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+ The Epiphany, or the Manifeftation of Chrift to the Gentiles. The Collect.

God, who by the leading of a ftar didst manifeft thy only begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead, through Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen. The Epiftle. Ephef. 3. 1.

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OR this caufe, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles; if ye have heard of the difpenfation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Chrift) which in other ages was not made known unto the fons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit.* That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the fame body, and partakers of his promife in Chrift, by the Gospel whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am lefs than the leaft of all faints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unfearchable riches of Chrift; and to make all men fee what is the fellow fhip of the mystery, which

Paraphrafe on the Collect for the Epiphany.

O God, who by the direction of a Star, didft difcover thy Son Jefus Chrift to the Eastern Philofophers, who were the first Fruits of the Gentiles; grant that we vho know thee now, tho imperfectly, through the glafs

The Epiphany is a Festival in which we have paticular reafon to Rejoice. For to ufe St. Paul's expreffion, 1 t us remember that we being in Time paft Gentiles in the Flesh, were then without Chrift, being Aliens from the Commonwealth of Ifrael, and firangers from the Covenants of Promije having no Hope, and without God in the World: but now in Chrift Jefus, we who fometimes were far off, are made nigh by the Blood of Chrift. The Wife men were conducted to Chrift by the leading of a Star, how much rather should we come unto him who are under the guidance of the marvellous Light of his Gof. pel! and how greatly does it become us to let our Light

of thy Revelation, may after this Life enjoy the perfect Happiness of thy immediate prefence when we thall fee thee as thou art and know thee as we are known, though Jefus Chrift.

fo fhine before Men, that they feeing our good Works may glorify our Father which is in Heaven.

That the Gentiles fhould be Fellow-Heirs, &c. Obferve here that it is not faid that the Gentiles fhould be admitted merely to the fame privileges which the Jews allowed to their Profelytes: but that through their belief of the Gofpel they fhould be equally Heirs with them of the fame heavenly Inheritance, Members with them of the fame Body, of which Chrift is the Head, and partakers in all the benefits of Chriflian Revelation; without fubmitting to the ceremonies of the Law of Mfes. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

from the beginning of the World hath been. hid in God, who created all things by Jefus Chrift: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purpofed in Chrift Jefus our Lord. † In whom we have boldnefs and accefs with confidence by the faith of him.

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The Gospel. S. Matth. 2. 1.

HEN Jefus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came § wifemen from the east to Jerufalem, faying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have feen his ftar in the caft, and are come to worship him. * When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerufalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priefts and fcribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Chrift fhould be born. And they faid unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the leaft among the princes of Juda: for out of thee fhall come a Governor that fhall rule my people Ifrael. Then Herod, when he had privily called

In whom we have boldness, &c. How can we fufficiently exprefs our Thankfulness to God that he has been pleafed not only to deliver us from the darknefs of Heathen Ignorance; but has permitted us to approach the Throne of Grace with humble confidence that our Prayers fhall be accepted through the Merits and interceffion of our Redeemer.

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fent to conduct them to the birth-place of the Mefial. And his being thus pleafed to make this Revelation to thefe, Gentile Sages feemed to fignify his intention of calling all Nations to the knowledge of the Gofper. A Mercy for which we also who were once without Light, can never be fufficiently thankful.

When Herod the King heard, c. That Herod § Wijemen. These Philofophers, in their own Coun- fhould be troubled on this occafion is not fo much to be try Language, were called Magi, and probably came wondered at, as he had no legal Title to the Crown of from Arabia, which lies Eaft from Judea. And as the Judea, and had acted with great Tyranny in his Govern Arabians were the Defcendents of Abraham by Ifhment; and might therefore be apt to fear a Revolt mael they might have a. traditional Knowledge of the of the Jews in favour of this long expected Meffiah promifed Melliah, preferved among them, as is evident But the Jews, no doubt, felt very different fenfations from the Words of the Arabian Prophet Balaam, There upon this News tho they were probably much agitated fhall come a Star out of Jacob, &c. And as Aftronomy was with the joyful hopes of deliverance from the dominion a Science probably much cultivated amongst the Ara- of the Romans, and of the happiness they expected to bians, as well as the Chaldeans, fo their Philofophers enjoy under the Reign of the Melliah, for little did they were likely much fooner to difcover, and judge of imagine that his Kingdom was not of this World. the defign, of that new remarkable Star which God

the wife-men, enquired of them diligently what time the ftar appeared. And he fent them to Bethlehem, and faid, Go, and search diligently for the young child, and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him alfo. When they had heard the king, they departed; and Îo, the ftar which they saw, in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they faw the ftar, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they faw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: And when they had opened their treafures, they prefented unto him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

* The first Sunday after the Epiphany.

The Collect.

Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee, and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and alfo may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the fame, through Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The Epiftle. Rom. 12. 1.

Befeech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, ‡ that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto

Paraphrafe on the Collea for the first Sunday after the Epiphany.

O Lord, gracioufly hear our humble petitions; and enable us clearly to understand our duty, and fincerely

And he fent them to Bethlehem, &c. How deep laid was the device of this Tyrant at once to impofe upon the fimplicity of these Philofophers, and to difcover the Habitation of the Prince of Life, and effect his cruel defigns against his life. But God, who bringeth the Counfels of the wicked to nought, by a fingular Providence defeated his malicious purposes, and has taught us by this example that no one can hurt whom he protects, and that therefore to fecure his favour, is moft to confult our own intereft.

and diligently to perform it. Grant this we befeech thee for the fake of Jesus Christ.

* We are hereby taught to acknowledge that it is of God alone that we are enabled to understand and perform our Duty.

That ye prefent, &c. God does not expect us, under the Gofpel, to come before him with Sacrifices of flain Beafts, but to dedicate our lives to his fervice in all holy obedience; which is better than all whole Burnt Offerings-a Sacrifice most worthy of reasonable Beings.

God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think, of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think foberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of Faith. § For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the fame office; fo we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

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The Gospel. S. Luke 2. 41.

And

OW his parents went to Jerufalem every year at the feast of the paffover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerufalem, after the custom of the feaft. when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jefus tarried behind in Jerufalem, and Jofeph and his mother knew not of it. But they fuppofing him to have been in the company, went a days journey, and they fought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerufalem, feeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, fitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and afking them quef

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For as we have many Members &c. St. Paul in this paffage compares the Chriftian Church, to the human Body, in which, as he fays elsewhere, Chrift refembles the Head, as he is the Head of the Church Therefore as all parts of the human Body, whether high or low, whether more or less active or honourable, ftill bear a relation to each other, and are united under one Head: So is it in the Chriftian Church; in which though fome are placed in higher, fome in lower stations of life, fome have greater or leffer abilities than others; yet each is related to the whole, and should confider, that, whatever advantages he enjoys above the rest, they are the gift of God and are therefore fo far from being a reafon for Pride, that they call for fo much the greater diligence, and activity in the employment of them for the benefit of others.

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And when he was twelve Years old, &c. Obferve here the care which our Lord's reputed Parents took to inftil into his Mind an early regard for Religion, according to the precepts of the Law of Mofes, Exod. xxiv. 23. Deut. xvi. 16. How much is it to be wished that all Parents would learn from this Example to bring up their Children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; not only by inftructing them in words, but also leading them by their own practice, in the discharge of their duty,

*They found him in the Temple, &c. It feems as if Jefus had prefented himself to the Doctors to be cate chifed: and probably took occafion at this Time, modeftly to correct fome of the Errors which had then crept into the Jewish Church. Hence he might juftly be faid to be about his Father's Bufinefs.

tions. And all that heard him, were aftonished at his underftanding and anfwers. And when they faw him, they were amazed: and his mother faid unto him, Son, why haft thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have fought thee forrowing. And he faid unto them, How is it that ye fought me wift ye not that I must be about my Fathers business? And they understood not this faying which he fpake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was fubject unto them: but his mother kept all these fayings in her heart. And Jefus increased in wisdom and ftature, and in favour with God and man.

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Lmighty and everlafting God, who doft govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the fupplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life, through Jefus Chrift our Lord.

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Amen.

12.6.

The Epifle. Rom. 12. 6.

Aving then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophefy according to the proportion of faith; or miniftry, let us wait on our miniftering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with fimplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that fheweth mercy, with chearfulness. Let love be without diffimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to Paraphrafe on the Collett for the fecond Sunday after the Epiphany. All powerful and eternal God, who ruleft over all which is fuperior to all worldly Comforts, through Jefus Things vifible and invifible, gracioufly hear our Pray- Christ our Lord. ers, and give us, through Life, that peace of Mind

↑ And was subject unto them, &c. If the Saviour of the World paid a dutiful obedience to thofe who were only his reputed Parents: how much stronger an obligation lies upon us to be fubject to thofe from whom under Heaven we derive our being and fupport.

Let us obferve here that it is of God's Mercies in Christ Jefus that our Petitions are heard: and that the Peace of Mind which flows from the practice of Reli

gion, is that which is most worthy of our puriuit in

this World.

hortation to fuch as are Members of the Chriftian Having then Gifts differing, Jr. This is an ExChurch, not to envy thofe who are placed in ftations above them, nor despise those who are below them : but for each, according to his abilities, faithfully and diligently to difcharge the office appointed him for the benefit of those whom it concerns,

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