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fered being tempted, he is able to succour and let the whole earth be filled with his them that are tempted." The subject teach- glory." Amen and amen. es us,
Augustus, in the pride of his heart, and ar 1. How incompetent judges we are of the abject world in flattery to him, prefixed his ways and works of God. Few events if any, name to the age in which he lived—and let correspond to our preconceived opinions of this piece of vanity have its scope. With thein. From the glimmering that we have, the classical, philosophic scholar, let the Auwithout any light at all save the sparks of gustan age boast of a Cicero, a Virgil, a Livy, our own kindling, we take upon us to arrange a Mæcenas; the humble Christian will rather and decide, and to limit the holy one of Is- glory in its having produced light from hea. rael. Like Naaman the Syrian, we have ven, which eclipsed all human eloquence and settled the mode of cure in our own mind, wisdom in their highest splendour, and, redressed it in proper parade and ceremony, signing to the schools their favourite historiand fall out with the prophet because the sim- ans, orators, and poets, will rejoice in revolvplicity of the process confounds the airy vi- ing in their place the hallowed page of sion with which our imagination had amused Luke, the beloved physician, and in listening itself. Not knowing the scriptures nor the to the fervid, native, inartificial eloquence power of God, the carnal Jews had dressed of Paul of Tarsus, and above all, in attendout, for Messiah the prince, a throne like ing to the dignified wisdom which flowed Solomon's, of ivory overlaid with gold, had from the lips of Ilim who “ spake as never placed him at the head of armies, had sur- man spake." rounded him with guards, had crowned him 3. Finally, this wonderful child born teachwith laurels. When the event belied their es us the value and importance of little chil. groundless expectations, with Naaman they dren. What human sagacity could penetrate turned away in a rage, saying, “ Are not Abana the thick cloud which shrouded his nativity? and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than What but the spirit of prophecy could draw all the waters of Israel ?" “ Away with this aside the veil which concealed his future man, crucify him, not this man but Barab- eminence? Who but a Simeon could discerp bas."
in him the salvation of God, and foretell that 2. Observe here in how many instances “this child was set for the fall and rising God writeth vanity on all the glory of man. again of many in Israel; and for a sign In the pride of their hearts, the princes and which should be spoken against ?" And potentates here mentioned, vainly imagined who but He who “declareth the end from a prostrate world to be all their own. Every the beginning, and from ancient times the 'will must bend to theirs; to their pleasure things that are not yet done, saying, My every power and possession must minister; counsel shall stand, and I will do all my all the while they are the mere atten:lants pleasure ; who but He knows what the inon the royal state of the real Prince. Their fant, now drawing its first breath, is one day names are indeed some of them still had in to become ?
What dormant powers may remembrance but their power is annihilated, there lie hid! What a germ of wisdom ready their consequence is swallowed up, or if any to expand! What godlike faculties, which remain, it is derived from the relation which are at length to astonish, to delight, to bless it bears to the superior, the commanding, the mankind! Watch over the expansion. The undiminished importance of Ilim to whom precious seed is sown by the hand of the they gave witness, and whose state, in spite Creator. Mark its springing: mark its proof themselves, they continue to support. The gress. God has done his part, parent, master, empire of Augustus speedily fell under its minister, see that thou dost thine. “It is not own weight, and the downfal of Rome quick- the will of your Father which is in healy followed that of Jerusalem, and both ap- ven, that one of these little ones should proved the truth, and power, and justice of perish.” God: while that child born, that Saviour The next Lecture will have for its subject given, holds undivided empire, and exercises the history of the infancy and childhood of unbounded sway.
Eighteen centuries have Jesus Christ. May he who condescended to confirmed, not shaken his authority, and time become a little child for our sakes; who, as has discovered another hemisphere, far more He "went about doing good," encouraged extensive than the former, and added it to the approach of little children, saying, “ sufhis dominion. Let us again sing, “ His name fer them and forbid them not to come unto shall endure for ever. His name shall be me: for of such is the kingdom of God:"may continued as long as the sun: and men shall he bless us with the spirit of adoption, and be blessed in him; all nations shall call him endow us with the lovely simplicity, the doblessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God cility, the submissiveness of little children, of Israel, who only doth wondrous things; that we may enter into the kingdom of hea. and blessed be his glorious name for ever, I ven. Amen.
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him
Luke ii. 40.
Of all the wonders presented to us in the rent's heart is overwhelmed with joy. Now world of nature, man is the greatest wonder he can distinguish the face of her that suckles to himself. His body dust of the ground, him from that of a stranger, at least she flatand mouldering back to dust; reduced to the ters herself he can, while the soft murmur level of the beasts of the field ; but that dust of infantine satisfaction expresses his gratianimated with the breath of life, a living soul, tude. The figure by degrees becomes erect, exalted to the rank of angels, an emanation every limb is in motion, the uncertain tongue from God himself. In him are blended, in attempts to imitate the sounds which strike a most wonderful manner, three distinct the opening ear, and the feet press downkinds of life, forming one glorious individual ward to the supporting earth; tremblingly formed "after the image of Him who created he totters into walking, and stammers into him." As the tree in the forest irnpercept- speech. The powers of recollection and ibly rises, increases from lowness and feeble- comparing appear, the symptoms of passion ness to stateliness and strength, and having become visible, love and aversion, desire and attained full maturity imperceptibly decays, gratitude. The moral sense at length begins 80 the feeble infant gradually increases in to dawn, and the man in miniature finds stature, changes the grovelling into the erect himself a limited, dependent, subject, acform, rears his head to the vault of heaven, countable being; hence hope and fear, selfexulting in the greatness of his strength; he complacency and remorse. begins to verge towards decay, he bends to We are this evening to contemplate infancy the ground from whence he was taken, and and childhood in their loveliest and most atat length sinks into it again. But he is not tractive form, and in their most interesting like the plant rivetted to one spot, uncon- and affecting circumstances. Look yet again scious of existence, incapable of self-motion. to Bethlehem of Judea, and behold the noWith the other animals around him he feels thingness of human greatness; the offspring himself among his fellows, he rejoices in so- of kings a stranger in his paternal city, the ciety, he possesses consciousness, he is di- heir of David without a place where to lay rected by motives, he aims at a determinate his head, a Sovereign destitute of all things. end. But he is not, like the beasts that perish, When God, at the fulness of time, sent forth impelled by instinct merely, the slave of ap- his own Son, as he was made of a woman, so petite and sense. To the animal, the good was he “made under the law,” subjected to ness of the Creator has superadded the ra- all its rites and restraints however painful tional life, the faculty of contemplating that and humiliating, and the Saviour of mankind, great universe of which he constitutes a part that he might fulfil all righteousness, and beso essential, the capacity of rising from the come a perfect pattern of obedience, first paseffect to the cause, from the work to the Au- sively submitted to every ordinance of religion, thor: Man enjoys the gift of speech, whereby and then by an active and exact conformity, he is rendered capable of communicating his magnified the law and made it honourable. reflections and reasonings, of forming com The minuter circumstances of this period of binations of power which awe, control, and our blessed Lord's life are not left on record; direct the subject world.
those excepted which relate to his public chaTo mark the progress of a human being racter and divine mission, for as to these is an interesting and delightful employment; Scripture is most exact and particular. Of to observe how the limbs acquire firmness and the progress of his infant mind no traces restrength, how the mental powers unfold them- main; not a word is said even of the beauty selves, and all the passions of the man, in suc- of his person; though the general terms which cession, stand confessed. See the fond mother the evangelists employ warrant us in thinkbending with delight over her infant, at first, ing, that never in child born of a woman did a little pliant lump of animated clay, every such early dawnings of superior wisdom appower lying dormant save one, that of draw. pear, that never was human form so perfect. ing its nourishment from her breast. By and The modest reserve of the historians of Jesus by the eye begins to feel and follow the light, Christ, in this respect, seems to minister a the slender neck strengthens and sustains the severe reproof of the ridiculous details to be reclining head; the babe smiles, and the pa- found, in modern biography, of infantine
actions and sayings, the supposed prognostics | eyes to heaven, blesses God, saying, “Lord, of future eminence and distinction.
now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, forgive a fond mother, nay love her the more according to thy word : for mine eyes have for the amiable weakness, when we hear her seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared repeat the pretty sayings, interpret the sig- before the face of all people; a light to lighten nificant looks, and describe the wonderful the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Isdeeds of her soul's darling ; but it excites pity, rael.” He then points him out to the byif not an ungentler feeling, to be told gravely, standers as the person spoken of by ancient from the press, of the insipid nothings which prophecy, “who should be set for the fall and a great man said and did, when he was an rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign ignorant and silly, perhaps a pert and petu- which should be spoken against;" a prediclant boy, who probably merited correction tion descriptive of the reception the Messiah where he obtained praise.
should meet with from that world which he Of our divine Master we are told what was came to redeem. The same important truth done to him, not what he did ; what was said is immediately confirmed by an ancient proby others concerning him, not what he said phetess, who, coming in the instant Simeon concerning either himself or others. And had done speaking, gave public thanks likethus was he early an instructer of parents to wise unto the Lord, and “ spake of him to all abstain from partial and excessive admiration them that looked for redemption in Jeruof their children; and to little children to salem." cultivate that modesty, docility, and humble Thus He, whose birthplace was determined ness of mind, which are the real ornament many ages before, by prophetic illumination, and honour of their tender age. Behold in whose natal hour was announced by one hin then, parents, children, a helpless infant angel, and celebrated by a multitude of the at the disposal of others. It is of importance heavenly host: to whose feet a company of to the world to know that, at the appointed shepherds is led, with their simple offering, period, the terms of the Abrahamic covenant by a voice from heaven, and to whom eastern were complied with ; that the name of Jesus sages are conducted by an extraordinary star, was given him, according to the direction of is in the most public place of resort in the the angel; that as the first-born of his mother, Jewish metropolis, declared aloud, a few being sacred to God, he was solemnly pre weeks after his birth, at a public religious sented to the Lord in the temple at Jerusa- service, by testimony on testimony, the aclem; for these things admonish us of the complishment of God's great purpose of mercy divine truth and faithfulness in keeping cove- to mankind. nant and promise with his people, and of the While so many illustrious personages were right which he has to expect and require producing their concurring evidence to the faithfulness and obedience on their part; of truth as it is in Jesus, exalting him to endless the character and offices annexed to that honours and universal dominion, one is cruelly sacred, precious, and venerable name, and of plotting his destruction. Agitated by jeathe self-dedication which not the first-born lousy as groundless, as it was barbarously puronly, but even all owe unto God. On the sued, Herod determines to crush at once this eighth day, then, he was circumcised, and pretender to a throne, whom so many signal named, according to the commandment, and and splendid appearances in heaven and earth on the fortieth day he was presented with the were striving to display in superior glory. accustomed offering in the temple.
To make sure of his blow, his dark remorseProvidence lays hold of this latter occasion less mind enlarges the circle of suspicion to procure a noble testimony to the high rank from a few days to two years, and from a and character of the Son of God. The spirit single feared, hated individual, to all the male of prophecy had lately revived, and many in children of a great city. Humanity sickens Jerusalein were “waiting for the consolation at the thought of the dreadful tragedy of of Israel," and considered it as near at that day, when “in Rama a voice was heard, hand. Of this number was a just and de- lamentation and wecping, and great mournvout man named Simeon, to whom it was ing, Rachel weeping for her children, and communicated by a special revelation, that, refusing to be comforted, because they are old as he was, his eyes should not be closed not." By aiming at too much, the tyrant in death, till he had seen the Lord's Christ. misses his aim altogether. The vigour of Heaven-directed he goes up to the temple, his pursuit exerted in one direction, confined probably to entreat the speedy accomplish to one ohject, might have overtaken it; but ment of this gracious promisc at the very in- extending the sphere, dividing the pursuit, stant when the ceremony of the law was " the captive of the mighty is taken away, and performing, and the spirit that was upon him the prey of the terrible is delivered, for thus instantly points to Jesus as the fulfilling of saith the Lord, I will contend with him that the word in which God had caused him to contendeth with thee." And how was his hope. Filled with holy joy he takes the ex- deliverance effected ? Providence employs pected child into his arms, and lifting up his not extraordinary means, to fulfil its designs,
wantonly and unnecessarily, but makes ordi- | not indeed by any particular text that apnary instruments to produce mighty events. pears in the sacred code, but by its whole The bloody intention of Herod is hardly con- spirit and tenor, which represent him as voceived in the gloomy hell of his own breast, luntarily submitting to every species of rethan it is seen of that eye which nothing can proach and indignity; the carpenter's son, a escape, and no sooner is it seen than pre- Galilean, a Nazarene, can any good come vented. In a dream, in a vision of the night, out of Nazareth! It was in this obscure vilwhen deep sleep falleth on men Joseph is ad- lage, of a region of a conquered country, monished of the danger which threatened the proverbially contemptible, that the childhood child's lite, and warned to shun it, by fleeing of Christ passed unseen, unnoticed of the into Eyypt. Thus at every stage of his lite great world; but carefully observed of an was the Saviour of mankind hated and per- attentive mother, who, to the tender solicisecuted of men; thus the all-wise Ruler tudes of that relation, was inspired with of the universe knows how to deliver, and hopes, and animated with prospects, and torn finds a way to escape; thus He “confounds with anxieties which no mother before or the wisdom of the wise, and brings to nought since ever could know; there this wonder. the understanding of the prudent.” ful “ child grew and waxed strong in spirit,
By a strange, perhaps unaccountable di- filled with wisdom,” exhibiting unequivocal rection of the supreme will, the land of signs of a superior nature, without courting Egypt frequently serves as an asylum to per- the public notice, or attracting premature secuted goodness, protects and cherishes the homage; and thus humility, from the beprecious seed of the church. Thither Abra- ginning and throughout, marked the characham flees from the pressure of famine, and ter of the condescending friend of mankind, is thence dismissed with riches and honour. who became of no reputation, sought not Here Joseph finds refuge from the malice of glory of man, took on him the form of a ser. jealous and cruel brothers; from hence Ja- vant; he “strives not, nor cries, neither cob and his starving family are repeatedly doth he lift up his voice in the stseets;" and fed. Here sprung up Moses, in times of from the return out of Egypt, which was extreme danger and distress; here he was probably not beyond his second year, up to miraculously preserved, and reared to un- the twelfth, history is entirely silent as to the exampled eminence and usefulness. Here particulars—but O how much is conveyed in ısrael miraculously increases into a great the strong general terms employed by innation, and from hence triumphantly departs; spiration, to impress on our hearts the disco and here, finally, He whom all the rest pre- very and progress of these vailed ten years. figured, and in whom their several glory May not the history of them be one of the united as in their centre, sought and found precious arcana which “the Father hath protection from the rage of an incensed king. kept in his own power," and reserved for This too was ordered of Him who seeth the the information, wonder, and joy of an imend from the beginning. He went down into proved state of existence, when things hard Egypt that in his return the Scripture might to be understood shall be fully explained; be fulfilled, which saith, "out of Egypt have and things known in part shall be unfolded in I called my Son." Surely, O Lord, the wrath all their connexions and dependencies; and of man shall praise thee, and the remainder infinite intelligence shall supply all the deof wrath thou " shalt restrain.”
ficiencies of human understanding. A vail is drawn over the sojourn in Egypt, It was in that fameless village, and in and it were presumption to attempt to draw those trackless years that the foundation was it aside: neither is it possible exactly to as- laid of a greatness which should eclipse all certain its duration. The infamous Herod created glory; of a kingdom that should meanwhile paid the debt of Nature, leaving swallow up every other; of an enterprise behind him a name loaded with the execra- which should extend its influence to the retions of the age in which he lived, and with motest ages of eternity. the detestation of every future generation to The next Lecture will, if God permit, take which the history of his enormities shall de- !p the next recorded period of our Saviour's scend. His death was the signal of return history, his assuming for a moment a public to the land of Israel; but prudence suggested character at the age of twelve years, and his the retirement of the poor and despised town sliding away from it again into silence and of Nazareth, as a residence more suitable to retirement, till his thirtieth year, the time the circumstances of the times than the noise of his final manifestation unto Israel, as the And hurry of a metropolis, the seat of faction great“ Prophet that should come into the and intrique, or the suspiciously observed world." city of David, to which the jealous eyes of Shall I degrarle my suhject, hy saying it successive tyrants had been attracted by well suggests to parents many useful hints reknown prophecies and by recent portents. specting the early treatment of their chil
As the place of Christ's birth, so that of dren? Be as tender and attentive as you his up-bringing was prophetically marked, will; listen to the voice of nature and learn
your duty; but dream not of making a of the artificial heat that hurried it forward; stranger bend the knee to your idol, perhaps the tree is wasted and fades before the time; he has an idol of his own, weak, silly, and ri- and at the proper season, when nature is diculous as yours; perhaps he sees nothing clothing the vigorous plant with its golden but impertinence and imperfection, where harvest, the languid child of art stands lifeyou behold only grace and loveliness, and less and leafless, expiring before its time. the more you force your Dagon upon his at. There is always danger from a premature tention, the more hideousness and deformity spring, though it be in the course of nature, he will discover in it. Be not eager to bring Happy is the man who can hit the temperate forward the accomplishments of your child mean betwixt indecent haste and indolent If they are worthy of being seen, your re- delay. I would address a few words, to the serve and the child's modesty will give a same effect, to advanced childhood and early glow to the colouring which will strike youth. But childhood and youth are not disevery eye and please every heart. If they posed to attend serious Lectures, or do not be triviai, why will you force a good-natured understand, or disbelieve, and therefore do looker-on, to flatter your vanity at the ex- not attend to them. They must be left to the pense of his own judgment; or provoke a forcible, the irresistible lessons of experience. stern and severe one, to approve his sincerity I earnestly recommend them to the teaching and truth at the expense of your feeling and of God's good spirit. May the Son of God, of your idol's fancied importance ? In private who vouchsafed for our sake to pass through let the person most dear to you, be most dear infancy and childhood poor, neglected, unto you; in society, the darling object, the first known, guard our helpless infants, direct our in consideration and affection, ought to be thoughtless, wayward children, counsel and the last in respect of attention.
instruct manly, matured reason, and smile Be not over anxious about an carly crop with complacency on the hoary head, and from your offspring. You may have the fruit, make it a crown of righteousness. And te it is true, by means of vehement cultivation, God in Christ be ascribed immortal praise. a little earlier in the season, but it savours | Amen.
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was
twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the custom of the feast. 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. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem seeking him. 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. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 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 sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.-Luke ii. 41–52.
UNIVERSAL Nature is progress, succession, eye, and I am incapable of catching a single and change. We observe it in every thing step of the progress. Shade melts imperaround us, we feel it in every particle of ceptibly into shade; the transition is made, our own frame. But obvious as this progres- but we were not aware of it; whether we sion is, in its larger portions, the minuter de- be asleep or awake, careless or attentive, the tails defy the closest attention of the acutest great complex machine keeps in motion, pereye. Darkness has evidently given place to forms its revolution, produces its effect. light; but what vigilance of inspection could The progress of man, the most perfect of ascertain the precise instant when night all creatures that we are acquainted with, is ceased and light began to dawn? That plant the most interesting of all objects to man. is palpably increased in strength and size, If it be delightful to behold the trees of the but let me hang over it the livelong day, forest burst into verdure, and those of the with the unremitting penetration of an eagle's garden putting on their beautiful garments,