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at hand, f Be careful for nothing: but in everp thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known Unto God. And the peace of, God, which passeth all un*derstanding, mall keep your heart? and; ta*ds* througk Christ Jesus. • ■.'. 1 .
The Gospel. S.John t. 19.
§^1""^ HIS is the Record of John, wheii the Jews seftt Priests and _f_ Levites fioth Jefu'rafem, to ask ;him, Wkd art»$iou? AM he confessed and denied not v but conferntd, I ani net tlie Christ. 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 os: thyself? + He said, I am the voice os one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias: and they which were sent, were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that Prophet? Jbhn answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not. He it is who coming after me, is 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 os our Lord, or the f Birth-day os CHRIST,
commonly called Christmas-day.
+ Bt cartful for nothing, 13c. It is not from hence Baptist according to the prophecy df -Isaiah is in alto be supposed tliat we are to lay aside all care and lulion to a practice amongst the Eastern Kings; who concern about worldly Things; but only that we must in cafe of any public entry or procellion were «sed not indulge such an immoderate anxiety as will make to fend 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. t As Christ Jesus was born for us of a pure Virgin.
§ This is the Record of John, £sV. 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 Holi
pected the coming of the Messiah ; and that they were ness. And this we are taught is to be.essected 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. i. Holy Spirit which he has promised to all that sincerely
t he said J am tie Voice, &c. This answer of the alkit.
ALmighty 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 Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, and the fame Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
■ ■ The Epistle. Hel^-v ^
GO D, who at sundry times, and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, § 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 sins, fat 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 mall 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 os the angels he faith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame
Paraphrase on the Collet! for Cbristmat-Day. Most mighty God, who didst cause thy beloved Son in the privileges of thy Children, may by the help of Je&s Christ to take human Nature up m him, and as thy Spirit, be daily reformed in our disposition?, at ttis Season to be born of the Virgin Mary; grant through the same Jesus Christ, who reigneth with thee rtat we being born again from Sin to a Life of Righ- and the fame Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever, rsousnese, and through thy favour admitted to partake
i Hath in these last Days, csV. 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 Majesty
vantage of living under a so much more perfect Dis- of our Redeemer; and soews at once the unspeakable
pensauon than our Forefathers, and enjoy the Blelsings Love of God in our Redemption, and our indilpenuble
of the Gospel! obligation to serve and obey so powerful, so kind a
• When be bringtth in the first begotten, tsV. This Benefactor.
of fire. But unto the Son he faith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a scepter os righteousness is the scepter os thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, 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 hast 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 i. r. | TN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with X God, and the Word was God. The fame 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 sent from God, whose name was John. The fame 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 flesh, nor of the will
|| In ib. beginning u-as the Word,l£c. The three of the Gospel. But that very Ignorance and Wicked
firil Verses of ihi; Go/pcJ are such an evident proof of ness which rendered such a Reveiaticn necessary, is the
our S-sviour's Divinity, that the most subtle argumen- .nnhappy cause why ib many have lcjected 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 preposlession! St. Paul faith, the God of th>s World hath blinded the
X -And the l.ght fi-.ncib in Darkness, cjff. Christ minds of them tuhich beiie-ve not, lejt the glor out Gospel
was a Light to 1 gh:en Mmkind, who were in the of Christ, ivht is the image of God,shouldJhint untothtm'.
Darkness of Sin and Ignorance, with the Knowledge 2 Cor. 4. 4. *■ \
of man, but os 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.
■f Saint Stephens Day.
GRant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth, 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 bless 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 Jhall follow the ColleSi for the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-years Eve.
For the Epijlle. Acts 7. 55.
STephen being full of the holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, % and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I fee 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 Collet! for St. Stephen's Day,
Give ns Grace, O Lord, under all our Persecutions ample of St. Stephen, to pray for Out 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 Christian suf- ceslbr for thy People at the right hand of God. fcrer; and enable us also by thy Spirit, after the ex
t The Festival of St. Stephen stands first after that for, and the evidence of Things not Jeen. Hebr. xi. I.
of Oar Saviour's Nativity, because he was the first after since it is indeed the Eye of the Mind, which gives
his divine Master that suffered Martyrdom for the pro- us a clear view of Things distant and invisible. And
1 of Christianity: and from his example we are the glorious prospect which St. Stephen thus enjoyed
taught that Faitb.in the Glory ivhicbpall be revealed under his Martyrdom, will be the principal comfort ij the best support under all our afflictions, and that and support of every sincere Christian, amidst all the :s Icth and blejs our Persecutors is a sure proof of a truly Afflictions of this World, as well as in his departure Christian disposition. out of it. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable
J And law the glory of God, 13 c. Well might St. gift, paid 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 spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this he fell asleep.
The Gospel. St. Matth. 23. 34.
BEhold, I fend unto you prophets, and wife men, and scribes; 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 shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye stew between the temple and the' altar. Verily I fay unto you, -f- All these things shall come upon this generation. § O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are sent 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 shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord.
* Saint John the EvattgeliJFs Day.
'\ Æ ^TC1^ Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of a .VJL light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may
|| Saul. This was he who was afterwards called $ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, tsV. Who can read this
Paul, who by the Grace of God afterwards distinguish- passage and not be deeply affected 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 tx
which he now persecuted. tending towards us, lest we too lhould one Day suffer
t All-theselbin s s:alJcome upcntkisGt-aeration. This a worse sate than the Jews.
Prophecy was fulfilled about thirty-eight Years after, * The Festival of St. John the Evangelist has the fe
in the destruction of Jerusalem. cond place aext to our ford's Nativity, because he was