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view of the undeviating steadiness of the divine counsels! He willeth and none can let it ; heaven and earto may pass away, but his word shall not pass away, but every one come to pass in his season. .
Mary having been referred to her cousin Flizabeth, whose advanced state of pregnancy was to be an additional confirma. tion of her own faith in the promises of God, as soon as the an: gel departed from her, retired from Nazareth into the bill country of Juda to salute her kinswoman, and to conter with her on the several manitestations of divine favor to them. This interview produced another declaration of the interest that providence took in the event which was pressing to its accomplishment ; Elizabeth is not only destined to be a imoth. er in Israel, a mother of John the Baptist, but she becomes already a prophetess; she has a sign given her in her own person equivalent to the declaration of the Archangel. “And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the lalutation of Mabry, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost : and she fpake out with a loud voice, and said, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me ? For, 'lo, as soon as the voice of thy falutation founded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed ; for there hall be a performance of those things which were toid her from the Lord." This fills the virgin's mouth with a Song of praise dictated by faith, piety, humility and gratitude ; and there are the rapiurous strains which flow from her lips,
“My soul doth magnity the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced ' in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low eftate of his hand-maiden: for, bebold, from henceforth all generations hall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things ; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that tear him, from generation to generation. He hath fhewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hash put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath illed the hungry with good things ; and the rich he hath fent empty away. He hath holpen his servant lfrael, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abrahant, and to his feed for ever."
The course of nature now takes place, and he who made man, the first man Adam, perfect at once, from dust of the ground, and who is able of these stones to raise up children to
Abraham, Abrahamn, raises up first John and then Jesus in a way at once miraculous, and natural, according to the way of sovereign, isreliflible power, and according to the time of lite. Glorious in eltatlishing and supporting the laws of nature, glorious in Lufpending and dispensing wish them; we behold thie, O God, lubiduing all things to the counsel of thy will, that all. Ihould. be to the praise of thy glory. At the end of three monihs: mure, Elizabeth, as it was predicted of the angel, is delivered of a son ; 'the name of John, as the heavenly messenger direftert, was imposed on him, the father's speech was suddenly: rettored and the first use which he makes of it is to celebrate the high praises of that God, who had made him such an illustrious example of both mercy and judgment. He " was filled: with the Holy Ghoft and prophefied. faying, Blessed be the Lord God of Ifrael ; for he harlı visited and redeemed his people. And hath raised np an horn of salvation for us in the house of his lervaut David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been fince the world began ; that we thould be saved from our eneinies, and from ihe hand of all that hate us ; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his hoy covenant, the oath which he lware to our fasher Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we, heing delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousne's before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the Proph-. et of the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare bis ways ; to give knowledge of salvation un. to his people, by the remission of their fins, through the ten. der mercy of our Cod : whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that fit' in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” to the level of his natural guilt and misery, and exalts him ta the glorious liberty, and the heavenly inheritance of the fons of God.
And now the way is prepared, the voice is heard crying in the wilderness, the forerunner of the Lord has begun hisi course, the Saviour comes. But other meffengers, of whom we have not yet heard, precede him. Behold yonder comet glare in the eastern sky, it pertorıs a track untrodden before; the wise men of diftant lands are summoned to meet him at: his coming, to lay their gifts at his feet; Augustus Cefar, the . fole regent of lialf the globe, is pressed into the miniftering train, an unconscious, unintentional servant to the Prince of the kings of the earth.
But here we must once more pause and inquire, Is this a cunningly deviled table, or a real history ? Is it a fanciful reps
resentation, or the simple truth? If it be a fine tissue woven by a luxuriant imagination, fay so at once, unbeliever, and renounce the fiction in whole, as a rule of faith, or as a ground at hope. Say unrelervedly that the million and mellage of the angel is merely a buld eaitern metaphor : and the whole mere ordinary facts, related with somew hai more than ihe ulual pomp of diction, but to let forth only a man ot like paflions withı ourselves, whom the credulous, prejudiced and illiterate are dispoled to receive as a superior b-ing--In a word, give . up the evangelists as plain men conveying, to plain men like themseives, fimple matters of tact, and recur at once to urmixed, undisguiled deilm. But are these things indeed so ? Were angels sent from God to declare the approach of what prophets had of old predičied ? Did the Son of the Highest vouchsale to be born of a Woman, and thereby become partaker of fleih and blood, David's fo!!, yet David's Lord, ihen let earth prepare to receive its king. Lo, ihe angels of God worship him. He is the Son of God, he is our Lord, and let us wolthip him.
This history asli fts us in corre&ting the falle scale of human greatness. Here we belold the princes and the potentaies of this world sinking to their proper level ; Herod, Augustus Celar, and persons of their character and station are thrown into the back ground of the piece, while Zacharias, Elizabeth and Mary are brought forward with honour, and io fill a higher der. tination than that of kings. Respect, by all means, the powers . that are, as the ordinance of God, but respect with higher, with fupreme veneration, Himn who ordained tliem, to carry on the purposes of bis wildom and his love.
Learn, Christian, to make a juit estimate of thy own importance in the scale of being. Thou art a creature of God, formed after his image, a partoker of immortality, destined to glory and honour. An origin lo dignified confers true nobility ; faculties fo fuperior, prospects so extended, denote a being of high estimation in the light of God, and who ought to he of high eftima:ion in his own eyes. Defile not that fair iemple, discredit not that illustrious descent, dishonour not a father's name. But weil does it become a creature so dependent, to trail, to fallen, fo lost, to be cloined with humility, O man, thou stundell in need of every thing ; what posetleft tho's that shou did it not first receive ? Thou hast been forgiven all; by the grace of God thou art wirat thou art. The religion o! Jesus Christ alone effectually teaches a man to defend without degradation, and to rise with ut pride ; reduces him
We have bere a preternatural, a miraculous conception. It reminds us of our common origin, of our common feebleness, of our mutual connexion and dependence. God " hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earin." Every man therefore is a brother, and bound to entertain the affections, and to perform the part of a near kinsman to every man. This consideration I press upon you in the words and the spirit of the Apostle of the Gentiles : “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think ; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For, as we are many members in one body, and all members have not the same office : so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith ; Or miniftry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching ; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation : he that give eth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence ; he that sheweth mercy with cheerfulness. Let love be without diflimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to ibat which is good. Be kindly affe&ioned one to another with brotherly love ; in honour preferring one another !". “ Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one towards another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate”-“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
The subject of the next Lecture will be the hiftory of the nativity of our blefled Lord, and of the more remarkable circumstances which accompanied that all-important event. May what has been spoken become “ profitable for doctrine, for reproot, for correction, and for instțuction in righteous. ness." Amen.
And it came
Auguftus, made aken
LUKE, I1.1--14: And it came to pass in thole days, that there went out a decide from Cesar Augusius, that all the world should be taxed. fund this taxing was first made uhen Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, everyone into his ouin city. And 7cfeph also werit up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David,) to be taxed with Mary his cipouled wife, being great with child. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And The brought forth her first.born Yon, and urapped himn in Twaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger ; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came up, on them, and the glory of the Lord Mone round about them ; and they were fore afraid. And the angel said unto them,
Fear 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. And this shall be a sign unto you : ye shall find the babe wrap, ped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heaveniy holt, praising God, and saying, glory to God in the highell, and on farth peace, good will toward men. TROM the first instant of time until now, every instant has I been displaying some new wonder, unfolding some new design of the Eternal mind. God gives the word. Light arises, the earth emerges out of ocean, the firmament is expanded, sun, moon, and stars appear, nature teems with lite, man starts up out of the duft, rears his erećt form to heaven, shines in his Maker's likeness ; the Creator contemplates the progreslive glories of his power, and pronounces every thing good. The Lord gives the word, and ocean again covers the earth, Chaos and ancient nigbt resume their empire, the breath of every live