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Q. But is it 90t superstitious to observe this Festival upon the Twenty-fifth of December, when we cannot be certain that our Saviour was born upon that Day?
A. There is little Reason to doubt but that
this, which we now observe, is the very Day ; Chrysoft. the Testimony of St. Chrysostom is clear for the Tom. 5. Tradition of it. Though if the Day were misp. 467. taken, the Matter of the Mistake, being of no
greater Moment than the false Calculation of a
Q. What are we to believe concerning the Birth
A. That the Virgin Mary, espoused unto Foseph of Nazareth, who, before and after her Espousals, was a pure and unspotted Virgin, being and continuing in the same Virginity, did, by the immediate Operation of the Holy Ghost, conceive, within her Womb, the only-begotten Son of God; and, after the natural Time of other Women, brought him forth. Whereby the Saviour of the World was born of a Woman, made under the Law, without the least Pretence of any original Corruption ; that he might deliver us from the Guilt of Sin. And he was born of a Virgin, of the House and Lineage of David, that he might fit upon his Throne, and rule for evermore.
Q. Was the promised Messias to be born after a miraculous manner ?
A. Yes, the Prophecies of the Old Testament foretold as much. Jeremiab says, The Lord Jer. 31. batb created a new Tbing upon the Earth, a Wo- 22. man fall compass a Man. The new Creation of a Man is therefore new, and therefore a Creation, because wrought in a Woman only, Ifa. 7.142 without a Man. Ifaiab, Bebold a Virgin Mall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call bis Name Immanuel. The original Word was transated a Virgin, by such Interpreters as were Jews themselves, some hundred Years before our Saviour's Birth; and did not the Signification of the Word, and the frequent Use thereof in Scripture import it, the Wonder of the Sign given by the Lord himself would evince as much. As for that Conceit of the Jews, that all should be fulfilled in Hezekiab, it is so manifestly false, that nothing can make more for the Confirmation of our Faith. This Sign was
CyrilHie. given, and this Proirise made some Time in ros.Cates. the Reign of Ahaz. Now Ahaz reigned but 4., 10. fifteen years in Jerusalem ; and his Son Xlezekiab 2 Kin. 16. who succeeded him, was twenty five years old 2 when he began to reign; and therefore born feve- 2. ral Years before Abaz was King, and coniequently not now to be conceived when this Sign was given.
Q. How doth it appear that these Prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ?
A. His Mother that bore him was a pure Luke i. Virgin, as appeareth both from her own Ac- 34. count, and that of Joseph her reputed Huf- Mat
. 1. band; both Persons of known Integrity and 25. unquestionable Credit. When Joseph doubted
of her Chastity, an Angel was dispatched to clear her Honour, and to assure him that what was conceived in her, was not any human Production, but of the Holy Ghost. When she objected the Impoffibility of her being a Mother,
the Angel explains it to her himself, by the Holy Luke 1. Ghost coming upon her, and the Power of the 35:
Highest over-Shadowing her. All which was so unquestionable, and plainly made out to the Apostles and primitive Christians, that they universally and firmly believed it, and thought it a Point of so great Moment, as to deserve a Place in that Summary of the Christian Faith called the Apostles Creed.
Q. What were the circumstances of our Saviour's Birth.
A. He was born at Bethlehem, according to Mic. 5. 2. the Prediction of the Prophet Micah ; whither Luke 2.4. Jofeph and Mary went in Obedience to the De
cree of Augustus, to be taxed, being of the House and Lineage of David ; the Providence of God making Ule of this Conjuncture, by veriłying Prophecy, to signify and publish the Birth of the true Mefias. The Concourse of People to Bethlehem was so great, that they could find no Accommodation but a Stable; where the blefied Virgin brought forth her first born Son, and tropped him in swadling Clothes, and laid him in a Manger; doing herself the Offices of a pious
and tender Parent whilft all the Angels of God. Heb.1.6. worshipped him.
Q. How was the Birth of our Saviour published to the World?
A. By the Administration of Angels; for as
certain Shepherds were keeping Watch over Luk. 2, 9. their Flocks by Night, ibe Angel of the Lord
came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them ; so that the Splendor of the Appearance confounded their Senses, and made them fore afraid: but the Angel quickly dislipated the Terror that feized them, with the Tidings be brought of great Joy to all People, Luke 2. in these comfortable Words, unto you is born this 10, 11. Day, in the City of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.
Q. How were the Shepherds directed to find Ibis new-born King ?
A. Left they should expect a Prince accompanied with outward Pomp and Magnificence, the Angel describeth the Meanness and Obscurity of his Circumstances, as a Token to guide them in the Search of this new-born Prince, This ver. 12. fall be a Sign unto you, ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swadling Clothes, and lying in a Manger. Upon this Notice, the Shepherds without Delay went to Bethlehem, and found the Narrative verified, and published to the World both what they had seen and heard concerning the Holy Child Jesus.
Q. How was this joyful News received by the Angels and the Shepherds ?
Ă. The Multitude of the Heavenly Host praised God in that devout Hymn, Glory to ver. 14. God in the highest, and 611 Earth Peace, Good-will towards Men. And the Shepherds, when they had found the real Completion of what was told them by the Angel, returned glorifying and praising God.
0. Since this Angelical Hymn bath been retained in the Offices of the Church ever since the primitive Times of Christianity, what may we understand by it?
A. That the blessed Angels excited one another to give Glory and Praise to God for his wonderful Works towards the Children of Men. That it is our constant Duty to acknowledge his Majesty and Greatness, those peerless Prerogatives of Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, which appeared with the greatest Lustre in the stu. pendous Incarnation of the Son of God. That Cbrift hath taken away the Enmity between Heaven and Earth, and reconciled Man to God; for God's Good-will to favour Men is
the Peace the Angels congratulate; hence the Eph. 6. Gospel is called the Gospel of Peace, and God so 15. often in the New Testament the God of Peace. Rom. 15. And since the Children of Men alone partake 33.
in these Wonders of Love, they ought continually to join with the Heavenly Hoft in gloryfying and praising God.
Q. What may we learn from the Circumstances of our Suviour's Birth, and the Publication thereof?
A. It ought to reconcile us to a State of Poverty: For since the blesed Jesus chose to be born in so mean and obscure a Manner, and preferred it before the Splendor and Pomp of the Rich and Great, the Poor ought to bear a low Condition with Patience and Contentedness, and the Rich not to undervalue and contemn it. In publishing the News of his Birth, our Saviour passed by the Wife and the Powerful,
and revealed it to the poor Shepherds; he mani. Lukė 2.8, felteth it to them by an Angel, and maketh them 17. the Instruments of communicating the Know
ledge of it to the Rich and Great. God in
carnate preacheth the Gospel to the Poor; and Ch. 4, 18. mean illiterate Fishermen are employed to