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Isa. ix. 3.
SERM. memorated with joyous festivity? Behold a Prince born LXXV. to all the world! a Prince undertaking to nule man[s. xi. 2. kind with sweetest clemency and exact justice; a Prince Psal. xlv. &
bringing with him all peace and prosperity; in whose days Jer. xxiii. 6. Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; who
shall protect us in assured rest and safety; shall secure us from all danger and mischief; shall achieve most gallant and glorious exploits in our behalf; shall vanquish all the enemies of our welfare; shall rescue us from the worst
slaveries and mischiefs ; shall settle us in a most free and Luke i. 71, happy state ; he who bringeth salvation from our enemies, 74, 75.
and from the hands of all that hate us ; that, being delivered from the hands of our enemies, we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all
the days of our life. Now therefore it is seasonable to cry Rev. xix; out, Allelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth ; let 6, 7, xi. 15.
us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him.
May victory worthily beget exultation ? See the invinRev. vi. 2. cible Warrior doth issue forth into the field, conquering Lukexi.22, and to conquer : he that shall baffle and rifle the strong one,
our formidable adversary; that shall rout all the forces of (John vi. 33.)
hell, and triumph over the powers of darkness; that utterly shall defeat sin, and slay death itself; that shall subdue the world, and lay all things prostrate at his feet; behold the Captain of our salvation, arrayed with glorious humili
ty, and armed with a mighty patience : see, the great blow 1 John iii. is struck, at which the infernal powers do stagger; the devil's Rom. xvi. pride and envy are abased, all the enemies are amazed, are
daunted, are confounded at his presence; they cannot stand, they break, they scatter, they flee before him.
Is a proclamation of peace, after rueful wars, to be Eph. ii. 17. solemnized with alacrity ? Behold then everlasting peace
between heaven and earth, a general peace among men, a sound peace between each good man and himself are set
tled and published; the illustrious herald, the noble host(Isa.Ivii. 2.) age of them is arrived; the Prince of peace himself doth Acts. 4. 36. bring all peace unto us.
Is satisfaction of desire and hope very pleasant ? Behold
Col. ij. 15.
Isa. ix. 6.
Luke iv. 18.
the desire of all nations, the expectation of Israel, he for SERM. whom the whole creation groaned, is come.
LXXV. Is recovery of liberty delectable to poor slaves and captives ? Behold the Redeemer is come out of Sion; the precious ransom, sufficient to purchase the freedom of many worlds, is laid down; unblemished innocence, purity, and perfection appearing in human nature, have procured a releasement for us; have unlocked the prison of sin detaining (Gal. ii. us, have knocked off the shackles of guilt sorely pinching 22.) and galling our consciences; have wrested us from the hands of those proud masters, who claimed a right, who exercised a most tyrannous power over us 9; he is come,
that proclaimeth liberty to the captives, and opening of the pri- Isa. lxi. 1. son to them that are bound; the time is come, of which the prophet foretold, The ransomed of the Lord shall return, Isa. xxxv. and come to Sion with songs, and everlasting
joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness ; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Is an overture of health acceptable to sick and languish. Luke x. 33. ing persons ? Behold the great Physician, endued with admirable skill, and furnished with infallible remedies, is come, to cure us of our maladies, and ease us of our 1 Pet. ii. 24 pains; to bind up our wounds, and to pour in balm (the most sovereign balm of his own blood) into them; to free us, not only from all mortiferous diseases, but from mortality itself: he, who was sent to bind up and heal the Isa. lxi
Luke iv.18. broken hearted; he, who himself took our infirmities, and Isa. liii. 4 bare our sicknesses ; he, of whom the Prophet (in relation Matt
. viii. to corporal, and much more to spiritual infirmities) did foretel ;-God will come and save you ; then the eyes of the Isa. XXXV. blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be un- Matt xi. 5. stopped ; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the Luke v. 17.
(John xii. tongue of the dumb shall sing ; he, whose art no disease can 400 resist, who is able to cure our most desperate, our most Acts x. 38.
Luke x.34.) inveterate distempers ; to heal the corruption and impo tency of our nature, to void the ignorances and errors of
Matt. ix. 12.
9 Nam superbia hostis antiqui non immerito sibi in omnes homines jus ty. rannicum vindicabat; nec indebito dominatu premebat, quos a mandato Dei spontaneos in obsequium sua voluntatis allexerat. Leo de Nat. Serm. 2.
SERM. our understanding, to correct the stupidity of our hearts, LXXV. the perverseness of our wills, the disorder of our affections, (Ezek. to mitigate our anguish of conscience, and cleanse our sores xxxvi: 26., of guilt; by various efficacious medicines, by the wholesome Eph.ii. 10.),
instructions of his doctrine, by the powerful inspirations of his grace, by the refreshing comforts of his Spirit, by the salutary virtue of his merits and sufferings.
Is mirth seasonable on the day of marriage ? Behold the greatest wedding that ever was is this day solemnized; heaven and earth are contracted; divinity is espoused to
humanity; a sacred, an indissoluble knot is tied between Joel ü. 16 God and man; The Bridegroom is come forth out of his
chamber, (verbum Dei de utero virginali,) clad in his nup
tial garment of flesh, and ready to wed the Church, his beRev. xix. 7. loved spouser ; Let us therefore be glad and rejoice; for
the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Is the access of a good friend to be received with cheerful gratulation ? Behold the dearest and best friend of all mankind (most able, most willing, most ready to perform all good offices, to impart wholesome advice, needful aid, sweet converse, and seasonable consolation) is arrived to visit us, to sojourn with us, to dwell in us for ever.
Is opportune relief grateful to persons in a forlorn condition, pinched with extreme want, or plunged in any hard distress ? Behold a merciful, a bountiful, a mighty Saviour and succourer, undertaking to comfort all that mourn, inviting all such to receive from him a plentiful supply for
their needs, a comfortable ease in their pressures, a happy "Έκραξι.
riddance from their calamities; who crieth aloud, If any one Joh. vii 37. thirsteth, let him come to me and drink; Come to me all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Is the sun-rising comfortable, after a tedious, darksome, Mal. iv. 2. and cold night ? See, the Sun of righteousness is risen with
Isa. lv. 1.
In natali Domini quasi in nuptiis spiritualibus sponsæ suæ Ecclesiæ Christus adjunctus est- tunc processit sponsus de thalamo suo, hoc est, verbum Dei de utero virginali. Ang. de temp. Serm. 2.
Η τασάς έν και ο λόγος ενυμφεύσατο την σάρκα. Ρrocl. in Εph. p. 1.
Luke iii. 6.
healing in his wings, dispensing all about his pleasant rays SERM. and kindly influences: The dayspring from on high hath LXXV: visited us; diffusing an universal light upon the souls of Luke i. 78. men, whereby the night of ignorance is dispelled, the spectres of error are vanished, the mists of doubt are scattered; whereby we clearly and assuredly discern all truths of importance to us, and worthy of our knowledge; concerning the nature and attributes, the works and providence, the will and pleasure of God; concerning ourselves, our nature and original, our duty and interest, our future state, and final doom: Our light is come, and the glory of the Isa. Ix. 1. Lord is risen upon us, the light of the world, the true light, 19. ix. 5. enlightening every man, by whose lustre all flesh may see i. 9. the salvation of God, and which guideth our feet in the way i. 79. of peace, doth visibly shine forth upon us.
Never indeed did heaven with so fair and serene a countenance smile upon earth, as then it did, when this (ásnę Rev. xxii. hapagos rai 033zırds,) bright and morning star did spring up above our horizon, bringing this goodly day; and with it shedding life and cheer among us.
From this auspicious day did commence the revocation of that fatal curse, by which we were expelled from paradise, adjudged to death, and committed to hell; from thence we became reinstated in a condition of hope, and in a fair capacity of happiness ; from thence is to be dated a return of joy into this region of disconsolateness. In this nativity mankind was born, or did revive from manifold deaths; from a legal, a moral, a natural, an eternal death ; from lying dead in irreparable guilt, and under an insuperable power of sin; from having our bodies irrecoverably dissolved by corruption, and our souls immersed into that second more ghastly death of perpetual incurableanguish.
It is in effect therefore the birthday of the world; the
• It is the birthday of the Church. Generatio enim Christi origo est populi Christiani, et natalis capitis patalis est corporis. P. Leo de Nat. Serm. 6.
Sicut cum Christo in passione crucifixi, in resurrectione resuscitati, in as. censione ad dextram Patris collocati, ita cum ipso sumus in hac nativitate congeniti. Ibid.
SERM. beginning of a new, better, eternal life to men, (offered to LXXV. all, and effectually bestowed on those who will embrace
it,) which we now do celebrate. All reason therefore we have to rejoice most heartily and most abundantly: as the goods thence accruing to us are in multitude innumerable, in quality inestimable, in duration immense ; so in some correspondence should our joy be very intense, very
effuse, very stable; the contemplation of them should inXaçã år- fuse somewhat of that unspeakable joy, whereof St. Peter i Peris. speaketh ; we should be filled, according to St. Paul's Rom. xv. expression, with all joy and peace in believing them; we Phil. i. 25. should hold fast, as the Apostle to the Hebrews adviseth, Heb. iii. 6. the confidence and rejoicing of hope, grounded on them,
firm to the end.
Having so many, so great causes of joy, are we not very stupid, are we not strangely cross and perverse, if we neglect so pleasant a duty ?
To conclude: Of all the days that rise upon us, this undoubtedly is the queen, crowned by God's own hand with sovereign blessings ; God hath avowed it to be the day of his peculiar making, and therefore of our special
rejoicing; for thus of old the inspired Psalmist did teach Psal. cxviii. and exhort us to keep Christmas: This is the day which Matt. xxi. the Lord hath made ; let us rejoice and be glad therein. 9, 42. 1 Pet. ii. 7. Acts iv. 11,
Rom. xii. 12.