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Dec. 25. ...,
( 360 ). Christmas Day. AND The brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped him 4 in swaddling Clothes, and laid him in a Manger, because there was no Room for them in the Inn. Luke ii. 7.
Jesus Christ is the First-born of the blessed Virgin. His stooping to the Weakness of Infancy is so much the more worthy to be adored, as it appears - unworthy of his Greatness and Wisdom. Rejected of Men, he borrows the Habitation of Beasts. Let human Pride blush as long as it will, to have a God become an Infant of a Day, of a Moment, reduced to the Confinement of swaddling Clothes, to the Meanness of a Manger, to the Mansion of Beasts, to have recourse to the Aflistance of his Creatures, and to be refused by them, it is the Chriftian's Glory that his God would do, and suffer, all this for his Salvation; it is his Honour to adore him, to own him for his King, and to pay him Homage, in all his States and Conditions. Rejoice in Jesus' Birth! '. His Shoulder props the Sky, i To us a Son is given,
This Universe sustains, To us a Child is born on Earth, The God fupreme, the Lord most high,
Who made both Earth and Heaven! The King MESSIAH reigns!
Dec. 26. .
I) . St. Stephen's Marti AND he kneeled down, and cried with a loud Voice, Lord, lay
not this Sin to their Charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep, AEts vii. 6o.
Neither a Shower of Stones, nor present Death, can hinder true Love from being mindful of the real Wants of Men. --- St. Stephen's Prayer for his Enemies is humble, fervent, powerful, and conformable to that of Christ upon the Crofs. And could such a Prayer be ineffectual ? --- How much would God have us love our Persecutors, fince he gives us fo great Instances of this Kind of Love in the Death of Christ, and in that of his first Imitator!
The Death of the Saints is, to "themselves, Reft or SLEEP, a Sacrifice in Respect to God, and Seed for the Church. Saul is the first Fruit of this Seed fown by the first Martyr. Prepare the Soul, Thou forf shalt call, The everlasting Doors display'd,
Toown in Death the pard'ning God, The Glories of a wide-Spread Heaven. To die for Him, who dy'd for ALL, Inspire him with thy tender Care,
And seal the Record with his Blood. For those who nail'dThee to the Wood, Give him, before he bows his Head, And give to his expiring Prayer,
The Sight to fervent Stephen giv'n, The Men chat drive his Soul to God.
( 362 )
St. John the Evan.
I JOHN, who also am your Brother, and Companion in Tribu1 lation, and in the Kingdom and Patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Ine that is called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the Testimony of Jesus Christ, Rev. i. 9.
See here what a true Christian is : A Man who has for others a true brotherly Charity, who counts it an Honour to partake in their Tribulations, who lives by the Belief of the Coming and of the Kingdom of Jesus Cbrif, and who reigns himself beforehand, even in the midit, and by the Love, of Amictions. Amiable Banishment this, wherein St. John finds Heaven opened, instead of the Earth from which he is separated; wherein Jesus Chrifi pours forth so many sweet Consolations; and where he himself becomes present to his Mind, to fill it with the most lively Communications of his Light. The more we leave for His Sake, the more He imparts himself to us.
'Twas thus the Saints of God, Thro' fore Afictions past
His Messengers, and Seers, ; To better Worlds above,
And pass'd the Vale of Tears, In our Redeemer's Love.
THEN Herod when he saw that he was mocked of the wise 1 Men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and new all the Children that were in Bethlehem, and all the Coasts thereof, from two Years old and under, according to the Time which he had diligently enquired of the wise Men, Matt. ii. 16.
The ambitious Man is cruel, and always ready to sacrifice every Thing, even Christ himself, to his Pallion. The World is more to be feared when it Aatters, than when it perfecutes. It bestows Life at that very Time when it thinks it takes it away. The Disgraces of the World, contain in them great Graces for Those who know how to distinguish and improve them.me Salvation, given so freely to these Infants, teaches us that our own muft ne. cessarily be the Gift of God. Grace prevents all Merit in Those whose Will it disposes, as well as in these Infants, who could not pollibly will any
And on us loofe thy Winds and Storms, Place the Crown before our F.yes, Death we challenge, with its Powers,
And lead our way through Hell: In all their dreadful Forms.
CRÀCE be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christin
fincerity. Amen. Eph. vi. 24. . Grace, which is the Effect of Christ's Love towards us, becomes likewise the Reward of our Love towards him. We have Reason to expect all Things from Him, when we love him ; and to fear all Things when we love him not.
Whoever desires to know whether he really loves Tesus Christ, with a pure Love, let him examine. 1. Whether he esteems that which Christ esteems, immortal and incorruptible good Things; and whether in serving him he do not seek after those which perilh. 2. Whether he hates that which Christ hates, the Corruption that is in his own Heart, and the Filthiness of Sin-Amen, so be it, Lord Jesus ; but do Thou vouchsafe to love me, to the End that I may love thee, and that thy Grace may produce in me that Love, which it will one Day crows, Amen. Jesus, thou dear redeeming Lord, Give all thy Saints to find in Thee, The Kingdom of thy Peace reftor'd, The Fulness of the Deity, Let all thy Followers perceive, His Nature, Life, and Mind to prove, And happy in thy Spirit live, In perfect Holiness and Love, Retain the Grace with Thee bestow'd, Fountain of Grace thyself make known, The Favour and the Power of God. With God, and Man for ever one.