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DIS

DISC. hath drooped and languished away, but is

again to be raised from the death and deformity of winter, to the life and beauty of spring, until, by a silent, progressive operation, the year be crowned with the loving kindness of the Lord ; are we not hereby directed to look up by faith to the great luminary of the intellectual world, who declareth from his glorious throne, “ Be“ hold I make all things new°;" beseeching him to arise upon us with healing in his wings ; to visit us with the light of his countenance, and the joy of his falvation, that so old things may pass away, and we may be renewed in the spirit of our minds; to disperse the clouds and darkness of ignorance; to lay the wintry storms and tempests of disordered passions, and introduce into our hearts the calm and gladsome spring of everlasting righteousness and peace; to pour upon the year all the blessings of that glorious festival, with which it commenceth; and, in one word, by making it holy, to make it HAPPY.

XI.

e Rev. xxi. 5.

DISCOURSE XII.

THE EPIPHANY.

MATTHEW II. ], 2.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,

in the days of Herod the king, behold, tbere came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship bin.

IN this remarkable part of sacred story disc.

there are two particulars, on which, at XII. the present season, we are called upon to employ our meditations. And as they will suggest ample matter for that purpose, I shall crave your leave to enter upon a difcussion of them without any farther preface.

The

The particulars are these :

DISC.

XII.

First, The persons here mentioned by

St. Matthew.

Secondly, Their journey.

First, then, let us contemplate the perSons here mentioned by St. Matthew, their country and condition.

With regard to their country, the text gives us no farther information, than that they came from the east. Of the antient expositors, some mention Chaldea, others Perfia; but others, among whom are Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Epiphanius, with more probability perhaps, assign Arabia Felix, a country less distant from Judea, and lying to the south-east of it; the same country pointed out by the Psalmist, when, predicting the accession of the Gentiles, he faith, “ The kings of Sheba and “ Seba Thall offer gifts :" the country from whence, attended by a train of camels

bearing

ISC.

XII.

bearing spices, came the queen of Sheba Disc. to the court of the temporary and represen- tative Prince of Peace; the country particularly specified in the lxth chapter of Isaiah ; “ All they from Sheba · shall “ come; they shall bring gold and incense, • and they shall shew forth the praises of “ the Lord :” a country remarkable, by the testimony of historians, for plenty of gold, and of the most precious aromatics: a country, in the neighbourhood of which Balaam uttered and left behind him his famous prophecy, concerning the “ Star “ that should arise out of Jacob.”

As to the condition of these eastern travellers, it is said by the Evangelist, they were Mayo; a term then applied, among all the nations of the east, in it's primary and good sense, to those who gave themselves up to the pursuit of wisdom and knowlege, by all the means in their power, They were the great mathematicians, phi

a Sabea_extrema Arabia Felicis regio, Persico finui proxima. VITRINGA in loc.

losophers,

DIS

XII.

disc. losophers, and divines of the ages in which

they lived, and had no other knowlege but that which by their own study, and the instructions of the antients of their sect, they had attained unto. But as their credit in the world, on these accounts, was fo great, that a learned man and a Magian became equivalent terms, the vulgar looking on their knowlege to be more than natural, entertained an opinion of them, as if they had been actuated and inspired by supernatural powers, in the same manner as has too frequently happened, at other times, and in other places. In the number of these Magi, or learned men, of old, persons not only of noble but of royal extraction often thought proper to enlist themselves. Many, therefore, have imagined these Magi to have been such; and the supposition, all circumstances confia dered, is not improbable.

But the particular, of which we are certain, in which we are chiefly interested, and which at this time claims our atten

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