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Let us now take Caleb's claim. What Lord was born. You all, I think, know was it?-(Ver. 12.) To “this moun- the circumstances of His birth, as well tain ” whereof the Lord had spoken ; as of the angel's message, the patient that is, to the land of the Anakims, and successful search of the wise men, Kirjath-arba or Hebron, and the neigh- the journey of the shepherds (Luke i.; bouring hill country (see Treasury for Matt. ii.) ; so to-day we shall devote to January, p. 1). It was strong, and hearing of some to whom the news of the possession of it would make him the arrival of the great King was invery powerful ; but, large as it was, it is deed an expected tiding of great nothing to an inheritance we have all joy." had offered us under certain conditions. A little while had passed away (forty Do you know to what I refer? Yes, the days) since He who was the mighty God mansions prepared in our

Father's (Isa. ix. 6; 1 Tim. iii. 16) had entered kingdom for those who love Him. our world of sin and sorrow, and for our Caleb was an old man, and could only sakes become poor (Heb. ii. 14; Phil. expect to enjoy his territory a little ii. 5-7; 2 Cor. viii. 9); and now His time; whereas the inheritance of God's parents bring Him into the temple and chosen ones will last forever and present Him as a first-born son,redeemed ever.

according unto the law (ver. 21-24). Dear children, be like Caleb ; put in [Explain Jewish law and customs, Gen. your claim for this promised celestial vii. 9-14; Exod. xii. 48; Lev. xii. 6-8; inheritance; our Lord Himself says, Exod. xiii. 2 ; xxxiv. 20; Num. iii. 12, “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Matt. 13.] They enter the temple with their ofvii. 7); don't put off thinking about it,

ferings, and thus the prophecy of Hag. and say that there is time enough yet. ii. 7–9 began to be fulfilled. What was Do you remember the ten virgins, of it? Many of the glories of Solomon's were whom five waited till it was too late, wanting in this temple (the Urim and and the door was shut ?

Thummim, the ark, etc.); but its glory We have seen that Caleb, to gain his nevertheless far exceeded that of the inheritance, had very many difficulties building erected by the wise king ; for to contend with. The Anakims were the Son of God, the Messiah, entered it giants, their cities strongly fenced; but

in human form, He at whose name every did he on that account despair ? Oh, knee shall bow (Phil. ii. 10). no, he fought and prevailed; he had no Who among the many in the temple fear; for God was his shield and sword; marked His entrance with the eye of faith carried him through all difficulties. faith ?—(Ver. 25–27.) Yes, old Simeon, Well, we have great enemies too to con- a Jew, a man just and devout, and, antend against. What are they? Yes; the like so many of his countrymen, & world, the flesh, and the devil; but Scripture-reading, believing Jew. He with Christ by our side we can safely was waiting for what?—(Ver. 25.) Yes, pass through this world of sin and for that hope so long promised, first to death, and so safely reach our heavenly whom?-(Gen. iii. 15.) Then to Enoch, inheritance, there to spend an eternity and Abraham (Gen. xii. 3). Old Jacob of bliss, chanting the praises of the

tells his sons that Shiloh shall come, and Lamb.

G. David mentions Him almost with dying

breath (Gen. xlix. 18; Ps. lxxii. 17–20). Moses knew well about that Prophet of

whom he himself was a type (Deut. xviii. HOPES FULFILLED.-I. 15). Isaiah told how He should be

wounded for our iniquities, etc. (Isa. liii.) Luke ii. 21-32.

and joyfully exclaimed, “Unto us &

Child is born” (Isa. ix. 6); and what Next Friday, dear children, will be should His name be? It was revealed Christmas Day, the day we hold in to the exile Daniel that Messiah the remembrance as that on which our Prince should appear (Dan. ix. 25);


other prophets spoke of Him (Luke xxiv. 44), and the last one declared that the Sun of righteousness should arise and shine upon those who waited for Him (Mal. iv. 2).

And, as Simeon searched, and prayed, and trusted, the wondrous intimation was one day made to him by that Lord who is a rewarder of them who seek Him (Heb. xi. 6), that not until he had seen the Saviour should he be called to pass through the valley of the shadow of death (ver. 26). And oh to how many since has the presence of a Saviour, unseen, but trusted in, lighted up with joy and hope the last hours of life. A dying girl of whom I lately heard gave this bright testimony to her friends : “ From the moment that I found Christ I have been happy ; I was happy then, I am happy now.' Dear children, I can wish you no better Christmas wish than that you too may love Christ, follow Christ, and have Him for your Saviour and Friend for ever.

Some time may perhaps have passed away between the promise to Simeon and its fulfilment; but his faith stood the test. Like Noah and Abraham (Rom. iv. 20, 21), he believed that what God had said He would perform. May we have the same faith in His words and promises. What has He told and promised us ? Try and think.

Where did Simeon see the long hoped for Deliverer ? How came he to be found there just at the right moment?

-(Ver. 27.) Ah, yes; that Spirit with which he was filled (ver. 25), and who made him what he was, directed his steps to the house of God, that he might behold the Lord's Christ (ver. 26). There was nothing in Mary or Joseph to distinguish them from other worshippers there; their very offering spoke of their poverty (ver. 24; Lev. xli. 8), yet doubtless it was revealed to Simeon that that child which they brought into the temple (ver. 27) was none other than the promised Messiah and King of Israel, who should redeem-at the cost of His own life—His people from their sins (Matt. i. 25), the Immanuel of whom Isaiah had spoken (Isa. vii. 14), God with us (Matt. i. 23).

What did the old man do? (Ver. 28.) Yes, with holy reverence he draws near and takes the Saviour in his arms, and blesses the Lord that his hopes are all fulfilled. True indeed-sad to say-was it that Jesus Christ came unto His own and His own received Him not (John i. 11, 12), that He was despised and rejected of men (Isa. liii. 3), and that His nation as a nation refused to acknowledge Him as their King (John xix. 6, 15, 16); but still we see that some then, as now, looked upon Him as all their salvation and all their desire. The shepherds glorified and praised God when they beheld Him (Luke ii. 20); the wise men bowed down before Him and worshipped Him, and presented unto Him the gifts they had brought with them during that long and difficult journey (Matt. ii. 11), when, guided by the star, they sought the King of the Jews; and we see in ver. 36-38 that Anna the prophetess and many others, whose names are unknown to us, rejoiced like Simeon to see God's salvation.

Now whom does the thought of our Saviour's birth tell us we resemble ?The careless, Christ-rejecting Jews, or those who believed on His name? (John i. 12.) Great is the difference between knowledge, and faith and love; sad the contrast between Philip, who gladly exclaimed to Nathanael, “ We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth,” and those chief rulers who did not confess Him – why?-(John xii. 42, 43); between Andrew, who, when he had himself beheld the Lamb of God, brought his own brother Simon to the Messias (John i. 35–41), and those who refused to believe that the expected Deliverer was none other than Him who had not where to lay His head, the lowly Son of man (Matt. ix. 20 ; Dan. vii. 13).

The same contrasts may be seen every day now. [Explain and illustrate.] To some the Saviour's history is but a well-known story, to others it has brought joy and eternal life (John xx. 31); some, as they read it, say, like a poor Jewish lad when he pointed to the New Testament which had told him of Jesus, “There I find my comfort : that

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is the source of my peace and hope ;" others find it but a weariness: some feel like Paul, “The love of Christ constraineth us "—to do what ? (2 Cor. v. 15); others pass every day in neglecting and disobeying the words of Him who refused not“ to take upon Him the form of a servant” and become obedient unto death. What is the reason of this great difference ? [Explain.] How do you feel? Oh pray that God the Holy Ghost may make every one of you to know the love of Christ " which passeth knowledge ” (Eph. iii. 14–20), that you may be true sharers in real Christian joy.

Are Simeon and Anna the only ones who can go to the house of prayer and meet Christ there? Ah, how many miss the blessing by not seeking Him ! How? Hath not He said, “ Where two or three are gathered "? (Matt. xviii. 20.) Can you say the hymn“ Jesus, where'er Thy people meet, There they behold Thy mercy-seat ; Where'er they seek Thee, Thou art found,

And every place is hallowed ground ” ? Yes, faith may feel His presence everywhere, and obtain the blessing of John (xx. 29).


How calmly Simeon speaks of his death as of a journey to another land; he felt like St. Paul (Phil. i. 21-23): how different His words from those of a man who, sad to say, had lived without Christ, and who, when he heard that he must soon die, exclaimed, “I have provided in the course of my life for everything except death, and now alas I must die, although entirely unprepared." What made the difference in the feelings of these two men ? Yes; Simeon had beheld Him who takes away the fear of death and the victory from the grave (1 Cor. xv. 55–57), and all his trust was in God's salvation. What salvation ? How is it to be obtained ? May each one of you be partakers of it? What do I mean?

May you grasp in life, and hold in death, the great truth that Christ was born, and lived, and died to save sinners, and therefore to save you (1 Tim. i. 15; 2 Tim. i. 9, 10), and that He is the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him (Heb. v. 9; rü. 25), for He gave Himself for us. Why? (Tit. ii. 13, 14.) Yes, to redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of what? Oh forget not that you need His salvation as much as Simeon; the young die as well as the old. What can make you happy in life, and peaceful in death? Then oh beware lest you neglect this great salvation (Heb. ii. 3), and have to say, like a poor old man when he was urged to seek the Saviour, “ It is too late now. I have refused Christ's offers too often. I have grieved His Holy Spirit.”

Was he correct in saying so ? No; but oh the heart may get so hard as to refuse to believe that Christ can save to the uttermost. Listen to the message that an old woman of ninety, who bad served God for fifty years, sent to her grandchildren : “ Tell all the children that an old woman on the borders of eternity is very much grieved that she did not begin to love the Saviour when a child ; tell them youth is the time to serve the Lord." Then seek Him who came to be the true Light (John i. 4-9), that light of which Simeon spoke (ver.32)


Luke ii. 21-32.


WHAT was the subject of our lesson last Sunday? Let me see how much you remember of it.

Now let us look at Simeon's wellknown beautiful song (ver. 29-32). What were his first words ? What does he call himself ? Noblest of titles, a servant of the Lord;" it was God's name of highest praise for Moses (Josh. i. 2; Deut. xxxiv. 5-10), Abraham, Job, and Caleb; Daniel was acknowledged too as such, even by a heathen king (Dan. vi. 20); the apostles constantly claim it in their epistles; and well we kuow that where Christ is His servants shall be also (John xii. 26). They follow Him first where ?_then to heaven. Tell me some of the marks of His servants (Rom. vi. 16-18, 22).

and Isaiah wrote (Isa. xlix. 6; 1. 16)He who came not only to raise up the tribes of Israel, but be a Light to the gentiles, then lying in such terrible ignorance and in the shadow of death (Isa. ix. 2). Surely we gentiles may joyfully and thankfully join in Simeon's song, and pray that Jesus may soon be everywhere acknowledged as the hope, glory, and salvation of His people Israel.

We have not time to-day to notice Simeon's other words (ver. 34, 35); true indeed did they prove ; and we know little more of him, Anna, and the other believing Jews ; but we doubt not that

they have reached that home where faith is exchanged for sight, and have seen Him in glory whom they confessed when He dwelt in poverty below.

May He grant us such faith and love here, that, when His words “ I will come again shall be fulfilled as surely as the former prophecies were,

and He shall come -not as at first in great humility to bear the sins of many (Heb. ix. 28), but with great glory to fetch His people homeeach one of us may be able to exclaim, “ This is our God; we have waited for Him; we will be glad, and rejoice in His salvation” (Isa. xxv. 8, 9).





III. A GARDEN. “I am come into My garden."-Song of Sol. v. l. 1. INTRODUCTION.—All of you, I am sure, love a garden ; it is one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful picture, our earth can show. In the Bible we read of three very celebrated gardens, each of which, though beautiful, is connected with that most hateful thing—sin. Can you tell me the gardens I mean?—(The garden of Eden, the garden of Gethsemane, the garden of Joseph of Arimathæa.) What took place in Eden ?-(Sin was brought into the world.) What took place in Gethsemane ?-(Sin caused Jesus to suffer there.) What took place in Joseph's garden ?—(Sin was overcome.) Jesus loved a garden, for we are told, 6. He ofttimes resorted thither” (John xviii. 1, 2).

2. A garden an emblem.—Our first emblem of the Church of Christ was a building; but as we found that a building represented the individual as well as the Church collectively, so we shall find in this. Can you tell me where the soul of the individual is compared to a garden ?-(Jer. xxxi. 12.) Where is the Church collectively spoken of as a garden ?-(1 Cor. iii. 9.) Where do we find the old Jewish Church compared to

a garden ?-(Isa. v. 7.) A garden contains not one tree, but many trees, of various kinds and names, of different heights, of different ages, producing a numberless variety of flowers and leaves. So in the Church of Christ we have believers in Jesus from almost every country, of various names, and ages, and sexes, and characters—from the little child who can scarcely lisp the name of Jesus, the weak and tender sapling or plant, to the old Christian grown grey in the service of Jesus. Give me some trees spoken of in the Bible as emblems: Almond (Eccles. xii.); apple (Song of Sol. ii. 3) ; bay (Ps. xxxvii. 35); cedar (Ps. xcii. 12); fig (Matt. vii. 16); mustard (Matt. xvii. 2); oak (Isa. i. 30); olive (Jer. xi. 16); palm (Ps. xcii. 12); pomegranate (Song of Sol. iv. 13); vine (John xv. 1). We shall find in the “garden of the Lord” that some Christians are, in their individual capacity, and figuratively speaking, as these trees -fruitful as the vine, comforting and sympathising as the olive, beautiful as the cedar, strong as the oak, extending in usefulness as the green bay-tree, having little faith as the mustard-seed, flourishing as the palm, possessing the sweetness of a good life as the pomegranate. There is no equality in nature any more than there is an equality in grace. It has been said there are not two leaves alike; so God makes no two Christians alike in every particular.

3. Gardens are enclosed.-All our gardens and parks are enclosed; so is the Church of Christ. Look at Isa. v. 2. God is a fence and defence to His people ; He is a “wall of fire” to them, protecting them from every danger.

4. The Gardener. What is a gardener ? As the first Adam was a gardener, so is Jesus, the second Adam, the Gardener of the Church. Who once met Jesus in a garden, and took Him for the gardener ?-(Mary Magdalene, John xx. 15.) In a spiritual sense she was right. In which of our Lord's parables does He represent Himself as a gardener ?—(The barren fig-tree.) He is here called the "dresser of the vineyard,” who pleads that the tree may be spared another year; so He pleads for His people as no other can plead. Will you give me now some of the duties of a gardener ?

(a) Digging.Sometimes the ground or soil about the roots of a tree is very hard indeed; it has perhaps been trampled down; so very hard is it, that no water or moisture can penetrate: then the gardener comes with his spade, and digs the ground, turns up and softens the soil, so that water can reach the roots. So it is with us: the world has trampled down all our good inclinations and resolutions, and our heart is very hard; and though the digging to the very root of our nature is hard to bear, yet it must be done to save the tree.

(b) Sowing.--"A sower went out to sow his seed." Jesus is the great Sower.

(c) Planting.–Jesus is also the Planter. He says (Jer. ii. 21) of the Jewish Church, “I planted," etc., and in Matt. xv. 13, “ Every plant,” etc.

(d) Engrafting.This too is part of the work of Jesus in His capacity as Gardener of His Church. He planted "a noble vine,” and because some of the branches did not please Him they were broken off. This was the Church of the Jews. In Rom. xi. 17 the Church of Israel is compared to an olive, and we the gentiles to a wild olive grafted in the good olive tree.

This is a process contrary to nature; but God in His mercy looked on us, the wild olive branch, and bound us to the good tree, “ partaking of its root and fatness.” And if God can graff a wild branch into this tree, He can also graff in again the branches He broke off. The Jewish nation is not cast off for ever, God will graff them in again; and if we are not fruitful He will cut us off as He did them.

(e) Watering.–This too is the gardener's duty. Jesus waters His garden with the Holy Spirit. Every day, and oftener, plants require water. Where is Jesus said to water this garden ?—Isa. xxvii. 3 ; and a promise is held out to the Christian, Isa. lviii. 11.

(f) Pruning.This pruning is emblematical of the afflictions of God's people. When Jesus, the Gardener, comes into our homes with His pruningknife, and cuts off a cherished sin here, or a darling object there, then we feel it (John xv. 2); still it is good for the tree that thus it must be.

(g) Transplanting.—This is an interesting part of the gardener's work. Some of you may have seen in our cemeteries, on the grave of a little child, & stem cut off from some plant, and lying by its side a gardener's knife; this is to show that the bereaved ones believe their dear one has been transplanted from the garden below, to bloom for ever in the paradise of God above. A very beautiful passage, emblematical of this transplanting, occurs in Song of Sol. vi. 2, “My beloved," etc. Here is Jesus in the garden of His Church, cutting off these young lilies, and taking them to Himself. This gives comfort to mothers who have lost their little ones—lilies of the Lord's garden.



CHRIST. III. A GARDEN (concluded). “I am come into My garden."-Song of Sol. v. 1. 5. The under-gardeners.-Jesus said, “My Father is the Husbandman;" in

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