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The Sunday after Christmas Day.
ALMIGHTY 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 same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son ; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”—Gal. iv. 7.
THAT a wondrous honour for a poor sinner to
bear so glorious a title as a son and heir of God through Christ! The gift of salvation might be the same, if no adoption to sonship accompanied it. Heaven would be heaven still. But, the manner in which it is received enhances the
dignity of the favour. So, then, if I belong to Christ, future glory is mine, not merely by free gift, but by inheritance. It has been said, that there is as much in the way of conferring a benefit as in the amount of it. What can be more endearing than the mode adopted by God? A child receives a gratuity from his father; but who calls him, therefore, a beggar? Thus, what even to the heart of the natural man, may form an objection on grounds of pride and self-righteousness, is much removed. Do we hesitate about the terms of the Covenant, because they are terms of Grace ? Because eternal life is the gift of God, does it offend our feelings to receive it as such? It is His gift, but it is our inheritance. Thou hast not refused the property which thine earthly father hath bequeathed thee; and should a kinsman have adopted thee, wouldst thou have declined? Why, then, when Almighty God has offered to constitute thee His heir and joint-heir with Christ, wilt thou refuse to cry, “Abba, Father"}
“For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”MATT. i. 20.
TANY will say that they would serve God: but the
peculiar circumstances of their case render a sincere obedience impossible. “We would serve Him, if we
could serve Him." Others lament that they can serve Him no better, because the circumstances of their trial render obedience more difficult. The Incarnation of Christ is an answer to both. His human experience qualifies Him to estimate the evasions of the sinner and the sighs of the believer. These cannot deceive Him—those are sealed in His bottle. “O Lord, our case is trying, it is perplexing. Thou knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that we cannot always stand upright. Pitifully behold the sorrows of our hearts. Mercifully forgive the sins of Thy people. O Thou who didst bear our infirmities, support our distresses. O Thou who didst suffer being tempted, vouchsafe to succour those who are tempted. Lord, we believe, help Thou our unbelief.”
Awake, awake the sacred song
To our incarnate Lord;
Adore the eternal Word.
That awful Word, that sovereign power
By whom the worlds were made (0 happy morn, illustrious hour!),
Was once in flesh arrayed !
Then shone Almighty power andlove
In all their glorious forms,
To dwell with sinful worms.
The Circumcision of Christ.
ALMIGHTY God, who madest Thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit ; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey Thy blessed will; through the same Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect."-Rom. iy. 14.
S children of grace, we are under the guardianship
of mercy; but, as children of promise, we are under the protection of equity. God was under no obligation to promise : but, betause He was pleased to promise, He is faithful and just to perform. Therefore, the Holy Spirit here reasons, not from the grace, but from the equity of God; not from the mercy of God, but from the state of the case. A believer, when he looks forward to heaven, may learn to depend upon the truth of God, as well as upon His kindness. To be dispirited, therefore, on such an occasion (unless we apprehend our non-conformity to the terms of the Covenant), is the result, not of humility, but of want of faith. For he that believeth not His promise “hath made God a liar."
“ And it came to pass,” &c.—LUKE ii. 15.
WAS this joy felt by the shepherds at the first dawn
of the Gospel, when they beheld the wonderful Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, and shall we be less affected, who are informed by a clearer light what manner of Child to us is born -what manner of Son to us is given ? The multitude heard the story of the shepherds, and they wondered ; the shepherds glorified God; and Mary pondered these things in her heart-three fair illustrations of the effect of the word of God upon different dispositions of men. Some stupidly wonder, and cease to remember; others are moved to glorify God, and that not in their lips, but often in their hearts and lives; and others, which are perhaps the most promising soil, with Mary, treasure and ponder the word, which brings forth the