Page images

we say, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had

yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the Father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law, be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.

The Gospel. St. Luke ii. 15. An

from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with hafte, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it, wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the fhepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished

and they grounded them upon the extraordinary piety of their fathers, and the covenant which the Almighty had vouchsafed to enter into with them; on their perfect knowledge and diligent study of the law; and on the suffi

. ciency of the work of the law for salvation, particularly circumcision and facrifices. St. Paul having in the former part of the epiftle argued, that both Jews and gentiles may be justified by the fame means, namely, without the Levitical law, through faith in Christ; he adduces, in confirmation of it, the example of Abraham, who was an idolator before his call, but long before he had been circumcised, was declared just by God, on account of his fincere and exemplary faith.

for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The fame Collect, 'Epistle, and Gospel Mall serve for every day after unto the Epiphany.

The Epiphanr, or the MANIFESTATION of Christ to

the Gentiles.

The Collect. O God, who by the leading of a Star didt manifest

thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant, that we which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Ephef. iii. 1. FOR this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ

for you Gentiles ; if ye have heard of the dispenfation of the grace of God, which is given to me to you. ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the fame body,

The Collect] This prayer, for the enjoyment of the presence of God in heaven, was adopted from the services antecedent to the Reformation, together with the gospel. The epistle was introduced in 1549, in lieu of that

of the lxth chap. of Isaiah which is now read for the first lesson of the morning service. The introitus was the xcvith pfalm. This Greek word, (Epiphany) says Sparrow, fignifies manifestation, and hath been of old used for Christmas-day, when Christ was manifested in the flesh; and for this day, when the star did appear to manifest Christ to the wise men, as appears by Chryfoftom and Epiphanius. Upon this identity of the word, come unskilful ones were mifled to think that anciently the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany were one and the same; but plain it is, by Chrysostom, Epiphanius, and Nazianzen, in their sermons upon this day, that these two feasts were observed, as we do, upon several days.Rationale, 134. The ancients gave this day the two names of TG ayun outy,“ The holy lights;” and Tu 080@averce;

“ The manifestations of God.” On it the Latins were accustomed to baptize the catechumens, or candidates for baptism; and to adorn the churches with a profufion of lights.


and partakers of his promise in Christ, by the Gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me by the effe&tual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all faints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Genciles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

The Gospel. St. Matt. ii. 1.
HEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

wise men from the east 10 Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born Ķing of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief-priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them, where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: For thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: For out of thee fhall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. . And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go, and search diligently for the young child, and when

His star] A temporary star, or meteor, which appeared for the purpose of railing attention to Christ amongst thefe religious gentile philofophers.

And all Jerusalem, &c.) For both prophecy and tradition had taught the Jews to expect the Messiah at this time. An opinion also prevailed amongst the Gentiles, that at this period a personage would be born in the East, who should have universal dominion.-Sueton. Vespa. 4. Tacit. Hif. v. 429; ed. Lip.

ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star which they law in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they faw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country

another way


The first Sunday after the Epiphany.

The Collect. O

prayers of thy people which call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the fame, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Rom. xii. 1. Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living facrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable sera vice. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of bimfelf more highly than hé qught to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, The Collect} This prayer for the reception of our petitions, and the aid of Divine' grace, is translated and adopted from the Sacramentarium of Gregory, and the Liturgy of St. Ambrose. -Parnelius, tom. i. p. 316. The introitus was psalm xiü.

[ocr errors]



and all members have not the fame office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

The Gospel. St. Luke ii. 41.
Ow his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the

feast of the pafsover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they feturned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaint

And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why halt thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have fought thee forrowing. And he said unto them, How is it, that ye sought me? wilt ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they under. stood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these fayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, and stature, and in favour with God and man.

The second Sunday after the Epiphany.

The Colle&t.

and ;

things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the Been in the company] The company, or caravan, was large; and the child therefore mingling with such a number, might easily have been unobserved by his parents for a whole day, without their being anxious on his account.

A day's journey] 'Maundrell tells us, “ That tradition asserted the parents fought Christ at Beer, where a church was built by the Empress HcJena, in memory of the circumstance."

« PreviousContinue »