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to be placed in the arms of the Saviour's mercy, and under the protection of His Holy Spirit, as one of the family of God! But remember, my child, that promises were made then, as well as prayers,
your behalf; and that now by the grace which is in Christ, the merciful favour which God has shewn to you in Him, and the help which God is ever ready for His sake to bestow, you must daily strive to lead the rest of your life according to that happy beginning. Yes; you must never forget the cross which was then marked upon your brow, nor ever be ashamed to confess" the faith of your crucified Saviour, but manfully fight under His banner against every enemy of your soul, and thus 6 continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto your life's end.” May such be
your happy lot! May such through God's great love and mercy be the lot of us all ! Then shall we indeed be blessed in our Christian privileges.
But to return. Our gracious Redeemer was born, as we have seen, of a lowly woman; born under the law of Moses, made subject to all its commands. Though the Lord of glory, and worshipped in heaven by the angelic hosts, He stooped down to be made and to be treated like sinful men. He was a King to give laws, yet He became as a servant to receive them. He left nothing wanting to the fulness of His obedience, or to the completeness of His condescension. Let us observe too, that in being born among the Jews, and not among any other people, our blessed Lord fulfilled those predictions of the Old Testament, which foretold that the great Deliverer of mankind should be a descendant of Abraham, and not of Abraham only, but of Jacob rather than of any other of Abraham's sons or grandsons; nay more, that he should spring up expressly out of the tribe of Judah, and in that tribe should be of the lineage and family of David. That we may see this quite clearly, the Evangelists, that is, the holy men who wrote the Gospels, are very careful to give us long tables of descent, or genealogies as they are called, to shew that the Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord, was of David's line. Nor is this the only instance in which we have had an opportunity of observing already, in the history of our Lord, the wonderful fulfilment of prophecy, that is to say, the accomplishment, through the overruling care of God, of those things relating to His Son which, ages before, He had in His word declared should come to pass. His childhood was spoken of by Isaiah, who lived as you may remember in the time of the good king Hezekiah, many generations before the Redeemer's birth. In the ninth chapter of his prophecies he says, “ Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” The very place too of His birth had been pointed out, as I told you once before, by the prophet Micah, more than seven hundred years before the nativity took place.
E. Yes, I remember his very words, Mamma; for we were reading them the other day: they were, “ And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel,
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
M. You see then even from these two verses which we have quoted, and I could tell you many more, with what reverence the prophets approached the subject of our Lord's incarnation ; and although we read of Him as a helpless infant, we must ever think and speak of Him with the utmost adoration. We must remember that, amid all this outward weakness and obscurity, this is the very Deliverer who was promised to Eve, and then to Abraham ; whom kings and prophets desired to see; and to whom the hopes of the faithful in old time were all along directed. Wonderful are the ways of God.
of God. His thoughts are not as our thoughts. The first in the world's esteem are often the last with Him. The Son of God when He visits our earth is not born among the mighty Romans, in the palace of the Cesars, but among the despised Jews, in a stable at Bethlehem :-See Luke ii. 8-21. and iii. 23-38. Matt. i. 1-17.
FOURTH SUNDAY EVENING.
JEWS AND GENTILE; REJOICING IN CHRIST.
E. Does the Bible tell us much about our blessed Saviour whilst he was a little child ?
M. No; we do not find many accounts of his early infancy, and childhood, nor indeed of that portion of His life which passed away before His entrance upon His public ministry. It was not till He was thirty years
age, that He actively took upon Him that great work for which He came into the world, and began, by His blessed teaching and His many acts of compassion and love, “ to seek and to save that which was lost.” Accordingly, the Gospel History is chiefly confined to the closing years of our Saviour's life upon earth; but we have some further accounts even of His earliest infancy, besides those which we dwelt upon in our last conversation, and in all of these I am sure you will be greatly interested. The one that comes next in order is that of the Presentation in the Temple. For when the child Jesus was forty days old, the Virgin Mary took Him to present Him to the Lord, as the law required, in the temple at Jerusalem. At this time there dwelt at Jerusalem a just and devout man of the name of Simeon. He was one of those pious Jews, who were continually thinking of God's gracious promises which He had made to His people; and who were constantly hoping to see them fulfilled. But there was one promise, Edward, more than all the rest, which had been dear to all the faithful servants of God, for many, many generations back. Do you think you can tell me what that was ?
E. Yes, Mamma, I do hope I can : are you not thinking of the first promise we read of in the Bible, the promise of a Saviour ? you know I could not well have forgotten that, you have put me in mind of it so often.
M. I am glad, if I have succeeded in making the chief subject of the Bible uppermost in
your thoughts. It was this blessed hope of a Redeemer to come, which
revived the hearts of the faithful servants of God from the earliest ages of the world. Who can say to what degree it comforted our first parents, as they left behind them the garden of God; carrying with them, no doubt, a deep sense of the miseries which they had brought upon themselves and all mankind ? Long, I
did they continue to hear the sound of those gracious words;—“The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.” And the precious truths which those blessed words contained were made use of by the prophets of the Old Testament as the never-failing consolation of the Church, under all her distresses. None can read those interesting and delightful portions of Scripture, which we call the books of the prophets, without observing how continually the expectation of a Redeemer gilded almost every subject which they approached.
The thought of the Messiah, whom God had promised, was sufficient to comfort them under the bitterest distresses, and “the doctrine of salvation which they preached through Him, does still refresh the people of God, as a stream of water in a thirsty land, and still shall do so till it empty itself into the ocean of eternity.”
It was the coming of Christ, as the consolation of Israel,” as he is called in the Gospel of St. Luke, for which the most believing and religious Jews seem, at this time, to have been looking with more than usual expectation. In the case, indeed, of Simeon, there was something more still; he had been favoured by being peculiarly inspired by the Holy Spirit of God; for that blessed Spirit had in some mysterious manner made known to him, that notwithstanding his great