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at hand. + Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and fupplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which pafseth all understanding, fhall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jefus.
The Gospel. S. John 1: 19.
Levites from Jerusalem, to ask him, Who'ait thou? And he confessed and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Chrift. And they asked him what then ? Art thou Elias ? and he faith, I am not. Art-thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him; Who art thou ? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? | He faid, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as faid the prophet Efaias :
and they which were sent, were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Whiy baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that Prophet ? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there ftandeth one among you, whom
know not. He it is who coming after me, preferred before me, whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara, beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The Nativity of our Lord, or the + Birth-day of CHRIST,
commonly called Christmas-day. + Be careful for nothing, &c. It is not from hence Baptist according to the prophecy of Isaiah is in al to be supposed that we are to lay alide all care and lusion to a practice amongst the Eastern Kings ; who concern about worldly Things ; but only that we must in case of any public entry or proceflion were used not
indulge such an immoderate anxiety as will make to send an Herald or Harbinger to give notice of their us fretful and restless, so as to be distrustful of Provi- coming, and clear the Road before them. dence, and negligent of the one Thing needful.
+ As Christ Jesus was born for us of a pure Virgin, This is the Record of John, Ga. It is plain from so must we also be born again from a state of Sin and this Message of the Jews that at that Time they ex- Corruption to a Life of Righteousness and true Holipected the coming of the Messiah ; and that they were ness. And this we are taught is to be effected through to be Baptized, either by him or some of his Retinue, ac- the Adoption and Grace, and daily renewing of God's cording to that Prophecy of Zacharias, chap, xiii. 1. Holy Spirit which he has promised to all that sincerely
# He said I am the Voice, &cThis answer of the ask it.
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 Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle. Hebr. 1, Y. VOD, who at sundry times, and in divers manners spake in
time past unto the fathers by the prophets, g hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our fins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son ? And again,
* when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he faith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he faith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a fame of fire. But unto the Son he faith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness
Paraphrase on the Colle&t for Christmas-Day. Moft mighty God, who didit cause thy beloved Son in the privileges of thy Children, may by the help of Jesus Christ to take human Nature up in him, and as thy Spirit, be daily reformed in our dispositions, at this Season to be born of the Virgin Mary; grant through the same Jesus Christ, who reigneth with thee that we being born again from Sin to a Life of Righ- and the same Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. teousness, and through thy favour admitted to partake
Hath in these laft Days, &c. How much reason passage in particular, as well as this whole Epistle have we to praise God, that we have thus the ad- in general," tends to prove the Divinity and Majetty vantage of living under a so much more perfect Dif- of our Redeemer; and thews at once the unspeakable pensation than our Forefathers, and enjoy the Bletings Love of God in our Redemption, and our indispensible of the Gospel !
obligation to serve and obey fo powerful, fo kind a When he bringeth in the firft begotten, &c. This Benefactor.
, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning haft laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
The Gospel. S. John 1. 1.
God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made, that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. † And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
There was a man fent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the Aesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.
|| In th. beginning was the Word, &c. The three of the Gospel. But that very Ignorance and Wickedfirii Verses of thi: Go.pel are such an evident proof of nefs which rendered such a Revelation necessary, is the our Saviour's Divinity, that the most fubtle argumen- unhappy cause why to many have rejected it. Let us tation can hardly evade it. But what is too hard for take heed therefore that we be not like those of whom prejudice and prepofleffion!
St. Paul faith, the God of this World hath blinded the I and the light flineib in Darkness, &c. Christ minds of them which believe not, left the glor ous Gospel was a Light to ighten Mankind, who were in the of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Darkness of Sin and Ignorance, with the knowledge 2 Cor. 4. 4.
+ Saint Stephen's Day.
for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and being filled with the holy Ghost, may learn to love and blefs our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God, to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen. Then fall follow the Collect for the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-years. Eve.
For the Epistle. Acts 7: 55. Tephen being full of the holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly
into heaven, I and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a
Paraphrase on the Collea for St. Stephen's Day. Give as Grace, O Lord, under all our Persecutions ample of St. Stephen, to pray for our greatest Enefor the Gospel, to look up with Faith to that eternal mies to thee, O Christ, who art a continual InterGlory which thou hast promised to every Chriftian fuf- cessor for thy People at the right hand of God. ferer'; and enable us also by thy Spirit, after the ex
+ The Festival of St. Stephen stands firit after that for, and the evidence of Things not seen. Hebr. xi. 1. of our Saviour's Nativity, because he was the first after since it is indeed the Eye of the Mind, which gives his divine Mafter that suffered Martyrdom for the pro- us a clear view of Things distant and invisible. And feffion of Christianity : and from his example we are the glorious prospect which St. Stephen thus enjoyed taught that Faith in the Glory which shall be revealed under his Martyrdom, will be the principal comfort is the beft fupport under all our affiáions, and that and support of every sincerc Christian, amidst all the to love and blejs cur Perfecutors is a fure proof of a truly Alictions of this world, as well as in his departure Chriftian disposition.
out of it. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable 1 And law ihe glory of God, &c. Well might St. gift. pul define Faith to be the substance of Things hoped
young mans feet, whose name was || Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my fpirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this fin to their charge. And when he had said this he fell asleep.
The Gospel. St. Matth. 23. : 34.
and some of them ye shall kill and crucify ; and some of them shall
ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; that
upon you may come all the righteous blood fhed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye New between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, † All these things shall come upon this generation. § o Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are fent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till
ye Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord.
* Saint John the Evangelist's Day.
light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy bleffed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may
# Saul. This was he who was afterwards called ŷ o Jerusalem, Ferusalem, &c. Who can read this Paul, who by the Grace of God afterwards distinguish- passage and not be deeply affečted with these tender ed himself far more in the support and propagation expressions of Christ's Love towards this ungrateful, of Christianity, than he did now in his opposition to impenitent People! Let us then take heed that we it; and became at last a glorious Martyr to that cause, abuse not those Mercies which God is continually exwhich he now persecuted.
tending towards us, left we too thould one Day suffer + Allsheje T hin shall come upon this Generation. This a worse fate than the Jews. Prophecy was fulfilled about thirty-eight years after, The Festival of St. John the Evangelist has the rein the dcttruction of Jerusalemn.
cond place next to our Lord's Nativity, because he was