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tion of Mary, the habe leaped in her womb ; and Elisabeth was
filled with the Holy Ghost :

42. And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art
thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

The heart of every Christian can testify that Jesus has
bestowed upon him infinite mercy, through his incarnation.

43. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord
should come to me ?

Those who are holy are always humble. Well may we
say, what are we^ that God should do such great things
for us ?

44. For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in
mine ears, the babe leapt in my womb for joy.

What are our feelings and affections toward the Lord,
when we hear of these things, and consider that all was
for our sakes.

45. And blessed is she that believed : for there shall be a per-
formance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

VER. 39 — 55.] ST. LUKE. 159

Let true Christians apply tliis to themselves. Blessed
is every believer, (iod cannot deceive him. As sure as
ever a man believes, Christ is his with all his benefits.

46. And Mary said. My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

This is joy indeed. Can we say this.'' Do we long to
say it .'' Let us consider what is the great wish of our hearts,
and how we can possibly be Christians, if our hearts are
not for Christ and his salvation.

48. For lie hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden ;
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Some of us make lowness of condition a pretence for
neglecting the soul, and say, it is a hard world with us ;
and thus we keep our souls chained down to it. Mary,
on the contrary, declares it to be the very reason of God's
looking upon her. She was perhaps as poor as any of us ;
and we see in this instance, that God does not look the less
kindly upon any for being in a low condition. The great
want in all is poverty of spirit. Whenever we have that,
let us be what we will in the world, we are in a way of be-
ing high and rich in God's favour. Let us think what we
mean, when we take up this excuse ; — Lord, I am poor,
and therefore I resolve that my soul shall fare no better
than my body.

49. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things ; and
holy is his name.

God hath indeed done great things for us ; even things
for which the angels admire and praise God, and we, alas !
overlook and despise for the little things which this world
affords. Blessed is that man who can say, The Lord hath
done to me great things ; he hath given Christ for me, and
he hath given me a heart to believe in him !

50. And his mercy is on them tliat fear him from generation to

God''s mercy is towards them that fear him, even to the

IGO ST. LUKE. [chap. I.

end of the world, whether they be high or low ; and it is on
no other.

51. He bath shewed strength \^ith his arm; he hath scattered
the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52. He hath put down the mighty h'om their seats, and exaUed
them of low degree.

The Holy Spirit introduces those of low degree again.
This expression is not repeated without just cause. The
mighty are nothing in God's account, if their hearts do not
stoop to him ; as, alas ! they seldom do. But though
Mary was lowly, as well as poor, it does not follow as a
matter of course, for these two are often far asunder. He
overlooked the mighty to exalt a poor virgin.

53. He hath filled the hungry with good things ; and the rich
he hath sent empty away.

He hath filled these destitute ones with himself, the
best of all good things. So he always does. Those who
hunger after him, are empty vessels, and hence they are
capable of receiving him. The rich, that is, all who are
full of themselves, and feel no want of him, he leaves to
their own miserable emptiness. Let us not wonder that
we do not know, and receive more of Christ, and his bless-
ings, when the hunger of our souls is for something else.

54. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his
mercy ;

55. As be spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for

The seed of Abraham, are the heirs of his faith, who lay
hold of the mercy that is offered to ihem, even the free
forgiveness of their sins. But God, in virtue of all his
promises, has Abraham's natural seed still in his eye. " So
all Israel shall be saved." — liom. xi. 26.

VER. 56_6G.] ST. LUKE. 161

Chap. i. ver. 56 — 66.


56. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to
her own house.

This was a visit of anticipation of spiritual blessings,
both to themselves and to the world. Happy are they
who seek to promote the spiritual happiness of many. —

57. Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be deli-
vered ; and she brought forth a son.

58. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord
had showed great mercy upon her ; and they rejoiced with her.

It is our duty to rejoice with them that do rejoice, as
well as to weep with them that weep. — Edit.

59. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to cir-
cumcise the child ; and they called liim Zacharias, after the name
of his father.

60. And his mother answered and said, Not so ; but he shall be
called Jolni.

61. And they said unto her. There is none of tliy kindred that
is called by this name.

62. And they made signs to his father, liow be would have him

63. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saving. His
name is John. And they marvelled all.

64. And his mouth was opened immediately, and hi.s tongue
loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

Our tongues are our glory, and their proper employment
is to ])raise God and to edify one another. Alas! how fre-
quently have we reason to mourn tlie offences whicli we
commit witli this little member ! May the Lord help us to ^

VOL. n. M

1G2 ST. LUKE. [chap. I.

give him praise with the best member that we have.

Q5. And tear came on all that dwelt round about them : and all
these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of

66. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts,
saying, What manner of child shall this be '. And the hand of the
Lord was with him.

Men in general regard not the work of the Lord, nor
the operation of his hands. And Christians often forget
the motion of those wheels of divine Providence, which
cease not to turn, though no one regard them. All who
heard these things seemed to have forgotten them in the
course of thirty years. Let us not forget the promises of
God respecting our heavenly inheritance, which will, with
most of us, if we are Christians, be in part realised before
lonof. — Edit.

Chap. i. ver. 67—80.


67. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost,
and prophesied, saying,

68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and
redeemed his people,

Can our hearts go along with Zacharias ? Take notice
that in this prophecy Zacharias had his eyes turned to
Christ. The mercy of his having a son was, as it were,
swallowed up in the much greater mercy of his being the
forerunner of Christ, and the opener of salvation to all
Does not this teach us, what that is u{)on which we should

VER. G7 — 80.] ST. LUKE. 163

have our eyes and our licarts fixed ? Wliat are all pri-
vate, temporal blessings in comparison of this salvation ?

Would it cut jou to the heart, if you thought that you
were to have no share in this redemption with which God
has visited his people ? But how can it be otherwise, if you
do not seek after this, and make it the great end of your
livino^ ?

69. And liatli raised up an born of salvation for us in the house
of his servant David ;

An horn of salvation, is an abundant, a miglity sal-

70. As he spake by the moulli of bis holy prophets, wliich have
been since the world beean :


71. That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the
hand of all that hate us ;

That we should be saved from our spiritual enemies;
that is, wicked spirits, our own lusts, death, and hell ; from
which none but Christ can deliver us.

72. To perform the mercy p-romised to our fathers, and to re-
member his holy covenant ;

73. The oath which he svvare to our father Abraham,

74. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of
the hand of our enemies might serve liim without fear,

75. In holiness and righteousness before liim, all the days of
our life.

See here what a Christian is, and what Christ does for
us. Under the sense of our deliverance from the wrath of
God by him, and under this sense only, can we serve God
continually, with willing and free spirits, and in the love of

76. And thou, child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest:
for thou shalt go before the face of the liord to prepare his
ways :

77. To give knowledge of salvation unto bis people bv the re-
mission of their sins,

Here we are told what tliosc ways are which John was

M 2

1G4 ST. LUKE. [chap. IT.

sent to prepare ; even the ways of salvation. Do we ask
what salvation is? The answer is here given; it is " the
remission of our sins."

78. Through the tender mere}' of our God ; whereby the day-
spring from on high hath visited us,

79. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow
of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

We become entitled to the remission of our sins, through
the tender mercy of our God. We sit in darkness, and
the shadow of death, we are lost and undone in ourselves ;
we are snatched as brands out of the fire. When we lay
hold on this mercy, by the exercise of repentance and faith,
" the dayspring from on high hath visited us ;" the light of
heaven hath come into our souls; Christ hath set our feet
in the way of peace. May the Lord guide our feet into
the way of salvation, and keep us in the way of peace !

80. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in
the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

John has been shown to you, in part, in this chapter ;
and you will soon hear of him again ; but to no purpose,
if he brings you not to Christ.

Chap. ii. ver. 1 — 12.


1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a de-
cree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor
of Syria.)

VER. 1 — 12.] ST. LUKE. 165

3. And all went to bo taxed, every one into his own citv.

This was probably a registration in order to lay on a tax,
though the tax was not immediately levied. — Edit.

4. And Joseph also went np from Galilee, out of the citv of Na-
zareth, into Judpca, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-
lehem ; (because he was of the house and lineage of David :)

5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with

6. And so it was, thai, while they were there, the days were ac-
complished that she should be delivered.

It was foretold by the prophet Micah, that Christ should
be born at Bethlehem, and so it must be. It was a long
and tedious journey, at that time of the year, from Naza-
reth to Bethlehem : especially as the way was through a
hilly countr}'. Mary had no thoughts of going there to
be delivered, and yet to that place God brings her, by the
Emperor's decree, just at the critical period. Learn, from
hence, to trust to God, to believe his promises, and to leave
all to his disposal. Though we may be many times in the
dark, and ready to think it a hopeless case with us, tlie
Lord never sleeps, but he is always working all things after
the counsel of his own will, to bring about his own

7. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wra])pod hiiu
in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger ; because there
was no room for them in the inn.

Our sins and fallen state laid him there. Let us look
for the cause of his humble dwelling in ourselves. If we
would be better for his lying there, let us keep our hearts
close to our own case. Who can be in more pitiable cir-
cumstances of meanness and distress, than the virgin mother
of Jesus Ciirist, when there was no room for her and lur hus-
band in the inn ? Was this the \von)an " highly favoured .'*"
After this, let us never think anything liard that bcfals
us. Argue not from it, that you are therefore forgotten, or
despised of God.

8. And there were in the auie country shepherds abiding in the
field, keeping watch o\rr their flock by night.

16G ST. LUKE. [chap. II.

y. And, lo, tlie Lingel of the Lord came upon them, and the
glory of the Lord shone round about them : and they were sore

10. And the angel said unto tliem. Fear not: for, behold, I
bring vou good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all peo-

Tiie angel brings good tidings, not only to the Jews,
but to all the world : to every one of us, if we are will-
ing to receive them. The next verse tells us what these
good tidings are.

IL For mito you is born this day in the city of David a Sa-
viour, which is Christ the Lord.

A Saviour from sin, and from its cursed effects, from the
guilt and jDOVver of it, from our evil natures, and from the
torments of hell. Do we feel our need of such a Saviour.''
Is this glad tidings to us.? What answer do our hearts
give at this moment ! If our hearts were never humbled
for sin, it is easy to answer for them, that this is cold news
to us.

12. And this shall be a sign unto you ; Ye shall find the babe
wrapj^cd in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

This was a thing to be considered, and at which they
might well wonder. None but humble souls can enter into
the meaning of this sign. We should have thought it
more suitable, if Christ had been born in great state in a
palace. But Christ begins to preach poverty of spirit,
the moment he comes into the world.

Behold, in these verses, God's ways, and how his
thoughts are not like ours ! The blessed Virgin becomes a
mother in the stable of an inn : the Lord of glory, and the
Saviour of the world, laid in a manger ; — his birth pro-
claimed from heaven first to a company of poor shepherds.

Here is great comfort and encouragement for the poor at
all times, if they had but eyes to see it. What may they
not look for at the hands of God ? What should hinder his
power in them now, if they do not hinder it themselves .''

VER. 13.— 24.] ST. LUKE. 167

Verily, tiieir mouths are stopped ; and if a poor, manor
woman, does not know and receive Christ, it is because
the poor liave as hard, and as proud hearts, as the rich.


Chap. ii. ver. 13 — 24.


13. And suddenly ihere was with the angel a multitude of the
heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Perhaps not one of the heavenly host was absent on this
grand occasion. They were praising God for joy, that
we might be of their number, and with them praise God
for ever. The deliverance of man from the power of sin
and Satan was accounted a thing of great importance with
them, though in many cases it seems to be nothing in our

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will
toward men.

Glory is, and always will be, given to God in heaven.
The ethereal palaces ring with God's glory displayed in our
salvation, though we are silent, and refuse him the just tri-
bute of our praise. " And on earth peace," — peace with
God, and peace with all nature. There may be, there is
peace, wherever Christ is truly known. " Good-will
toward men," — the good-will of God to men, who has dis-
played his mercy in our forgiveness ; and has bestowed
upon us a sense of his reconciliation ; and a disposition of
universal good-will of men towards one another. It was
so intended; it should be so; and if it is not, we must
answer for it.

168 ST. LUKE. [chap. II.

15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from
them into heaven, the shepherds said one to anotlier. Let us
now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to
pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

It was but a little, in comparison, which the Lord had
made known unto them. We have the advantage of them
in many respects, and may know a great deal more of
Christ than they did. " Let us go and see," is saying
something : though we cannot go to him at Bethlehem, he
still says to all, " Come unto me." Those who are taught
by the Holy Spirit, know how they are to go to Christ.

16. And they came with haste, and found Mar}'^, and Joseph,
and the babe lying in a manger.

They found that which was promised to them, arid we
shall find all that Christ has told us, to our great comfort.
But let us do as the shepherds did ; let us make haste.

Another year, or even another month, may be too late
to come to Christ. AVe are not sure of the time, and the
longer we stay, the more indisposed we shall be to come to

17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the
saying which was told them concerning this child.

Angels were the first preachers of Christ after his
birth, and poor shepherds the next; and God was with

18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which
were told them by the shepherds.

They mused deeply upon what God was about to do in
the earth.

19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her

We ought to do the same with the promises of God, and
their accomj^lislimcnt in Christ ; and might, if we were so
disposed : we have many times opportimities to do so when

VER. 13—24.] ST. LUKE. 169

we do not. A pondering heart is a gracious heart, and
cannot miss of salvation.

20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God
for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto

They heard and saiv ; we hear and believe ; and one is
as blessed as the other. The end of all is, that we may
glorify and praise God.

21. And when eiglit days were accomplished for the circumcis-
ing of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named
of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22. And when the days of her purification according to the law
of INIoses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to
present him to the Lord ;

23. (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that
openeth the womb shall be called holy to theliord;)

24. And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said
in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young

The offering of the poor was two young pigeons. Jo-
seph and iVIary had not a lamb to bring, which was the
common offering. Lev. xii. 8.

The Collect for the Circumcision will assist us to make a
profitable useof thispassage. — "Almighty God, whomadest
thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law
for man ; grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit, that
our hearts and all our members being mortified from all
Avorldly lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will,
through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

170 ST. LUKE. [chap. II.


Chap. ii. ver. 2")— 38.


25. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name
was Simeon ; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for
ihe consolation of Israel : and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

Let us not deceive ourselves. If wc are not just and de-
vout, we are in no proper state of mind becoming those,
who wait for the consolation of Israel. But this is not all :
we must look for redemption and salvation by Jesus
Christ. Though Simeon was just and devout, redemption
and salvation by Jesus Christ must be his consolation.

26. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he
should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27. And he came by the Spirit into the temple : and when the
parents brought in the child Jesus, lo do for him after the custom
of the law,

28. Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and

Simeon had been looking and longing for this blessed
time. He had Christ in his heart before, and it was all
joy to have him in his arms. What makes Christ welcome
to any, but the desire of him ? Salvation by Christ is no-
thing to those who desire anything more, and live for some
other end. He commands us to seek salvation, in the first
place. The man is undone, who seeks it only in the se-

29. Lord, now lettost thou thy servant depart in peace, accord-
ing to thy word :

This was a lively faith ! Happy is the man, who can
say, at the hour of deatli, as the aged Simeon did, " Lord,
now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace."

VER. 25—38.] ST. LUKE. 171

30. For mine eyes have seen tliy salvation,

The same faith can always speak the same words. "It
is the evidence of things not seen,'' Heb. xi. 1, and makes
them present to the eye of our mind.

31. Which tliou hast jjreparecl before the face of all peojile ;

The Lord has prepared, and designed his salvation for
all ; he hath published and offered it for the benefit of all.
He offers it to all here present. None need to come short
of it. You would think it hard indeed, if God had said,
you should have no share in it. Pronounce not this curse
against yourselves.

32. A light to ligliteu the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people

When Simeon spoke these words, all that lived in this
place and country were Gentiles, or heathens, without hope,
and without God in the world. What are we now ? We
are either still in darkness, or we are light in the Lord.
Many ])lead hard for ignorance, and say, they cannot
know, and wilfully shut their eyes against the light.

The salvation of God chiefly belonged to his people
Israel, was first offered to them, and through them con-
veyed to all others. We are only grafts upon their stock.
This was glory enough for them. They have lost it now,
but it is reserved for them, and they will be recovered to it
" For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the
wdrld, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from
the dead ?'" Rom. xi. 15.

33. And Josej)h and his mother marvelled at those things wliich
were spoken of him.

With pious wonder, or partly in the dark. They did
not know everything concerning him. More was revealed
to Simeon by prophecy than they could know without :
nor is it anywhere said, that they had this gift.

34. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother.
Behold, this child is set lor the fall and rising again of many in
Israel ; and for a sif^n which shall be s|)oken against;

172 ST. LUKE. [chap. II.

Many would stumble at this stone, yet to many he
would be a chief corner stone, elect, precious. 1 Pet. ii. 6*.
Remember what Christ says : "On whomsoever it shall fall,
it will grind him to powder." Matt. xxi. 44. Or, many,
though they fall, yet through him shall rise again.

35. (Yea, a sword shall pierce dirough thy own soul also,) that
the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Who knows what this piercing, sharp sword means ? Let
not the most highly-favoured think to escape without trou-
ble, inward or outward, or both. At such times, think of
the sword in Mary's soul.

Christ is the revealer of the heart to itself: so long as it
is unsearchedj and hidden to itself, it is certainly cor-

36. And there was one Anna, a ])rophetess, the daughter of
Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser : she was of a great age, and had
lived with an husband seven years from her virginity ;

37. And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years,
which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings
and prayers night and day.

38. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto
the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemjnion
in Jerusalem.

Here is another instance of one devoted to God in great
strictness, during a long widowhood, and yetlooking farther,
namely, for the promised redemption of Israel. Christ alone
saves all. " No man cometh unto the Father but by him."
John xiv. 6. Think of this, that you may be upon a right
foundation. Read and consider the eleventh article of the
Church of England — " Of the justification of Man."

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the
merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and
not for our own works, or deservings. Wherefore, that we
are justified by faith only, is a most wliolesome doctrine,
and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the

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