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preached to them. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see ? A reed shaken with the wind ? But what went ye out for to see ? A man clothed in soft raiment ? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings houses. But what went ye out for to fee? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
The fourth Sunday in Advent. .... . .. The Colle&t... video *n Lord, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among
us, and with great might succour us ; that.whereas, through our fins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us, through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle. Phil. 4. 4. D Ejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say, Rejoice. ll. Let Il your moderation be known unto all. men. The Lord is
.. L 2 :
Paraphrase on the Collect for the fourth Sunday in Advent. O Lord we befeech thee to grant us thy help and pro- pediment to us in the course of our duty. Grant this tection that by thy merciful affiftance we may be re. for the merits of Jesus Christ, to whom with thee and leased from the dominion of Sin which is a woeful im- the Holy Spirit be ascribed all Honour and Glory for ever.
• Juftly is the Chriftian Life compared to a calm Composure of Mind, such a Candour and Lenity Race, because we diligently pursue a certain regular of Temper, as will dispose us not too rigorously to excourse, in order to reach the Goal of Happiness. And aćt even our juft Right, nor to be impatient in sufferwe are let and hindered in running this Race by the ing wrong : but to treat even our Enemies with forweight of worldly cares and affections, and the Sin bearance, where the injuries they do us are of a pri. wkich doth moft eahly befet us. By this Collect therefore vate nature : and never to let difference of persuasion we are taught where to apply for help and deliverance destroy our Christian Charity ; because the Day is under these difficulties. :
coming, when, our Judge Christ Jesus shall make full Ler your Moderation be known, &c. The Mode- amends for all our condescensions, and reward all our ration hereby recommended, is such a Meekness and patience.
at hand. * Be careful for 'nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which pafseth all un derstanding, fhall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jefus. Tefus.:.:.
:. : .
: .:. : .:.:.: The Gospel. S. John 1. 19. T HIS is the record of John, when the Jews fent Priests and ET Levites from Jerufalem, to ask him, Who'ai't thou ? And he confessed and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Chrift, 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 fent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He faid, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as faid the prophet Efaias : 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 ? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there ftandeth 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 of our Lord, or the + Birth-day of CHRIST,
commonly called Christmas-day.
† Be careful for nothing, Sc. It is not from hence Baptist according to the prophecy of Isaiah is in al to be supposed that we are to lay aside all care and lusion to a practice amongst the Eastern Kings; who concern about worldly Things, but only that we must in case of any public entry or proceflon were used not indulge such an immoderate anxiety as will make to send an Herald or Harbinger to give notice of their us fretful and restless, so as to be diftruftful of Provi- coming, and clear the Road before them. dence, and negligent of the one Thing needful.
As Christ Jesus was born for us of a pure Virgin, Ś This is the Record of John, &c. It is plain from so muft we also be born again from a ftate of Sin and this Message of the Jews that at that Time they ex- Corruption to a Life of Righteousness and true Holipected the coming of the Messiah ; and that they were ness. And this we are taught is to be effected 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. 1. Holy Spirit which he has promised to all that sincerely . He said I am the Voice, &c. This answer of the ask it.
The Colle&t. A Lmighty God who haft given us thy only begotten Son to A 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, mily 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. :.
The Epiftle. Hebr. 1, Y. C OD, who at sundry times, and in divers manners spake in
U 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 fins, sat 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 shall 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 of the angels he faith, Who maketh his angels fpirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he faith, Thy throne, o God, is for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of 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 haft 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 fame, and thy years shall not fail.
Paraphrase on the Colle&t for Christmas-Day. Most mighty God, who didft cause thy beloved Son in the privileges of thy Children, may by the help of Jesus Christ to take human Nature up in him, and as thy Spirit, be daily reformed in our dispositions, at this Season to be born of the Virgin Mary; grant through the same Jesus Christ, who reigneth with thee that we being born again from Sin to a Life of Righ- and the same Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. teousness, and through thy favour admitted to partake
| Hath in these last Days, Esc. 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 Dif- of our Redeemer; and thews at once the unspeakable pensation than our Forefathers, and enjoy the Bletüngs Love of God in our Redemption, and our indifpensible of the Gospel !
obligation to serve and obey so powerful, so kind a When be bringeth in the firf begotten, &c. This Benefactor.
The Gospel. S. John 1. I. ITN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
I God, and the Word was God. The same 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 same 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 of man, but of 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.
|| In th. beginning was the Word, &c. The three of the Gospel. But that very Ignorance and Wicked firit Verses of thi: Goipel are such an evident proof of nefs which rendered such a Revelation necessary, is the our Saviour's Divinity, that the most subtle argumen- unhappy cause why to many have rejected 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 prepofleffion!
St. Paul faith, the God of this World hath blinded the I and the light shineih in Darkness, &c. Christ minds of them which believe not, left the glor ous Gospel was a Light to Ighten Mankind, who were in the of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Darkness of Sin and Ignorance, with the Knowledge 2 Cor. 4. 4.
+ Saint Stephen's Day.
The Collect. c Rant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth, U 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 blefs our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who ftandest at the right hand of God, to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen. Then pall follow the Colleet for the Nativity, which mall be said continually unto New-years. Eve.
For the Epistle. Acts 7. 55. ( Tephen being full of the holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly
into heaven, I and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see 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 Collea for St. Stephen's Day.
Give us Grace, O Lord, under all our Persecutions ample of St. Stephen, to pray for our 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- cessor for thy People at the right hand of God. ferer ; and enable us also by thy Spirit, after the ex
+ The Festival of St. Stephen stands firit after that for, and the evidence of Things not seen. Hebr. xi. 1. of our Saviour's Nativity, because he was the first after since it is indeed the Eye of the Mind, which gives his divine Mafter that suffered Martyrdom for the pro- us a clear view of Things distant and invifible. And feffion of Christianity : and from his example we are the glorious prospect which St. Stephen thus enjoyed tanght that Faith in the Glory which hall be revealed under his Martyrdom, will be the principal comfort is the best support under all our affictions, and that and support of every sincere Christian, amidst all the to love and blejs.our Perfecutors is a sure proof of a truly AMietions of this World, as well as in his departure Christian difpofition.
out of it. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable I And law the glory of God, &c. Well might St. gift. paul define Faith to be the substance of Things hoped