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“ of them that hear shall hearken. Hear “ ye deaf, and look ye blind that ye may “ see. And I will bring the blind by a 66 way that they knew not, I will lead them “ in paths that they have not known, I 66 will make darkness light before them, « and crooked things straight. They shall “ be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, 66 that say to the molten images, ye are 6 our gods.” Again he says, “Bring forth “ the blind people that have eyes, and the 6 deaf that have ears.” Can any language more strongly, more beautifully, more poetically, depicture the mental darkness of the people than this? But on the effect which Christianity had on the Gentiles, I shall enlarge more fully on a future occasion. The prophecy of Daniel, that Christ should come before the destruction of the second temple built by Herod; the expectation of



Simeon and Anna, that our Saviour was now about to come; the acknowledgment of Josephus, the great historian of the Jews, and of Simeon and Anna, that our Saviour actually was come, are all corroborating proofs, that sacred and profane history agree in the time and circumstances of the Mesa siah's appearance, and justify the advice of our blessed Master to the Jews: “Search “ the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye 6 have eternal life, and they are they which 66 testify of me.” Such are the observations I have thought proper to lay before you, as a preface merely to further information ; if I shall be thought by some, to refer too much to profane history, my apology is, that in this age of scepticism, whenever the authenticity of the holy Scriptures is called in question, “ the times require it.” I am well aware, at the same moment, that though historical ac



counts may amuse your fancy, improve your understandings, or inform your minds; that though the application of prophecies, may strengthen and confirm your faith; it is only from the sacred volume of the Gospel, that you can derive and collect incitements and injunctions, to the amelioration of your morals, the amendment of your hearts. From those inspired writings, let us study to acquire wisdom unto salvation ; let us read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of God's holy word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which he has given us in our Saviour, Jesus Christ.




And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, · which shall stand for an ensign of the peo

ple; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.

UTAVING, in a former discourse, re

marked on the time of the Messiah's coming, and shewn the coincidence of sacred and profane history in that event, I proceed now to relate and comment upon the Birth of Christ, and to shew how remarkably the prophecies are fulfilled, in the circumstances of himself, his incarnation, and his family. “In those days, (says 6 the text) there shall be a root out of


w the stem of Jesse,” or as we may translate it, a twig, or branch. Now this expression does not denote a tree in full health and vigour, throwing out many branches, but the old trunk or stump of a tree, with just life and strength sufficient to put forth this one shoot: such was the condition of this once royal family, when our Saviour was born in it. His reputed father, a man of so little consequence in society, as to be thrust into a stable, even when the partner of his journey stood in need of the tenderest offices of humanity. . At the same time, low as the parents of our Saviour were in the eye of the world, in the sight of Heaven they were eminently distinguished for piety towards God, and justice towards men. We all know with what implicit submission Joseph received the commands of the Most High, and the speedy acquiescence with which the Mother


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