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his divine glory his humiliation might be the greater. How can we be abased low enough for thee, O Saviour, that hast thus neglected thyself for us! That the visitation might be answerable to the homeliness of the place, attendants, provision, who shall come to congratulate his birth but poor shepherds? The kings of the earth rest at home, and have no summons to attend him, by whom they reign. God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. In an obscure time, the night, unto obscure men, shepherds, doth God manifest the light of his Son, by glorious angels. It is not our meanness, O God, that can exclude us from the best of thy mercies; yea, thus far dost thou respect persons, that thou hast put down the mighty, and exalted them of low degree.-HALL.
Hark the herald angels sing,
Christ, by highest heaven ador'd,
Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace!
Mild, he lays his glory by,
CHAP. II. 21-38.
Christ is circumcised. Mary purified. Simeon and Anna prophesy of Christ.
21 'And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the the child, his name was called 'JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when 'the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
of turtledoves, or two young in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
25 And, behold, there was
in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not "see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, "now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes 'have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold this child is set for the fall and rising again of many
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake to all them that "looked for redemption in 'Jerusalem.
q Gen. xvii. 12. Lev. xii. 3; ch. i. 59.- Mat. i. 21, 25; ch. i. 31-s Lev. xii. 2, 3, 4, 6.-7 Ex. xiii. 2; & xxii. 29; & xxxiv. 19. Num. ili. 13; & viii. 17; & xviii. 15.- Lev. xii. 2, 6, 8.- Is. xl. 1. Mark xv. 43. ver. 38. -y Ps. lxxxix. 48. Heb. xi. 5.-z Mat. iv. 1.- Gen. xlvi. 30. Phil. i. 23.- Is. lii. 10. ch. iii. 6.-c 1s. ix 2; & xlii. 6; & xlix. 6; & lx 1, 2, 3. Mat. iv, 16. Acts xiii. 47; & xxviii. 28.-d Is. viii. 14. Hos. xiv. 9. Mat. xxi. 44. Rom. ix. 32, 33. 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. 2 Cor. ii. 16. 1 Pet. ii. 7, 8.-e Acts xxviii. 22.-f Ps. xlii. 10. John xix. 25.-g Acts xxvi. 7. 1 Tim. v. 5.- Mark xv. 43. ver. xxv. ch. xxiv. 21.- Or, Israel.
that implied the weakness and the blemishes of humanity. He would fulfil one law to abrogate it, another to satisfy it. He that was above the law would come under the law to free us from the law. Not a day would be changed, either in the circumcision of Christ, or the purification of Mary. Here was neither convenience of place, nor of necessaries for so painful a work; yet he that made and gave the law will rather keep it with difficulty than transgress it with ease.-HALL.
His name was called Jesus. See Matthew iii. 20; and the commentary on that verse.
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, &c.-The law of purification proclaims our uncleanness. The mother is not allowed, after her childbirth, to come unto the sanctuary, or to touch any hallowed thing, until her time be expired. What are we, whose very birth infects the mother that bears us! At last she comes to the temple; but with sacrifices, either a lamb and a pigeon, or a turtle, or (in the meaner estate) two turtle-doves, or young pigeons, whereof one is for a burnt offering, the other for a sin offering: the one for thanksgiving, the other for expiation; for expiation of a double sin, of the mother and of the child.
with us: the very infant that lives not to sin as Adam, yet sinned in Adam and is sinful in himself. But, oh the unspeakable mercy of our God! we provide the sin, he provides the remedy.
Every poor mother was not able to bring a lamb for her offering: there was no one so poor, but might procure a pair of turtles or pigeons. Thus doth God both prescribe and accept from poorer hands, no less than the beasts of a thousand mountains. He looks for somewhat of every one, not of every one alike. Since it is he that makes differences of abilities, to whom it were as easy to make all rich, his mercy will make no difference in the acceptation. The
truth and heartiness of obedience is that which he will crown in his meanest servants. A mite from the poor widow is more worth to him than the talents of the wealthy.
How glorious did the temple seem now that the owner was within the walls of it! Now was the hour and guest come, in regard whereof the second temple should surpass the first. This was his house, built for him, dedicated to him: there had he dwelt long in his spiritual presence, in his typical. There was nothing either placed or done within those walls wherein he was not resembled and now the body of We are all born sinners; and it those shadows is come, and presents is a just question whether we do himself where he had been ever more infect the world, or the world represented. Jerusalem is now every us. They are gross flatterers of where. There is no church, no nature that tell her she is clean. If Christian heart, which is not a temour lives had no sin, we bring enough ple of the living God: there is no
temple of God wherein Christ is not presented to his Father. Look upon him, O God, in whom thou art well pleased, and in him and for him be well pleased with us!
Under the Gospel, we are all firstborn, all heirs; every soul is to be holy unto the Lord: we are a royal generation, a holy priesthood. Our baptism, as it is our circumcision, and our sacrifice of purification, so it is also our presentation unto God. Nothing can become us but holiness. O God, to whom we are devoted, serve thyself of us, glorify thyself by us, till we shall by thee be glorified with thee.-HALL.
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.No man ever had or can have any right knowledge of the true God, but only by his Son our Saviour Christ. But by this means they that lived before might see him as by twilight; we who live after this sun is risen may see him by the clearest light that can be given of him; for he hath fully revealed and declared himself to us in the Gospel.
By this glorious light, we can see into the mystery of the eternal Trinity in Unity, so as to believe that God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One, one Jehovah, one God. That God the Father made all things at first by his Word, and still upholds and orders all things according to his will.
That God the Son was made flesh, became man, and as such died upon the cross, and so offered up himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; that he arose again, went up to heaven, and is now there at the right hand of God; that upon our repentance and faith in him our sins are pardoned, and he that made us is reconciled to us by the merits of his said death; that by the power of his intercession which he now makes in heaven for us, we are justified or accounted righteous in him, before him. That God the Holy Ghost abides continually with his church, moving upon, actuating and influencing, the means of grace that are there administered; that he sanctifies all that believe in Christ, leads them into all truth, comforts them in all their troubles, and assists them in doing whatsoever is required of them. These, and many such great and necessary truths, as lay in a great measure hid before, are now, by the light of the Sun of righteousness shining in his Gospel, made so plain and evident, that all may see them, except they wilfully shut their eyes or turn their backs upon themBEVERIDGE.
Grace, and the Gospel that works it, compared with the dark night of nature, is the day; and it is often so called. But yet that same light of the Gospel shining to us in the word, and within us by the Spirit, is but the appearance or approaching of the day, a certain pledge of it, yea, a kind of beginning of it, telling us that it is hard at hand. It is one
and the same light: and when it enters into any soul, it makes sure that eternal full day to it, that it shall not be disappointed of, any more than the day can go back, and the sun fail to rise when the dawning is begun and this begun light is still growing clearer, and tending to the perfect day.-LEIGHTON.
eyes salvation see
Prepar'd by grace divine;
How wide its splendours are diffus'd!
Through distant heathen lands
It darts a vivid ray;
And to the realms where Satan reigned
The Israel of the Lord
In Christ their glory boast;
And on the honours of his name
By him shall millions rise
To an immortal crown;
CHAP. II. 39-52.
Christ increaseth in wisdom; questioneth in the temple with the doctors; and is obedient to his parents.
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have
40 And the child grew, and sought thee sorrowing.