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rod on that Occasion by the Emperor Auguftus.

Q. How did our blessed Saviour escape this bloody Design of Herod ?

A. God made known to Jofeph the wicked Purpose of Herod, by the Ministration of an Angel, who ordered him to arise and secure che Holy Child Jesus and his Mother, by a Flight, Ver. 13, into Egypt; which he immediately put in Exe- 15. cution, and departed in the Night, that they might lose no Time, and might the better preserve themselves from Discovery.

Q. What Account have we of our Saviour's Journey and Abode in Egypt?

A. The Scriptures are filent in this Matter, though Historians affirm his first Abode was at Hermopolis, in the Country of Thebais ; where, when they arrived, the Holy Child Jesus being Bp: Tay. by Design of Providence carried into the Tem

of Christ, ple, the Statues and Idols fell down like Dagon p. 67. at the Presence of the Ark, according to the Prophecy of Isaiab: Bebold the Lord shall come Ifa. 19. 1. into Egypt, and the Idols of Egypt fall be moved at bis Presence.

Q. What Account bave we of our Saviour's
Return from Egypt?
A. Herods Death being made known to yo-

Mat. 2. seph by an Angel in Egypt, they returned into 19. the Land of Israel, in Obedience to the heavenly Admonition, but being apprehensive that Arcbelaus might inherit the Ambition and Cruelty of his Father Herod, they went into the Parts of Galilee, where Antipas, another of Herod's Sons, had feated himself, contending with his Brother Archelaus for the whole Kingdom. They dwelt in a City called Nazareth, which fulfilled the Ver. 23, Prophecy, that our Saviour should be called a

Nazarene;

lor's Life

H4

1 2.

9, 10.

Nazarene ;

which fome Interpreters refer to Christ's being called that Netser in the Prophets,

signifying the Branch relating to the House of Ifa. 11. 1. Jelle ; of which Isaiah, Jeremiah, and ZechaJer. 23:5. riab, had so often spoken. Though it does not Zech. 6.

appear how this was fulfilled by Christ's being at Nazareth ; because he was as much the Netfer, the Branch before, when he was born at Bethlehem. And therefore others, with greater Pro

bability, think our Saviour was sent by the AnJoh.1.47

gel to this contemptible City of Nazareth, out of which no good Thing was expected, that he might.

thence have a Name of Infamy: In which Sense Psal. 69.

it was applied to him by the unbelieving Jews

and Gentiles. And thus the Prophets speak of Ísa. 53.3. him, as of a Person that was to be reputed vile

and abject, despised and rejected of Men..

Q. How was Herod punished for bis great Wickedness?

A. He was smitten by God with many Plagues Josephus, and Tortures. According to Jesepbus, be was lib.17.c.8. inflamed with a slow Fire, which outwardly seemed

not so vehement, but inwardly affliated all bis En-
trails : He had a ravenous and unnatural Appetite,
which could no Ways be satisfied: besides, be bad an
Ulcer in bis Bowels, with a strange and furious
Colick; bis Feet were swelled, and of a venomous.
Colour ; bis Members rotted, and were full of
crawling Worms; to this add, be bad strong con-
vulsions, and Shoriness of Breath; and after having
tried the Physicians for Relief without Success,
he died; but not without farther Testimonies
of his Cruelty.

Q. Is there any Account of the Number of
Children that were put to Death?
A. The Greek Church in their Calender, and

the

the Abysins of Æthiopia, in their Offices commemorate fourteen ibousand Infants ; for Herod being crafty, and taking the best Measures he could that the holy Child Jesus might not escape, had caused all the Children to be gathered togecher; which the credulous Mothers (supposing it had been to take an Account of their Age and Number, in order to some taxing) hindred not, and thereby they were betrayed to that cruel Butchery.

Q. How doth the Evangelist represent the Lamentations of the Bethlemite Parents for their Children?

A. By a prophetick and figurative Speech, cited from Jeremiah, concerning the Captivity Jer. 31.15. of Babylon, and the Slaughter of Jerusalem, long after Rachel's Death, who therefore did not really weep; but is said to express the lamentable Slaughter. And so also it had here a second Completion in this killing of the Infants in Bethlebem.

Q. For what Reafon may we suppose that God permitted the Destruction of so many Children in Bethlehem.

A. It doth not become us too nicely to enquire into the Proceedings of infinite Wisdom, all whose Actions are governed by the highest Reason; but among several Thoughts that offer themselves, we may consider whether the Infidelity of the Betblemites, after such sufficient Means afforded for their Conviction, might not draw upon them so severe a Punishment. They not only gave no Reception to the Virgin Mary, big with Child, and of the House of David; but they neither owned nor worshipped our Saviour at his Birth. The Message of the Shepherds and

their great Joy; the Arrival of the wife Men from the East and their Offerings had no effectual Influence upon them. And it is not unusual with God to visit the Sins of the Fathers upon their Children ; especially since the Chil-dren were made Instruments of God's Glory, and not only delivered from the Miseries of Life and the Corruption of their Ancestors, but were crowned with the Reward of Martyrdom.

Q. What may we learn from the Observation of this Festival ?

A. That Religion is but too often used as an Instrument to serve ambitious and worldly Defigns; which thould make good Men cautious how they combine with Men of that Temper, in the Measures they take to promote it. That Alictions are not always Arguments of Guilt, since innocent Children were made a Sacrifice to the Ambition of a cruel Tyrant. That they are sometimes Tokens of God's Favour, and that many a Man has owed his Happiness to his Sufferings. That we ought to be ready to part with what is so dear to us as our own Children, whenever they may become Instruments of God's Glory. That we ought not to fear the Cruelty nor Policy of the greatest Tyrant, who can never hurt us without God's Permisfion. That what Oppression foever Innocence meets with from the Hands of wicked Men, is for the Good of those that suffer it. That the Conduct of those Parents, who neglect the Education and Instruction of their Children in Christian and virtuous Principles, exceeds the Cruelty of Herod; he only deprived them of Life, but such expose them to eternal Death. That to be true Disciples of Chrijl, we must 5

become

become as little Children in the Frame and Temper of our Minds, without which we cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mat. 18. Q. Wherein consists that Temper of Mind, 3. wbich our Saviour represents to us by the Emblem of little Children ?

4. It consists in Humility and Lowliness of Mind; in a total Submission to the Will of God; and in an entire Dependance upon him in all Dangers that relate either to our Bodies or Souls : And particularly in a Contempt of the World, and a Freedom from covetous and ambitious Desires; which never enter into the Minds of Children, and which very much obstruct and hinder our being true Members of Cbrift's spiritual Kingdom.

Q. Wberein confifts this Humility and Lowliness of Mind ?

A. In the true Knowledge of ourselves, and the understanding our weak and sinful Condition, taking to ourselves the Shame and Confusion due to our Follies; and giving God the Glory of all the Good we receive, or are enabled to do. In bearing with Patience the Contumelies of others. In not being too much tran{ported with those Praises we meet with, because, however our Actions may appear to Men, it is only the Approbation of God which can give us folid Comfort. In avoiding all Occasions of drawing upon ourselves Commendations, never speaking nor acting only with a Design to procure Applause.

Q. Wberein conhfs the Submision of a Christian?

A. In a firm Persuasion of Mind, that nothing happens to us but by the Will and Per

miffion

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