Page images


8. time the star appeared. And he

sent them to Bethlehem; and First Sunday after the Epiphany. said, “ Go, and search diligently

The Collect. “ for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me

O Lord, we beseech thee mer“ word again, that Imay come and

cifully to receive the prayers of worship him also.” When they thy people which call upon thee; had heard the king, they depart- and grant that they may both ed: and, lo, the star, which they perceive and know what things saw in the east, went before them, they ought to do, and also may

till it came and stood over where have grace and power faithfully 10. the young child was. When to fulfil the same, through Jesus

Christ our Lord. Amen. they (a) saw the star, they rejoiced 11. with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the

The Epistle. Rom. xii. 1. (c) house, they saw the young child I BESEECH you therefore, brewith Mary his mother, and fell thren, by the mercies of God, down, and worshipped him : and that ye present (d) your bodies a when they had opened their trea- living (e) sacrifice, holy, acceptable sures, they presented unto him unto God, which is your (f) rea

gifts (6); gold, and frankincense, sonable service. And be not con- 2. 12. and myrrh. And being warned formed to this world : but be ye. of God in a dream that they

transformed by the (8) renewing should not return to Herod, they of your mind, that ye may prove departed into their own country

what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, 3.

another way.

D. Io.

D. 11.

“ The

[ocr errors]

after him, with a view to destroy him, they would naturally endeavour to counteract his measures.

(a) “ Saw the star," i. e. standing over him.

(6) “Gifts." In Ps.lxxï. which is considered as looking prophetically to the Messiah, are these passages :

kings of Tarsus, and of the isles, shall

give presents: the kings of Arabia " and Saba shall bring gifts. He shall live, and unto him shall be given of " the gold of Arabia.”

(c) St. Paul had been shewing that the Gentiles might receive all the benefits of Christ's coming, without submitting to any of the Jewish ceremonies; that the Jews would also be admitted to them, if they embraced the belief of Christianity, and practised the duties it enjoins ; but that without such practice there could be no salvation in Christ either to Jew or Gentile : and he therefore presses them, as they are no longer required to make the sacrifices the Mosaic law required, to

make the only sacrifice Christianity de-
mands, a sacrifice of those propensities
whích are against the purity and disposi-
tion of mind which the Gospel enjoins.
We are to remember, too, that God
requires this sacrifice of us.

(d) Tour bodies," in opposition to v. I. those of animals.

(e) Living sacrifice," not a sacrifice v. I. which was to be slain ; but by suppressing their evil desires, &c. to make a sacrifice of their own bodies, without subjecting them to death: not as before, by killing the body of an animal, and bringing that into a state of purity, but by killing their lusts, &c. to bring their own bodies into a state of puriiy, and yet keeping them alive,

(9) Reasonable," much more reason- v. I. able than to seek for pardon by killing of bulls, &c.

(8).“ Renewing of your mind," i.e. v. 2. bringing your mindinto a new state; forming it anew. So Eph. iv. 23, 24. St. Paul exhorts them to “be renewed in the spirit

But 4+

through (h) the grace given unto the child Jesus tarried behind in me, to every man that is among Jerusalem ; and Joseph and his you, not to think of himself more mother knew not of it. highly (i) than he ought to think; they, supposing him to have been but to think soberly, (k)according in the company, went a day's

as God hath dealt to every man the journey; and they sought him 4. measure of faith. For as we have

among their kinsfolk and

acmany () members in one body, quaintance.

And when they 45 and all members have not the found him not, they turned back 5. same office; so we, being many, again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

are one body in Christ, and every And it came to pass, that after 4 one members one of another. three days they found him in the

temple, sitting in the midst of The Gospel. Luke ii. 41. the doctors, both hearing them, Now his parents went to Jerusa- and asking them questions. And 47.

lem every year at the feast of the all that heard him were astonished 42. passover.

And when he was at his understanding and answers. twelve years old, they went up to And when they saw him, they 48.

Jerusalem after the custom of the were amazed : and his mother 43. feast. And when they had ful- said unto him, “ Son, why hast

filled the days, as they returned, 6 thou thus dealt with us? behold,

“ of your mind, and to put on the new
man, which after God” (that is, in
imitation of God's perfections)“ is
“ created in righteousness, and true
“ holiness. So Col. iii. 9, 10. he speaks
of those converts as having “put off the
“ old man with his deeds, and having

put on the new man, which is renewed
“ in knowledge, after the image of him
" that created them," i. e. God. In
John iii. 3. our Saviour says, “ except a
“ man be born again,” (meaning that
unless his mind is so far impressed with
his duty to God as to make him with.
stand all contrary propensities) “ he can-

not see the kingdom of God.” 0. 3.

(b) “ Through the grace," i.e. not of myself alone, but upon the suggestion

of the Spirit. 0. 3

(i) “ More highly." What St. Paulis particularly condemning, is their overvaluing themselves upon peculiar gifts of the Spirit : and the answer to this kind of pride occurs, 1 Cor. iv. 7. “ who “ maketh thee to differ from another? " and what hast thou that thou didst “ not receive ? Now if thou didst re. “ ceive it, why dost thou glory as if

" thou hadst not received it."
3. (b) According," &c. that is, upon the

conviction that it is God that has allotted
to each such powers, &c. as he thought

fit to intrust to his care. The same idea is thus expressed, Eph. iv. 7. "unto every

one of us is given grace (i.e. talents) " according to the measure of the gift « of Christ."

(1)Many members," &c. This idea is 6.6 very much enlarged upon, 1 Cor. xi. and Eph. iv. 3. to 16. The substance of the argument is this : no one ought too much to value himself because the spiritual gifts with which he is endowed are of the highest kind, nor should any one be undervalued because the gifts intrusted to him are of a lower degree : the highest and the lowest mušt all be exercised; they are all conferred; and the object of conferring them is not to aggrandize the individual, or advance bis glory, but to forward the general interests of Christianity, and advance the glory of God. All of them, however they may differ, proceed from the same high original, and have all the same high object. Each man has what is intrusted to him, not for his own sake, not from his own merit, not for his own honour, but for the sake of the Church in general, and to extend its influence. The passage in 1 Cor. xii. will be found, 10th Sunday after Trinity, and part of the passage in Ephes. iv. post.

" thy father and I have sought thee The Epistle. Rom. xii. 6. “ sorrowing." And he said unto

Having then (n) gifts differing them, “ How is it that ye sought according () to the grace that is “ me? wist ye not that I must be given to us, whether prophecy, let

“ about(m)my Father's business?" us prophesy according to the pro0. And they understood not the say- | portion (p) of faith ; or ministry, 7.

ing which he spake unto them. let us wait on our ministering ; or I. And he went down with them, and he that teacheth, on teaching; or 8.

came to Nazareth, and was sub- he that exhorteth, on exhortaject unto them: but his mother tion : he that giveth, let him do it

kept all these sayings in her heart. with (9) simplicity; he that ruleth, ; 2. And Jesus increased in wisdom with diligence; he that sheweth and stature, and in favour with

mercy, with cheerfulness.
God and man

love (r) be without dissimulation.
Abhor that which is evil ; cleave

to that which is good. Be kindly 10. Second Sunday after the Epiphany.

affectioned one to another with The Collect.

brotherly love ; in honour preALMIGHTY and everlasting God, ferring one another; not slothful who dost govern all things in in business ; fervent in spirit ; 11. heaven and earth; Mercifully serving the Lord; rejoicing in hear the supplications of thy hope ; patient in people, and grant us thy peace continuing'instant in prayer ; dis- 13. all the days of our life, through tributing to the necessity of saints; Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. given to hospitality.

Bless () 14.

Let 9.

[ocr errors]


9. 6.

49. (m) My Father's," i.e. God's. Or (r) “ Let Love, &c." So in 1 Cor. v. g.

the translation might be, "in my Father's after an argument much more at large to " house."

prevent their priding themselves upon (n)“ Gifts," i.e. spiritual gifts. The the spiritual gifts they received, he extraordinary powers conferred upon the passes to that fine panegyric upon chafirst members of Christianity, to enable rity or Christian benevolence, i Cor. xiii. them to accomplish its propagation.

which constitutes the Epistle for Quin. 6. () “According to the grace that is given. quagesima.

"us," that is, according to what God It is peculiar to the systems of morahas thought fit of his mere grace to be- lity in the Old and New Testament, that stow; it is his gift, not our acquisition. they inculcate every virtue which has a

(P) “Proportion of faith." Faith is tendency to advance the happiness of here used to signify not the act of man's man, and no other, and that they promind in þelieving, but the act of God hibit whatever has a contrary tendency. in confiding, and the meaning is, ac

This is considered as affording strong cording to the extent of the trust re- internal evidence to confirm our belief posed in us, or delegated to us.

that they had their origin from God. v. 8. (9). "Simplicity," i.e. probably, with- Let any one review his past conduct,

out ostentation. Our Saviour, in his and compare it with the rules of conduct
sermon on the mount, Matt. vi. 1. was prescribed in the Bible, and then fairly
particular in enjoining, that in giving ask himself whether much of the uneasi-
alms, the praise of men should not be the ness, &c. he has suffered is not referable
object. ss Take heed that ye do not to a deviation from these rules ?
your alms before men, to be seen of (s) “Bless, &c.” Is there

them': otherwise ye have no reward system which contains such a precept as
“ of your Father, which is in heaven,” this ? and yet is not the actug up to it

likely to diminish the evils of persecu

other 0. 142

them which persecute you : bless, || purifying of the Jews, containing 15. and curse not. Rejoice with them two or three firkins apiece. Jesus 7.

that do rejoice, and weep with saith unto them, “ Fill the water16. them that weep. Be of the same


with water.” And they mind one toward another. Mind filled them up to the brim. And he 8. not high things, but condescend saith unto them, “ Draw out now, to men of low estate.

“ and bear unto the governor of

" the feast.” And they bare it. The Gospel. John ii. 1.

When the ruler of the feast had , And the third day there was a tasted the water that was made marriage in Cana of Galilee; and wine, and knew not whence it

the mother of Jesus was there : was, (but the servants which drew 2. and both Jesus was called and his the water knew), the governor of 3. disciples (t) to the marriage. And the feast called the bridegroom,

when they wanted wine, the mo- and saith unto him, “ Every, man 10.

ther of Jesus saith unto him, “ at the beginning doth set forth 4. “ They have no wine.” Jesus saith

good wine; and when men unto her, (u) “Woman, what have “ have well drunk, then that

“ I to do with thee? mine hour is 66 which is worse: but thou hast 5. not yet come.” His mother saith

kept the good wine until now." unto the servants, “ Whatsoever This beginning of miracles did 11. .6. “ he saith unto you, do it.” And Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and

there were set there six water-pots manifested forth his glory ; and of stone, after the manner of the his disciples believed on him.

[ocr errors]

tion? It has an obvious tendency to lessen the virulence of the persecutors, and it better enables the sufferers to bear up against their affli&tions, by knowing that they are undeserved, that they have given no occasion for what they endure, and by the consequent conviction that they must ultimately receive their reward from God. Our Saviour inculcates the samę doctrine, Matt. v. 43, 44. “ Ye " have heard that it hath been said, " thou shalt love thy neighbour, and “ hate thine enemy : but I say unto

you, love your enemies, bless them " that curse you, do good to them that " hate you, and pray for them which “ despitefully use you, and persecute you." And St. Stephen confirmed this doctrine at his death, for when he was stoned, his last act was to “ kneel “ down and cry wih a loud voice, Lord “lay not this sin to their charge." See 57. note (a). So when our Saviour was upon th: cross, he said, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they * do.” Luke xxiii. 34.

(0) "His disciples." St. John, therefore, who was one of those disciples, had

strong evidence of this miracle, for he was probably in the house when it was per. formed; but many of our Saviour'smiracles were done in the sight of St. Matthew and Şt. John, and as to them therefore they could not be deceived. The power our Saviour and his disciples had of working miracles is a strong proof of the truth of Christianity. It is the attestation of God himself. They could not have been per. formed but under his sanction, and can it be believed that he would have given that sanction to an impostor?

(u) “ Woman." This was not a word ..4 of disrespect; our Saviour applies it to his mother when he was on the cross, John xix. 26. “When Jesus therefore saw « his mother, and the disciple standing “ by, whom he loved, he saith unto his “ mother, Woman, behold thy Son; then “ saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother." It has been supposed that he purposely used this term, that the making her an object of religious adoration, which he foresaw would be done, might not be justified by any peculiar mark of respect from him to her.

Third Sunday after the Epiphany.

ably with all men. Dearly be. 19.

loved, avenge not yourselves; The Collect.

but rather give place unto wrath : ALMIGHTY and everlasting God,

for it is (z) written, “ Vengeance

" is mine; I will repay, saith the mercifully look upon our infir

" Lord.” Therefore if thine ene. 20. mities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right

my hunger, feed him; if he thirst, hand to help and defend us,

give him drink : for in so doing through Jesus Christ our Lord.

thou shalt (a) heap coals of fire

on his head. Be not overcome 21. Amen.

of evil, but overcome evil with
The Epistle. Rom. xii. 16. good.
Be not wise in your own con-

The Gospel. Matt. viii. 1.
17. ceits. Recompense (x) to no When he was come down from

man evil for evil. Provide the (b) mountain, great multi

things (y) honest in the sight of titudes followed him. And, be- 2. 18. all men. If it be possible, as hold, there came a leper and

much as lieth in you, live peace worshipped him, saying, “Lord, if

D. 17.

(x) “Recompence," &c.
gives the same advice, Prov. xx. 22. “Say
« not thou, I will recompence evil: but
" wait on the Lord, and he shall save
or thee." So St. Paul exhorts, i Thess. v.

" See that none render evil for
• evil unto any man: but ever fol.
“ low that which is good both among
“ yourselves, and to all men." St. Peter
also directs, i Pet. iii. 9. “ not to ren-
der evil for evil, or railing for rail-
“ing, but contrary-wise blessing;" and
reminds us, 1 Pet. ii. 23. of the ex-
ample of our Saviour, “ who when he
“ was reviled, reviled not again ; when
" he suffered, he threatened not, but
committed himself to Him that judgeth

righteously." 0.17.

“ Honest," i.e. well thought of. So 2 Cor. viii. 21. he directs the “

providing for honest things, not only in " the sight of the Lord, but also in the

sight of men ;" where by honest he must mean not only what really is right, but what has also that appearance. See also i Thess. iv. 12.

(z) “ Written." The passage is *.19. Deut. xxxii. 35. “To me (saith the Lord)

“belongeth vengeance, and recompence."
And accordingly, Ps. xciv. 1. he is ap-
pealed to as Him to whom vengeance be-
longeth: “O Lord God, to whom ven.

geance belongeth, O God, to whom

vengeance belongeth, shew thy"s self.”

(a) “Heap," &c. This probably alludes v. 20. to the method of melting

metals in a crucible: as by heaping coals of fire on the head of a crucible the hardest metals are melted, so by heaping acts of kindness on the head of an enemy, we should endeavour to melt him into goodwill towards us; and so according to what follows, to overcome his evil by our good acts, his animosity by our forbearance. The passage

is taken from Prov. xxv. 21. “ If thine enemy be hungry, give him “ bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give “ him water to drink, for thou shalt heap « coals of fire on his head, and the Lord “ shall reward thee.” It has been supposed that the heaping coals of fire upon the head of an enemy may mean still further, that if he is not touched by our acts of kindness towards him, those acts will bring upon him heavier punishment from God: but is it consistent with the spirit of Christianity, that we should act from such a motive? Can he be a Christian who would wish, in any event, to bring down God's judgment upon a fellow creature ?

(6) “ Mountain," the place where he 0.1. had been delivering that admirable dis. course called his Sermon on the Mount, contained in the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of St. Matthew.


« PreviousContinue »