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ftrengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and conftancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name, through Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Epiftle. Rev. 14, 1.
Looked, and lo, a Lamb ftood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Fathers name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they fung as it were a new fong before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders; and no man could learn that fong, but the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth. + Thefe are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins: thefe are they which follow the Lamb whitherfoever he goeth: these were redeemed from among men, being the firft-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.
The Gospel. S. Matth. 2. 13.
HE angel of the Lord appeareth to Jofeph in a dream, saying, Arife, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will feek the young child to deftroy him.
Paraphrafe on the Collect for Innocents Day.
O moft mighty God, who canft make the weakeft Beings to become powerful Inftruments of thy Providence; and for thy own wife purposes didit permit the infants of Bethlehem to be mafacrced by Herod, de
+ Theje are they which avere not defiled, c. This feems to be one of thofe paffages of Scripture on which the Church of Rome has founded her Doctrine of a: hngle life, vowed upon a religious account; thus cafting a reflection upon that ftate which God has declared to be bonourable. Whereas it feems properly to fignify those who had preferved themfelves from the pollutions of Idolatry and Uncleannefs; which, in the,
ftroy in us all Vices, and fo affift us by thy grace, th t by the harmlefinefs of our Lives and the leadiness of our Faith even unto Death, we may promote thy glory through Jefus Christ.
Scriptures, is frequently reprefented as a kind of spiritual Whoredom.
The ingel of the Lord appeareth, &c. The particular care of Providence for the prefervation of the holy Infant, fhews, that Jefus was, indeed, as he reprefen ed himself, the Son of God: and proves that the utmot endeavours of Men can never prevent the execution f what God has purposed, nor hurt those whom he protect..
arofe, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, faying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son. Then Herod, when he faw that he was mocked of the wife-men, was exceeding wroth, and fent forth, and flew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coafts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wife-men. Then was fulfilled that which was fpoken by Jeremy the prophet, faying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
+ The Sunday after Christmas-day.
Lmighty God, who hast given us thy only begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through the fame our Lord Jefus Chrift, who liveth and reigneth with thee, and the fame Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Paraphrafe on the Collect for the Sunday after Chriftmas-day.
Moft mighty God, who, for our Redemption, didft caufe thy Son Jefus Chrift to be made Man, and, as at this feafon, to be born of the Virgin Mary, grant that we being born again from the Death of Sin unto a life of Righteoufnefs, and admitted into the glori
‡ Then Herod when he faw. &c. Behold in Herod a lively inftance of the fatal effects of Envy and Ambition. This example fhould teach us to keep a guard over our defires after worldly Honour and Greatness: which, when indulged to excefs, are fo apt to produce in us fuch jealoufy and torment, and to break through all obligations of nature and duty to overturn all Laws, and erafe the brightest impreffions of Reafon and Religion.
+ Who can confider this amazing condefcenfion of the Son of God, and not be filled with Gratitude, with Love, towards fuch a Benefactor! and if he in
ous Liberty of the Sons God; may, by the help of thy Spirit, daily increase in newness of living, through the fame Jefus, who reigneth with thee, and the fame holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily could ftoop fo low for the Salvation of Man; what office can we think too low that ferves to promote the fame glo rious end! Let this Mind be in us then which was also in Chrift Jefus, and let us put off concerning the former Converfation, the old Man which is corrupt according to the deceitful Lufts: and be renewed in the Spirit of our Mind; and put on the new Man, which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holiness. God has promifed the affittance of his Spirit to help our Infirmities upon the eafy condition of fincere and fervent Prayer, through Jefus Chrift.
The Epiftle. Gal. 4. 1.
OW I fay, that the heir as long as he is a child, differ
eth nothing from a fervant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father. Even fo we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world; But when the fulness of the time was come, God fent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, § that we might receive the adoption of fons. And because ye are fons, God hath fent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a fervant, but a fon; and if a fon, then an heir of God through Christ.
The Gospel. St. Matth. 1. 18.
HE birth of Jefus Chrift was on this wife: When as his mother Mary was efpoufed to Jofeph, (before they came together) fhe was found with Child of the Holy Ghoft. Then Jofeph 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, faying, Jofeph, thou fon of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her, is of the holy Ghoft. And fhe fhall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jefus; for he shall save his people from their fins. (Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, faying, Behold, a Virgin fhall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son,
That we might receive the Adoption, &c. Adoption is an act of favour, whereby the Mafter of an Estate takes Perfons of another Family, and receives them as his own Children. Thus God by a marvellous act of kindness was pleafed to admit us Gentiles, who were Slaves to Sin, into the blessed freedom and fellowfhip of his Children, through the precious Death and Merits of his Son Jefus Chrift: who thereby purchased for us a title to the glories of a bleffed Immortality; if
we forfeit not that title by our own difobedience.
Then Faleph her Husband being a juft Man, e, Jofeph might be faid to be a juft Man in this respect, not only as he was a religious obferver of the Law which commanded a divorcement in the cafe of Adultery; but likewife in his propofing to put Mary away privately, left if that fhould be true which the alledged, he fhould be a means, of bringing punishment upon an innocent Perfon.
and they shall call his Name Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is, God with us.) Then Jofeph being raised from fleep, 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.
Lmighty God, who madeft thy bleffed Son to be circumcifed,
and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcifion 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 bleffed will, through the fame thy Son Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
The Epiftle. Rom. 4. 8.
Leffed is the man to whom the Lord will i impute fin. Cometh this bleffedness then upon the circumcifion only, or upon the uncircumcifion alfo? For we fay, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteoufnefs. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcifion, or in uncircumcifion? not in circumcifion, but in uncircumcifion. And he received the fign of circumcifion, a feal of the righteoufnefs of the faith, which he had yet being uncircumcifed; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcifed'; that righteousness
Paraphrafe on the Collect for the Circumcifion.
Moit mighty God, who, for our fakes, didft caufe, thy Son to undergo the painful rite of Circumcifion; grant us to be fo fpiritually Circumcifed, that our in
§ And be called his Name Jefus, &c. Jefus is the fame with Jofhuah in the Old Teftament, and ignifies a Saviour. And as that Jewish Leader conduct ed the Ifraelites into the earthly Canaan, fo, by the help and direction of the Captain of our Salvation, we are led through the Wilderness of this World to the Heavenly Canaan, the Regions of Blifs and Immortality.
As Circumcifion was an outward diftinguishing Badge of Judaifm, fo is Baptifm an outward vifible fign of our Christian profeffion. But as St. Paul affures us
ordinate defires and affections being fully fubdued, we may give up ourselves to thy fervice in all holy Obedience, through the fame Jefus Christ.
that he only is properly to be called a Jew, who is one inwardly, and that the true Circumcifion is that of the Heart, in the Spirit and not in the Letter: fo Baptifm will then alone be effectual to Salvation when it is followed by a Death unto Sin, and a new Birth unto Righteoufnels, for as the fame Apostle obferves we are buried with Chrift by Baptifm into Death, that like as Chrift was raised up from the Dead by the glory of the Father, even fo we also should walk in newness of Life, Rom.
might be imputed unto themalfo.* And the father of circumcifion to them who are not of the circumcifion only, but also walk in the fteps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcifed. For the promise that he fhould be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his' feed, 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.
The Gospel. S. Luke 2. 15.
ND it came to pafs, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the fhepherds faid one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and fee this thing which is come to pafs, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with hafte, and found Mary and Jofeph, + and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had feen it, they made known abroad the faying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. ‡ But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the fhepherds returned, glorifying and praifing God for all the things that they had heard and feen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcifing of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. The fame Collect, Epiftle, and Gospel fball ferve for every day after, unto the Epiphany.
And the Father of Circumcifion, c. As it was Faith, and not Circumcifion, that rendered Abraham acceptable to God; fo it is by Faith, without Circumcifion, that we Gentiles are admitted to partake in the Blewings of a Redeemer.
↑ And the Babe lying in a Manger. Behold of how little effimation in God's fight is all human pomp and fplendor! fince his only Son, the King of Glory, was made to take up, at his Birth, with fuch lowly accommodations Let us hence learn that true greatness is only to be estimated by real goodness and that Hu mility and Holinefs, in the lowest condition of Life, will effectually recommend us to the favour of God,
through Jefus Christ.
But Mary kept all theje Things, &c Who can fufficiently admire the modefty and humility of the bleffed Virgin on this occafion, inftead of being highly puffed up with the extraordinary dignity conferred upon her; infead of boafting to the Shepherds of the greatness of her Family and defcent-She on the contrary heard their News with lowly a tention and meditated upon it with filent admiration.
§ And when cight Days, &c. Jefus fubmitted to the rite of Circumcifion, that he might fulfil the Law, and fhew his approbation of it, till the bringing in of a better difpenfation.