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to support. The empire of Augustus speedily fell under its own weight, and the downfal of Rome quickly followed that of Jerusalem, and both approved the truth, and power, and justice of God : while that child born, that Saviour given, holds undivided empire, and exercises unbounded sway. Eighteen centuries have confirmed, not shaken his authority, and time has dicovered another hemisphere, tar more extenfive ihan the former, and aided it to his dominion. Let us again sing," His name lball endure for ever His name shall be continued as long as the lun ; and men shall be blessed in him ; all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doth wondrous things ; and blefled be his glorious name for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory.” Amen and Amen.

Auguftus, in the pride of his heart, and an abject world in flatiery to him, prefixed his name to the age in which he live ed--and let this piece of vanity have its Icope. With the classical, philofophic scholar, let the Auguftan age boait of a Cicero, a Virgil, a Livy, a Mæcenas; the humble christian will rather glory in its having produced light from heaven, which eclipsed all human eloquence and wildom in their high. eft fplendor, and, religning to the schools their favourite histosians, orators and poets, will rejoice in revolving in their place the hallowed page of Luke, the beloved physician, and in lift. ening to the fervid, native, inartificial eloquence of Paul of Tarlus, and above all, in attending to the dignified wisdom wbich flowed from the lips of him who “ spake as never man {pake.”

3. Finally, this wonderful child born teaches us the value and importance of little children. What human fagacity could penetrate the thick cloud which shrouded his nativity ? What but the spirit of prophecy could draw aside the veil which concealed his future eminence ? Who but a Simeon could discern in him the salvation of God, and foretel that “this child was set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel ; and for a sign which should be spoken against ?" And who but He who “declareth the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure ;" who but He knows what the intant, now drawing its first breath, is one day to become ? What dormant powers may there lie hid! What a germ of wisdom ready to expand ! What godlike faculties, which are at length to astonish, to delight, to bless mankind! Watch over the expansion. The precious feed is sown by the hand of the Creator. Mark its springing ; mark its progress. God

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has done his part, parent, mafter, minister, see that thou doft thine. " It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perilh."

The next Lecture will have for its subject the history of the infancy and childhood of Jesus Christ. May he who condefcended to become a little child tor our fakes; who, as He.

went about doing good," encouraged the approach of little children, saying, “ suffer them and torbid them not to corne un, to me : for of such is the kingdom of God :" may he bless us with the spirit of adoption, and endow us with the lovely lim, plicity, the docility, the submissiveness of little children, thaj we may enter into the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

LECTURE

LECTURE VII.

LUKE, II. 4o.

And the child grev, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wif

dom; and the grace of God was apon him.

OF

F all the wonders presented to us in the world of nature,

man is the greatest wonder to simfelt. His body duft of the ground, and mouldering back to dust ; reduced to the ley, el of the beasts of the field ; but that duit animated with the breath of lite, a living soul, exalted to the rank of angels, an emanation from God himself. In him are blended, in a most wonderful manner three diftinét kinds of lite, forming one glorious individual tormed "atter the image of Him who created him.” As the tree in the forest'imperceptibly rises, increafes from lowness and feebleness to ftateliness and strength, and having attained full maturity imperceptibly decays, to the feeble infant gradually increases in ftature. chaoges the grovelling into the erect form, rears his head to the vault of heaven, exulting in the greatness of his strength ; he begins to verge towards decay, he bends to the ground from whence he was taken, and at length links into it again. But he is not like the plant rivetted to one fpot, unconscious of existence, incapable of self motion. With the other animals around him, he feels himself among his fellows, he rejoices in society, he poslesses coniciousness, he is directed by motives, he aims at a determinate end. But he is not, like the beasts that perish, impelled by inftinét merely, the slave of appetite and sense. To the animal, the goodness of the Creator has fuperadded the rational Bife, the faculty of contemplating that great universe ot which he constitutes a part so essential, the capacity of rising from the effe&t to the cause, from the work to the Author : Man enjoys the gift of speech, whereby he is rendered capable of communicating his reflections and reasonings, of forming combinations of power which awe, control, and direct the subject world.

To mark the progress of a human being is an interefting and delightful employment to observe how the limbs acquire firmness and strength, how the mental powers untold them

felves,

{elves, and all the paflions of the man, in succession, ftand con, felfed. See the fond mother bending with delight over her infant, at first a little pliant lump of animated clay, every pow. er lying dormant fave one, that of drawing its nourish. ment from her breast. By and by the eye begins to feel and follow the light, the fiender neck strengthens and fuftains the reclining head; the babe (miles, and the parent's heart is overwhelmed with joy. Now he can distinguish the face of her. that suckles him from that of a stranger, at least she flatters her: felt he can, while the soft murmur of infantine satisfaction ex. presses his gratitude. The figure by degrees becomes erect, every

limb is in motion, the uncertain tongue a:tempts to imi: fate che lounds which strike the opening ear, and the feet press downward to the supporting earth ; tremblingly he totters into walking, and stammers into speech. The powers of recoliec tion and comparing appear, the symptoms of passion become visible, love and aversion, desire and gratitude. The moral sense at length begins to dawn, and the man in miniature finds himlelf a limited, dependent, subject, accountable being; hence hope and fear, felt-complacency and remorse.

We are this evening to contemplate infancy and childhood in their loveliest and most attractive form, and in their molt interesting and affecting circumstances. Look yet again to Bethlehem of Judea, and behold the nothingness of human greatness ; the offspring of kings a stranger in his paternal city, the heir of David withoui a place where to lay his head, a Sovereign destitute of all things. When God, at the fulnels of time, sent forth his own Son, as he was made of a woman, so was he“ made under the law,” subjected to all its rites and restraints however paintuland humiliating, and the Saviour of mankind, that he might fulfil all righteousness, and become a perfect pattern of obedience, first paflively submitted to every ordinance of religion, and then by an active and exact çon, formity, magnified the law and made it honourable.

The minuter circumstances of this period of our blessed Lord's life are not left on record ; those excepted which relate to his public character and divine mission, for as to these. Scripture is most exact and particular. Of the progress of his infant mind no traces remain; not a word is said even of the beauty of his person ; though the general terms which the Evangelists employ warrant us in thinking, that never in child born of a woman did such early dawnings of superior wisdom appear, that never was human form so perfect. The modest reserve of the historians of Jesus Chrift, in this respect, seems to minister a severe reproof of the ridiculous details to be found,

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in modern biography, ót infantine actions and sayings, the supposed prognostics of future eminence and distinction. We can forgive a tond mother, nay love her the more for the amiable weakness, when we hear her repeat the pretty sayings, interpret the significant looks, and describe the wondertul deeds of her soul's darling ; but it excités pity, it not an ungentler feeling, to be told gravely, from the press, of the insipid nothings which a great man said and did, when he was an ignorant and filly, perhaps a pert and petulant boy, who probably merited correction where he obtained praise.

Of our divine Mafter we are told what was done to him, not what he did; what was said hy others concerning him, not what he said eoncerning either himself or others. And thus was he early an instructor of parents to abstain from partial and excelsive admiration of their children and to little children to cultivate that modelty, docility, and humbleness of mind, which are the real ornament and honour of their tender age Behold in him then, parents, chlidren, a helpless intant at the disposal of others. It is of importance to the world to know that, at the appointed period, the terms of the Abrahamic covenant were complied with; that the name of Jesus was given him, according to the direction of the angel; that as the first born of his mother, being sacred to God, he was folemnly presented to the Lord in the temple at Jerusalem; for these things admonish us of the divine truth and taithfulness in keeping covenant and promise with his people, and of the right which he has to expect, and require faithfulness and obedience on their part ; of the character and offices annexed to that sacred, precious and venerable name, and of the felt-dedication which not the firit-born only, but even all owe unto God. On the eighth day, then, he was circumcised, and named, according to the commandment, and on the fortieth day he was presented witlr the accuitomed offering in the temple.

Providence lays hold of his faiter occafion to procure a no ble testimony to the high rank and character of the Son of God. The spirit of pro hecy had lately revived, and many in Jerusalem were "waiting for the confolation of Israe!” and considered it as near at hand. Of this number was a just and devout man named Simeon, to whom it was communicated by a special revelation, that, old as he was, his eyes should not be closed in death, till he had seen the Lord's Chrift. Heavendirected he goes up to the temple, probably to entreat the speedy accomplishment of this gracious promite, at the very instant when the ceremony of the law was performing, and the spirit that was upon him intantly points to Jesus as the

fulfilling

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