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fulfilling of the word in which God had caused him to hope. Filled with holy joy he takes the expected child into his arms, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, blefles God, saying, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant de part in peace, according to thy word : for mine eyes have seen thy falvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people ; a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel." He then points him out to the bystanders as the perfon spoken of by ancient prophecy.“ who should be set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which should be spoken against;"* a prediction descriptive of the reception the Melliah should treet with from that world which he came to redeem. The same important truth is immediately confirmed by an ancient prophetess, who, coming in the instant Simeon had done speaking, gave public thanks likewise unto the Lord, and " (pake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jea rufalem."
Thus He, whose birth-place was determined many ages before, by prophetic illumination, whose natal hour was announ: ced by one angel, and celebrated by a multitude of the heave enly hoft; to whose feet a company of shepherds is led, with their fimple offering, by a voice from heaven, and to whom eastern sages are conduried by an extraordinary ftar, is in the molt public place of resort in the Jewish metropolis, declared aloud, a few weeks after his birth, at a public religious service, by testimony on testimony, the accomplishment of God's great purpole of mercy to mankind.
While so many illustrious personages were producing their concurring evidence to the truth as it is in Jesus, exalting him to endless honours and universal dominion, one is cruelly plotting his destruction. Agitated hy jealousy as groundless, as it was barbously pursued, Herod determines to crush at once this pretender to a throne, whom so many signal and fplendid appearances in heaven and earth were striving to display in sua perior glory. To make sure of his blow, his dark remorseless mind enlarges the circle of suspicion from a few days to two years, and from a single feared, hated individual, to all the male children of a great city. Humanity fickens at the thought of the dreadful tragedy of that day, when “in Rama a voice was heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforied, because they are not,” By aiming at too much, the tyran: misies his aim altogether. The vigor of his pursuit exerted in one direction, confined to one object, might have overtaken it; but extending the sphere, dividing the pursuit, "the captive of
the mighty is taken away, and the prey of the terrible is deliv. ered, for thus faith the Lord, I will contend with him that con. tendeth with thee." And how was this deliverance effected ? Providence employs not extraordinary means, to fulfil its designs, wantonly and unnecessarily, but makes ordinary inftruments to produce mighty events. The bloody intention of Herod is hardly conceived in the gloomy hell of his own breast, than it is leen of that eye which nothing can escape, and no sooner is it seen than prevented. In a dream, in a vis. ion of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men Joseph is admopished of the danger which threatened the child's lite, and warned to fhun it, by fleeing into Egypt. Thus at every stage of his lite was the Saviour of mankind hated and perfecuted of men ; thus the all-wife Ruler of the Universe know's how to deliver, and finds a way to escape ; thus He “confounds the wisdom of the wise, and brings to nought the understanding of the prudent."
By a strange, perhaps unaccountable direction of the supreme will, the land of Egypt frequently serves as an asylum to per. fecuted goodness, protects and cherishes the precious feed of the church. Thither Abraham flees from the pressure of famine, and is thence dismissed with riches and honour. Here Joseph finds refuge from the malice of jealous and cruel brothers; from hence Jacob and his starving family are repeatedly fed. Here fprung up Mofes, in times of extreme danger and distress ; here he was miraculoudy preserved, and reared to unexampled eminence and usefulness. Here Israel miraculoufly increases into a great nation, and from hence triumphantly departs ; and here, finally, He whom all the rest prefigured, and in whom their several glory united as in their centre, fought and found protection from the rage of an incensed king. This too was ordered of Hirn who seeth the end from the beginning. He went down into Egypt, that in his return the Scripture might be fulfilled, which faith, “out of Egypt have I called my Son.” Surely, O Lord, the wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath thou “ shalt restrain."
A vail is drawa over the sojourn in Egypt, and it were presumption to attempt to draw it aside : neither is it possible. exactly to ascertain its duration. The infamous Herod meanwhile paid the debt of Nature, leaving behind him a name loaded with the execrations of the age in which he lived, and with the deteftation of every future generation to which the history of his enormities shall descend. His death was the signal of return to the land of Israel; but prudence suggested the retire. K
meni of the poor and despised town of Nazareth, as a residence more suitable to the circumstances of the times, than the noise and hurry of a metropolis, the seat of faction and intrigue, or the suspiciously observed city of David, to which the jealous eyes of successive týrants had been attracled by well known prophecies and by recent portents.
As the place of Christ's birth, so that of his up-bringing was prophetically marked, not indeed by any particular text that appears in the sacred code, but by its whole spirit and tenor, which represent him as voluntarily submitting to every species of reproach and indignity; the carpenter's fon; a Galilean, a Nazarene, can any good come out of Nazareth! It was in this obscure village, of a region of a conquered country, proverbially contemptible, that the childhood of Christ passed unseen, unnoticed of the great world; but carefully observed of attentive mother, who, to the tender folicitudes of that relation, was inspired with hopes, and animated with prospects; and torn with anxieties which no mother before or since ever could know; there this wonderful “ child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom," exhibiting unequivocal figns of a superior nature, without courting the public notice, or attracting premature homage, and thus humility, from the beginning and throughout, marked the character of the condescending friend of mankind, who became of no reputation, fought not glory of man, took op hin the form of a fervant; he “ strives not, nor cries, neither doth he lift
his voice in the streets ;" and from the return out of Egypt, which was probably not beyond his fecond year, up to the twelfth history is entirely filent as to the particulars-but O how much is conveyed in :he strong general terms employed by inspira. tion, to impress on our bearts the discovery and progress of these vailed ten years. May not the history of them be one of the precious arcana which the Father hath kept in his own power," and reserved for the information, wonder and joy of an improved state of existence, when things hard to be understood shall be fully explained; and things known in part shall be unfolded in all their connections and dependencies; and infinite intelligence shall supply all the deficiencies of human understanding.
It was in that famelers village, and in those trackless year's that the foundation was laid of a greatness which should eclipfe all created glory; of a kingdom that should swallow up every other ; of an enterprize which should extend its influence to the remotest ages of eternity. The next Lecture will, if God permit, take up the next re
corded period of our Saviour's history, his assuming for a mo. ment a public character at the age of twelve years, and his lid, ing away from it again into filence and retirement, till his thirtieth year, the time of his final manifeftation unto Il sael, as the great Prophet that should come into the world."
Shall I degrade my lubje&t, by saying it suggests to parents many uleful hints respecting the early treatment of their children? Be as tender and attentive as you will; listen to the voice of nature and learn your duty : but dream not of making a stranger bend the knee to your idol, perhaps he has an i. dol of his own, weak, filly and ridiculous as yours ; perhaps he fees nothing but impertinence and imperfection, where you behold only grace and loveliness, and the more you force your Dagon upon his attention, the more hideousnels and deformity he will discover in it. Be not eager to bring for ward the accomplishments of your child. If they are wor. thy of being leen, your reserve and the child's modesty will give a glow to the colouring which will frike every eye, and please every heart. If they be trivial, why will you force a good-natured looker-on, to flatter your vanity at the expense of his own judgment; or provoke a stern and severe one, to approve his sincerity and truth at the expense of your feeling and of your idol's fancied importance ? In private let the perfon most dear to you, be most dear to you; in fociety, the darling object, the first in conlderation and affe&tion, ought to be the last in respect of attention.
Be not over anxious about an early crop from your offspring. You may have the fruit, it is true by means of vehement cultivation, a little earlier in the season, but it favours of the artificial heat that hurried it forward; the tree is waited and fades before the time ; and at the proper lealon, when nature is clothing the vigorous plant with its golden harvest, the languid child of art stands lifeless and leafless, expiring before its time. There is always danger from a premature spring, though it be in the course of nature. Happy is the man who can hit the temperate mean betwixt indecent haste and indolent delay. I would address a few words, to the lame effeci, to advanced childhood and early youth. But childhood and youth are not disposed to attend serious Lectures, or do not understand, or disbelieve, and therefore do not attend to them. They must be left to the torcible, the irrelistible lessons of experience. I earnestly recommend them to the teaching of God's good fpir. 4. May the Son of God, who vouchsafed for our fake to 39UTOGLI
pass through infancy and childhood poor, negleEted, unknown, guard our helpless intants, direct our thoughtlefs, wayward children, counsel and instruct manly, matured reason, and smile with complacency on the hoary head, and make it a crown of righteousness. And to God in Chrift be ascribed immortal praise. Amen.