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ser m.in a condition of hope, and in a fair capacity of hap
piness; from thence is to be dated a return of joy into this region of disconfolatenefs. 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 infuperable power of fin; from having our bodies irrecoverably diffolved by corruption, and our fouls immersed into that fecond more ghastly death of perpetual incurable anguish.
It is in effect therefore the birth-day of the world; the beginning of a new, better, eternal life to men, (offered to 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 ineftimable, in duration immense; fo in some correspondence should our joy be very intense, very ef
fule, very stable ; the contemplation of them should Xarī de infuse somewhat of that unspeakable joy, whereof St. P. 1.8. Peter fpeaketh ; we mould be filled (according to Rom. xv. St. Paul's expression) with all joy and peace in be
lieving them; we should hold fast (as the Apostle to Hlco..... 6.the Hebrews adviseth) the confidence and rejoicing of
hope, grounded on them, firm to the end.
fo great causes of joy, are we not very stupid, are we not itrangely cross and perverse, if we neglect fo pleasant a duty ?
To conclude : Of all the days that rise upon us, this undoubtedly is the queun, crowned by God's
* It is the birth-clay of the Church. Generatio eniin Chrifti origo eft populi Christiani, et natalis capitis natalis ett corporis. . P. Leo de Nat, Serm. 6.
Sicut cuin Chrifto in passione crucifixi, in resurrectione resuscitati, in aicensione al dextram Patris collocati, ita cum ipfo fumus in hac nativitate congeniti. lin.
oin hand with sovereign blessings ; God hath avowed s E R M. it to be the day of his peculiar making, and therefore of our special rejoicing; for thus of old the inspired Psalmist did teach and exhort us to keep Pfal. cxviii. Christmas : This is the day, which the Lord hath made ; Matt. xxi. let us rejoice aild be glad therein.
9. 42. Acts iv. 11. 1 Pet. il. 7.
The Sufferings of Christ foretold in the Old
Acts iii. 18.
But those things, which God before had shewed by the
mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath fo fulfilled. ANY good arguments there are, different ins ER M.
kind, which conspire to persuade the truth of our Religion ; such as are the intrinsic reasonableness, excellency, and perfection of its doctrine; the miraculous works performed in attestation thereto; the special favour of Providence declared in the fup. port and propagation thereof : but upon no other ground do the Scriptures so much build its truth, and our obligation to embrace it, as upon the exact correspondence and conformity thereof to all the ancient Scriptures, which did foreshew or foretell its revelation and introduction into the world; to those especially which described the personal characters, circumstances, and performances of our Lord : to this our Lord, in his discourses and disputes with incredulous people, referred them ; Search the Scriptures, John v. 39. Laid he, because in them ye expeet to have eternal life;
SER M.(that is, to find the true way of saving truth leading
thereto,) and those are they which testify of me : by this
he instructed and convinced his Disciples ; beginning Luke xxiv. from Moses and from all the Prophets, he expounded unto 37. 1. 70. them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself : xxiv. 44. and, These (said he to them prelently before his de
parture) are the words, which I spake unto youl, zehile I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me: this the Apostles, in all their preaching, (whereby they taught, proved, and
persuaded the Christian doctrine,) did chiefly inlist Aas iii. 22, upon ; Mofes, faith St. Peter, truly said unto the Fa
thers, yea, and all the Prophets from Samuel, and those
that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likervise Acts x. 43.foretold of ihese days; and, To him, faith he again, xiii . 27; *give all the Prophets witness, that through his name who
soever believeth in him Jhall receive remission of sins. John i. 45. And of St. Paul it is said, that he mightily convinced 28. xxvii. the Jews-shewing by the Scriptures, that Jesus was the
Christ; and—be expounded, and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the Law of Mofes, and out of the Prophets : thus the chief Apostles and founders of our religion in their public discourses ; and in their Epistles they observe the same method ; as particularly allerting Christian doctrines and duties by the testimonies of prophe
tical Scriptures, fo generally affirming our Religion 2 Pet. i. 10. to be chiefly grounded on them ; of which salvation
(faith St. Peter, concerning the salvation exhibited by the Gospel) the Prophets did inquire, and search diligently, who prophesied of the grace to come unto you ; and (in regard to the conviction of others) he seems to prefer the attestation of this kind before the fpecial revelation immediately made to the Apostles ;
for having spoken of it, he subjoins, xai ixqueev Breuna 2 Pet. i. 19. 6tepov od zapopatirèv aéyou. IVe have also a more sure
word of prophecy, whereunto ve do well, that ye do take beed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until