Wright - BT300 W8 1788

LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. 21 appoint him fuch honours as his high dignity required. The wife men received this intelligence with great fatisfaftion, and gladly fet out for Bethlehem ; when, to their unfpeakable joy, they faw, going before them, the fame luminous appear- ance which they had feen in their own country: this glorious fiar flopped at Beth- lehem, and flood direffly over the houfe where the heavenly infant was. Thus di- refedby Divine Wifdom and Power, they approached the facred babe with adoration andjoy, and having fallen down and wor- £hipped him, they prefented their offerings of gold, frankincenfe, and myrrh. But when they departed, they returned not to Jerufalem, but went to their own country another way ; for the Lord had warned them, in a dream, not to return to He- rod with the information he defired. Here may be obferved the particular care of Divine Providence, in the prefer- vation of the holy child ; for Herod, who was oné of the molt crafty tyrants that ever exifted, did not aEt in this cafe with his ufual circumfpeltion. He had no other notion of the Meffiah, but that of his fetting up a temporal kingdom, and fuppofed that this child would drive both himfelf and his family from the throne; and on this account he had re- folved to put the infant to death. But is it not firange that- he fhould not have went himfelf, or fent force of his officers, or fpies along with the wife men, and pre- vented the efcape of his wifhed-for prey? The charafer and condul of Herod in almoft every cafe, is contrary to this : but the great Governor of the univerfe, when he pleafes, can call confufion on the councils of princes, and preferve the in- nocent from their wicked defigns. We are not to fuppofe, that the fatisfy- ing the curiofity of thefe noble ftrangers, was the only end which ,Providence had in view, when it direéted them, in this extraordinary manner, to the place of our No. s. Redeemer's birth, and infpired them with fuch fentiments concerning him. Several great and important ends were anfwered by this vifit ; it fhewed to fucceeding generations, beyond the poffibility of a doubt, that there was an expeftation, amongfl the heathen nations, that a great king would at this time appear amongfl the Jews ; and it is manifeft from hence, that there were prophecies amongfl the Gentiles, which infpired them with a con - fiant hope, that force great things would be done for mankind by this exalted per- fon. And it is to be fuppofed that thefe great men, when they returned to their own country, publifhed abroad through various nations, the tidings of what they had feen : and filling the world with the expefations of the kingdom of the Mef fiah, prepared the various nations for the reception of his glorious gofpel. Thus, while the Jews continued in the blind- nefs of obflinacy and unbelief, vaft mul- titudes of the Heathens received the gof- pel, rejoiced in the truth, and dwelt un- der the benign influence of the great Sun of righteoufnefs. It may further be noted, that the coming of thefe philofo- phers to Jerufalem at this time, on fuch an errand, produced the determination of the Jewifh council, that it was the lan- guage of the prophets, that Bethlehem was decreed by heaven to be the place of our Redeemer's birth. And it may further be obferved, that the feafonable prefents made to the holy family, by thefe bene- ficent and learned flrangers, enabled the good man to fupport his family in Egypt, where they foon after this were fent by divine direlion, to efcape the murdering fury ofthat execrable tyrant Herod. -- The wife men being departed to their own country, the angel of the Lord ap- peared to Jofeph in a dream, Paying, Arife, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I bring thee word : for Herod will Peek the young child to defray him. Jofeph imme- diately