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much holiness, and much of that love which will enable us, while on earth, to glorify our heavenly Father, and will continue in heaven, when all miraculous gifts shall cease. And as to gifts of every kind, Lord, grant us that portion by which thy name shall be most glorified; and let us never seek them from a desire of the praise or observation of men.

19. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat | on the right hand of God. 20. And they went forth, and

preached every-where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Lord, we believe, (help our unbelief) that thou wast received up into heaven, and that thou sittest on the right hand of God. Thou hast the government of all things in heaven and earth. We acknowledge thy divine power, and desire to rejoice in it. Oh, be the protector of these souls which we hope thou hast redeemed, and we shall need to fear no evil of any kind. Glory to thee for working with thy apostles, and confirming the word with signs. O be pleased to confirm it still with the signal fruits of holiness in the tempers and lives of multitudes in the present age.

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We bless thee, O gracious God, for exciting thy servants to record so many passages concerning the birth, life, and death of the Redeemer. O may thy Spirit be with us in reading them; may he open our understandings, and work upon our hearts, so as to make thy word profitable to us, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness; that we may be led thereby to Christ, and may know him, and be made to grow up unto him in all things.

SECT. II.

The Birth of John the Baptist foretold.

5.THERE was, in the king of Judea, a certain priest days of Herod the named Zacharias, of the course

of Abia and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, 9. According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

11.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Johu. 14. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Heavenly Father, this is to be truly great, to be great in thy sight. Give us no other greatness. How happy was the Baptist to be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb. Alas! that some of us were so estranged from thee in our infancy and childhood, and that we did not pray to be filled with the Holy Ghost; for thou givest thy Spirit to them that ask him. Oh! bless the rising generation with early grace for Christ's

sake.

16. And many of the chil-well stricken in years. 19. And dren of Israel shall he turn to the angel, answering, said unto the Lord their God. 17. And him, I am Gabriel, that stand he shall go before him in the in the presence of God; and spirit and power of Elias, to am sent to speak unto thee; turn the hearts of the fathers to and to shew thee these glad tidthe children, and the disobedi-ings. 20. And, behold, thou ent to the wisdom of the just; shalt be dumb, and not able to to make ready a people prepar-speak, until the day that these ed for the Lord. 18. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man and my wife

things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21. And the

ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25. Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he

people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22. And when he came out he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; for he beckoned unto them, and remained speech-looked on me, to take away my less. 23. And it came to pass, reproach among men. that, as soon as the days of his

Lord, teach us what thou wouldst have us to learn from this passage. We believe that the conception and birth of John was foretold by an angel to his Father Zacharias; and that in John was accomplished that prophecy concerning Elias coming before the Messiah. We observe likewise the character of Zacharias and Elizabeth, that they were both righteous before thee, walking in all thy commandments and ordinances blameless. O give us and ours thus to be disposed, and thus to walk. The angel said to him, "Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard." It seems, he had, like Abram and Hanna, prayed that he might have children, and that his wife might not be under the reproach of barrenness, which was very ignominious in that nation. And thou, at last, when, humanly speaking, the probability was less than ever, wast pleased to hear his prayer. Lord, deliver our souls from the curse of spiritual barrenness, and make us now at last to bring forth fruit unto God. Surely this petition is agreeable to thy will; and we beg thou wouldst grant it for the sake of thy beloved Son, whom thou hearest always, and who hath encouraged us to pray. May we not therefore, O merciful God, hope that thou sayest to us, though not by an angel, yet with as much certainty, Fear not, your prayer is heard?” Lord, grant it for Christ's sake, by thy Spirit. We find some think his prayer was not (now at least) that he might have children, but that the Messiah might come; and while he was earnestly praying for this great event, in which thy glory and the salvation of mankind were so much concerned, thou conferredst this honour upon

him and his family, that the forerunner of the Messia should be his son. Lord, give us first to be concerned for the interests of thy kingdom, and so all other things shall be added to us.

SECT. III.

The Birth of Christ announced by Gabriel.

26. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30. And the angel said unto her,

31.

Fear not, Mary; for thou hast
found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt con-
ceive in thy womb, and bring
forth a son, and shalt call his
name JESUS. 32. He shall
be great, and shall be called the
Son of the Highest and the
Lord God shall give unto him
the throne of his father David:
33. And he shall reign over the
house of Jacob for ever; and of
his kingdom there shall be no
end. 34. Then said Mary unto
the angel, How shall this be,
seeing I know not a man?

Lord, give us the instructions thou wouldst have us to receive from this passage. The angel saluted Mary with the heavenly salutation, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Surely, Lord, all they also are highly favoured, and thou art with them, and they are blessed, who have Christ formed in their hearts by the Holy Ghost. How rejoicing are these divine words that follow; "He shall "be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; "and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his "father David, and he shall reign over the house of "Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no "end." O glorious king of Zion, our souls worship and adore thee. Make us thy loyal and faithful subjects, and we shall be happy.

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