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the remission of sins, through the tender mercy whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited them, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide their feet into the way of peace. peace. Oh, give us and ours the knowledge of salvation by the remission of our sins. Let thy tender mercy, oh our God, be exercised towards us. May the day-spring from on high visit our souls. May the sun of righteousness arise upon us with healing in his wings, to bring us out of the darkness and dreadful shadow of death, into his marvellous light; to guide our feet into the way of peace. Lord, grant it.

CHAP. II.

SECT. VI.

The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

AND it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (be

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cause he was of the house and

lineage of David,). 5. To be taxed, with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

We see thy providence, heavenly Father, bringing Mary to Bethlehem, where the Messiah was to be born, that the scriptures might be fulfilled. But, oh, in what mean circumstances she brought forth her first born son and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." It seems he was born in a stable. Infinite God! how adorable are thy ways. Could it ever have entered into the heart of a creature to conceive such a thing? That God should become a human infant, and lie in a manger. We desire silently to adore this mystery, which no words can equal, ol

incarnate God! Oh God become a weeping infant in a manger! What love is like thy love? What condescension like thine? Though there was no room for thee in the inn; we would now humbly entreat thee to make room for thyself in our hearts. Come, Lord Jesus, and dwell in them: see, they are ready for thee by thy grace. We would have every thing put out of them that is offensive to thee. Come, Lord, and make them thy habitation. Come and dwell with us; and we will think ourselves happier than kings. What signifies it to us, though we should have but a poor cottage to lodge in, and no money to pay for, our entertainment, and no friends to receive us what is all that to us, if thou, Lord Jesus, dwellest in our hearts. Thou hast given us abundance of outward accommodations; but whether we have such things or not, it is nothing, if we have thee in our hearts. Oh, deny us not this mercy. There are many at this day who have no room for thee. But thou hast been pleased to open our eyes, and we earnestly beg thou wouldst vouchsafe to come and make thy abode with us. Our hearts are indeed worthless and wicked, and filthy by nature; but thou canst make them good. Yea, Lord, thou canst make them temples and thrones to thyself, and adorn them with the graces of thy Spirit. Oh, do not reject us. We are indeed utterly unworthy that thou shouldst come under our roof; but thou art meek and lowly, and dost not despise the prayer of the destitute. Come then, Lord; let us humbly plead thy own promise; "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him." Be it unto us according to thy word.

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SECT. VII.

The Birth of Christ announced to Shepherds, who visit him at Bethlehem.

8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came VOL. I.

upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. 10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold I bring

you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and

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see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The Redeemer's birth was first declared to poor, simple shepherds. To them the angel said, "Fear

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not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great "joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is "born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which "is Christ the Lord." Heavenly Father, give us to rejoice at the remembrance of our Redeemer's birth; for we trust he is indeed our Redeemer. Is it not thy will that we should rejoice? Give us then, by thy blessed Spirit, this holy joy: and let it not be extinguished by any worldly trouble whatsoever. To us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. Rejoice therefore, O heavens ; be glad, all ye inhabitants of the earth; unto us a Son is born; unto us a Saviour is given; whose name is Wonderful, Counseller, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. He is come to be a Saviour to us, and to every one that will receive him. multitude of angels make heavenly harmony on this occasion, praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in "the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Have not mankind still greater reason to praise and rejoice? O blind miserable men, why are

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you so insensible of your own unspeakable mercies; While the angels proclaim them with joy? Oh, why do you not all cry out with rapture, glory to God in the highest; glory to the Prince of Peace; glory to the holy Spirit, for the amazing good will towards men!

SECT. VIII.

The Circumcision, and Presentation of Christ.

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Lord; 23. (As it is written in the law of the Lord, (Exod. xiii. 2.) Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24. And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. (Lev.

21. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jeru-xii. 8.) salem, to present him to the

Every thing was done according to the law. Thou wast circumcised; shedding thy blood for sinners even in thy infancy. Thy mother offered for her purification the sacrifice appointed to be offered by the poor. Thou wast also presented to God in the temple, though thy heavenly Father had consecrated thee already, and thou hadst come into the world for this very end to do his will. But thus, thou wouldest fulfil all righteousness. Nothing was to be omitted. Glory be to thy name, O Jehovah our righteousness.

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25. And, behold, there was man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27. And he came by the Spirit into the

temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28. Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31. Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32. A light to

lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33. And Joseph and his mother

marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

How happy was aged Simeon. It is not said, that he was rich, or great, or honourable; but that he was just and devout; and waited for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Ghost was upon him. Oh, give us to be like him: to be sincerely pious; to be universally and strictly just; to have our peace and comfort in thee, O thou consolation of Israel: And to have the Holy Ghost upon us as our enlightener, sanctifier, and strengthener. How happy was that old saint, when after waiting for the divine promise, that he should not die till he had seen Christ, he was led by the Spirit of God not only to see him, but to hold the infant Saviour in his arms. How happy was he also, that now there was nothing for the sake of which he would wish to have life prolonged. He blessed God and said, "Lord, now "lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: for mine eyes "have seen thy salvation." O grant us to live and die like Simeon. May we patiently wait as long as thou pleasest: and when thou hast fulfilled thy will concerning us here; Lord let thy servants depart in peace, rejoicing in our Saviour, and in the future prosperity of his kingdom, after we are in the dust. Let our bodies rest in the grave as in a bed, and our souls enter into that peace which is enjoyed by thy departed servants

with thee.

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In Simeon's words to Mary, beside the heart-piercing sorrow she was to suffer on account of what was to befal her son, we see a prediction of the offence which many of the Jewish nation would take at him, to whom the stone laid by Jehovah in Zion would prove a stone of stumbling; but that many also would believe in him,

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