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preserved with the utmost care from every thing that might defile it.

Previous to this event, they went together to Bethlehem at the time of the taxation, because they were both of the house and lineage of David. And, as St. Luke records, so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered; and she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. As they were poor people, they were obliged to put up with the meanest accommodations. The wealthier members of the families of Bethlehem had occupied the apartments of the public inn, so that there was no room for these poor people in any better place than the stable; which was probably nothing more than a cave, in which the cattle of those who occupied the inn were commonly put. There the Lord of glory was ushered into our world, as an outcast from society in His very birth, a stranger upon earth, unnoticed and unknown. But though He was in so mean a condition, and so mean a place; though the world took no notice of the illustrious stranger; the heavenly hosts were not inattentive spectators of the wonderful event. They sang in joyful chorus, Glory to God in the

4 Luke ii. 4, 6, 7.

highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. They announced to some poor shepherds, who were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night, Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. They told the shepherds where to find Him, notwithstanding the meanest place in the village was that in which he was lodged, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. How wonderful was all this. Let us meditate upon it with grateful hearts, that our love to the Saviour of sinners may abound more and more.


The Gospel for this day informs us, in conclusion, that he, Joseph, called His, the child's, name JESUS. Or, as St. Luke observes, When eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Let us now direct our attention to the meaning of this name which has been given by our Evangelist in this portion of Scripture, in reference to its being applied to our adorable Redeemer. It has been stated that the name JESUS is composed of two words, signifying JAH, or the Lord, the Saviour. In reference to the first of these words, the Evangelist quotes

5 Luke ii. 14, 8, 10, 11, 21.

the prophecy of Isaiah, in which it was said of the virgin's Son, that His name should be called EMMANUEL, or God with us. In reference to the second, it is observed as the reason given for this name being applied to Him, for He shall save His people from their sins.

This name JESUS then denotes that He who was born into our world in fulfilment of the prophecies, which went before concerning Him, was God manifest in the flesh, God incarnate for the redemption of fallen man. What an incomprehensible mystery is this! that He who was over all, God blessed for ever," should come and dwell with men on earth in human nature. But His actions proved Him to be Divine, as clearly as His outward appearance showed Him to be a human being. He was God and man in one Christ, "perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.' He in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, took the name of JESUS, or JEHOVAH the Saviour; a name which the Apostle affirms to be above every name, since it is commanded that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in the glory of God the Father. Let us adore Him

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1 Timothy iii. 16. 7 Romans ix. 5. 8 Philippians ii. 9-11.

who bears this glorious name; and at this season while we commemorate His birth, let us praise and thank Him for having condescended to bear, in the days of His flesh, a name so significant of His glory and His grace. It showed His glory as Jehovah, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; who, before He came upon earth, had equal glory with the Father and the Holy Ghost. We therefore find Him speaking of the glory which He had with the Father before the world was; 10 for, as the Evangelist St. John declares, the Word was in the beginning with God.11

But notwithstanding this, He made Himself of no reputation, He emptied Himself of this glory, He divested Himself of all the appearance of it; taking upon Him the form of a servant, instead of the form of God; being made in the likeness of men, instead of the similitude of God; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself still more deeply, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. This is the way in which JEHOVAH became the Saviour. It was necessary that He should lay aside the appearance of His Divine glory, when He became a man on earth in order to be the Author of our salvation. The reason of this

9 Philippians ii. 6—8. 10 John xvii. 5. 11 John i. 2.


is explained in the beginning of the Epistle to the Hebrews. There He is called the Son of God, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds, who was the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person, who upheld all things by the word of His power: Unto whom He said, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom; and, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands. After which, the reason of His humiliation is mentioned, Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Here is a full and sufficient reason for the great humiliation of the Son of God. None but Jehovah could accomplish the work which was given Him to do; and if He had not taken upon Himself our nature, He could not have been experimentally acquainted with


12 Hebrews i. 2, 3.

13 Hebrews ii. 14, 15, 17.

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