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therein?-acceptance, pardon--purity-boldness before God! What a marvellous light!-whạt a blessed dispensation! How thankful ought we to be for this light! how willing to follow it; and to follow it simply-humbly--entirely!
Thus did these Wise Men: they came enquiring, Where is he that is born King of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship him.
III. True Wisdom will HONOUR THE OBJECT WHICH IT HAS FOUND.
It will not listen to the objections of the scoffer, or unbeliever. Herod, and the Chief Priests, and all Jerusalem were troubled: but who were they? Their character explained their opposition.
Are you troubled, because you have in your families persons who sneer and scoff, and treat the Sabbath and the Gospel with contempt, and despise religious men because they are religious? How would you expect such scoffers to act? Is not their conduct in character? Has not God said, that In the last days there shall arise scoffers, walking after their own lusts--speaking evil of things that they know not?
Herod, and the Chief Priests, and all Jerusalem were troubled, because they loved darkness rather than light. But these men came to Jerusalem and enquired publicly, “ Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We are come from a far country, and we are determined to own and honour the object of which we are in pursuit.”
Brethren! our enquiries may possibly disturb others; yet we must persevere. Ours is not an affair to be trifled with: it is of infinite moment! Let us be civil, and kind, and benevolent, and give no offence to Jew or Gentile, much less to the Church of God; but, in an affair of such infinite importance as salvation and the confessing of Christ before men, we must be simple and determined: we must say, with Joshua, Choose ye whom ye will serve: but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
IV. True Wisdom will continue to WAIT IN AN HUMBLE SPIRIT, FOR FURTHER DIRECTION.
This did the Wise Men. They rejoiced with exceeding great joy, when they saw the star. And when it had led them to the young child-God manifest in the flesh--they waited for further directions: and, being warned of God in a dream, they returned into their own country another way.
My Dear Hearers, we want daily instruction; yea, every hour of the day. We know not what a day may bring forth, nor what is contained in a single circumstance of the day, nor what mischief and danger may await us. The same care of God, in his Providence, which is necessary to our preservation in the most tremendous danger, is equally necessary in the most unsuspicious circumstances. : The star had left these men: they had found their object; but they still enquired: they still needed direction: they waited, and God warned them what steps they should také, after they had found Christ. You may be a Christian of mature age, and able to instruct others; yet you need to pray continually,
" What I know not, teach thou me. Let me hear thy voice, saying, This is the way: walk ye in it; when I turn to the right hand, or to the left.”
V. True Wisdom will teach a man CALMLY TO PURSUE HIS COURSE.
The wise man will hold on this way, regardless of the consequences which he expects to meet. He will hold on his way, and wax stronger and stronger.
: Thus it was with Moses: he had great difficulties to encounter; but by faith he overcame; he went on his way, acted according to his rule, and left consequences with God. Thus these Wise Men, having seen God manifest in the flesh, felt that they had seen enough to prevent their being carried away by the fears or fables of the world. Never will any man be cured of that worst of disorders—the world in the heart-till he has by faith beheld the salvation of God in the work of Christ.
Let us, then, imitate these Wise Men: let us
keep the feast of the Epiphany, on the eve of which we now are, by admiring the condescension, grace, and goodness of God, to us Gentiles. Arise! shine! says the prophet: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen
thee. The people that sat in darkness, have seen a great light: God has stooped down to our necessities. By the assistance of those ministers or friends, whom he raises up for us—by the books, which he brings to our hands by the hints, which he occasionally affords us-by the good thoughts, which he suggests to the mind-he can conduct us, as he did these Wise Men, to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
1. My Christian Brethren! do you feel, at times, that the truth will not suffer you to rest in the course wherein you have been walking? that, however various occurrences may seem to drive the truth out of your mind, yet it returns again; and that one passage of scripture after another calls loudly to your conscience ?- This is as the shining of the star to the Wise Men: this is, as another scripture expresses it, Christ knocking at the door of your hearts! TAKE CARE HOW YOU TRIFLE WITH CONVICTION.
It is most awful to stifle conviction. Stifled conviction will rise again in the judgment to witness against you. If you spend your time, while reading the Scriptures, in searching for poetical beauties or making critical remarks, you act as these Wise Men would have done, if they had sat down spectators of the phenomenon, but took no step in following it. We are not, as Mr. Boyle expresses it, to stand looking at the telescopecase, but to look through it: children may be amused with the case, but the astronomer uses the télescope as an instrument whereby to discover the wonders of the planetary world. Thus let us endeavour to use the light which God affords --not to amuse ourselves with it, but to make our way by it to the light of life.
2. If True Wisdom consists in seeking an infallible guide, following such a guide when it appears, confessing our object before men, waiting for further direction, and pursuing our course regardless of all consequences--if this be true wisdom, HOW BLIND AND WRETCHED ARE THEY, WHO HAVE NEVER TAKEN ONE STEP BY THE LIGHT AFFORDED THEM!
The man may be a King—so was Herod : but what use did he make of the circumstances in which he was placed? He may be a Scholar-SÒ were the Sadducees and Pharisees : but what light had they? what discoveries did they make? He may be a Minister--so were the Chief Priests: and what did they do with this marvellous light? The man may be successful in his schemes and projects--s0 were Dives and Demás: but what