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preached to them. And bleffed is he whofoever fhall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jefus began to fay unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to fee? A reed fhaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in foft raiment ? Behold, they that wear foft clothing are in kings houfes. 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 meffenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

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The fourth Sunday in Advent.

The Collect.

Lord, raife up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among us, and with great might fuccour us; that whereas, through our fins and wickedness, we are fore let and hindered in running the race that is fet before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us, through the fatisfaction of thy Son our Lord; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

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The Epifle. Phil. 4. 4.

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Ejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I fay, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is

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Paraphrafe on the Collect for

O Lord we beseech thee to grant us thy help and protection that by thy merciful affiftance we may be releafed from the dominion of Sin which is a woeful im

Juftly is the Chriftian Life compared to a Race, because we diligently purfue a certain regular courfe, in order to reach the Goal of Happiness. And we are let and hindered in running this Race by the weight of worldly cares and affections, and the Sin which doth most eafily befet us. By this Collect therefore we are taught where to apply for help and deliverance under thefe difficulties.

Let your Moderation be known, &c. The Moderation hereby recommended, is fuch a Meeknefs and

the fourth Sunday in Advent.
pediment to us in the courfe of our duty. Grant this
for the merits of Jefus Christ, to whom with thee and
the Holy Spirit be afcribed all Honour and Glory for ever.

calm Composure of Mind, fuch a Candour and Lenity of Temper, as will difpofe us not too rigorously to exaft even our juft Right, nor to be impatient in fuffering wrong but to treat even our Enemies with forbearance, where the injuries they do us are of a private nature and never to let difference of perfuafion deftroy our Chriftian Charity; because the Day is coming, when, our Judge Chrift Jefus fhall make full amends for all our condefcenfions, and reward all our patience.

at hand. Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and fupplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which paffeth all understanding, fhall keep your hearts and minds through Chrift Jefus.

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The Gofpel. S. John 1. 19.

HIS is the record of John, when the Jews fent Priests and

$T Levites from Jerufalem, to ask him, Who art thou? And

he confeffed and denied not; but confeffed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him what then? Art thou Elias? and he faith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then faid they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an anfwer to them that fent us. What sayeft thou of thyfelf? He faid, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ftraight the way of the Lord, as faid the prophet Efaias: and they which were fent, were of the Pharifees. And they afked him, and faid unto him, Why baptizeft thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that Prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among know not. whom He it is who coming after me, is preferred before me, whofe fhoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara, beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

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The Nativity of our Lord, or the + Birth-day of CHRIST, commonly called Christmas-day.

Becareful for nothing, &c. It is not from hence to be fuppofed that we are to lay afide all care and concern about worldly Things; but only that we muft not indulge fuch an immoderate anxiety as will make us fretful and reftlefs, fo as to be distrustful of Providence, and negligent of the one Thing needful.

This is the Record of John, &c. It is plain from this Meffage of the Jews that at that Time they expected the coming of the Meffiah; and that they were to be Baptized, either by him or fome of his Retinue, according to that Prophecy of Zacharias, chap, xiii. 1.

He said I am the Voice, &c. This anfwer of the

Baptift according to the prophecy of Ifaiah is in al lufion to a practice amongst the Eastern Kings; who in cafe of any public entry or proceffion were used to fend an Herald or Harbinger to give notice of their coming, and clear the Road before them.

+ As Chrift Jefus was born for us of a pure Virgin, fo muft we alfo be born again from a ftate of Sin and Corruption to a Life of Righteoufnefs and true Holinefs. And this we are taught is to be effected through the Adoption and Grace, and daily renewing of God's Holy Spirit which he has promised to all that fincerely afk it.

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The Collect.

Lmighty God who hast given us thy only begotten Son to 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, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through the fame our Lord Jefus Chrift, who liveth and reigneth with thee, and the fame Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

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OD, who at fundry times, and in divers manners fpake in 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 alfo he made the worlds. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the exprefs image of his perfon, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our fins, fat down on the right hand of the majefty on high: Being made fo much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels faid 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 fhall 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

Paraphrafe on the Collect for Christmas-Day.

Moft mighty God, who didft caufe thy beloved Son Jefus Chrift to take human Nature up in him, and as at this Seafon to be born of the Virgin Mary; grant that we being born again from Sin to a Life of Righteousness, and through thy favour admitted to partake

Hath in thefe laft Days, &c. How much reafon have we to praife God, that we have thus the advantage of living under a fo much more perfect Difpenfation than our Forefathers, and enjoy the Bledlings of the Gospel!

• When he bringeth in the firft begotten, &c. This

in the privileges of thy Children, may by the help of thy Spirit, be daily reformed in our difpofitions, through the fame Jefus Chrift, who reigneth with thee and the fame Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever.

paffage in particular, as well as this whole Epiftle in general, tends to prove the Divinity and Majelty of our Redeemer; and fhews at once the unspeakable Love of God in our Redemption, and our indifpenfible obligation to ferve and obey fo powerful, fo kind a Benefactor.

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 haft 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 fhall perish, but thou remaineft; 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 fhall not fail.

The Gospel. S. John 1. 1.

IN the wad was God.' The fame was in the be

N the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word

ginning 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 fame came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was fent 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

In the beginning was the Word, c. The three firil Verfes of this Go.pel are fuch an evident proof of our Saviour's Divinity, that the moft fubtle argumentation can hardly evade it. But what is too hard for prejudice and prepoffeffion!

And the light fineth in Darkness, &c. Chrift was a Light to 1 ghen Mankind, who were in the Darknefs of Sin and Ignorance, with the Knowledge

of the Gospel. But that very Ignorance and Wickednefs which rendered such a Revelation neceffary, is the unhappy caufe why to many have rejected it. Let us take heed therefore that we be not like thofe of whom St. Paul faith, the God of this World hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, left the glor ous Gospel of Chrift, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Cor. 4. 4.

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 and truth.

grace

+ Saint Stephen's Day.

The Collect.

Rant, O Lord, that in all our fufferings here upon earth,

G for the teftimony of thy truth, we may ftedfaftly look up Ꮐ

to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that fhall be revealed; and being filled with the holy Ghoft, may learn to love and blefs our perfecutors by the example of thy firft Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O bleffed Jefus, who ftandeft at the right hand of God, to fuccour all thofe that fuffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen. Then fhall follow the Collect for the Nativity, which shall be faid continually unto New-years Eve.

For the Epiftle. A&ts 7. 55.

Stephen being full of the holy Ghoft, looked up fedfaftly

into heaven, ‡ and saw the glory of God, and Jefus standing on the right hand of God, and faid, Behold, I fee 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 caft him out of the city, and ftoned him; and the witneffes laid down their clothes at a Paraphrafe on the Collect for St. Stephen's Day.

Give us Grace, O Lord, under all our Perfecutions for the Gospel, to look up with Faith to that eternal Glory which thou haft promised to every Chriftian fufferer; and enable us alfo by thy Spirit, after the ex

The Festival of St. Stephen ftands firit after that of our Saviour's Nativity, because he was the first after his divine Mafter that fuffered Martyrdom for the profeffion of Christianity: and from his example we are taught that Faith in the Glory which shall be revealed is the best fupport under all our afflictions, and that to love and blejs our Perfecutors is a fure proof of a truly Christian difpofition.

And Jaw the glory of God, &c. Well might St. paul define Faith to be the fubftance of Things hop ed

ample of St. Stephen, to pray for our greatest Enemies to thee, O Chrift, who art a continual Interceffor for thy People at the right hand of God.

for, and the evidence of Things not Jeen. Hebr. xi. 1. fince it is indeed the Eye of the Mind, which gives us a clear view of Things diftant and invifible. And the glorious profpect which St. Stephen thus enjoyed under his Martyrdom, will be the principal comfort and fupport of every fincere Christian, amidst all the Afflictions of this World, as well as in his departure out of it. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift.

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