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a useful meditation, and well adapted to the present season*, to consider the characters under which the person is here described whose coming is so pathetically foretold, and the particulars of the business upon which he is said to come; that we may see how exactly the one and the other correspond to the person and performances of Jesus of Nazareth. These meditations will both much contribute to the general confirmation of our faith, and, in particular, they will put us on our guard against those gross corruptions of the Christian doctrine which the caprice and vanity of this licentious age have revived rather than produced.
First, for the characters under which the person is described whose coming is foretold. The first is, that he is the Lord. The word, in the original, is the same which David uses in the hundred-and-tenth psalm, when, speaking of the Messiah, he says"JEHOVAH said unto my Lord." The original word in this passage of Malachi,
The season of Advent.
and in that of the hundred-and-tenth psalm, is the same; and in both places it is very exactly and properly rendered by the English "Lord." The Hebrew word is not more determinate in its signification than the English: It denotes dominion or superiority of any kind,-of a king over his subjects, of a master over his slave, of a husband over his wife; and it seems to have been used, in common speech, without any notion of superiority, property, or dominion, annexed to it, as a mere appellation of respect, just as the word "Sir" is used in our language. Nevertheless, in its primary signification, it denotes a lord, in the sense of a governor, master, or pro prietor; and is used by the sacred writers as a title of the Deity himself; expressing either his sovereign dominion over all as Lord of heaven and earth, or his peculiar property in the Jewish people, as the family which he had chosen to himself, and over which he was in a particular manner their master and head. It is a word, therefore, of large and various signification, denoting dominion of every sort and degree, from the universal and abso
lute dominion of God to the private and limited dominion of the owner of a single slave, So that this title by itself would be no description of the person to whom it is applied. But the prophet has not left it undetermined what sort of lordship he would ascribe to him whose coming he proclaims. "The Lord shall come to his temple." The temple, in the writings of a Jewish prophet, cannot be otherwise understood, according to the literal meaning, than of the temple at Jerusalem. Of this temple, therefore, the person to come is here expressly called the lord. The lord of any temple, in the language of all writers, and in the natural meaning of the phrase, is the divinity to whose worship it is consecrated. To no other divinity the temple of Jerusalem was consecrated than the True and Everlasting God, the Lord Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth. Here, then, we have the express testimony of Malachi, that the Christ, the Deliverer, whose coming he announces, was no other than the JEHOVAH of the Old Testament. Jehovah by his angels had delivered, the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage; and
the same Jehovah was to come in person to his temple, to effect the greater and more general deliverance of which the former was but an imperfect type.
It is strange that this doctrine should be denied by any in the Christian church, when it seems to have been well understood, and expressly taught, upon the authority of the prophetical writings, long before Christ's appearance. Nor does the credit of it rest upon this single text of Malachi: It was the unanimous assertion of all the Jewish prophets, by whom the Messiah is often mentioned under the name of "Jehovah;" though this circumstance, it must be confessed, lies at present in some obscurity in our English Bibles,
an evil of which it is proper to explain to you the cause and rise. The ancient Jews had a persuasion, which their descendants retain at this day, that the true pronunciation of the word "Jehovah" was unknown; and, lest they should miscall the sacred name of God, they scrupulously abstained from attempting to pronounce it; insomuch, that when the sacred books
were publicly read in their synagogues, the reader, wherever this name occurred, was careful to substitute for it that other word of the Hebrew language which answers to the English "Lord." The learned Jews who were employed by Ptolemy to turn the Scriptures of the Old Testament into Greek have everywhere in their translation substituted the corresponding word of the Greek language. Later translators have followed their mischievous example, -mischievous in its consequences, though innocently meant; and our English translators among the rest, in innumerable instances, for the original " JEHOVAH," which ought upon all occasions to have been religiously retained, have put the more general title of "the LORD." A flagrant instance of this occurs in that solemn proem of the Decalogue, in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, "I am the LORD thy God," so we read in our Eng lish Bibles," who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." In the original it is "I am JEHOVAH thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the