Imatges de pÓgina


1 TIM. iii. 16. God was manifested in the flesh.

BLESSED be thy name, O thou who madest heaven and earth, and all things that are therein, that thou still continuest to preside over and to bless the works which thou hast made. Blessed be thy name, that, in the exercise of this thy fatherly care, thou hast again permitted me to see the light of day; and that, in health of body and soundness of mind, I am now called to raise to thy throne, with all living things, my morning sacrifice of joyfulness and


But blessed still more be thy holy name, that thou, who daily makest the outgoings of the morning to rejoice over us, hast been pleased to bless this world with a far higher illumination, adapted to the high nature of the beings who inhabit it; and that, as light arose at thy com

mand over the darkness of chaos, thou hast also made the day-spring from on high to arise over the benighted habitations of mankind, and hast shed, by the mission of thy beloved Son, a great light upon them who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death.

How wonderful, O Lord, have been the dispensations of thy providence towards the children of men! When we had fallen from that state of primitive holiness in which we were created, and had involved ourselves in guilt and misery, thou didst graciously give the promise, "that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. When Abraham was called to be the father of believers, his calling was consecrated by the annunciation, "that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed;" and at last, when the prophecy was more fully disclosed, thou wast pleased to signify, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son, and that his name should be Emmanuel.

In mercy, and in great wisdom, thou wast pleased, during many ages, to prepare mankind for this wonderful manifestation. Prophets and righteous men saw afar off the day of Messiah and were glad;


and, amidst the various revolutions of this widelypeopled earth, thou wast silently preparing mankind for that great day, when the arm of the Lord should be revealed, and when all flesh should bless thy holy name.

At length, O God, the fulness of the time arrived, and over the midnight plains, where thy holy child Jesus was born, a multitude of the heavenly host was heard singing, 66 Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will to men."

"Will God in very deed dwell with man upon the earth?" Yes, blessed be thy name, that he, who came in the name of the Lord to save us, took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham,-that he was first revealed, not in the ensigns of human dominion, but wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and lying in a manger,-and that our human nature has been thus consecrated and ennobled, by having been assumed by him who is the Prince of Life.

Recollecting this wonderful event, I desire this morning, O my God, to take up the thanksgivings of thy servants of old, and to say, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God

my Saviour, for he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call her blessed. For he that is mighty hath done great things, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him, from generation to generation. He hath showed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy. As he spake to our Father, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."

Blessed, O Lord, be thy name, that though we who dwell upon this footstool of thy throne are far removed from the sight of thy glory, thou hast condescended to unite us to thyself, by the incarnation of thy Son,-that thou hast thus taught us

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to look above our connexion with mere earthly objects to that fellowship in which we stand with the Fountain of all good,—and hast called us to repose in thy paternal love, because through him who was bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, thou art now indeed " our Father who art in heaven."

Blessed also be thy name, that, though we all like sheep have gone astray, thou hast thus been pleased to signify, that it is the purpose of thy mercy to reclaim us to thy fold; that even our manifold transgressions cannot cut us off for ever from thy favour; but that, having sent thy beloved Son to take upon him our nature, thou wilt, for his sake, look in pity on our sinful estate, and again breathe into our dry bones the breath of life.

Blessed above all be thy name, that, by the same great manifestation, thou hast informed us that this is not our final home; but that, as we are now united to God by the incarnation of his Son, our dust shall be precious in thy sight, even amidst the ruins of our frame; and that, as he who came in the name of the Lord to save us is now at thy right hand, they also who believe in him shall be with him for


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