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Prince and Saviour ; and it is not with If it has been hitherto despised, and impunity, that the impenitent rebel that blessed Redeemer, in whom it so can reject his yoke, and trample on evidently centres, have been neglecthis blood. What must they expect, | ed, assure yourselves, that all we who have poured contempt on such a have said in confirmation of its truth Sovereign, and on such a Redeemer? proves only that the hand-writing of

God is set to your condemnation. Let it be earnestly and frequently Allow yourselves therefore not a morecollected, that this Gospel is the ment's rest, till you have, with humtouchstone by which we are one day ble submission, applied to his throne, to be tried ; the balance in which an while there is yet hope that it may be impartial judge will weigh us : and reversed. must, on the whole, prove our everlasting triumph, or our ever And for you who have hitherto belasting torment. The Almighty did | lieved and obeyed the Gospel, let it not introduce it with such solemn be your care to defend and adorn it; notice, such high expectation, such be blameless and harmless, the children pompous miracles, such awful sanc of God without rebuke, in the midst of a tions, that men might reject, or dis- | crooked and perverse generation, shining honour it at pleasure; but it will cer- | among them as lights in the world : pertainly be found, to the greatest and haps your example may not only meanest of those that hear it, a saviour | serve to entertain their eyes, but to of life unto life, or a saviour of death | guide their feet into the way of peace, unto death.

and engage them also to join with

you in glorifying your Father which is Let it therefore be your immediate in heaven : above all, be careful to care to enquire, which of these it is hold fast the form of sound words, likely to prove to your souls ? Re and to adorn the doctrine of your member, it is so far from being a vain blessed Saviour in all things. thing, that it is really your very life.

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CHAPTER 1.

719 Tadion

119 TL Presage of the Birth of Christ. Prediction of the Birth of John the Baptist. Saluta

tion of the Blessed Virgin by the Angel. Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth. Birth of the Baptist.

Svi N O event that ever did, or perhaps Notwithstanding the strength and numI

ever will, happen, can more re ber of his enemies, the Church of Christ markably display the wisdom and power grew, from the most inconsiderable beof the GREAT JEHOVAH, than the glorious ginnings, to an immense fabric or buildmanner in which he brought life and im ing in the Lord; nor shall the united mortality to light by the gospel of his only efforts of earth and bell be able to prevail Son, manifested in the flesh.

against it. As it was planted, so it was

reared by an Almighty Hand, which like "History, as it refers merely to human the careful husbandman, pruned and culevents, is a pleasing and instructing sub tivated each tender sprig, till it arrived ject; but that which relates to our im at full perfection, or to use the words mortal interest certainly claims our most of our Lord, « The least of all seeds

31 serious regard. laste of HRON

grew up and waxed a great tree, and

spread out its branches, and filled the The mind of man cannot be more de earth. ad altorom 1999 lightfully employed, than in the contemplation of the wisdom and goodness of Thus prevailed eternal Truth; nor the Omnipotent Creator of the universe, could the inveterate Jews, or superstitious who, by the least suspected means, and Heathens, resist its progress, though weakest instruments, confirmed and esta Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Genblished that glorious Gospel, on which tiles, and people of Israel, “ gathered depend all the christian's hope of eternal themselves together against the Lord, salvation.

and against his anointed; for the doc..

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trine of God confounded the wisdom of phecies, the devout persons among the the former, and overcame the folly of the Jews imagined the time appointed by God latter.

at hand, and that the promised Messiah

would shortly make his appearance, and, If we survey the works of a stupendous therefore, are said to have waited night Creator, we shall find that a few arrived and day for the. consolation of Israel.” at perfection at once. This observation These people, at that time grievously opis amply confirmed by the various pro pressed by the Roman power, and conseductions in the natural, and changes in quently anxious of regaining their liberty, the moral world. The supreme Being, as well as revenging themselves on their who conducts all his operations according tyrannical oppressors, waited for the acto bis infinite wisdom, appears to have complishment of the prophecies, with the retained the same maxim in the regulat- most solicitous desire. But this opinion ing of his kindest design to the sons of of the approach of a general deliverer exmen. The divine mind and will were not tended much farther than the country of revealed to mankind, at first, in their the Jews; for, through their connections clearest evidence and fullest splendor. | with so many countries, their disputes with The dawn, in a spiritual, as well as in a the learned men amongst the Heathens, natural sense, preceded the meridian and the translation of the Old Testament glory; the firmer revelation was but a into a language now almost general, their type or earnest of the latter, and in com- religion greatly prevailed in the east, and parison with it intricate and mysterious. consequently their opinion that a prince

would appear in the kingdom of Judea, The all-gracious God, as it seemed best who would dispel the mists of ignorance, to his unerring wisdom, was pleased, by deliver the Jews from the Roman yoke, degrees, to open and unfold bis glorious and spread his dominion from one end of councils; and man, by degrees, attained the world to the other. to the knowledge of the great plan of salvation, and the means used by its great While the eastern world was fraught Author to promote and establish it.

with these sanguine hopes, the very an

gel who had appeared to Daniel the proSome time before the incarnation of phet, with a certain information, as the blessed Jesus, an opinion prevailed to the period of the Messiah's coming, among the pious part of the Jews, that as well as his transactions in this lower the GREAT JEHOVAH would condescend world, was sent to Zacharias, a pious to favour them with a clearer revelation priest, while he was executing his office of his mind and will, by the mission of before God, in the order of his course some eminent person qualified from above, (which was to burn incense when he to instruct them in the same. This opi- went into the temple of the Lord) to nion was founded on the predictions of foretel, that a child should spring from the ancient prophets, who had described, him and his wife Elizabeth, though they with the utmost beauty and clearness, the were stricken in years, who should person, character, and glory of the Mes. be endowed with extraordinary gifts siah, appointed by God, in bis own time, from heaven, and, honoured with being to declare his eternal council to mankind. | the forerunner of the Saviour of the all world. No l o

build Relying on the fulfilment of these pro

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