thy