God." The Lord loved them still for all the ages of rébellion, of idolatry, of formal law keeping; H e pitied t h em in their cap- tivity, in all their chastisements so richly deserved, till in His tender heartedness He "gave His only begotten Son, that who- soever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life;" (b) in t he visit of "the Dayspring, the Sunrise, from on high," Jesus "the Light of the world" (Jno. 8:12), "the Sun of Righteousness" (Mai. 4: 2), "the Day Star (2 Pet. 1:19), "the Bright and Morning Star" (Rev. 22:16), "the Star out of Jacob" (Num. 24:17); (c) to light up the darkness for t h em t h at "sit" n ot know- ing which way to go through deathful shad-
ows, and so "to guide their feet In the way of peace." H ow beautiful, how desirable, how true. H a ve you made way for J e s u s? Are your sins remitted? H a ve you seen the light? Are your feet in the Way of peace? Ah, then, thank God for His "ten- der mercies." III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHILD. 2. "He grew," in s t a t u re and intellect. 2. "He waxed 1 strong," in spirit, and c h a r- acter. 3 .i He withdrew from the world to the wilderness, t h at he might be independ- ent, and uncontaminated, stouthearted, and alone with God, thus preparing Himself to prepare the people.
The Birth of Jesus.
Lesson III.—January 21.
Luke 2: 1-20.
I. PREDICTIONS OF THE ADVENT. 1. The Incarnation was the end of cre- ation, "The one far -off divine event Toward which the whole creation moved." The Creator formed the creature t h at H e might take the form of the creature (Phil. 2:5-8). I t is the glory of the Creator t h us to glorify the creature, t h at it might be the glory of the creature to glorify the Creator (Luke 2:14, 11; Eph. 3:21). The old creation was t h at the new creation might be. The last act of the old formed the first Adam, the first a ct of the n ew the last Adam. 2. The theme of the prophet was the hope of the fathers, a Kinsman and Redeemer. The Seed to bruise Satan was the hope of Ad am (Gen. 3:15); Ab r a h am saw His day and w a s glad (Gen. 26:4; Jno. 8:56): Jacob predicted Shiloh, the scepter bearer of J u d ah (Gen. 49:10); David exulted in a lineal descendant and heir to establish his throne forever (1 Sam. 7:12, 18-20); Daniel fixt the time when H e should come (Dan. 9:25); a nd Micah the place whence H e should come, (v. 12) Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). II. THE DUE TIME. 1. The time specified from the beginning (Eph. 8:9-11; Gal. 4:4) a nd set in Daniel a t the end of his 69th "week" (Dan. 9:25). Rome, the 4th beast (Dan. 7:7) was gorged with the prey, a nd the David destined to destroy him (1 Sam. 7:34-36) w as born. "It was the calm and silent night, Seven hundred years and fifty-three H ad Rome been growing up to might And now was queen of land and sea." 2. It was a time of peace. A fit time for the Prince of Peace, a calm, a truce, an armistice, for establishing and offering t e r ms of lasting peace. "No sound w a s heard of clashing wars— . Peaee brooded o'er the hushed domain; Apollo, Pallas, Jove, and Mars Held undisturbed their ancient reign, In the solemn midnight Centuries ago." III. THE WORLD'S PREPARATION FOR THE ADVENT. 1. The myriad lines converging on Calvary and radiating f r om Pentecost are wonders of divine providence. 2. One power, Rome, ruled the nations, intercourse was ready and safe. 3. One language, the Greek, pervaded society, a language fitted, refined and flu- ent, to convey the w a t e rs of life. 4. Jews, mediators of salvation (Jno. 4:22), were dis-
persed everywhere, with their synagogues,- open to Gentiles, where the. Septuagint, the Old T e s t ame nt in Greek, intelligible to all, was read and expounded. 5. Power, wealth, pleasure; intellectual culture, statesmanship, philosophy, a r t; moral discourse, natural re- ligion, " t he law," had demonstrably failed to deliver Gentile or Jew from t h e ir "estate of sin and misery." 6. The world was in moral and spiritual darkness and despair. Its best and wisest longed hopelessly for "God (if there were a God), or some man sent from God to give them light," so said one of them. "Ah! carry back thy ken, What, some two thousand years! Survey The world as it was then. Like ours, it looked in outward air, Its head was clear and t r u e; Sumptuous its clothing, rich its fare; No pause its action knew. Stout was its arm, each thew a nd bone Seemed puissant and alive— But ah! its heart, its' h e a rt was stone, And so it could not thrive. , On t h at hard Roman world disgust And secret loathing fell, -• And weariness and sated lust Made h uman life a hell." IV. PORTENTS OF THE ADVENT. 1. Signs among the stars of heaven; flit- tings here and there of angel messengers; anxious expectations amo ng men; outbursts of prophetic rhapsodies, all signified the a p- proach of some mighty change. The late Dr. N. We st has eloquently described these portents in t he following paragraph, full of suggestion for the teacher: 2. " T he birth of J e s us Christ, t h at m e m- orable time when t he temple -of J a n us was shut, and the Roman world was at peace, men dwelling in good will toward each other, a nd 'Glory to God in the highest' was sung and the salute of 'Peace on earth, to men of good will,' w a s poured out from on high. It was t h at notable t i me when Augustus Caesar enrolled the world, and the shepherds were tending their flocks by night, and Glory flamed in the sky, and Gabriel, who gave the prediction to Daniel 500 years be- fore, brought out his heavenly orchestra and choir and made the welkin vibrate as he played the overture of Messhiach Nagid, Messiah the Prince (Dan. 9:25), Gloria in Excelsis; t h at long to be r emem- bered year when the Star of Bethlehem
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