Luke 2* The birth of Christ. (1-7) It is made known to the shepherds.(8-20) Christ presented in the temple. (21-24) Simeon prophesiesconcerning Jesus. (25-35) Anna prophesies concerning him.(36-40) Christ with the learned men in the temple. (41-52)1-7 The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forthhis Son, made of a woman, and made under the law. Thecircumstances of his birth were very mean. Christ was born at aninn; he came into the world to sojourn here for awhile, as at aninn, and to teach us to do likewise. We are become by sin likean outcast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one wasChrist. He well knew how unwilling we are to be meanly lodged,clothed, or fed; how we desire to have our children decoratedand indulged; how apt the poor are to envy the rich, and howprone the rich to disdain the poor. But when we by faith viewthe Son of God being made man and lying in a manger, our vanity,ambition, and envy are checked. We cannot, with this objectrightly before us, seek great things for ourselves or ourchildren. 8-20 Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they wereonly sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds,who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch overtheir flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when weare employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. LetGod have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest.God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah,redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory,but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest.God's goodwill in sending the Messiah, brought peace into thislower world. Peace is here put for all that good which flows tous from Christ's taking our nature upon him. This is a faithfulsaying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and wellworthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men,is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth. Theshepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. Theywere satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child,that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefullyobserved and thought upon all these things, which were so suitedto enliven her holy affections. We should be more delivered fromerrors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder thesethings in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that tous is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be gladtidings to all. 21-24 Our Lord Jesus was not born in sin, and did not need thatmortification of a corrupt nature, or that renewal untoholiness, which were signified by circumcision. This ordinancewas, in his case, a pledge of his future perfect obedience tothe whole law, in the midst of sufferings and temptations, evenunto death for us. At the end of forty days, Mary went up to thetemple to offer the appointed sacrifices for her purification.Joseph also presented the holy child Jesus, because, as afirst-born son, he was to be presented to the Lord, and redeemedaccording to the law. Let us present our children to the Lordwho gave them to us, beseeching him to redeem them from sin anddeath, and make them holy to himself. 25-35 The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon'shope, provided for his joy. Those who would see Christ must goto his temple. Here is a confession of his faith, that thisChild in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, thesalvation of God's appointing. He bids farewell to this world.How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in hisarms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable isthe death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peacewith his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that havewelcomed Christ, may welcome death. Joseph and Mary marvelled atthe things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows themlikewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. AndJesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; histruth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preachedword is still the touchstone of men's characters. The secretgood affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by theirembracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will berevealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by thethoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be asuffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because ofthe nearness of her relation and affection. 36-40 There was much evil then in the church, yet God left nothimself without witness. Anna always dwelt in, or at leastattended at, the temple. She was always in a praying spirit;gave herself to prayer, and in all things she served God. Thoseto whom Christ is made known, have great reason to thank theLord. She taught others concerning him. Let the example of thevenerable saints, Simeon and Anna, give courage to those whosehoary heads are, like theirs, a crown of glory, being found inthe way of righteousness. The lips soon to be silent in thegrave, should be showing forth the praises of the Redeemer. Inall things it became Christ to be made like unto his brethren,therefore he passed through infancy and childhood as otherchildren, yet without sin, and with manifest proofs of theDivine nature in him. By the Spirit of God all his facultiesperformed their offices in a manner not seen in any one else.Other children have foolishness bound in their hearts, whichappears in what they say or do, but he was filled with wisdom,by the influence of the Holy Ghost; every thing he said and did,was wisely said and wisely done, above his years. Other childrenshow the corruption of their nature; nothing but the grace ofGod was upon him. 41-52 It is for the honour of Christ that children shouldattend on public worship. His parents did not return till theyhad stayed all the seven days of the feast. It is well to stayto the end of an ordinance, as becomes those who say, It is goodto be here. Those that have lost their comforts in Christ, andthe evidences of their having a part in him, must bethinkthemselves where, and when, and how they lost them, and mustturn back again. Those that would recover their lostacquaintance with Christ, must go to the place in which he hasput his name; there they may hope to meet him. They found him insome part of the temple, where the doctors of the law kept theirschools; he was sitting there, hearkening to their instructions,proposing questions, and answering inquiries, with such wisdom,that those who heard were delighted with him. Young personsshould seek the knowledge of Divine truth, attend the ministryof the gospel, and ask such questions of their elders andteachers as may tend to increase their knowledge. Those who seekChrist in sorrow, shall find him with the greater joy. Know yenot that I ought to be in my Father's house; at my Father'swork; I must be about my Father's business. Herein is anexample; for it becomes the children of God, in conformity toChrist, to attend their heavenly Father's business, and make allother concerns give way to it. Though he was the Son of God, yethe was subject to his earthly parents; how then will the foolishand weak sons of men answer it, who are disobedient to theirparents? However we may neglect men's sayings, because they areobscure, yet we must not think so of God's sayings. That whichat first is dark, may afterwards become plain and easy. Thegreatest and wisest, those most eminent, may learn of thisadmirable and Divine Child, that it is the truest greatness ofsoul to know our own place and office; to deny ourselvesamusements and pleasures not consistent with our state andcalling.
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