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perty, and our faculties of body and Reader. How would it have grievof mind.
ed them to have been successfully Observe, also, that the wise men employed as instruments in working presented themselves first, offering the destruction of the infant whom personal homage, and afterwards of- they had sought and visited with so fered their gifts. And let us remem
much reverence! But they were preber that we have no reason to expect served from this pain by the direct that any of our gifts will be accepted interposition of Heaven. And “thus by Christ, unless we first present they who in all their ways acknowourselves to him as living sacrifices. ledge God will find that God will, Read the commendation bestowed by | by one method or another, graciously St. Paul upon the churches of Mace- direct their paths.” We here discodonia, in 2 Cor. viï. 35.
ver a second instance of divine interTheophilus. “To their power, I position in order to prevent serious bear record, yea and beyond their and well-disposed persons from fallpower, they were willing of them- | ing into dangerous or distressing erselves; praying us with much en- rors. But it is worthy of remark, treaty that we would receive the gift, both in the case of Joseph and in and take upon us the fellowship of this of the Magi, that supernatural the ministering to the saints. And
means of guidance were vouchsafed this they did, not as we hoped, but only in cases wherein the use of nafirst gave their own selves to the tural powers and opportunities was Lord, and unto us by the will of insufficient to enable the parties to God."
ascertain their true position. We Reader. And read Romans xii. 1; must not expect extraordinary aids, --for, while we see what offerings when the use of more common means others have made to Christ, it is would be sufficient. right that we should consider well
Theophilus. The preservation of what gifts we are ourselves required the infant appears to be a striking to present.
proof of divine omniscience, and of Theophilus. “I beseech you there- an ever-watchful Providence. fore, brethren, by the mercies of Reader. It is one among many God, that ye present your bodies a such proofs. And we are encouliving sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto raged to remember for our comfort, God, which is your reasonable ser- that, in other cases, as well as in that vice."
before us, God has at his disposal Reader. Why was it that the abundant and ready means of deliMagi did not return to Jerusalem, vering his faithful people from the but "departed into their own coun- craft or power of their enemies. try another way?”
“ The Lord knoweth how to deliver Theophilus. Because they were the godly out of temptations.” 2 Pet. “warned of God in a dream that ü. 9. “ The Lord is my light and they should not return to Herod." my salvation ; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; | Prayer."
Read first the passage of whom shall I be afraid ? When which you find marked in the smaller the wicked, even mine enemies and volume. my foes, came upon me to eat up my Theophilus. “It is clear that, from flesh, they stumbled and fell.” Ps. whatever sources they obtained it, xxvii. 1, 2. “ In God I will praise these Magi certainly had, and so had his word, in God I have put my many others, an expectation of a trust; I will not fear what flesh can Saviour that was to come. They do unto me." Ps. lvi. 4.
possessed, indeed, very limited means The total and easy defeat of He- of acquiring the most important of rod's crafty device may teach us also all knowledge, the knowledge of to “rejoice in the thought that there God. But they employed those is no wisdom, nor understanding, means heartily, and to a good purnor counsel, against the Lord,'-no pose. The consequence was that, as scheme so artfully devised that he they employed properly their talent, cannot penetrate it, or so politicly God increased it: they trimmed as formed that he cannot with infinite well as they could their feeble lamp, ease confound it.”
and the Lord, therefore, sent them a There is a question, Theophilus, brighter light. He placed a glorious which I wish to ask you in connec
star in the heavens. At his comtion with this whole history of the mand it went before them, and visit of the Magi to Bethlehem un- brought them to the place where der the guidance of a star. Can you the Messiah they sought was laid,
on what day our Church and enabled them to kneel before commemorates this event ?
him and offer him their best treaTheophilus. The festival of “The
These Gentiles may be conEpiphany, or the Manifestation of sidered as the first-fruits of that Christ to the Gentiles,” is set apart great harvest Jesus was to gather chiefly for this purpose. The former into the Church; and the star was a part of this chapter of St. Matthew lively emblem of that clear revelais the Gospel for that day.
tion of life and immortality which Reader. I propose now to con- he has set before us in his holy clude our meditations upon this word. The Gospel shines steadily whole transaction by requesting you and purely, and, when followed with to read two extracts which I have diligence and faith, will always, like marked in the books that lie upon the star, conduct unto Jesus those the table. One of them is from a who are wise, not in worldly wisdom, little work of which you have heard but unto salvation. Before our eyes me speak highly, - “ The Penny it shines. It has brought us, who Sunday Reader;"-and the other is are descended from Gentiles, out of part of a passage from an old divine, darkness into his marvellous light. quoted by Bishop Mant in his “An- Every Sabbath day God's ministers notations on the Book of Common direct our attention to this light, and
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
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
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 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 myste
the ries of Providence that ever was exmany ill examples we
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
calls us to: nor grow
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, nay, risen again, gone up on high,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the
mine? shedding his gifts and graces down, and perpetually at the right hand of Vainly we offer each ample oblation, God, making intercession for us.
Vainly with gold would his favour secure ;
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,
Dan on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, " Out of Egypt have I called my
m Hos. xi. 1.
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 offrings round: Arabia raise the song divine,
many of that people having settled And Afric join texalt 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. Such was the place which God selected 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 young child and his mother. places will be to us what Divine
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 ascer
tain your acquaintance, or to make by night, and departed into
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