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Jews, but also the Prince of the kings of the earth.73 The description given, however, seems to mean more than a mere act of reverence, to denote also religious adoration. The same expressions are used by the Apostle John, when, being surprised at the wonderful things that were shown to him by the angel respecting the new Jerusalem and its blessed inhabitants, he fell down to worship before the feet of the angel; but was immediately admonished, See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant; do not pay Divine honour to a creature, worship God." The worship due to God only was rightly paid to our Lord Jesus Christ. And we find that He never rebuked any of the people who did worship
Him. He received their adorations as One who was conscious that they were justly due to Him. This is very evident in the account of the man born blind, to whom He gave sight. Jesus asked him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? And he said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped Him. No disapprobation was expressed. How different was this from the conduct of the Apostle Peter. When the Roman centurion, Cornelius, fell down at his feet, and worshipped him: Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.76 Yet Peter himself had worshipped Jesus in the like manner, without
73 Rev. 1,5. 74 Rev. xxii. 8,9. 75 John ix. 35, 38. 76 Acts x. 25,26.
being rebuked for it." The adoration of the wise men was offered to our Saviour when He was merely an infant, as to His outward form, who could not express His approbation or displeasure respecting it. But we are told, that when the first-begotten Son of God was brought into the world, proclamation was made, Let all the angels of God worship Him.78
He who was worthy of the adorations of the heavenly host, might well receive those of the wise men from the East; and He is also worthy of our worship and adoration. It is for this purpose that their worship is recorded, that we may imitate their conduct. And truly it becomes us with gratitude and reverence to fall down and worship Him, whenever we consider the depth of His humiliation, His wonderful condescension and grace in coming into our world, and taking upon Himself our nature, for us men and for our salvation. In order to effect this, He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was despised and rejected of men, throughout the whole course of His life on earth; an outcast from society at His very birth, born in a stable and laid in a manger; an exile in His infancy, driven by persecution into Egypt; an object of scorn in His youth for the meanness of His occupation, and the un
77 Luke v. 8. Mat. xiv. 33. 78 Hebrews i. 6. 79 Isaiah liii. 3.
worthiness of His place of residence; in His manhood a wanderer, not having where to lay His head, no settled abode; and at length an extreme sufferer in His agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and His unparalleled torments on mount Calvary. What the Saviour of mankind endured for our redemption, when the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all,80 no tongue can tell, no mind conceive. It may be asked in the language of the Lamentations of the prophet who wept over the desolations of his country, Was there ever sorrow like unto His sorrow, wherewith the Lord afflicted Him, in the day of His fierce anger against the sins of mankind; when the sword of Divine justice awoke against the Fellow of the Lord of hosts, and sheathed itself in His heart?
If the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ be our confidence for the pardon of our multiplied transgressions of the holy law of God; if the obedience of Christ be our reliance for justification in His sight, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity;8o if being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall with gratitude of heart fall down and worship Him, and give Him thanks for His obedience unto death; for delivering us from going down into the pit of
80 Isaiah liii. 6. 81 Lament. i. 12. 82 Habak. i. 13. 83 Rom. v. 1.
destruction by becoming Himself the ransom for our guilty souls. And we shall be earnestly desirous to give up ourselves to Him in soul and body, to be devoted in heart and life to His service who gave Himself for our sins.3 Let us seek to imitate the conduct of these wise men in heart and spirit at all times, humbling ourselves before our gracious Redeemer, and worshipping Him in spirit and in truth,85 and not with feigned lips. And let us worship Him, not only in public in His house, on His holy day; but in private, in our own houses, in our closets, and in the spirit of our minds, day by day. And let us look forward in hope to the time when, with deeper self-abasement, and with higher notes of praise, we shall worship Him and give Him thanks at His footstool in His eternal kingdom and glory; when the blessings of redemption will be estimated by us in some measure according to their real value; and He that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, will have glory and dominion ascribed to Him for ever and ever.86
The wise men from the East not only did homage to the infant King of glory, not only acknowledged His supreme authority by falling down and worshipping Him; but also
84 Galatians i. 4. 85 John iv. 24, 86 Revelation i. 5, 6.
Secondly, When they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. It was a custom in the East, which is still continued, never to go into the presence of a superior, without making a present. The presents which these wise men brought to the Lord Jesus, were such as became the dignity of Him to whom they were offered. The language of prophecy had said respecting Him, The Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy rising. They shall bring gold and incense, and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord. And again, The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents, the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts; yea, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him; and to Him shall be given of the gold of Sheba, prayer also shall be made to Him continually, and daily shall He be praised. They brought gold as an acknowledgment that they held all their worldly property from Him. They brought frankincense which was commanded to be offered to God for a sweet odour continually; and which may be considered as an emblem of the sweet savour of the merits of Christ before the throne of God
on behalf of His people. And they brought myrrh, as if they had been aware of the bitter cup which our blessed Redeemer appeared in
87 Isaiah lx. 3, 6.
88 Psalm lxxii. 10, 11, 15.