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And

This is great encouragement to such as we are. lastly, we see that relation to thee, by the flesh, was not always accompanied with salvation; but, blessed be thy name, we are sure, "Whosoever doth the will of God, the same is thy mother, and sister, and brother.”

SECT. II.

The Nativity of Christ.

18. Now the birth of Jesus | Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away

privily.
thought on these things, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared
unto him in a dream, saying,
Joseph, thou son of David,
fear not to take unto thee Mary
thy wife; for that which is
conceived in her is of the Holy
Ghost.

20. But while he

What a mystery is here! What a stone of stumbling to the carnal mind, and the disputer of this world! But we rest in the words of the angel to the blessed virgin: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." Thou, O Lord Jesus, art the only begotten Son of God; one with thy Father; and even in thy human nature, thou art the Son of God in such a singular way, as no other is. Yet to as many as believe in thee, thou hast given the privilege of becoming by adoption, and by regeneration, the sons of God. O heavenly Fa ther, send forth the spirit of thy Son into our hearts. Give us to know in our experience what it is to be born from above, to be born of thy Spirit. We ask not to be great or high in this world: Make us thy children whom thou hast predestinated to be conformed to the image of thy Son.

21. And she shall bring forth | name JESUS; for he shall a son, and thou shalt call his save his people from their sins.

Blessed name! sweetest of all names! Jesus! Saviour! Grant us this great, this precious salvation which thou

:

bringest. Save us from our sins; from the guilt, and from the power of them. Thou camest to save thy people from their enemies, and from the hand of all that hate them. Our sins are our worst enemies; they are the real, the great enemies from whom we need deliverance. Sickness, pain, poverty, contempt, death, deliver us from these or not, as thy perfect wisdom sees best but in any wise deliver us from our sins. Save us from a bad conscience; from guilty terrors; from tyrannical lusts; from the power of Satan; from the sting of death, and from hell. Praise, praise to thee for the hope of so glorious salvation. We rejoice that it is said, "Thou shalt save thy people from their sins." This salvation is not by the power of man, but by thy right hand, O Son of God; and thou wilt accomplish what thou hast undertaken. And though thy salvation was first sent to the Jews, who were then thy peculiar people, thou commandest it afterwards to be published to all nations under heaven, that whosoever believeth in thy name may be saved. O when thou savest such multitudes, save us also for thy mercy's sake. Thou hast said, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you." We ask, Lord ; we seek; we would earnestly knock for thy salvation. Be it unto us according to thy word. We trust in thee, who camest to seek and save that which was lost.

22. (Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet,(Isa. vii.14.) saying, 23. Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name EMMANUEL; which, being in

terpreted, is, God with us.) 24. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name JESUS.

This is another of thy amiable names; Emmanuel,· God with us; God in our nature; God tabernacling among us; yea, God dwelling in our hearts as our God. How happy are they to whom thou art Emmanuel! Amidst the greatest dangers they may sing, "The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge; therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed,

and though the mountains be cast into the midst of the sea. The Lord is for us, who can be against us." Blessed be thy name; thou art thus Emmanuel to all who believe in thee for thou dwellest in their hearts by faith. Thou makest each of them a temple of the living God. What honour! what safety! what felicity! O come thou, King of Glory, into our souls, and make them temples to thee. Drive out every thing that defiles them, and fill them with thy presence. Open by thy divine power the everlasting doors, and take full possession of these souls which thou hast made for thyself. Let them be parts of thy Zion, of which thou hast said, "This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell, for I have desired it."

SECT. III.

The wise men visit Christ in the Manger.

CHAP. II.

Now, when enes of Judea, in
TOW, Jesus was born

the days of Herod the king, be-
hold, there came wise men from
the east to Jerusalem, 2. Say-
ing, Where is he that is born
King of the Jews? for we have
seen his star in the east, and are
come to worship him. 3. When
Herod the king had heard these
things, he was troubled, and all
Jerusalem with him. 4. And,
when he had gathered all the
chief priests and scribes of the
people together, he demanded
of them where Christ should be
born. 5. And they said unto him,
In Bethlehem of Judea; for thus
it is written by the prophet, (Mic.
v. 2.) 6. And thou Bethlehem,
in the land of Juda, art not the
least among the princes of Juda:
for out of thee shall come a
Governor, that shall rule my
people Israel. 7. Then Herod,
when he had privily called the
wise men, inquired of them di-

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ligently what time the star apto Bethlehem, and said, Go, peared. 8. And he sent them

and search diligently for the young child; and, when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and, when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

These men would, no doubt, be much censured for taking so long a journey to see one, of whose birth they were advertised by the appearance of a star; but they were led by God, and were able to give a reason of their conduct to those who were capable of judging it. Behold them falling down and worshipping, and opening their treasures to present their most costly gifts. Let us imitate their example, O King of Israel, we worship thee; we adore that divine love that brought thee from the throne of God, to be a poor infant lying in a manger. We have no treasures to give thee; but we know thou needest none. The sacrifices acceptable to thee are a broken heart; a broken and a contrite spirit thou wilt not despise. Give us such hearts that we may present them to thee. Thou art now exalted in glory; but we would never forget the deep abasement of thy infancy. Because for the glory of GOD, and the salvation of sinful men, thou thus humblest thyself, let every tongue proclaim thee worthy of all the strength, and power, and riches, and wisdom, and honour, and glory, and blessing, which thy Father hath given thee.

SECT. IV.

The Flight of Joseph and his family into Egypt.

13. And, when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt; 15. And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, (Hos. xi.1.saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son. 16. Then He

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rod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he bad diligently inquired of the wise men. 17. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, (xxxi. 15.) saying, 18. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachael weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 19. But,

when Herod was dead, behold, I an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20. Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. 21. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22. But when he

heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Naza

rene.

How soon did thy sufferings commence! Thy life was sought in thy infancy; thy parents obliged to flee with thee into a foreign land; and at thy return thy habitation was in Nazareth, out of which it was thought no good thing could come. Lord, why should we love this world, which was so unkind to thee from first to last? Let us not seek its favour, but rather labour to get safely through its snares, that we may be with thee in heaven.

IN

CHAP. 11.

SECT. V.

Ministry of John the Baptist.

N those days came John the | Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2. And saying, Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, (Isa. xl. 3.) saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6. And were baptized of him in Jordan, con

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fessing their sins. 7. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers! who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8. Bring forth, · therefore, fruits meet for repentance: 9. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

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