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to fupport. The empire of Auguftus fpeedily fell under its own weight, and the downfal of Rome quickly followed that of Jerufalem, and both approved the truth, and power, and juftice of God while that child born, that Saviour given, holds undivided empire, and exercifes unbounded fway. Eighteen centuries have confirmed, not fhaken his authority, and time has dicovered another hemifphere, far more extenfive than the former, and added it to his dominion. Let us again fing, “His name (hall endure for ever His name fhall be continued as long as the fun; and men fhall be bleffed in him; all nations fhall call him bleffed. Bleffed be the Lord God, the God of Ifrael, who only doth wondrous things; and bleffed be his glorious name for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory." Amen and Amen.

Auguftus, in the pride of his heart, and an abject world in flattery to him, prefixed his name to the age in which he liv ed-and let this piece of vanity have its cope. With the claffical, philofophic fcholar, let the Auguftan age boast of a Cicero, a Virgil, a Livy, a Mæcenas; the humble chriftian will rather glory in its having produced light from heaven, which eclipfed all human eloquence and wildom in their higheft fplendor, and, refigning to the schools their favourite hiftorians, orators and poets, will rejoice in revolving in their place the hallowed page of Luke, the beloved phyfician, and in liftening to the fervid, native, inartificial eloquence of Paul of Tarfus, and above all, in attending to the dignified wildom which flowed from the lips of him who fpake as never man fpake."

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3. Finally, this wonderful child born teaches us the value and importance of little children. What human fagacity could penetrate the thick cloud which fhrouded his nativity? What but the spirit of prophecy could draw afide the veil which concealed his future eminence? Who but a Simeon could difcern in him the falvation of God, and foretel that" this child was fet for the fall and rifing again of many in Ifrael; and for a fign which should be spoken against ?" And who but He who "declareth the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, faying, My counsel fhall ftand, and I will do all my pleasure;" who but He knows what the infant, now drawing its firft breath, is one day to become? What dormant powers may there lie hid! What a germ of wisdom ready to expand! What godlike faculties, which are at length to aftonifh, to delight, to blefs mankind! Watch over the expansion. The precious feed is fown by the hand of the Creator. Mark its fpringing; mark its progrefs. God

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has done his part, parent, mafter, minifter, fee that thou doft thine. "It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones fhould perish.”

The next Lecture will have for its fubject the history of the. .infancy and childhood of Jefus Chrift. May he who condefcended to become a little child for our fakes; who, as He. "went about doing good," encouraged the approach of little children, faying, "fuffer them and forbid them not to coine unto me for of fuch is the kingdom of God :" may he bless us with the fpirit of adoption, and endow us with the lovely fim plicity, the docility, the fubmiffivenefs of little children, tha we may enter into the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

LECTURE

LECTURE VII.

LUKE, II. 40.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in fpirit, filled with wif dom; and the grace of God was apon him.

F all the wonders prefented to us in the world of nature,

Fall wonders preender to limfelt. His body duft of

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the ground, and mouldering back to duft; reduced to the lev el of the beasts of the field; but that duft animated with the breath of life, a living foul, exalted to the rank of angels, an emanation from God himfelf. In him are blended, in a moft wonderful manner, three diftinct kinds of life, forming one glorious individual formed after the image of Him who created him." As the tree in the foreft imperceptibly rifes, increafes from lownefs and feeblenefs to ftatelinefs and ftrength, and having attained full maturity imperceptibly decays, fo the feeble infant gradually increases in ftature, changes the grovelling into the erect form, rears his head to the vault of heaven, exulting in the greatnefs of his ftrength; he begins to verge towards decay, he bends to the ground from whence he was taken, and at length finks into it again. But he is not like the plant rivetted to one fpot, unconscious of exiftence, incapable of felf motion. With the other animals around him, he feels himself among his fellows, he rejoices in fociety, he poffeffes conícioufnefs, he is directed by motives, he aims at a determinate end. But he is not, like the beafts that perish, impelled by inftin&t merely, the flave of appetite and fenfe. To the animal, the goodnefs of the Creator has fuperadded the rational life, the faculty of contemplating that great univerfe of which he conftitutes a part fo effential, the capacity of rising from the effect to the caufe, from the work to the Author: Man enjoys the gift of fpeech, whereby he is rendered capable of communicating his reflections and reasonings, of forming combinations of power which awe, control, and direct the fubject world.

To mark the progrefs of a human being is an interefting and delightful employment-to obferve how the limbs acquire firmness and ftrength, how the mental powers unfold them

felves,

felves, and all the paffions of the man, in fucceffion, ftand confeffed. See the fond mother bending with delight over her infant, at firft a little pliant lump of animated clay, every pow. er lying dormant fave one, that of drawing its nourishment from her breaft. By and by the eye begins to feel and follow the light, the slender neck strengthens and fuftains the reclining head; the babe fmiles, and the parent's heart is overwhelmed with joy. Now he can diftinguifh the face of her. that fuckles him from that of a stranger, at least fhe flatters herfelt he can, while the foft murmur of infantine fatisfaction expreffes his gratitude. The figure by degrees becomes erect, every limb is in motion, the uncertain tongue attempts to imi tate the founds which ftrike the opening ear, and the feet prefs downward to the fupporting earth; tremblingly he totters into walking, and flammers into fpeech. The powers of recoliection and comparing appear, the symptoms of paffion become vifible, love and averfion, defire and gratitude. The moral fenfe at length begins to dawn, and the man in miniature finds himfelf a limited, dependent, fubje&t, accountable being; hence hope and fear, felt-complacency and remorfe.

We are this evening to contemplate infancy and childhood in their lovelieft and moft attractive form, and in their mot interefting and affecting circumftances. Look yet again to Bethlehem of Judea, and behold the nothingness of human greatnefs; the offspring of kings a stranger in his paternal city, the heir of David without a place where to lay his head, a Sovereign deftitute of all things. When God, at the fulnels of time, fent forth his own Son, as he was made of a woman, fo was he "made under the law," fubjected to all its rites and restraints however painful and humiliating, and the Saviour of mankind, that he might fulfil all righteousness, and become a perfect pattern of obedience, firft paffively fubmitted to every ordinance of religion, and then by an active and exact conformity, magnified the law and made it honourable.

The minuter circumftances of this period of our bleffed Lord's life are not left on record; thofe excepted which relate to his public character and divine miffion, for as to thefe. Scripture is most exact and particular. Of the progress of his infant mind no traces remain; not a word is faid even of the beauty of his perfon; though the general terms which the Evangelifls employ warrant us in thinking, that never in child born of a woman did fuch early dawnings of fuperior wisdom, appear, that never was human form fo perfect. The modest referve of the hiftorians of Jefus Chrift, in this refpect, feems to miniftera fevere reproof of the ridiculous details to be found,

in modern biography, of infantine actions and fayings, the fuppofed prognoftics of future eminence and diftinétion. We can forgive a fond mother, nay love her the more for the amiable weakness, when we hear her repeat the pretty fayings, interpret the fignificant looks, and defcribe the wonderful deeds of her foul's darling; but it excites pity, if not an ungentler feeling, to be told gravely, from the prefs, of the infipid nothings which a great man faid and did, when he was an ignorant and filly, perhaps a pert and petulant boy, who probably merited correction where he obtained praife.

Of our divine Mafter we are told what was done to him, not what he did; what was faid by others concerning him, not what he faid concerning either himself or others. And thus was he early an inftructor of parents to abftain from partial and exceffive admiration of their children and to little children to cultivate that modefty, docility, and humbleness of mind, which are the real ornament and honour of their tender age Behold in him then, parents, chlidren, a helpless infant at the difpofal of others. It is of importance to the world to know that, at the appointed period, the terms of the Abrahamic covenant were complied with; that the name of JESUS was given him, according to the direction of the angel; that as the first born of his mother, being facred to God, he was folemnly prefented to the Lord in the temple at Jerufalem; for these things admonish us of the divine truth and faithfulness in keeping covenant and promise with his people, and of the right which he has to expect, and require faithfulness and obedience on their part; of the charafter and offices annexed to that facred, precious and venerable name, and of the self-dedication which not the first-born only, but even all owe unto God. On the eighth day, then, he was circumcifed, and named, according to the commandment, and on the fortieth day he was prefented with the accustomed offering in the temple.

Providence lays hold of this latter occafion to procure a noble teftimony to the high rank and character of the Son of God. The spirit of prophecy had lately revived, and many in Jerufalem were "waiting for the confolation of Ifrae!," and confidered it as near at hand. Of this number was a just and devout man named Simeon, to whom it was communicated by a fpecial revelation, that, old as he was, his eyes fhould not be clofed in death, till he had feen the Lord's Chrift. Heavendirected he goes up to the temple, probably to entreat the fpeedy accomplishment of this gracious promife, at the very inftant when the ceremony of the law was performing, and the fpirit that was upon him inftantly points to Jefus as the fulfilling

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