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into an empty form, and their zeak and love frozen at the fountain ; when daily multiplying heresies, like the frogs in Egypt, Thall infest and contaminate all things ; when infidelity Thall rage and swell, and iniquity of every kind shall abound. Sights like these may confound and stagger those who shall then be ignorant of the Scriptures, and weak in faith. But an acquaintance with the divine dispensations will turn them into so many arguments for the truth of revelation, and the approach of the day of God. “When these things begin “to come to pass; then look up, " and lift up your heads, for your “ redemption draweth nigh* :" then be found, with Simeon and Anna, in * Luke xxj. 28
with fastings and prayers, and waited, as many otiicrs did, with earnest expectation, for the confolation of Ifrael. They were not discouraged by the gross darkness which then covered the earth, but rather concluded from thence, that the dawn of day could not be far off; as the mercies of heaven generally come when man must wants, and, humanly fpeaking, has least ground to hope for them; to the end that he may with thankfulness receive the benefit, and with humility give God the glory. And this may be an useful lefe fon to those who shall live in the latter days of the Gentile church, which are to precede the second advent of Chrift; when they will behold the religion of Christians degenerated
the eighth in order of the twenty-four courses of priests appointed to relieve each other in the service of the temple, where, during their ministration, they resided in the chambers allotted them for that purpose ; that fo, being fequeftered from the cares and pollutions of the world, they might " wait “ on the Lord without distraction," performing the outward ceremonies of the law, and exercising their faith in the contemplation of those heavenly things shadowed out by them. This holy office Zacharias, in the worst of times, adorned and beautified with a correspondent holiness of life. The spirit of the fanctuary rested upon him, and manifested itself in the fruit of righteousness; a righteousness, which exceeded that of the
Scribes Scribes and Pharisees, approving itself in the fight of God, to whom are known, the secrets of the heart, as well as in that of men, who are witneffes only of the external deportment. Through the strength of this spirit, he walked in the path of an uniform obedience, an invariable observer of those ordinances which werę. at that time the facramental means and pledges of pardon and accept ance, through faith in Him, of whose advent he was a devout expectant, From such a father, and a mother worthy of him, who graced the line of Aaron by a like inviolable sanctity of manners, was the Baptist to defcend; that the Jews might have no possible objection against him; that he might be a proper forerunner of
one, who was to make all the world in love with the beauty of holiness; that it might appear wherein true nobility of birth confifteth, namely, in a descent from perfons consecrated to the service of God, and of an exemplary piety; and lastly, to assure us, that on the heads of those, who to a holy profession add a holy life, will, fooner or later, descend the choicest blessings which heaven hath to bestow on the sons of men.
But let not such be impatient, because those blessings are for a while deferred. He, who fends them, best knows the proper time of sending them; and often fees it necessary, for many reasons, to exercise the faitli and patience of his servants; who may always reft fatisfied, that in due