wine but filled with the Holy Spirit" (Eph. 5.18) , a Nazarlte separated and consecrat- ed to Jehovah (Num. ,6:2; Jdg. 13:7) wh at more could a f a t h er ask? P r e - n a t a l r e g e n- eration is probably nbt so infrequent as we might imagine. Men are not born again through faith, b ut to faith. F a t h i™not fhe . cause, but the sign of life. They are some- times, a t least, born f r om above (Jno. 3 3) t} ? e . £ ? p i r i t b e f o r e they are born in the flesh. L et parents take to the mercy seat ? . r a V v 0 1 ; t h e «»born. J. "Many shall he turn." T h at is the greatest work in the world a nd worthy of the greatest m an (Matt. 11:11), and "they that turn many to right- eousness shall shine as the brightness of the •firmament" (Dan.. 12:£), though they may not amo ng the earthly glories k.'"Go be- tore H e s h o u ld be the messenger of the Messenger of the Covenant" (MalT 3-1) rhH.S. £ h i & h ? J honor t h an to herald Christ to the world. I. "In the spirit and P ™ e r of Elijah." John was Elijah ( M^S iintl' 17 !!\ Elijah (Jno. 1:21; t f t « T^r i V ' f J o h n ' E " J a h, called apos- tate Israel to repentance and boldly de- pounced j u d gme nt against them. T h at thev did not turn showed ,that they were not , r h?n y K f ° r 1**55 yet, when he comes they shall be ready (Psa. 110:3), and he shall pre- P a r ® , . t h e way for the Second coming, m. p f n i t e n t people, broken and Lord s ' o n I y w i u a n d c a n receive the III. ZACHARIAS DOUBTS. 1. Like Thomas, he would not believe with- out seeing (Jno, 20:25). EVen godly men ™ a y be lacking in faith. H e looked a t his ¡ S i L ? ^ ( S o n f - , 4:19 > instead of to the Living God. H e looked to nature, not to the gaS&Ev. , r w , l t h G o d i nothing shall be Im- PO«»lble" (Luke 1:37). 2. He came short of his f a t h er A b r a h am in this (Rom. 4-20 21)- zacharias was like his mother Sarah, who 5 au f„ h « d incredulously a t the promise (Gen. 18.12-14). 3. The angel's rebuke. "I am," etc. zacharias had evidence enough in the presence of Gabriel t h at he was the mighty hero, as his name implies, of the Mighty » A W f i a s w e have a self-evident Word ? f , . G ° d , in Christ and the Bible, and un- belief is inexcusable. 4. The sign given. shalt be dumb." He became deaf y - J s ' dumb. T h is is the penalty of doubt. T h at the doubter neither receives n ° r Proclaims the glad tidings. It is a pity t h at good men and believing men do not always receive the full gospel, but ques- tion whether some things are not too good and too great to be true, whereas their very goodness and wondrousness are proofs of their divmeness. Wh at man would not dream God prepares (1 Cor. 2:9).
ISmU» 6:17) - d o u b t "those angel faces smile ' on us unseen, especially when we are ministering a t the altar ®?f incense f l Fear fell upon him." Even just and pious t o d r e a d supernatural ma n i- a , a r f n ° t- even under grace, free from Adam's impulse to hide ourselves ^ ' h % a P p r 0 £ 5 h of the Lord or His angels i w a r e s o o n to be ushered into their unveiled presence, and should famil- iarise ourselves with the unseen. "Set your & 0n , t h i n 9 S • a b o v e ;" remember heaven has only good in store for us who love the Lord of angels. (2) The message, a. Fear not." T h at is heaven's first wo r t, its salutation to the children of God (Gen ' a 5: ? : 10112 • Matt.,28:5; L u ke 1:13; L30 : Acts 27:24; Mark 6:50; Rev. 1:17). b. "Thy prayer was heard" (Greek). Because of his age, Zacharias had ceased to hope and so to pray f or a son. Gabriel said, "Thy K 5 S 2 o f t e n made, so long abandoned, m i l ls n o w to be answered." Blessed t r u t h! there are surprises in s t o r e - keep on praying to the end." c. "Shall th .ee a son." A son he asked and the i i S? . d ld , far : m o r e exceedingly above all that he asked or thought" (Eph. 3:20) in giving such a son. d. "John," i e Je- hovah's-grace." John was a gift' of' grace to announce God's . Son, His greatest grace gr „ a ?f o f G o d that bringeth salva- mil^J i, 2:11) - e - J °y a nd gladness." Gladness here means exuberant, exultant joy. Wh at if aU parents had such an a s- surance? f. "Rejoice;" t h at others should r e- joice in their sons and their daughters, borne gladden their parents who sadden others; some sadden their parents who gladden others, g. "Great in the sight of the Lord." T h at would not satisfy all p a r- ents. Many prefer t h at their children should be great in the world's sight. B ut those t h at are great in men's eyes are often very small in God's sight; a nd most great in L,od s sight a re very small in ma n 's judg- S f i i , i B u i "'t , is „. a very small thing," says h " w i 1 - C o i " f : 3 ) ' to be judged by men. h. Wine and strong drink." A mother with a son a sot told the writer t h at she some- times doubted whether she would have nursed him so carefully through a critical illness of his infancy had she known w h at he would become. L et parents, since they have not Zacharias' assurance, by faith piety, and prayer, bring up their children n the f e ar of the Lord with boundless hope in ±lim, and strive against wine and strong drink and every other intoxicant of youth- rul souls. T o ur son's destiny is mostlv in your own hands. I. "Filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb." The Greek means from before his birth. A pre-natal assurance t h at he shall "be not drunk with N o
The Birth of John
Lessons II.— Luke 1; 57-80.
. THE BIRTH. 1. "The full time." God's word comes to pass. T he promised child came, and a son. All the precious promises are in embryo. They will yet come to the birth. Only wait. 2. The welcome. "They rejoiced." Nowa- days bearing, not barrenness, is a "reproach" (v. 25). Many little ones get a cold wel- come. We re it not for sin there would be as great rejoicing at the birth of a child as there is among the angels at the birth of souls (Luke 15:10), for it would be born
t o ^ f n f ' e ss happiness to add to the multi- tude of God's pure and holy creation. But this is a pleasant picture, the neighbors rejoicing, and shows the grace of t h at sim- ple and sincere sympathy which should ex- ist amo ng us all. 3. The circumcision. Chil- dren are the "heritage of the Lord" (127-3) and should be acknowledged as His and ¿>ubliely with a firm faith that claims the promise (Acts 2:39). 5 Th* naming. (1) First give the child to the Lord! and then give the name to the child re- ligiously, as an (act of faith, .that it m ay be
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