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should rejoice, because of his work and office. God gave this praying couple far beyond their de-ire.

VERSE 15.-Great in the sight of the Lord. That is, before Jesus Christ. And shall drink, etc. St. John took upon himself the vow of a Nazarite, which enjoined a life of the strictest self-denial and holiness. See Numb. chap. 6.

Filled with the Holy Ghost. See v. 44. His whole soul was illuminated, strengthened and sanctified by Him.

VERSE 16.-Many of the children of Israel, etc. See how this prediction was fulfilled, chap. 3, 12-18.

VERSE 17.-And he shall go before Him. Jesus Christ followed in the footsteps of John. As the Lord's forerunner he obtained his chief renown. resembled Elijah in spirit and powerin his manner of life and zeal. Compare 1 Kings 21: 17-24 with Matt. 14: 4. See also Mal. 4: 5, 6 and Is. 40: 3. To him the hearts of the fathers. Now ignorance had fallen on the whole Jewish society. They needed a divine instructor. John, by his preaching. taught all classes their duties and brought Israel in right relation to God and one another. See chap. 3: 10, etc. To make ready a people-for the Lord. How John performed his work, we are told plainly in various places.

cast their shadows before," we may say, in reference to our Lord's advent, that the Son of God sent His rays of light and glory in advance, like the day does the dawn. Not shadows, but golden flashes, the light of star and sun, and the canticles of holy spirits and angels


these all preluded His arrival on earth. And in the brightness and melody of all we may rejoice on every festive occasion, as well as all along the path of life, and in eternity.

Christmas-Day Two Hundred Years



(1662.) "Had a pleasant walk to He Whitehall, where I intended to have received the communion with the fairies, but I came a little too late. So I walked into the house, and spent my time looking over pictures. By and by, down to the Chapel again, where Bishop Morley preached on the song of the angels, Glory to God on high, and on earth, peace and good will to men.' thought he made but a poor sermon, but long, reprehending the jollity of the court for the true joy, that shall and ought to be on these days. Particularized concerning their excess in plays and gaming. Upon which it was worth observing how far they are come from taking the reprehension of a bishop seriously, that they all laugh in chapel when he reflected on their ill actions. He did press is to hospitality in these public days. But one that stood by whispered in my ear, that the Bishop do not spend one groat on the poor himself."

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In this lesson we have the first intimation of a coming Saviour, from our Gospel writer. It was Gabriel's whisper to Zacharias. Presently we shall hear the louder strains. It was necessary for such a forerunner to come, who should open the way for the Lord into Israel. So lapsed had this people become, that by a strong figure their very fathers-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacobare represented as having alienated their hearts from the Jews, their children, on account of their unbelief and disobedience. They no longer credited the predictions of the prophets. By John's work,the patriarchs were again made to rejoice over their descendants. We, accordingly, are reminded of the truth, (1668.) "To dinner alone with my that the coming of our Lord was a wife, who, poor wretch! sat undressed long-before foretold event, for which all day till ten at night, altering and laGod prepared the way through patri- cing of a noble petticoat, while I by arch, prophet, and the Baptist. Christ- her, making the boy read to me the mas rooted itself already in the Garden Life of Julius Cæsar, and Des Cartes' of Paradise. If other "coming events book of music."

(1665.) "To church in the morning, I there saw a wedding in the church, which I have not seen for many a day, and the young people so merry, one with another, and strange to see what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition, every man and woman gazing and smiling at them."

JAN. 9.



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What is our Key-Note? What Hymn is recorded in Chap. i. v. 28? What other Hymn in verses 42-44? What name do we give to the Hymn in verses 46-55? Under what name do we know the Hymn in verses 68-79? What famous Hymn is recorded in Chap. ii. verses 10-12? What other one in Chap. ii. verses 13-14? Whose Hymn have we in Chap. ii. 29-32?

How long after the angel's visit to Zacharias, was Mary visited by the angel? verse 26 Who was the angel in both cases? What other fact had Mary learned from Gabriel? verse 36. What had Gabriel told Mary? verses 30-33. What journey of seventy miles did Mary make now? verses 39-40. How did Elisabeth greet her visitor? verses 42-45

What Hymn did Mary utter in reply? verses 46-54?

Of what Hymn in the Old Testament is this counterpart? 1 Samuel ii. 1-10.

Because of the Latin form of our word magnify, what other name is generally given to this Hymn of Mary?

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2. Power. 3. Justi

What attribute of God does Mary magnify in the first part of her Hymn? verses 449.4 What attribute does she magnify in the second part? verses 50-53. What attribute of God does she magnify in the third part? verses


To whom especially was God's grace shown, according to verses 46-50? Against whom was His strength displayed, especially according to verses 51-53?

Towards whom was God's faithfulness shown, according to verses 54-55 ?

From whom do you suppose St. Luke gathered the material for this part of the Gospel? Who could best tell him the particulars of Christ's mysterious birth, and all the extraordinary circumstances attending it? Chap. ii. 19.

Was it a high honor to be the mother of the Son of God? According to Christ's own words, does the mother of Jesus enjoy any higher favor in the order of grace than any other humble follower of our Lord? Matthew xii. 46-50.

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RÁMARKS.-The two opening chap- name. Such a rendering agrees well ters of St. Luke's Gospel are rich in with what goes before, and follows. glorious Canticles. Here is a cluster From His abuudant goodness, all the of songs: 1. Gabriel's Hymn, i. 28; faithful generations partake evermore. 2. The Hymn of Elizabeth. i. 42-44; His power is indicated oftentimes by 3. The Hymn of Mary. i. 46-55; His finger, hand-arm. By His strength 4. The Hymn of Zacharias. i. 68-79; the proud and mighty in their own eyes, 5. The Angels' Song. ii. 10-12: 6. The are passed over and supplanted, whilst Hymn of the Heavenly Host. ii. 13-14; the lowly are exalted. The hungry are 7. Simeon's Hymn. ii. 29-32. Six those longing after spiritual strength. months after Gabriel had visited Zach- III. She magnifies God's Faithfulness, arias, the same divine messenger visited vs. 54-55. God's promises to Israel Mary at Nazareth and announced to had been many and great, even from her, that she should be the mother of Abraham's day. But a long delay Jesus, Chap. i. vs. 26-35. From the seemed to reign. Israel was nigh to fallsame heavenly source she likewise learn- ing, when the Lord remembered and ed, that her cousin Elizabeth was to be comes to the help against the mighty. the mother of the Baptist, vs. 36-38. We may also divide this hymn into Shortly after she had been divinely in- the following sections:— formed of all this, she journeyed from 1. The Glorification of God for what Nazareth, in order to visit her favored he had done for Israel, vs. 46-50; cousin, who resided at Hebron, about 2. The Glorification of God for what seventy miles distant. vs. 39-40. Hard- he had done against the oppressors of ly had she saluted Elizabeth, when the His people, vs. 51-53; mother of the Baptist broke forth in a grand salutation hymu, in which she recognizes the Virgin as the mother of her Lord, vs. 42-46. Like the angel, Elizabeth had received knowledge of the divine mystery through the Spirit of God. Then it was, that Mary uttered her hymn, commonly called the MAGNIFICAT. This canticle we are

now to learn.

This famous Hymn is a counterpart to the Song of Hannah, 1 Sam. ii. 1-10 It is one of the first poetical pieces in the New Testament. Some see in it a glorification of a, God's Grace; b, God's Power; c, and God's Faithfulness.

3. The Glorification of God for what he had done for Israel, His church, vs. 54-55.

It is best, however, to imbibe the one spirit which pervades the whole. Donbtless the Holy Ghost moved her to sing far beyond her own comprehension.

It is worthy of remark, that when St. Luke collected the material for the Gospel which bears his name, the only surviving witness from the beginning was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Joseph and Zacharias, and Elizabeth, and Simeon, and Anna-all were dead. Mary alone could have supplied St. Luke with the testimony to His miraculous conception and birth, as well as drawn from her memory and bosom words and deeds that remained a secret with her alone.

I. Mary magnifies God's Grace-vs. 46-49. From the Latin form of our word magnify, comes the name of the Hymn-MAGNIFICAT. It means to extol with praises. The terms Soul and We will append one practical reflecSpirit embrace her whole inner being. tion. However highly exalted this The Holy Spirit pervaded her. Regard- humble, pious Jewish maiden may have ed means to look favorably on, especially been by being chosen to become the when the subjeet is poor and lowly. mother of the Son of God, we have the All generations shall call me blessed. In Lord's own words for the fact, that evall ages she is held in honor as the moth-ery humble follower of His may occupy er of Jesus. an equally exalted station. For proof of this, we refer the reader to Math. 12: 46-50.

II. She magnifies God's Power, vs. 50 -53. She attributes all her honor to God. The term holy here, is sometimes made to read good or kind. Then it would stand Goodness is His name. Others make it to read Mercy is His deception.

SOME make mountains of duties, and trifles of sins; such souls are under a

JAN. 16.


Second Sunday after Epiphany. Luke i. 67-79.



67. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

69. And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us, in the house of his servant David:

70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

71. That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;


73. The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

74. That he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,

75. Ia holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

76. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the remission of their sins,

78. Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us,

79. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.


How does the Key-Note read? What Hymn does St. Luke next record for us? By what other name is it known? How long did Mary remain with Elisabeth at Hebron? verse 56. Who was born shortly after her departure? verse 58. On what day was it customary to name a child? What name was first suggested? Ou what name did the mother insist? Who was then appealed to? What was Zacharias' opinion? What occurred to him then? See verses 59-66.

Into how many principal parts may the Hymn of Zacharias be divided? verses 67-75, and verses 76-79. Of whose mission does the first part treat? Of whose, the second?

VERSE 67. What does the word prophesied


68. What does blessed signify? For what two grand benefits does Zacharias praise God? How did God visit Israel now? What does the word redeem mean?

69. What benefits was a horn the emblem of? Ps. xviii. 2; cxii. 9; cxlviii. 4; 1 Saml. ii. 10; Lamt. ii. 17. What does the house of David stand for?

70. Had the coming of Christ been foretold by the Prophets?

71. From what enemies was Israel to be delivered by the Messiah? From what enemies is the human race to be freed?

72-75. What does covenant mean? With

whom did God first establish His agreement? Gen. xvii. 19: xxii. 18. With whom afterwards? verse 55. In what principal benefits now, does the salvation in Christ consist? verses 74-75. Can you repeat the Hymn of Zacharias? 76. Of whom does Zacharias now speak? What name should be given him? Whose forerunner should he be? What was the mission of saca a herald in that day?

77. What knowledge was John to give to Israel? To what end? Is such still the end of the preaching of the Gospel?

VERSES 78-79. What does Day-Spring mean? Who was the Rising Sun? May not John be compared to the Morning Star aside of Christ? To what is the state of the world likened apart from Christ? Is such also the state of the soul? In what state, then, is the world since Christ has come? Into what way is this Gospel to guide us? What kind of a Prince is Christ called? Isa. ix. 6. What fact does the Hymn of Zacharias teach us in reference to the world without a Redeemer? What is declared in it, now that Christ has come?

May we regard God as faithful to all His promises, since He fulfilled His covenant with Israel? In whose light should we ever strive to walk? Will that light show us the path of life?

What must occur if we continue to walk in darkness?

1. Father of mercies, let our songs With Thee acceptance find; Thy loving-kindness we confess, To us and all mankind.

2. Thanks for creation are Thy due, For life preserved by Thee; And all the blessings life affords So great and yet so free.

3. Thanks for redemption, above all,
To us in Jesus given:

Thanks for the means of grace on earth,
And for the hope of heaven.

4. Oh, let a sense of this Thy grace
Our best affections move;

That, while our lips proclaim Thy praise,
Our hearts may feel Thy love.

INTRODUCTORY WORDS.-St. Luke rias doubtless thought first of a political next proceeds to record for us another redemption; but of a still larger deinspired hymn, which has become well liverance, too-from sin-death-Satan. known in the Christian Church - The VERSES 72-75. Holy Covenant-merBenedictus. The Virgin Mary remained cy. By these terms the promises of three months with her honored cousin, God are meant, which God made to the mother of John, in the hill country Abraham. Gen. 17: 19; 22: 18. The -Hebron, and then returned to her same assurances were repeated to all the home in Nazareth, v. 56. Soon after fathers, v. 55. her departure, John was born. The The great salvation, through Jesus friends and neighbors congratulated the Christ, consists (1) of a deliverance from aged couple on the birth of their son, V. enemies-from all that hate us; (2) of a 58. On the eighth day, when his name freedom from all error, so that men may was to be conferred, according to the serve or worship God, in holiness, that is, habit of the Jews, all suggested his in the spirit, and righteousness, or, in a father's, but Elizabeth protested, to life conforming to His commandments. the great wonder of all, and insisted This great salvation is to last for ever that his name should be JOHN, vs. 59--all the days of our life.

60. Afterwards the father was consult- VERSES 76-79. And thou child. Zed, vs. 61-63, who endorsed the mother's charias now turns to his own child, and declaration. Then Zacharias' tongue proclaims the dignity, employment, was loosed. Compare vs. 18-22 with preaching, and success, which would

v. 64. The whole transaction created great wonder, vs. 65-66.

COMMENTS.-The Hymn of Zacharias falls properly into two parts:

I. It foretells the mission of Jesus, vs.


II. It proclaims the mission of John, vs. 76-9.

VERSE 67. Prophesied means both to tell what is already done, and what will yet be brought to pass.


crown his life.

Most High; 2. His employment-Thou His dignity-called a Prophet of the shalt go before the face of the Lord; 3. His preaching-Give knowledge of salva tion by teaching repentance and faith, in order to the forgiveness of sin. 4. His success in the power of the Dayspring from on high; Jesus Christ, who is likened to the sun in the heavens. The world without Christ is likened to

VERSE 68. Blessed be, etc., may the night of death; with Christ the day read, let the Lord God be praised. He of life has dawned, as it were. Perhaps rejoices in God for two grand benefits: we may call John the day-spring or (1) Because He had visited Israel, morning star, that foretells the coming through the Angel, who foretold the sun. Christianity establishes the soul coming of Jesus and His forerunners; in the way of peace: (a) with itself; (b) and (2) because He redeemed, or saved, with its neighbors; (c) with God. Christ His people thereby. All this Zacharias is called the Prince of Peace. sees already accomplished, in the light of the Holy Ghost.

VERSE 69. Horn of Salvation signifies a mighty and plenteous redemption. Horns were regarded as emblems of strength and riches, Ps. 18: 2; 112: 9; 148: 4; 1 Sam. 2: 10; Lament, 2: 17. In the house of His servant David declares that Jesus is of the family of King David.

VERSE 70. The Holy Prophets ever foretold the coming of Jesus. From the Garden of Paradise, through the ages, this was again and again taught.

This hymn of Zacharias teaches: 1. The lost condition of the world. 2. The redemption of the world through Jesus Christ.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION. 1. God is faithful and will perform all His promises to the race and the individual. His covenant. stands forever sure. 2. Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shines on the ways and commandments of God, and shows us the true path of life. 3. The Christian walks in this way and finds it ever a way of pleasantness and a path of peace. 4. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a

VERSE 71. That we should be saved --enemies-hand that hate us. Zacha- salvation?

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