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can we, then, hesitate to believe in him ? or shall we presume to aim at salvation in any other way but through him ? Be assured that whoever does so, whether from thoughtlessness or presumption, must eventually be unavoidably entangled in the mazes of folly or sophistry; and will be only too happy, if, after the harassments of dissipation and doubt, he should be brought, even through severe discipline, and through much tribulation, at last to confess, that there “ is no salvation in any other, and that there is no other name given to men by which they may be saved, but only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ?."
With this thought deeply impressed on our minds let us read the history of our Blessed Saviour; and so let the consideration of each particular portion of it influence our practice, that when he shall come again, in his glory, to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in his sight.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ATTENDED THE
BIRTH OF OUR BLESSED SAVIOUR.
St. John i. 14.
The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us ; and we beheld his glory; the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
That holy and divine Being (who existed in the eternal bosom of the Father before the worlds were, called “ the Word ” of God, and known to us as “the only begotten Son,” by whom the worlds were created, and by whom mankind was to be redeemed; whose earthly name was given him, “ Jesus Christ,” “the Saviour anointed;" whom the prophets had long spoken of, and who was promised to lost man. kind as their Priest, their Prophet, and their King ;) that holy and divine Being, at length, when the fulness of time was come, appeared upon earth, and permitted himself here to be born, under the mild and unassuming form of a meek and humble child, the offspring of indigent parents, and surrounded with more than the usual tokens of poverty and want. The records which we have, state thus much respecting his parents, his birth, and his circumstances, in the most explicit terms. They tell us, that his father was a carpenter, who procured his subsistence by labouring at his trade. They give us a particular proof of his poverty, in that, being, from circumstances over which he had no control, obliged to travel, together with his wife, from his own to another city, the only lodging which he could procure was a stable. Thus situated, they tell us, his son was born, and was by his mother laid in a manger. His after life, which they speak of, is in conformity with all this. They describe him as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;" they tell us, that “ he had not where to lay his head';" they speak of him, as if his parents were not able to give him much of the advantages of education, for it was a matter of wonder to those who heard him read, how it was that he had procured even so much of acquired learning as that; and lastly, when they come to relate the circumstances and the manner of his decease, they describe it, at once as the most suffering and ignominious ; he being put to death as a common malefactor, by a mode of punishment peculiarly obnoxious.
And yet this was he whom his disciples believed to be that divine Person of whom “ Moses in the Law, and the prophets did write ? ;" whom they received as “ the seed of the woman, which was to bruize the serpent's head ?;" who claimed the title of “ Messiah ;” and who was known to the nations of Judæa, Samaria,
I Matt. viii. 20.
2 John i. 45.