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and be raised thereby to as great heights of spiritual glory, as his adversaries would sink themselves into depths of guilt and wickedness by rejecting him. We see also a lively picture of the treatment he was to receive from sinners; that he was to be set up as a mark of their contradiction and opposition; and that men were to discover themselves, and the thoughts of their hearts to be revealed, by their behaviour towards the Son of God. Lord, what wouldst thou have us to learn from these things? Let us not think it strange if we should suffer the greatest pain and sorrow for thy sake. Oh, keep us from being offended in thee. Enlighten our minds to see all things about thee to be such as become the Messiah, the Saviour, the only begotten Son of God, Give us to know that our hearts are made good by thy grace, because they have right dispositions towards thee, faith and love and trust and joy in thy blessed name,

36. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37. And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

38. And she, coming in that instant, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth,

May we be helped to imitate the good example of Anna: she departed not from the temple, but served thee fourscore and four years with frequent prayers and fasting: May we continually worship and serve thee in spirit and in truth. May we pray without ceasing, and use religious fasting when in thy providence we are called to it. And let us not think a long life of this kind tedious. May we find more satisfaction in such a life than to dwell in the midst of all earthly pleasures without thee. It is sweet to serve thee in this dreary vale. But it will be far sweeter to serve thee in the new Jerusalem, where thy servants shall see thy

face, and thy name shall be in their foreheads, and the glory of God and of the Lamb shall enlighten them, and they shall reign for ever and ever. It is transporting to think that great sinners, the chief of sinners among the Gentiles, shall there join with thy patriarchs and prophets, and all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem, in praising the Lamb that was slain. O Lord Jesus Christ, we trust in thee that thou wilt receive us among them.

:

SECT. IX.

The Life of Jesus in his Youth.

supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46, And it came to pass, that after

40. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. 41. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the cus-three days they found him in, tom of the feast. 43. And the temple, sitting in the midst when they had fulfilled the days, of the doctors, both hearing as they returned, the child Je- them, and asking them quessus tarried behind in Jerusalem; tions. 47. And all that heard and Joseph and his mother him were astonished at his unknew not of it. 44. But they, derstanding and answers.

O thou in whose hands are the hearts of all, to turn them as the rivers of water whithersoever thou wilt, make young persons to resemble the Saviour in his youth. Oh, give them to be strong by thy Spirit against sin, and in the way of their duty; to be filled with wisdom, and to have the grace of God upon them. Give them to have their delight in the law of the Lord, and to meditate in it day and night; to hear and read thy word with attention, and seriously to inquire into the meaning of it, with dependance upon the Holy Ghost it's author; to make it their business to do the will of their heavenly Father; and agreeably to his command to be subject to their parents on earth, honouring and

obeying them. And grant that as they increase in stature, they may increase in wisdom and in favour with God and man.

O eternal Son of God, we adore thee humbling thyself to take our nature not only in its maturity, but in its weak and tender state. Thus thou broughtest thyself as near as possible to our low condition, without sin. Thy humanity, though perfectly holy from the very first, yet grew in wisdom. Thou condescendest to hear the explainers of thy Father's law, and to ask them questions. Thou wast subject to thy parents. Oh give thy grace to young people to set thy divine example before them. And grant that their parents and teachers may be solicitous that they should follow it. May they be persuaded that this is the great, the essential part of right education, and that without it all others are vain or hurtful. Oh, give all young persons a holy ambition to be like thee.

48. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50. And

they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

How early wast thou engaged in thy Father's work. "Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?". His law was within thy heart from the beginning. Thou camest into the world to do his will. Upon his work thou wast intent even in thy childhood; and the nearer thou camest to thy death, the more eager thou wast in pursuing it, if greater eagerness had been possible. Thou wouldst not suffer the persuasions of friends, the contradiction of enemies, the temptations of Satan, the dreadful view of a painful, ignominious, accursed death, to deter thee from finishing the glorious work of the salvation of souls, so precious in thy sight. Blessed

be thy name for the unexampled strength and constancy of thy love.

NOW

SECT. X.

The Baptism and Mission of John.

CHAP. III.

be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways

all flesh shall see the salvation of God. 7. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers! who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8. Bring forth, there

OW in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod be-shall be made smooth; 6. And ing tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2. Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests; the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wil-fore, fruits worthy of repentderness. 3. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4. As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, (Isa. xl. 3.) saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5. Every valley shall

ance; and begin not to say with-
in yourselves, We have Abra-
ham to our father: for I say
unto you, That God is able of
these stones to raise up children
unto Abraham. 9. And now
also the axe is laid unto the root
of the trees: every tree, there-
fore, which bringeth not forth
good fruit, is bewn down, and -
cast into the fire.

[See the Reflections on Matt. III. v. 1-12. p. 7, 8.]

10. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11. He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13. And he said unto them, Exact

no more than that which is appointed you. 14. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with

your wages. 15. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were

17. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquench

the Christ or not; 16. John
answered, saying unto them all,
I indeed baptize you with wa-
ter; but one mightier than I
cometh, the latchet of whose
shoes I am not worthy to nn-able.
loose: he shall baptize you with
the Holy Ghost and with fire:

18. And many other things, in his exhortation, preached he unto the people.

In these answers we see thy servant, who was sent to prepare the way before thee, inculcating the great duties of beneficence to the poor, and of justice and truth between man and man; duties which were afterwards much insisted on by thee also, who blamedst the Pharisees, for neglecting these weightier matters of the law. Lord, give us always to see the importance and necessity of them, in the light of thy word, and may we sincerely perform them. We see also John did not forbid the publicans to continue in their profession; nor the soldiers in theirs; but only warned them against the sins which they were most in danger of, from their respective ways of life. Lord, help us to remember this, and to act accordingly; both in watching against the temptations to which our own way of life is most exposed, and in warning others.

And here we are taught, that where there is true repentance, the fruits of it will be, such as the opening of the hearts of the covetous to the poor; the oppressors will become just; the liars true and honest; and the violent and mutinous peaceable. Oh that thou wouldst work these glorious changes, by thy blessed Spirit, in those who hear thy Gospel now.

SECT. XI.

John imprisoned by Herod.---The Baptism of Christ.

19. But Herod the tetrarch, rod had done, 20. Added yet being reproved by him for He- this above all, that he shut up rodias his brother Philip's wife, John in prison. and for all the evils which He

See the Reflections on Matt. XIV. v. 3. and following Sect. L. p. 63.]

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