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The Epistle. Gal. 4. 1.
eth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world; But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, s that we might receive the adoption of fons." And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a fon; and if a fon, then an heir of God through Christ.
The Gospel. St. Matth. 1. 18.
his mother Mary was. espoused to Joseph, (before they came together) she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. | Then Joseph her husband, being a juft man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife ; for that which is conceived in her, is of the holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall fave his people from their fins. (Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, Behold, a Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son,
$ That we might receive the Adoption, &c. Adoption we forfeit not that title by our own disobedience. is an a&t of favour, whereby the Master of an Estate Iben Joseph ber Husband being a juft Mar, & takes Persons of another Family, and receives them as Joseph might be said to be a just Man in this respect, his own Children. Thus God by ia marvellous act not only as he was a religious observer of the Law of kindness was pleased to admit us Gentiles, who which commanded a divorcement in the case of Adulwere Slaves to Sin, into the blessed freedom and fellow- tery; but likewise in his proposing to put Mary away fhip of his Children, through the precious Death and privately, left if that should be true which the alledged, Merits of his Son Jesus Chrift: who thereby purchased he should be a means, of bringing punishment upon an for us a title to the glories of a blessed Immortality; if innocent Person.
and they shall call his Name Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is, God with us.) Then Joseph being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and' knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born Son; § and he called his Name JESUS.
|| The circumcifion of Chrift.
and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit, that our hearts and all our members being mortified from all worldly and carnal lufts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will, through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
The Epistle. Rom. 4. 8.
the uncircumcision also ? For we say, that faith was reckoned to' Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned ? when he was in circumcifion, or in uncircumcision? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of 'circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had yet being uncircumcised'; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness
Paraphrafe on the Colleet for the Circumcifion. Moit mighty God, who, for our fakes, didft cause ordinate desires and affections being fully subdued, we thy Son to undergo the painful rite of Circumcisions may give up ourselves to thy fervice in all holy Obegrant us to be fo fpiritually Circumcised, that our in- dience, through the same Jesus Christ.
And be called his Name' Jefits, &c. Jesus is that he only is properly to be called a Jew, who is one the fame wiih Joshuah in the Old Testament, and sig- inwardly, and that the true Circumcifron is that of the nifies a Saviour. And as that Jewish Leader conduct- Heart, in the Spirit and not in the Letter : fo Baptism ed the Ifraelites into the earthly Canaan, so, by the help will then alone be effectual to Salvation when it is foland direction of the Captain of our Salvation, we are lowed by a Death unto Sin, and a new Birth unto Righled through the Wilderness of this world to the Hea- teoufness, for as the same Apostle obferves we are buried venly Canaan, the Regions of Bliss and Immortality: with Christ by Baption into Death, that like as Chrift
ll'A: Circumcifion was an outward distinguishing twas raised up from the Dead by the glory of the Father, Badge of Judaism, so is Baptism an outward visible fign even so we also should walk in newnejs of Life, Rom. of our Christian profession. But as St. Paul affures us vi. 4.
might be imputed unto themalso. 1* And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.
, . ' 15.7 rii ND it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from
them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, t and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the fhepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. S And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. The fame Colleet, Epiftle, and Gospel ball serve for every day after,
unto the Epiphany.
And the Father of Circumcifion, &c. As it was through Jefus Chrift. Faith, and not Circumcision, that rendered Abraham | But Mary kept all these things, Sc. Who can sufacceptable to God; so it is by Faith, without Circum- ficiently admire the modefty and humility of the blessed cifion, that we Gentiles are admitted to partake in the Virgin on this occasion, instead of being highly puffed Bleil ngs of a Redeemer.
up with the extraordinary dignity conferred upon her ; + Ånd the Babe lying in a Manger. Behold of how in lead of boasting to the Shepherds of the greatness little estimation in God's fight is all human pomp and of her family and descent She on the contrary splendor! since his only Son, the King of Glory, was heard their News with lowly a'tention and meditated made to take up, at his Birth, with such lowly ac- upon it with filent admiration.' diri commodations - Let us hence learn that true greatness $ And when right Dars; &'cJefus fubmitted to the is only to be estimated by real goodness:; and that Hu rite of Circumcifion, that he might fulfil the Law, and mility and Holinefs, in the lowest condition of Life, thew his approbation of it, till the bringing in of a betwill effe&tually recommend us to the favour of God, ter difpenfation.
The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.
begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epiftle. Ephes. 3. 1. OR this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you
Gentiles ; if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye
understand ledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the fons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit. * That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ, by the Gospel : whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unfearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellow ship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the World hath been. hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ :: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. + In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Paraphrafe on the Collect for the Epiphany. O God, who by the direction of a Star, didft dif- of thy Revelation, may after this Life enjoy the percover thy Son Jesus Christ to the Eastern Philosophers, feat Happiness of thy immediate presence when we shall who were the first Fruits of the Gentiles; grant that we see thee as thou art and know thee as we are known, v ho know thee now, tho imperfectly, through the glass though Jesus Chrift.
1 The Epiphany is a Feitival in which we have pa- fo fine before Men, that they seeing our good Works may ticular reason to Rejoice. For to use St. Paul's exprer- glorify our Farber which is in Heaven. fion, 1 t us remember that we being in Time pajt Gentiles in That the Gentiles fbould be Fellow-Heirs, &c. Obthe Flesh, were then without Chrift, being Alicns from the serve here that it is not said that the Gentiles thould be Commonwealth of Ir.el, and strangers from the Covenants admitted merely to t'ie fame privileges which the Jews of Promije having no Hope, and withiur God in the allowed to their Profelytes: bat that through their belief World: but now in Christ Jefus, we who Jometimes were of the Gospel they should be equally Heirs with them far off, are made nigh by the Blood of Chrift. The Wise of the same heavenly Inheritance, Members with them men were conducted to Christ by the leading of a Star, of the same Body, if which Chritt is the Head, and how much rather Mould we come unto him who are partakers in all the benefits of Chriilian Revelation ; under the guidance of the marvellous Light of his Gof. without submitting to the ceremonies of the Law of pel! and how greatly does it become us to let our Light M fes. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
The GospelS. Matth. 2. 1.
of Herod the king, behold, there came & wisemen from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews ? for we have feen his star in the east, and are come to wor
* 'When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda : for out of thee Thall come a Governor that shall rule my people Ifrael. Then Herod, when he had privily called
In whom we have boldness, &c.. How can we suffi- sent to conduct them to the birth-place of the Mefiah. ciently express our Thankfulness to God that he has And his being thus pleased to make this Revelation to been pleased not only to deliver us from the darkness, these; Gentile Sages seemed to fignify his intention of of Heathen Ignorance; but has permitted us to ap- calling all Nations to the knowledge of the Gospei. proach the Throne of Grace with huinblé confidence that A Mercy for which we also who were once without our Prayers Mall. be accepted through the Merits and Light, can never be sufficiently thankful. interceifion of our Redeemer.
withen Hered the King keard, c. Herod Wijomen. These Philosophers, in their own Coun- should be troubled on this occafion is not so much to be try Language, were called Magi, and probably came wondered at, as he had no legal Title to the Crown of from Arabia, which lies East from Judea. And as the Judea, and had acted with great Tyranny in his Govern, Arabians were the Defcendents of Abraham by Inho mnent; and might therefore be apt to fear a Revolt mael they might have a traditional Knowledge of the of the Jews in favour of this long expected Mefliah. promifeá Melliah, preferved among them, as is evident But the Jetvs, no doubt, felt very different fenfation from the Words of the Arabian Prophet Balaam, Tbere upon this News': tho they were probably much agitated fball come a Star out of Jacob, &c. And as Astronomy was with the joyful hopes of deliverance froin the dominion a Science probably much cultivated amongst the Ara- of the Romans, and of the happiness they expected to bians, as well as the Chaldeans, fo their Philosophers enjoy under the Reign of the Mciliah, for little did were likely much sooner to discover, and judge of imagine that his Kir.gdom was not of this World. the design, of that new remarkable Star which God