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Make straight in the desert a highway for our God!
BEHOLD! I will send my messenger, And he shall
Behold! he shall come, saith JEHOVAH of hosts.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord ! make his paths straight! And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan, and were bap
and wild honey.
tized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers! who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for a father : for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees : therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me! And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo! the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of Gon descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo! a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
THERE was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born
when he is old ? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things ? Verily, verily, I unto thee, We speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believed not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things ? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
I am the good shepherd : the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall bear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.
AND they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and the disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily, I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you : and, lo! I am with you all the days, until the consummation of the age. Amen.
[Then the Minister, applying the water, shall say :)
Thou art hereby baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[Then placing his hands upon the person's head, he shall say :)
The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give
(Then shall be repeated the Lord's Prayer, all kneeling.)
Our Father who art in the heavens; Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so also upon the earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
[Then shall be sung a portion from the Word, if convenient.)
BENEDICTION. of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.