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The Sermons will be recognized by those who desired their publication to be precisely the same as delivered; with the exception of the concluding practical applications, which in some will appear to be curtailed, having been occasionally extended beyond what had been actually written, as time permitted and circumstances seemed to require. As, however, it has been found that Persons read Sermons chiefly for Instruction, and hear them (as more befits the time and place) for Edification-by the impressing of known truths or exhorting to particular duties; it will not (it is hoped) be considered an objection to published Discourses that they should partake more of the Expository or Doctrinal Character than of the Practical: leaving the fuller and more detailed application of the Truths that may have been brought out or illustrated to be made (as it will not fail to be) by the reader who seeks DIVINE KNOWLEDGE—not to indulge an inquisitive mind or speculative imagination, but-for that purpose for which it has been given, as a means to increasing conformity to the DIVINE IMAGE.
THE LIFE OF CHRIST.
I. HIS NATIVITY.
ST. JOHN i. 16.
"And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."
THIS Passage is selected for our present meditation as comprehending in summary the blessings which are derived to us from the event this day commemorated by the Church-the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: as shown by its connexion with the announcement of the verse next but one preceding, the 14th,-" And the WORD was made "flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His "glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the "Father,) full of grace and truth,
"of His fulness have all we received, and grace for "grace." That is, "THE WORD" who was spoken of in the preceding context (selected for the Gospel
of the Day), of whom it is stated, verse 1, that “He was in the beginning with God and was God;" and verse 3, that "all things were made by Him, and "without Him was not any thing made that was "made," HE " was made (or "begotten") flesh and "dwelt among us:" the Deity's-self embodied for blessing to man, and constituted, as it were, a fountain and well-spring of "grace" from which His redeemed draw and are filled: as also stated in a parallel passage, Coloss. ii. 9, 10,-"For in Him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness' of the Godhead "bodily and ye are complete2 (literally "filled") in Him." "And grace for grace" -"even grace answering to grace," as the words mean and may be rendered: that is, for each grace, or manifestation of grace, in Him, a corresponding gift of grace to us!—a fruitful theme, the detail of which it were impossible here to attempt: but which in outline may be comprised under three Heads-a threefold grace" of which the "fulness" is in Christ and of which "we receive :"--and,
I. First, In the Redeemer, Christ, is the fulness of "grace" in the sense of mercy, for the pardon and justification of fallen and guilty man: and this as "The Word made flesh."