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sbould rejoice, because of his work and cast their shadows before," we may say, office. God gave this praying couple in reference to our Lord's advent, that far beyond their de.ire.

the Son of God sent His rays of light VERSE 15.-Great in the sight of the and glory in advance, like the day does Lord. That is, before Jesus Christ. the dawn. Not shadows, but golden And shall drink, etc. St. John took flashes, the light of star and sun, and upon himself the ruw of a Nazarite, the canticles of holy spirits and angels wbich enjoined a life of the strictest — these all preluded His arrival on self-denial and holiness. See Numb. earth. And in the brightness and melchap. 6.

ody of all we may rejoice on every festive Filled with the Holy Ghost. See v. 44. occasion, as well as all along the path His wbole soul was illuminated, of life, and in eternity. strengthened and sanctified by Him.

VERSE 16.—Many of the children of Israel, etc. See how this prediction was Christmas - Day Two Hundred Years fulfilled, chap. 3, 12-18.

Ago.
VERSE 17.–And he shall go before
Him. Jesus Christ followed in the foot-

FROM THE DIARY OF MR. PEPYS. steps of John. As the Lord's forerun- ! (1662.) “Had a pleasant walk to ner he obtained bis chief renown. He Whitehall, where I intended to have resembled Elijah in spirit and power— received the communion with the fairies, in his manner of life and zeal. Com. but I came a little too late. So I walked pare 1 Kings 21:17-24 with Matt. 14: into the house, and spent my time look4. See also Mal. 4: 5, 6 and Is. 40: 3. ing over pictures. By and by, down

To him the hearts of the fathers. Now to the Chapel again, where Bishop Morignorance had fallen on the whole Jew- ley preached on the song of the angels, ish society. They needed a divine in- Glory to God on high, and on earth, structor. Johd, by his preaching. peace and good will to men. Metaught all classes their duties and thought he made but a poor sermon, but brought Israel in right relation to God long reprehending the jollity of the and one another. See chap. 3:10, etc. court for the true joy, that shall and

To make ready a people for the ought to be on these days. Particularized Lord. How John performed his work, concerning their excess in plays and we are told plainly in various place3. gaming. Upon which it was worth ob.

In this lesson we have the first in- serving how far they are come froni timation of a coming Saviour, from our taking the reprehension of a bishop stGospel writer. It was Gabriel's whis- riously, that they all laughin chapel when perto Zacharias. Presently we shall be reflected on their ill actions. He did hear the louder strains. It was neces- press 18 to hospitality in these public sary for such a forerunner to come, who days. But one that stood by whispered, should open the way for the Lord into in my ear, 'that the Bishop do not spend Israel. So lapsed had this people be- one groat on the poor himself.' come, that by a strong figure their very (1665.) “To church in the morning, fathers—Abrabam, Isaac, and Jacob — I there saw a wedding in the church, are represented as having alienated their which I have not seen for many a day, hearts from the Jews, their children, on and the young people so merry, one with account of their unbelief and disobedi- another, and strange to see what delight ence. They no longer credited the pre- we married people have to see these poor dictions of the prophets. By John's fools decoyed into our condition, every work,the patriarchs were again made to man and woman gazing and smiling at rejoice over their descendants. We, ac- them.” cordingly, are reminded of the truth, (1668.) “ To dinner alone with my that the coming of our Lord was a wife, who, poor wretch! sat undressed long before foretold event, for which all day till ten at night, altering and laGod prepared the way through patri- cing of a noble petticoat, while I by arch, prophet, and the Baptist. Christ- her, making the boy read to me the mas rooted itself already in the Garden Life of Julius Cæsar, and Des Cartes' of Paradise. If other coming events book of music."

JAN. 9.

LESSON II.

1881.

First Sunday after Epiphany. Luke i. 46-54.

THE SUBJECT.-THE HYMN OF THE VIRGIN MARY.

KEY-NOTE.--"WHERE IS HE THAT IS 1 49. For he that is mighty hath done to me BORN KING OF THE JEWS! FOR WE HAVE great things; and holy is his name. SEEN HIS STAR IN THE EAST, AND WE COME

50. And his mercy is on them that fear him,

from generation to generation. TO WORSHIP HIM.Matt. ii. 2.

51. He hath shewed strength with his arm ;

he hath scattered the proud in the imagination 46. And Mary said, My soul do h magnify of their hearts. the Lord,

52. He hath put down the mighty from their 47. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my seats, and exalied them of low degree. Saviour.

53. He hath filled the hungry with good 48. For he hath regarded the low estate of his things, and the rich he bath sent empty handmaiden : for b-hold, from henceforth all away. generations shall call me blessed.

54. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in re. membrance of his mercy,

1. siChrace.

QUESTIONS. 1. J an. 3.LCE & What is our Key-Note? What Hymn is What attribute of God does Mary magnify in recorded in Chap. i. v. 28? What other Hymn the first part of her Hymn ? verses 4449. Z in verses 42-44 ? What name do we give to the What attribute does she magnify in the second Hymn in verses 46-55 ? Under what name do part? verses 50-53. What attribute of God we know the Hymn in verses 68-79 ? What does she magnify in the third part ? verses famous Hymn is recorded in Chap. ii, verses 54-55. 10-12? What other one in Cuap. ii. verses To whom especially was God's grace shown, 13-14 ? Whose Hymn have we in Chap. ii. according to verses 46-50? Against whom was 29-32? d et

His strength displayed, especially according to How long after the angel's visit to Zacharias, verses 51-53 ? was Mary visited by the angel ? verse 268 Whó Towards whom was God's faithfulness shown, was the angel in both cases ? What other fact according to verses 54-55 ? had Mary learned from Gabriel ? verse 36. What From whom do you suppose St. Luke gathered had Gabriel told Mary? verses 30-33. What the material for this part of the Gospel ? Who journey of seventy miles did Mary make now? could best tell him the particulars of Christ's verses 39-40. How did Elisabeth greet her | mysterious birth, and all the extraordinary cirvisitor? verses 42-45

cumstances attending it? Chap. ii. 19. What Hymn did Mary utter in reply? verses Was it a high honor to be the mother of the 46-54?

Son of God? According to Christ's own words, Or what Hymn in the Old Testament is this does the mother of Jesus enjoy any higher a counterpart? 1 Samuel ii. 1-10.

favor in the order of grace than any other Because of the Latin form of our word meg. huinble follower of our Lord ? Matthew xii, nify, what other name is generally given to thir | 46-50. Hymn of Mary?

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REMARKS.—The two opening chap- name. Such a rendering agrees well ters of St. Luke's Gospel are rich in with what goes before, and followe. glorious Canticles. Here is a cluster From His abuudant goodness, all the of songs: 1. Gabriel's Hymn, i. 28; faithful generations partake evermore. 2. The Hymn of Elizabeth. i. 42-44; His power is indicated oftentimes by 3. The Hymn of Mary. i. 46–55; His finger, hand-arm. By His strength 4. The Hymn of Zacharias. i. 68-79; the proud and mighty in their own eyes, 5. The Angels' Song. ii. 10–12: 6. The are passed over and supplanted, whilst Hymn of the Heavenly Host. ii. 13-14; the lowly are exalted. The hungry are 7. Simeon's Hymn. ii. 29–32. Six those looging after spiritual strength. months after Gabriel had visited Zach- III. She magnifies God's Faithfulness, arias, the same divine messenger visited vs. 51-55. God's promises to Israel Mary at Nazareth and announced to had been many and great, even from her, that she should be the mother of Abraham's day. But a long delay Jesus, Chap. i. vg. 26-35. From the seemed to reign. Israel was pigh to fall. same heavenly source she likewise learn- ing, when the Lord remembered and ed, that her cousin Elizabeth was to be comes to the help against the mighty. the mother of the Baptist, vg. 36-38. We may also divide this byma into Shortly after she had been dividely in the following sections:formed of all this, she journeyed from 1. The Glorification of God for what Nazareth, in order to visit her favored he had done for Israel, vs. 46-50; cousin, who resided at Hebron, about 2. The Glorification of God for what seventy miles distant. vs. 39-40. Hard- he had done against the oppressors of ly had she saluted Elizabeth, when the His people, vs. 51-53; mother of the Baptist broke forth in a 3. The Glorification of God for what grand salutation hymu, in which she he had done for Israel, His church, vs. recognizes the Virgin as the mther of 54-55. her Lord, vs. 42-46. Like the angel, It is best, however, to imbibe the Elizabeth had received knowledge of one spirit which pervades the whole. the divine mystery through the Spirit Dynbtless the Holy Ghost moved her to of God. Then it was, that Mary utter- sing far beyond her own comprehension. ed her hymn, commonly called the It is worthy of remark, that when St. MAGNIFICAT. This canticle we are Luke collected the material for the now to learn.

Gospel which bears his name, the only This famous Hymn is a counterpart surviving witness from the beginning to the Song of Hannah, 1 Sam. ii. 1-10 was Mary, the mother of Jesus. JoIt is one of the first poetical pieces in the seph and Zacharias, and Elizabeth, and New Testament. Some see in it a glo- Simeon, and Anna-all were dead. rification of a, God's Grace; b, God's Mary alone could have supplied St. Power; c, and God's Faithfulness. Luke with the testimony to His miracu

I. Mary magnifies God's Grace-v8. lous conception and birth, as well as 46-49. From the Latin form of our drawn from her memory and bosom word magnify, comes the name of the words and deeds that remained a secret Hymn--MAGNIFICAT. It means to with her alone. extol with praises. The terms Soul and We will append one practical reflecSpirit embrace her whole inner being. tion. However bighly exalted this The Holy Spirit pervaded her. Regard. humble, pious Jewish maiden may have ed means to look favorably on, especially been by being chosen to become the when the subject is poor and lowly. mother of the Son of God, we have the All generations shall call me blessed. In Lord's own words for the fact, that evall ages she is held in honor as the moth- ery humble follower of His may occupy er of Jesus.

an equally exalted station. For proof II. She magnifies God's Power, vs. 50 of this, we refer the reader to Math. 12: -53. She attributes all her honor to 46-50. God. The term holy here, is sometimes made to read good or kind. Then it. Some make mountains of duties, and would stand Goodness is His name. trifles of sins; such souls are under a Ochers make it to read Mercy is His deception.

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THE KEY-NOTE.-"BLESSED BE TIE 73. The oath which he sware to our father LORD GOD OF ISRAEL; FOR HE HATI | Abraham, VISITED AND REDEEMED HIS PEOPLE." 74. That he would grant unto us, that we,

Luke i. 66. being delivered out of the hand of our enemies,

might serve him without fear, 67. And his father Zacharias was filled with 75. Ia holiness and righteousness before him, the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

all the days of our life. 68. Biessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he 76. And thou, child, shalt be called the prohath visited and redeemed his people,

phet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the 69. And hath raised up a hora of salvation face of the Lord to prepare his ways; for us, in the house of his servant David :

77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his 70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy people, by the remission of their sins, prophets, which have been since the world 78. Through the tender mercy of our God;

whereby the day-spring from on high hath 71. That we should be saved from our ene | visited us, mies, and from the hand of all tha: hate w+; 1 79. To give light to them that sit in darkness

72. To perform the mercy promised to our and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; Tinto the way of peace.

began :

QUESTIONS.

How does the Key-Note read? What Hymn / whom did God first establish His agreement ? does St. Luke next record for us? By what Gen. xvii. 19: xxii, 18. With whom afterother name is it known? How long did Mary wards ? verse 55. In what principal benefits remain with Elisabeth at Hebron ? verse 56. now, does the salvation in Christ consist ? verses Who was born shortly after her departure ? 74-75. Can you repeat the Hymn of Zacharias ? verse 58. On what day was it customary to 76. Of whom does Zacharias now speak ? name a child ? What name was first suggested ? What name should be given hin? Whose fore. Ou what name did the mother insist? Who runner should he be? What was the mission was then appealed to? What was Zacharias' of vrou a herald in that day? opinion? What occurred to him then ? See 1 77. What knowledge was John to give to verses 59-66.

Israel? To what end? Is such still the end of Into how many principal parts may the the preaching of the Gospel ? Hymn of Zacharias be divided ? verses 67-75, VERSES 78-79. What does Day-Spring mean? and verses 76-79. Of whose mission does the Who was the Rising Sun? May not John be first part treat? Of whose, the second !

compared to the Morning Star aside of Christ ? VERSE 67. What does the word prophesied To what is the state of the world likened a part mean?

from Christ? Is such also the state of the sout 63. What does blessed signify? For what | In what state, then, is the world since Christ two grand benefits does Zacharias praise God ? has come ? Into what way is this Gospel to How did God visit Israel now? What does the guide us ? What kind of a Prince is Christ word releem mean?

called ? Isa, ix. 6. What fact does the Hymn 69. What benefits was a horn the emblem of? 1 of Zacharias teach us in reference to the world Ps. xviii. 2; cxii. 9; cxlviii. 4; 1 Saml. ii. 10; 1 without a Redeemer? What is declared in it, Lamt. ii. 17. What does the house of David now that Christ has come ? stand for?

May we regard God as faithful to all His 70. Had the coming of Christ been foretold | promises, since He fulfilled His covenant with by the Prophets ?

Israel ? In whose light should we ever strive * 71. From what enemies was Israel to be de- to walk? Will that light show us the path of livered by the Messiah ? From what enemies life? is the human race to be freed ?

What must occur it we continue to walk in 72-75. What does covenant mean? With / darkness ?

1. Father of mercies, let our songs

With Thee acceptance find; Thy loving-kindness we confess,

To us and all mankind.

3. Thanks for redemption, above all,

To us in Jesus given :
Thanks for the means of graoe on earth,

And for the hope of heaven.

2. Thanks for creation are Thy due,

For life preserved by Thee; And all the blessings life affords

So great and yet so free.

4. Oh, let a sense of this Thy grace

Our best affections move;
That, while our lips proclaim Thy praise,

Our hearts may feel Thy love.

un

INTRODUCTORY WORDS.-St. Luke rias doubtless thought first of a political next proceeds to record for us another redemption ; but of a still larger deinspired hymn, which has become well liverance, too-from sin-death-Satan. known in the Christian Church - The VERSES 72–75. Holy Covenant-merBenedictus. The Virgin Mary remained cy. By these terms the promises of tbree months with her honored cousin, God are meant, which God inade to the mother of John, in the hill country Abraham. Gen. 17:19; 22:18. The -Hebron, and then returned to her samne assurances were repeated to all the home in Nazareth, v. 56. Soon after fathers. v. 55. ber departure, John was born. The The great salvation, through Jesus friends and neighbors congratulated the Christ, consists (1) of a deliverance from aged couple on the birth of their son, v. enemies-from all that hate us : (2) of a 58. On the eighth day, when his name freedom from all error, so that men may was to be conferred, according to the serve or worship God, in holiness, that is, habit of the Jews, all suggested his in the spirit, and righteousness, or, in a father's, but Elizabeth protested, to life conforming to His commandments. the great wonder of all, and insisted This great salvation is to last for ever that his name should be Johy, vs. 59- -all the days of our life. 60. Afterwards the father was consult. VERSES 76-79. And thou child. Zi. ed, vs. 61-63, who endorsed the mother's

Scharias now turns to his owo child, and declaration. Then Zacharias' tongue

proclaims the dignity, employment, was loosed. Compare vs. 18–22 with v. 64. The whole transaction created crown his life.

preaching, and success, which would great wonder, vs. 65–66.

His dignitycalled a Prophet of the COMMENTS.- The Hymn of Zacharias' Moet Hinh... os Zacharias Most High; 2. His employment- Thou

His emn falls properly into two parts :

shult go before the face of the Lord; 3. I. It foretells the mission of Jesus, vs. His preaching- Give knowledge of salva67-75.

tion by teaching repentance and faith, II. It proclaims the mission of John, in order to the forgiveness of sin. 4. vs. 76-9.

His success in the power of the DayVERSE 67. Prophesied means both to spring from on high; Jesus Christ, who tell what is already done, and what will is likened to the sun in the heavens. yet be brought to pass.

| The world without Christ is likened to VERSE 68. Blessed be, etc., may be

the night of death; with Christ the day read, let the Lord God be praised. He

of life has dawned, as it were. Perhaps rejoices in God for two grand benefits:

we may call John the day.spring or (1) Because He had visited Israel,

i morning star, that forelells the coming through the Angel, who foretold the

sun. Christianity establishes the soul coming of Jesus and His forerunners; "

in the way of peace : (a) with itself; (6)

with its neighbors; (c) with God. Christ and (2) because He redeemed, or saved, His people thereby. All this Zacharias

is called the Prince of Peace. sees already accomplished, in the light

This hymn of Zacharias teaches : of the Holy Ghost.

1. The lost condition of the world. VERSE 69. Horn of Salvation signifies 2. The redemption of the world a mighty and plenteous redemption. through Jesus Christ. Horns were regarded as emblems of PRACTICAL APPLICATION. 1. God strength and riches, Ps. 18: 2; 112:9; is faithful and will perform all His pro148: 4; 1 Sam. 2 : 10; Lament, 2: 17. mises to the race and the individual. In the house of His servant David de- His covenant, stands forever sure. 2. clares that Jesus is of the family of Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, King David.

shines on the ways and commandments VERSE 70. The Holy Prophets ever of God, and shows us the true path of foretold the coming of Jesus. From life. 3. The Christian walks in this the Garden of Paradise, through the way and finds it ever a way of pleasantages, this was again and again taught. ness and a path of peace. 4. How

VERSE 71. That we should be saved shall we escape if we neglect so great a --enemies-hand that hate us. Zacha- salvation ?

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