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he, upon a strict enquiry, turns out to have fulfilled all that “ Moses in the Law, and the Prophets did write," then there can be no mistake ; but we must receire him as his diciples did, and proclaim Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, to be the Christ.

And let us remember, that when we give him this title, it is no indefinite appellation, but one full of the utmost meaning. Born as we are in sin, and shapen in iniquity, lying under the penalty of that death, which our first parents had incurred, we could have had, on our own accounts, nothing to hope for, but misery in this world, and eternal destruction in the next. From this helpless state, it pleased God, by the coming of “ Jesus Christ," to save us. To this office was he “ anointed ;" and to this end was his name of “ Jesus” given him.

“ Thou shalt call his name Jesus," said the Angel, “ for he shall save his people from their sins ?." And, in the immutability of divine

1 Matt. i. 21.

justice, no other mode could effect this, but his coming in a humble station, living a life of poverty, and dying a death of ignominy. We say no other mode, because we cannot believe that the Son of God would have been subjected to such humility, for that end, if any thing else could have compassed it. And, while this awakens our feelings of boundless gratitude to him, it should, also, make us aware of the heinousness of sin, and of our deep contamination by it, when such a sacrifice was needed, in order that we might be pardoned.

Our hopes of participating in these blessings, are renewed by the feelings encouraged by the services of this day'. When, then, we celebrate it, let us not forget why we do so; that while we exult as we, necessarily, must at such joy set before us, we may not suffer ourselves to degenerate, too much, into temporal mirth; but let us consider that if he who came to us, was “full of grace and truth," we ought, as his followers, to be full of holiness and humility.

1 Christmas Day.

Let such thoughts as these occupy us now, that, as true Christians, we may join in the feast which he has spread for us, the feast which reminds us of our redemption, which unites us, if properly understood, in love to God, to him, and to one another.

Now to him that willeth not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, who has washed us in his blood, and has opened to us the door of salvation, to him be ascribed all glory, dominion, and praise, for ever and ever, Amen.

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SERMON III.

THE CHARACTER AND OFFICE OF JOHN THE

BAPTIST.

MALACHI iii, 1.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall

prepare the way before me.

It is well known that great pomp and ceremony prevailed in Eastern countries; and, among other modes by which their monarchs and great men were accustomed to shew their importance, whenever they set out on an expedition, or made a progress through any district, one was, the sending before them envoys and messengers to prepare those, through whom their journey lay, to receive them; to apprize those, to whom they were about to come, of their approach; to level, in some instances, hills, and, in others, to fill up valleys; to repair defective roads, and, where necessary, to make new ones, that so they might perform their journey with greater facility, and attain their end with the less labour and interruption.

It was to comply with this custom, which the manners of the country had long sanctioned, and which, therefore, to the minds of men, was agreeable as well as fitting for the approach of a monarch, that the great King of the Jews, the Lord's Anointed, the Messiah which was for to come, was pleased to “send his messenger which should prepare the way before him.” The providence of God has generally been pleased to concede to any human prejudices which are innocent, and to admit the observance of such customs as do not militate against his own will or worship; and, more especially, would he willingly permit the adoption of

any ceremony which would usher in the advent of his only begotten Son with the greater pomp and solemnity.

The voice of prophecy. had, through

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