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sink under its daily trials : sometimes they fall into known and wilful sins; sometimes they are careless and thoughtless, and so leave plain duties undone ; leave morning and evening prayer unsaid ; do not read holy Scriptures; do not meditate on God through the day; do not examine themselves at night; do not lay down any rules of life, or seek to do their duty, and please God, but follow ease, or fancy, or any passing feeling; and are careless about how they use or waste their talents and occasions of good. Such persons' is indeed a downward course ; every year does but make them less prepared for death, the nearer they draw to death ; every year does but add to their many sins ; every year does but strengthen the power of evil habits over them. Such are some of the lessons which the year past and the year which is coming may teach us. May we have grace to lay them to heart; may Almighty God so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom : unto that true and heavenly wisdom which shall make us wise unto salvation.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
CHRIST'S WORSHIP ONE OF TROUBLE AND COST.
Psalm lxxii. 11. All kings shall fall down before Him:
all nations shall do Him service. If there be a doubt of the double sense of some prophecies, there can be but little, I think, as to the psalm from which these words are taken. David seems to have written it, when in order to put a stop to Adonijah's rebellion, he had caused Solomon to be anointed king, and to join him at once upon the throne. In its first sense, therefore, the psalm refers to Solomon, and to the prosperity the land was to enjoy under his rule : but there are several parts of it that can have scarcely any meaning unless we suppose them to point to something beyond a mere earthly king, let him he never so great: so that it seems quite necessary that we should understand them of Christ and of His eternal and universal dominion. Of whom but of our Lord could it be said—“They shall fear Thee, as long as the sun and moon endureth ; from
one generation to another. He shall live, and
. unto Him shall be given of the gold of Arabia : prayer shall be made ever unto Him, and daily shall He be praised. .... His name shall remain under the sun among the posterities : which shall be blessed through Him; and all the heathen shall praise Him?” We might feel this to be quite reason enough for taking the words of the text as a prophecy of the call of the Gentiles; as extending to all the heathen world that service which was paid to Christ by the “kings of Arabia,” called in the gospel, “wise men from the east.”
You have heard in the gospel this day the account there given by the Evangelist of these wise men, or Magi, as they are commonly called, coming from their own country, a long and weary journey to Jerusalem, to worship Christ soon after His birth. You have heard how they were led all the way by a star to the stable where He was laid at Bethlehem ; how they offered Him presents and rejoiced at the sight of Him. Now, I say, that the words of the psalm from which my text is taken are a prophecy of this coming of the Gentiles to Christ. I think no one can doubt this who compares them with certain passages in Isaiah that are acknowledged by all to refer to Christ. Isaiah has indeed
almost borrowed the very expressions of this psalm. The Psalmist says, “ They that dwell in the wilderness shall kneel before Him, His enemies shall lick the dust”—and the prophet,
They shall bow down to Thee with their face to the earth, and lick up the dust of Thy feet.” In the psalm it is said, “The mountains also
, shall bring peace, and the little hills righteousness unto the people :” and the prophecy is, “I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.” David exclaims, “The kings of Tharsis and of the isles shall give presents: the kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring gifts :” and Isaiah repeats it; “All they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense. Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God.”
Thus the whole psalm may be said to relate to the event I have spoken of, and the particular passage
in the text seems to shew how we are interested in that event. The wise men from the east are, as we learn from it, only the first of a long line included in the prophecy : “all kings shall
: fall down before Him : all nations shall do Him service.”
Ever since they came to worship
Christ, the text has been receiving its fulfilment from all those who have followed their example : our sovereigns are in the number of them who should fall down before Him: we ourselves are amongst those who must do Him service. The psalm is as it were a glass wherein the figures of those that we read of in to-day's gospel, are changed into the multitudes of gentiles who have since been made like to them in their worship of the Messiah, and so it leads us on from their time and place, and persons, to the present, and to ourselves. It is not now the wise men from the east guided by a star to Bethlehem, and offering gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, to the infant Jesus in His mother's arms : but it is the unlearned and poor, as well as the rich and wise, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, led, not by the star in the heavens, but by the light of God's revealed truth discerned by faith, not to Bethlehem in the land of Judah, but to Christ in His Church, His city upon earth ; not as the infant son of David in seeming weakness, but to the exalted and glorified Saviour manifested to be the Son of God; who has fulfilled what He then promised, knowing no more any distinction of Jew and Gentile, but admitting all alike to worship Him, whether shepherds or kings, from