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Jesus and his Mother, by a Flight into Egypt; which he immediately put into Execution, and departed in the Night, that they might lose no Time, and might the better preserve themselves from Discovery

Q. What Account have we of our Saviour's Fourney and Abode in Egypt?

A. The Scriptures are filent in this Matter, though Historians affirm his first Abode was at Hermopolis, in the Country of Thebais; wliere, when they arrived, the Holy Child Jesus being by Design Bp.Taylor's of Providence carried into the Temple, the Statues Life of and Idols fell down like Dagon at the Presence of p. 67. the Ark, according to the Prophecy of Isaiah: Be- Ila. xix. s. bold the Lord shall come into Egypt, and the Idols of Egypt fall be moved at his Presence.

Q. Wbat Account have we of our Saviour's Return from Egypt?

A. Herod's Death being made known to Joseph Mat. ii.19. by an Angel in Egypt, they returned into the Land of Israel, in Obedience to the heavenly Admonition; but being apprehensive that Archelaus might inherit the Ambition and Cruelty of his Father Herod, they went into the Parts of Galilee, where Antipas, another of Herod's Sons, had feated himself, contending with his Brother Archelaus for the whole Kingdom. They dwelt in a City called Nazareth, which Ver. 2g. fulfilled the Prophecy, that our Saviour should be calleda Nazarene ; which some Interpreters refer to Cbrist's being called that Netser in the Prophets, signifying the Branch relating to the House of Felle; of which Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariab, had so If. xi. 1. often spoken. Though it does not appear how this Jer

. xxiii. was fulfilled by Christ's being at Nazareth; because žech, vi, he was as much the Netfer, the Branch before, when ". he was born at Bethlehem. And therefore others, with greater Probability, think our Saviour was sent by the Angel to this contemptible City of

Nazareth,

9, 10.

lla, liii.

3.

Johni. 47. Nazareth, out of which no good Thing was expected,

that he might hence have a Name of Infamy: In

which Senle it was applied to him by theunbelieving Psal. lxix. Jerus and Gentiles. And thus the Prophets speak of

him as of a Person that was to be reputed vile and abject, despised and rejected of Men.

Q. How was Herod punished for his great Wickedness?

d. He was smitten by God with many Plagues Josephus, and Tortures. According to Josephus, he was inlib.17.c.8.

flamed with a slow Fire, which outwardly seemed not so vehement, but inwardly affli£ted all his Entrails : He bad a ravenous and unnatural Appelite, which could no Ways be satisfied : Besides, he had an Ulcer in his Bowels, with a strange and furious Cbolic; his Feet were ficelled, and of a venomous Colour; his Members rotted, and were full of crawling Worms; to this add, he bad strong Convulsions, and Shortness of Breath; andafter having tried the Physicians for Relief without Success, he died; but not without farther Testimonies of his Cruelty.

Q. Is there any Account of the Number of Chil, dren that were put to Death?

A. The Greek Church in their Calendar, and the 11y/lines of Æthiopia in their Oices, commemorate fourteen thousand Infants; for Herod being crafty, and taking the best Measures he could that the boly Child Jesus might not escape, had caused all the Children to be gathered together; which the credulous Mothers (supposing it had been to take an Account of their Age and Number, in order to some taxing) hindered not, and thereby they were betrayed to that cruel Butchery.

Q. How doth the Evangelist represent the Lamentations of the Bethlemite Parents for their Children?

A. By a prophetic and figurative Speech, cited jer. xxxi. from Jeremiah, concerning the Captivity of Babylon, and the Slaughter of Jerusalem, long after Rachel's

Death,

15.

Death, who therefore did not really weep; but is faid to express the lamentable Slaughter. And so also it had here a second Completion in this killing of the Infants in Bethlehem.

Q. For what Reason may we suppose that God permitted the Destruction of so many Children in Bethlehem ?

A. It doth not become us too nicely to enquire into the Proceedings of infinite Wisdom, all whose Actions are governed by the highest Reason; but among several Thoughts that offer themselves, we may consider whether the Infidelity of the Bethlemites, after such sufficient Means afforded for their Conviction, might not draw upon themi so severe a Punishment. They not only gave no Reception to the Virgin Mary, big with Child, and of the House of David; but they neither owned nor worshipped our Saviour at his Birth. The Message of the Shepherds and their great Joy; the Arrival of the wise Men from the East and their Offerings, had no effectual Influence upon them. And it it is not unusual with God to visit the Sins of the Fathers upon their Children; especially fince the Children were made Instruments of God's Glory, and not only delivered from the Miseries of Life and the Corruption of their Ancestors, but were crowned with the Reward of Martyrdom.

Q. What may we learn from the Observation of Ibis Festival ?

A. That Religion is but too often used as an Instrument to serve ambitious and worldly Designs ; which should make good Men cautious how they combine with Men of that Temper, in the Measures they take to promote it.

That Adictions are not always Arguments of Guilt, since innocent Children were made a Sacrifice to the Ambition of a cruel Tyrant. That they are sometimes Tokens of God's Favour, and that many a Man has owed his

Happiness

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Happiness to his Sufferings. That we ought to be
ready to part with what is so dear to us our own
Children, whenever they may become Instruments
of God's Glory. That we ought not to fear the
Cruelty nor Policy of the greatest Tyrant, who
can never hurt us without God's Permission. That
what Oppression soever Innocence meets with from
the Hands of wicked Men, is for the Good of
those that suffer it. That the Conduct of those Pa-
rents, who neglect the Education and Instruction of
their Children in Christian and virtuous Principles,
exceeds the Cruelty of Herod; he only deprived
them of Life, but such expose them to eternal
Death. That to be true Disciples of Christ, we
must become as little Children in the frame and
Temper of our Minds, without which we cannot
enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Q. Wherein consists that Temper of Mind which
our Saviour represents to us by the Emblem of little
Children?

A. It consists in Humility and Lowliness of Mind; in a total Submission to the Will of God; and in an entire Dependance upon him in all Dangers that relate either to our Bodies or Souls: And particularly in a Contempt of the World, and a Freedom from covetous and ambitious Desires; which never enter into the Minds of Children, and which very much obstruct and hinder our being true Members of Christ's fpiritual Kingdom.

Q. Wherein confijis this Humility and Lowliness of Mind?

A. In the true Knowledge of ourselves, and the understanding our weak and sinful Condition, taking to ourselves the Shame and Confusion due to our Follies; and giving God the Glory of all the Good we receive, or are enabled to do. In bearing with Patience the Contumelies of others. In not þeing too much transported with those Praises we

meet

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meet with, because, however our Actions may appear to Men, it is only the Approbation of God which can give us folid Comfort. In avoiding all Occasions of drawing upon ourselves Commendations, never speaking nor acting only with a Design to procure Applause.

Q. Wberein confifts the Submission of a Christian?

A. In a firm Persuasion of Mind, that nothing happens to us but by the Will and Permission of God. That he loves us better than we do ourselves, and knows the best Methods of making us happy. And that therefore we should acquiescein allEvents, how contrary soever to our own Inclinations; and how much soever they may thwart those Schemes of Happiness and Enjoyment which we have framed to ourselves.

Q. Wherein confifts our entire Dependance upon God?

A. In expecting in all our Dangers, temporal and spiritual, by a serious and diligent Discharge of our own Duty, Relief from his Almighty Power, which is able to help us; and from his infinite Goodness, which has promised to assist us. And therefore not to disquier ourselves with the Apprehensions of Danger and Calamities that may never happen; or if they do, may be over-ruled to our Advantage.

Q. Wherein confifts the Contempt of the World?

A. In looking on all worldly Enjoyments as little and inconsiderable; mere empty Nothings, in Comparison of that Happiness which God hath prepared for those that love him. In being content with that Portion of the good Things of this Life, which the wife Providence of God hath allotted to our Share; without purchasing the Enjoyment of them by the Commission of any Sin; without being anxiously concerned for the Increase of them, or extremely depressed when they make themselves

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