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it shall lead you
toring and hu- 1 of 1
exhort us to follow whithersoever it | which they or we may meet from may guide us. Brethren, never lose persons who might and should know sight of it. Like the sages of old, better, and in truth do not see, only proceed steadfastly; yield not to because they will not. Of all this Weariness, though the way be rug- our Saviour hath showed us the neged ;—be not daunted, though perils cessity by declaring that men cannot and trials beset your path ;-—let no believe while they prefer popular temptation allure you from the point esteem before a good conscience : at which the object of your pilgrim which is, in Scripture language, ‘reage is to be obtained. Let the Gos- ceiving honour one of another, not pel always be your guiding star, till seeking that honour which cometh it shall lead you to Christ,-first from God only, and loving the praise through temporal suffering and hu- of men more than the praise of miliation,-and finally in everlasting God.' John v. 44; xii. 43. happiness and glory.”
“When they saw the star,' again, Reader. Read now the passage in says the Evangelist, “they rejoiced “Mant's Notes on the Book of Com- | with exceeding great joy,'” a joy mon Prayer.”
that sprang, no doubt, from strong Theophilus. “If we desire to imi. | assurances, that this was a token of tate these wise men, it must be our their journey being well-pleasing to care to keep our ears open, and our God; and that He would prosper it hearts teachable. We must not only to their intended purpose of seeing see, but follow and embrace most and adoring that wonderful infant gladly the light that shines upon us where this star was. And here again from above, and is let down from they are a pattern which we should heaven, for a guide to us; comply be infinitely to blame not to copy cheerfully with every call and motion after. For, as the Apostle upon all of his good Spirit; provoke, and, if occasions urges, we are certainly of possible, shame those into a holy and all creatures the most ungrateful and noble emulation, who shut their eyes stupid, the most unworthy of our against it. We must not suffer our happiness, if we do not esteem the selves to be discouraged by any hard conversion of the Gentile world to ships or dangers, which our duty be one of the most glorious mystecalls us to : nor grow cold upon the ries of Providence that ever was exmany ill examples we converse hibited to mankind. And our feelamong; the general neglect of most, ing of this mercy should be more and the bold affronts of some who sensible and tender, because we are make it an act of gallantry to insult, the offspring of those Gentiles, and and cast all the contempt they can our ancestors once a part of them, upon, religion : in a word, we must as dark, perhaps, as any. It is pospersevere in piety and virtue, though sible, indeed, we might not have rewe were left to stand alone; and, in tained the ancient rudeness and sadespite of all opprobrious treatment | vageness of our country. From that our invaders would soon have deli- | rence, and open our treasures too; vered us. But, alas, how poor a con- let us present him, not with gold or sideration is it to Christians, that spices, but with somewhat more bethey have been refined into civility coming him to receive and us to offer; and good manners, taught arts and even our bodies, and souls, and spicommerce, and improved in industry rits. These, though of little value in and learning! Allow these advan themselves, will yet be accounted a tages the great value and commen rich and fragrant, if they be but an dation really due to them, yet still, humble and a holy, sacrifice: the I say, how little and insignificant are only effectual sacrifice of thanksgiveven all these polishings, in compa ing; and an oblation which cannot rison of those benefits which come more please Him than it will profit from the knowledge, the obedience, us. For, by such a reasonable serthe hopes, and the precious promises vice, by such undissembled testimoof the Gospel! The exalting our nies of praise and gladness, it is that minds with this most holy faith, en- we must hope God will be inclined larging our ideas of God, giving us a to accept and answer our petition, prospect of heaven, seasoning us with that He “who, by the leading of a true taste of good and evil, and a star, did manifest his only-begotforming our lives upon the most per- ten Son to the Gentiles, would mercifect model of justice and holiness, fully grant that we, which know Him and order and peace, and all that can now by faith, may, after this life, procure or preserve the tranquillity have the fruition of his glorious and happiness of ourselves and the Godhead, through Jesus Christ our whole world: this was, in a literal Lord. Amen." sense, to bring light out of darkness ; and (praised be God) no part of his
HYMN I. church is blessed with clearer and
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning, purer day than ours. This is our
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid; glory, this ought to be our joy. Star of the east, the horizon adorning, Since then we also are, with these
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid. Eastern forerunners, happily con
Cold on his cradle the dew-drops are shining, ducted to Christ, let us, as they did, | Low lies his bed with the beasts of the stall; fall down and worship Him. We see Angels adore him in slumbers reclining, him not, indeed, like them, in arms
Maker, and Monarch, and Saviour of all. and infancy, but, which is at once a Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion, tragical and yet most comfortable Odours of Edom, and offerings divine, prospect, dying upon a cross for us ;
Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the nay, risen again, gone up on high,
mine? shedding his gifts and graces down, and perpetually at the right hand of
Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gold would his favour secure; God, making intercession for us.
Richer by far is the heart's adoration, Let us, then, approach with reve Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning, I be fulfilled which was spoken of
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid ; Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
the Lord by the prophet, saying, Guide where our Infant Redeemer is laid. mOut of Egypt have I called my
m Hos. xi. 1. HYMN II.
Reader. Egypt was at this time a Far as the isles extend,
Roman province, in which Herod To the vast ocean's bound,
had no authority. It was the resiLet kings to Jesus bend,
dence of a large number of Jews; And pour their off" rings round: Arabia raise the song divine,
many of that people having settled And Afric join t'exalt his praise.
there in the days of Jeremiah, and All princes shall adore,
many more having been attracted And gifts and honours bring,
thither in later times by various cirTo hail the Saviour's power;
cumstances, especially, perhaps, by To crown Immanuel King : Remotest lands shall homage pay,
the celebrated Temple which had And earth obey his high commands.
been erected there by Onias IV. GOODE. Such was the place which God se
lected as the refuge of the infant
Jesus, when his life was sought by a § VII.
wicked prince. “Egypt had been a
house of bondage to Israel, and parCHAP. II. 13–15. ticularly cruel to the infants of Israel;
in Egypt, as much as in Ramah, RaJoseph fleeth into Egypt, with Jesus and
chel had been weeping for her childhis mother.
ren; yet that is appointed to be a 13 And when they were de place of refuge to the holy child parted, behold the angel of the Jesus. Thus God, when he pleases, Lord appeareth to Joseph in a
can make the worst of places serve dream, saying, Arise, and take
the best of purposes.” And “all
places will be to us what Divine the young child and his mother,
| Providence may be pleased to make and flee into Egypt, and be thou
them.” there until I bring thee word:
But I must not yet indulge for Herod will seek the young | in practical remarks or reflections child to destroy him.
on the passage that has been read. 14 When he arose, he took
My plan, to which I will adhere as the young child and his mother
closely as possible, is, first to ascerby night, and departed into
tain your acquaintance, or to make you acquainted, with the meaning of
the sacred text; to dilate upon its 15 And was there until the
historical bearings, or otherwise to death of Herod: that it might | consider it with regard to its inter
pretation, and the matters of fact which | filment in some event which they it may contain, in the way of con- had in mind, and then to invent or versation ;-and then to point out, propagate some suitable or correas far as I can, the practical infer- sponding tale. Thus, it is written ences and lessons to be deduced from in Isa. xix. 1, “The Lord shall come the whole, in the way of a conclud- into Egypt, and all the idols of ing address.
Egypt shall be moved at his preHave you any questions to pro- | sence;" and on this was founded the pose concerning the interpretation of fictitious narrative, that Joseph and the passage now before you, or with Mary, on their entrance into Egypt reference to the history which it with the holy child, went into a cercontains ?
tain temple, and immediately the Theophilus. We are told here, very images of the idols were overthrown briefly, that Joseph took the young by a supernatural power, and fell child and his mother, and departed before the infant Saviour, as Dagon into Egypt, and was there until the once fell before the ark. Of course, death of Herod. Have we means of priests who had the power of inventascertaining any farther particulars ing and propagating such interesting respecting this interesting portion of narratives easily acquired great power our Saviour's life on earth ?
over the minds of an ignorant peoReader. None whatever. The ple, naturally prone to propose vain Holy Spirit has not thought fit to and frivolous questions. record such particulars; and there The legends concerning our Safore we may be well content to be viour's sojourn in Egypt filled a voignorant concerning them. Vain | lume. “ There is an apocryphal tradition, indeed, always ready to work in Arabic,” says one of our satisfy men's curiosity, to amuse the modern commentators, "called 'The fancy, and to feed the soul with chaff Gospel of the Infancy,' which preinstead of wheat, has been very in tends to relate all the acts of Jesus ventive and loquacious in this matter. and Mary while in Egypt. I have It pretends to inform us of the name taken the pains to read this through, of the place in which the holy family and have found it to be a piece of sojourned; namely, Matarea, not far gross superstition, having nothing to from the place in which the Temple entitle it to a shadow of credibility." of Onias stood. But the truth is, —How great is our privilege in bethat we do not know the place of longing to a scriptural Church which their abode.—Another story, equally has rejected the fables and traditions unfounded, and therefore equally un- of the church of “the fathers," and profitable, is derived from the same has retained, in its purity and its inunsatisfactory source. It was the tegrity, the inspired word of God! practice of early writers, first to sup- How deep is our responsibility, in pose, or take for granted, that such possessing this blessing, unknown to or such a prophecy received its ful our credulous and less enlightened ancestors in the Christian faith!'| Reader. It is plain that the words And how earnest should be our en- of Hosea, in their original connecdeavour, by divine grace, to use the tion, referred to the deliverance of gift aright!
the Israelites out of Egypt under Theophilus. I think I have heard Moses. In the Gospel they are apor read that this narrative is import-plied, say some, by the way of anaant as fixing the date of our Saviour's | logy, to Christ, the Head of the birth.
church ; and it is probable that, Reader. It does fix the date of when St. Matthew wrote, the pasthat great event very nearly; for by sage was generally regarded by the means of it we connect it with an Jews as relating, in some way or event the exact date of which is other, to the Messiah. Perhaps the easily ascertained. From the fact more correct way of stating the case that Jesus was born before the death may be as follows. The words refer, of Herod, we learn that the date of in the first instance, to the people of his birth is at least three years earlier Israel, spoken of as one man, and than the common era, called “The called the son of God, as in Exod. Birth of Christ.” And, although we iv. 22, 23. But the inspired Evando not know how long this event took gelist, by divine authority, teaches place before the death of Herod, yet, us to view the passage also in the as it seems probable that the space light of a prediction. By the appliof time which intervened was not cation which he makes of it, he invery great, we may conclude that the structs us that Israel, in the return Redeemer was born about the time from Egypt, was a type of Christ, which I have mentioned.
the events of whose life were even Theophilus. I am not quite sure then present to the divine mind; that I rightly understand the appli- and he reminds us that the natural cation of the prophecy quoted in the Israelites were spiritually representfifteenth verse.
ed in the person of the Messiah. Reader. Read the whole verse in We learn, by later revelation, that which it occurs; namely, Hosea xi. 1. several portions of the Old Testa
Theophilus. “When Israel was a ment, which, in their immediate and child, then I loved bim, and called | literal sense, related to passing events my son out of Egypt."
of Jewish history, contained also a Reader. With this compare Exod. reference to the more distant, but iv. 22, 23.
more important, history of Christ Theophilus. "Thus saith the Lord, and his people. I Cor. x. 449; Israel is my son, even my first-born. Gal. iv, 28–30. And I say unto thee, Let my son go With reference to this twofold apthat he may serve me.”
plication of the words of Hosea, a Reader. And Numbers xxiv. 8. pious commentator remarks, “It is
Theophilus. “God brought him no new thing for God's sons to be in forth out of Egypt.”
Egypt, in a strange land, in a house