Project Canterbury
The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
Mark Frank, Sermons, Volume One
pp 273--287

A Sermon on the Epiphany

Transcribed by Dr. Marianne Dorman
AD 2003

St. Matthew ii. II.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

A day, this, of the luckiest aspect; a text, this, of the happiest success that ever travellers met with never had journey better success, never pains more happily bestowed than in the text, and on the play. Christ, the end of all our travel, the full reward of all our pains, was here this day found by the "wise men," after a twelve days' journey. And what wise man would not think himself well paid for all his labour, were it not so many days, but years--not so many years, but ages--so that after all he might bless his eyes with this happy sight?

Well may these fortunate travellers in thankfulness fall down and worship and offer presents. Wise men could do no other; and we, if we be wise, will do no less. For ordinary and common blessings we bend our knees and present our offerings to the Father of our lord Jesus Christ; but for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, it is not bending, but falling down--not offering of all praises only, but praises and offerings of all--ourselves, and all we have--which can all way look like a thankfulness correspondent to so great a benefit. [273/274] This is a mercy not to be forgotten: this day especially so falling out, affordeth us by its double holiness, as our Lord's Day and our Lord's Epiphany, are invincible occasion to remember and praise him in it.

Double holiness, said I treble, I may say, and more. Three Epiphanies the Church reckons upon this day--Christ three sundry and divers ways manifested to the world: -(I.) The first to the "wise men," strangers and Gentiles, by a star; (2.) The second to the Jews, by a voice from heaven, and the Holy Ghost descending thence in form of a dove upon him at his baptism; (3.) The third to his own countrymen of Galilee, at the marriage at Cana, by his first miracle. All three commemorated upon this day; the first in the Gospel, the other two in the two Second Lessons for the day.

Of these we have pitched upon the first as most concerning us, who once were gentiles as well as they, who this day, by the conduct of a star, were brought into the house, and into the presence of their new-born King and Saviour. We then, as men concerned in these first forerunners of our faith, the first-fruits of us "sinners of the Gentiles," are to take notice of their good behaviour, as well as their good fortune; as well how they carried themselves to Christ when they had found him, as how they found him; as well how they carried themselves towards Christ, as how they were brought to him.

Four points we have of it:- they "came," they "saw," they "worshipped," they "offered." This is the sum of this day's solemnity, of the "wise men's" religion, and should be of ours. Such service was done then, such service is due still to Christ the Saviour.

So four parts we have of the text:-

I. The wise men's coming: "And when they were come into the house."

11. Their seeing: "They saw the child with Mary his mother."

III. Their worship: "They fell down and worshipped."

IV. Their offering: "When they had opened their treasures they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

[274/275] I. Their coming, their seeing, their worshipping, their offering, are the parts of the text, and shall be of my comment and discourse. I enter first upon their intrantes, "and when they when they come into the house." Their coming, that first: where we are to consider:
(1.) The parties who; (2.) Their coming, what; (3.) Their place, Whither.

(1.) Who they were, the first verse expresses: "wise men from the East." Wise men, and come so far to see a child in his mother's arms! Certainly, either the child is some extraordinary great personage, whose birth also much concerns them, or they have lost their wits, to take so long and troublesome a journey to so little purpose. A great personage indeed, and this the wisest act that ever yet they did in all their dives. The "King of the Jews" they style him: the Messiah they meant; one, indeed, that should be "born King of the Jews," but should be made King of the Gentiles too. "In him shall the Gentiles trust," saith the Prophet; rule over them as well as those he should; protect and "save them too from their enemies, out of the hands of all that hate them." And to get interest in him betimes, to be among the first of those that submit to him and bring him presents, was the wisest piece of add the wisdom of either East or West.

"Wise men" the Scripture calls them; "wise men" this act proves them, had they never done any thing wise before; and "wise men" they shall ever be in holy language--what soever the world esteem or style them--who at any time think no pains or cost too much to come to Christ, to come and worship him.

Magoi the Greek names them; a word which latter ages have always, or most commonly, naked in the worser sense, for men addicted to unlawful arts,--as we sometimes in our own tongue also call such wise men, whom we deem little better than wizards. The word had not that acception from the first; it was time, and some men's ill practices, that corrupted it; but be it what it will, this we may learn by it, that (i.) God, qui suaviter disponit omnia, the sweet Disposer of all things, does often draw a testimony to his truth, even from the mouth of falsehood,--makes even the devils to confess it. That (ii.) he sometimes calls men to himself by the [275/276] violence of their own principles be they true or false: makes some star or other sometimes guide those great doaters on astrology beyond what is right--as here to Christ's cradle, so at other times to his chair, to learn of him, and become disciples: makes them sometimes turn their books to study his: makes the heretic sometimes to confute himself by his own wandering principles into the truth again: makes the perverse and obstinate moan weary himself at last into Christian meekness and moderation, by the wearisomeness of his own perverseness. Thus the wisest may be caught in his own net ere he is aware,- if God please to do him so much good,--and wound into a truth or a piece of piety, which he so much struggled to avoid. Nay (iii.) by these "wise men's" cowing, such kind of "wise men from the East," you may see there is no sin so enormous, of so orient a dye--no practice or trade of it so strong, though taken up at the east or sunrise of our days--which grace cannot overcome; no sinner so great, from the east to the west, but the grace of Christ can either draw, or wiry, or catch, or force to him.

Antiquity delivers these "wise men" for kings, or some great personages, to us. Magi, both in Persia and Arabia was a name of honour, and the men princes at the least. So that, as before we told you, sinners--great sinners--might by their example come to Christ,--God often brought them, -so we now must tell you that persons of honour, the greater persons, must not think much of a little pains or a few days journey upon Christ's errand, or to do Him service, nay, but to pay their worship to him, he that shall consider on days, and our addresses now to God and his Son Christ, are compare them with what these "wise men" did here, will say we are the heathen, these the Christians;--we mere Arabians, "strangers from the covenant of grace," men born and bred in the wilderness of Arabia, where there is nothing but perpetual drought, no heavenly shower of grace eve comes; these only believers; -We the great persons, that Christ Himself must wait upon if he will be seen; these the humble servants, that will undertake any thing to see him.

(2.) And here it seems, if we now, secondly, examine the curling, they thought much of no pains or care to find him out. They came into the house.

[276/277] Many a weary step had they trod, many a fruitless question had they asked, many an unprofitable search had they made to find him; and, belhold, yet they will not give over. Twelve days it had cost them to come to Jerusalem, through the Arabian deserts, over the Arabian mountains, both Arabia Deserta and Petrea: the difficulty of the way, through sands and rocks--the danger of the assages, being infamous for robbers--the cold and hardness of a deep winter season--the hazard and inconvenience of so long, so hard, so unseasonable, so dangerous, and I may say so uncertain a could not whit deter them from their purpose: to Jerusalem they will, through all these difficulties. But after all this pains, to lose the star that guided them,--to hear nothing at Jerusalem of him they sought,--to be left, after all this, at a loss in that very place they only could expect to find him, and hear nothing there but a piece of an obscure prophecy, without date or time,- to be left now to a mere wild-goose search, or a new knight-errantry, and yet still to continue in their search, is an extreme high piece both of faith and love, that considers no difficulties, that thinks much of no pains; that, maugre all, will set afresh upon tin pursuit; that will be overcome with nothing; is resolved, come what will, to find what they believe and desire; such a piece of faith and love that we, later Christians, cannot parallel.

How would a winter journey scare us from our faith! A cold or rainy morning will do it; a little snow, or wind, or rain, or cold, wild easily keep us from coming to the house where Jesus is, from coming out to worship him. How would so long a voyage make us faint to hear of it! how would the least danger turn us back from the house of God! Alas! should it have been our cases, which was theirs here- we could not presently have found Him at Jerusalem, the royal city, or had we lost the star that led us--how had we sat down in sorrow, or returned in despair! We would have thus reasoned with ourselves:--Alas! we are come hither and have lost our labour: certainly, had this king been born, it would have been in the royal city, or there certainly the news had been; but there we hear of no such matter; there neither any believes, or regards, or thinks of such a birth. What then do we do here enquiring, seeing His own people [277/278] so much neglect it? Surely the star that led us hither was but a false fire of fancy, and we are quite misled; nay, and it appears no more, so that if we would still go on our wander-ings, we know not whither: we had best return. Thus should we have reasoned ourselves from Christ, fainted, and given over quite. It is the fashion with us thus to reason ourselves out of our devotion and religion. It is the fashion too, to object anything to save our pains in Christ's business. Others' customs, or others' negligences, or others' ignorance, are sufficient excuses to authorize ours: and if perchance we want a guide (though every man now thinks himself sufficient to guide and direct himself in all points of his religion, yet even this he cares not for, this he refuses and rejects), shall yet serve him for an excuse for his negligence and irreligion; nay, God himself shall sometimes bear the blame: his taking away, or else not giving us, a star and light to guide and lead us, his not giving us sufficient grace, shall be pretended the cause why we come not to him. When did not our own coldness more chill our joints than the cold of winter? Were we not afraid of every puff of wind when we are called to do any good--did not the fear of I know not what, only fancied and imagined dangers, make us cowards in our religion--did we not fondly reason ourselves out of our patient expectance of Christ--did we not guide ourselves more by the fashions, customs, and ignorances of others, than by the constancy of that which is only just and good ­ did we not forsake our guides, while we prefer our own carnal reasons, interests, and respects; and lose the star, the guide that heaven had sent us to cowl net us, by going to Jeru-salem, by addicting ourselves to the vanity and fashion of court and city -by asking counsel of Herod, of Scribes and Pharisees, mere politicians and pretenders of piety and relation--or Jewish priests, men addicted wholly to their own way, to judaizing observations, judaizing, sabbatizing Christians;--were it not for these our doings and compliances with flesh and blood, the star would not fail to guide us; God's grace would shine unto its "the day-star would arise in" all " our hearts," and conduct us happily and safely too into the louse where we should truly find Christ. The truth is, if our coming to Christ, if our religion, may cost us nothing ­ [278/279] nor pains, nor cost, nor cold, nor heat, nor labour, nor time, nor hurt, nor hazard, nor enquiry, nor search,--then it may be we will be content to give Christ a visit, and entertain his faith and worship, but not else; if it may not be had, nor Christ come to, without so much ado, let him go- let all go so we may sit at ease and quiet in our warm nests, come of Christ's worship and of his house what will.

Yet thither it is, (3.) to his house, that these wise men make with all their eagerness. Many stately buildings and royal palaces, doubt, they had seen by the way, fitter far for a king to he burn in than the inn they found him in; but at these they stay not; they and their star rest not any where but at this house: here indeed they may, both heaven and earth, set up their rest; this house truly the house of God, which now contained the God of heaven and earth.

To teach us that we are not to look to outward appearances, nor judge always according to sight. Christ may lie in the poorest cottage, in the meanest inn, as soon as in the highest palace; huffy, in the low, humble soul, in the beggar's soul as well as in the king's--whose "bodily presence," as S. Paul speaks, "is weak, and whose speech contemptible"--you shall sooner find him than under the gilded roofs of a vain-glorious virtue, or a self-conceited and boasted religion and piety.

Indeed, wherever the star stands, whatever house the heavenly light encompasses, there must we alight and enter; we must not think much of the meanest dwelling that heaven points out, of the poorest condition that God designs us to. That house is glorious enough, that Christ is in; that habita-tion and condition happiest, how poorly soever it appear, which the finger of God directs us to, and the light of his countenance shines on and encompasses. O my soul! enter there always, O my soul, where God points out unto thee, where the heavenly light shines over thee, however earth look on thee. Thou shalt find more contentment in a stable, amongst beasts, in the meanest employment, than in the highest offices of state and honour; in an inn: amongst strangers, than with thy brethren and kinsfolk at home; in a thatched hovel, in the poorest, hardest lodging, meanest dwelling, and lowest condition, than in the fairest house, the sweetest seats, the [279/280] softest bed, the most plentiful estate, if God, by his special finger or star of providence, guides thee to it out of his secret wisdom, and Christ be with thee in it.

I do not wonder interpreters make this house the church of God. It is the gate and court of heaven, now Christ is here; angels sing round about it, all holiness is in it, now! Christ is in it: here all the creatures, reasonable and unreason-able, come to pay their homage to their Creator; hither they come, even from the ends of the earth, to their devotions; "a house of prayer" it is "for all people," Gentiles and all; hither they come to worship, hither they come to pay their offerings and their vows; here is the shrine and altar, the glorious Virgin's lap, where the Saviour of the world is laid to be adored and worshipped; here stands the star for tapers to give it light; and here the wise men this day become the priests--worship and offer, present prayers and praises, for themselves and to the whole world besides; all people of the world, high and low, learned and ignorant, represented by them.

This house, then, is a place well worth the coming to; here might the wise men well end all their journeys, sit down and rest where the Eternal Wisdom keeps its residence; here may the greatest potentates not disdain to stoop and enter, where the "King of kings and Lord of lords" vouchsafes to make his lodging. Here only, in this blessed inn where Christ is lodged, can the soul truly rest; no wisdom but what is here, no greatness but what is his, no house but what is sanctified by his presence, no bed but where his right hand becomes our pillow, and his left our covering, can satisfy the wearied soul, or give so much as one wink of rest, or quiet, or contentment to it. Well may the wise men pass by all other houses to come to this; slight all the magnificent palaces in the earth, to take up a lodging in this inn; leave all other sights for this blessed sight, am! count nothing worth the seeing till they see him--nothing but him.

Wise men will do so still; esteem God's house, how mean soever it appear, above all houses, his sight above all that can be seen; "count all things dross and dung, so they may gain Christ," one glance of him, one beam of his glorious brightness. Any place shall be worth being in, [280/281] where he is; no journey tedious, that at last brings to him; no way troublesome, that leads to him; rocks and mountains easier than flowery plains and meadows; sands and deserts pleasanter than the spicy gardens of the East, and the Hesperian orchards; ice, and snows, and rain, and hail, and stormy weather,--the greatest hardships that all these lower regions can pour upon us,--more delightful than continual summers and perpetual springs, than uninterrupted sunshines and gaudy days, if by those endurances we may at length arrive at the feet of Christ. All the injuries and inconveniences that can befal us here, are not worth the naming, so they bring us to our Saviour. O my God! let me lose all, so I may find him; let me want anything, so I want not him; let me have nothing, so I may have him., He is the only thing the wise men sought, and he it is that thus seeking they found and saw at last. "And when they are come into the house, they found the young Child with Mary his mother."

11. And he was a thing worth finding; and found he would be, because they sought him; will be so of us, if we seek him diligently, carefully, and constantly, as they did here. For the words here may as well carry the title of a reward for their pains, as of a posture of their faith. Sonic ancient copies (which the Latin follows) read eurou, invenerunt, "they found the Child;" and thus it seems to speak their success, and the recompense of their labour in the search. Others, they say, as ancient, read eidou_ viderunt, " they saw the Child;" which our English follows, and, though there be no great difference, or matter of distinction, yet, being authorized by our Church, we are willing to make use of, as being of a larger capacity, as well somewhat expressing the wise men's carriage as their success; for we intend to handle both.

(1.) As it presents to us their success- a success sufficient to encourage us all to turn perpetual travellers to find Christ in the flesh. Christ a "child;" to find him as soon almost as he can be found--a young child; not yet full a fortnight old; to find him "with his mother" too--Christ and the devout soul together, Christ and the soul united; to find him and " Mary" together--Christ exalted in our hearts (for so "Mary" signifies, exalted), his kingdom and power set up and exalted in our hearts,- to find all this, all this for one poor journey, for the [281/282] pains and labour of so small a number of days and hours, is a success than which no journey, no undertaking, can have better; yet all these are here.

i. They found, first, an Incarnate God ­ their Saviour in the flesh- a sight that the very "angels desire to look into," bow down to look into, says S. Peter; a sight which all the patriarchs and prophets still desired to see," but could not; a sight which made the very angels leave their heaven to come down and see, and seeing, sing for joy; a sight which made the stars rejoice "in their courses," and wait upon poor mortals" steps, that they might be admitted to behold it. For indeed, what wonder ever saw they like it? He that "spans the heavens" become a span breadth himself; the Eternal Word without a word to say; the Infinite Wisdom become childishness; the Incomprehensible Greatness wrapped up in swaddling-bands; He that "fills heaven and earth," not big enough to fill a virgin's arms; He that "opens his hand and fills all things living with" his "plenteousness," sucking Himself a little milk out of his mother' breasts to live by; He poor himself; who makes all rich; God, a man! Eternity, a child! Who would not travel the world over to see this miracle, and think his time and pains never spent so well as then?

ii. But, secondly, to have the first sight almost, as it were, of so happy a wonder, adds something to the glory of the success: to be admitted among the first into Christ's presence, to be so honoured as to be of the number of his first attend-ants, to be with Him whilst he is yet a child, to wait upon this new-born King and have relation to Him from his cradle; to meet with him so young, so tender, so pliable, so easy to be approached and dealt with,--is a success of so much honour and obligement, that we may expect anything from his hands, being of his first followers and servants in so tender a condition towards us.

iii. Thus far the journey seems sufficiently successful; yet not only to find a Saviour in the flesh, so nearly allied unto us, and so soon almost as he is so made to us, but also, thirdly, to find him in His mother's arms, fast clasped within our souls, (for every faithful soul is Christ's mother, as well as blessed Mary--conceives, and brings him forth, and nourishes [282/283] him, as well as she,--the soul spiritually, as she naturally,)--to find, I say, Christ thus conceived and brought forth in our own souls,--this Child in our own arms too, "Christ with us," is that indeed which makes this finding worth the finding, this sight worth seeing. Should we only "know Christ after the flesh though amongst the first that knew him--had we no more than an outward sight; did we not see him with his mother in a mysterious sense, in the soul and spirit--born in our souls, they also made his mothers (as all that believe and do God's will, be himself calls so),--unless we thus see Him, our success will be but lame and poor, no better than those Jews that saw and perished.

iv. Yet the success here is one degree beyond it: "They saw the young Child and Mary his mother." Mary signifies exalted: to see him with his mother Mary, is to see his exalted mother, the soul exalted by his presence, his power and kingdom exalted in it; to see this king in his kingdom, to see Christ reigning and ruling in us, this new-born king triumphing in our souls, our understandings, wills, affections, and all our faculties subjected to him: and this is a good sight, wherever we see it. 'This is, then, the sum of the success we shall find of our travel after him. (i.) The perfect sight, and (ii.) the easy knowledge of him; (iii.) our union with him; (iv.) our exaltation by him. He will reveal himself to them that seek him, discover himself betimes to them that carefully search for him, unite himself and be with them that follow after him, and set up his throne and excellency in them that find him.

(2.) Indeed this, now secondly, is worth the seeing, worthy the beholding. They "saw" it; (i.) they saw it and admired it: their seeing him, it was "the Lord's doing," and could not but be "admirable in their eyes." They could not certainly but admire and wonder to see the star had pointed out the Child, so poor a Child; a king in rags; so glorious a Child, so blessed a mother, in so poor a plight. Saw it, and "fell down,"' say the next words: fell down in amazement and astonishment, it may be, as well as any way else, to see so great a mercy, so strange a sight.

(ii.) Yet saw it, secondly, and believed: saw by the eye of faith, as much as by the eye of sense; believed presently [283/284] it was the child they sought, and therefore "fell down and worshipped;" which certainly they would not have done, had they not believed. Indeed, the strange guide that conducted them, the resolution for the place at least (Bethlehem by name) which they met with at Jerusalem, the new return of their lost starry leader as soon as they were got out of Jerusalem, the very standing and fixing of itself (which all the while before was in perpetual motion) over this very place where they found this Child, might sufficiently assure them that it was his star, that he was the Lord whom this star attended; so that they might not only believe out of credulity, or an impatient desire to be at their journey's end, or at home again, but out of prudence, as it became wise men, who lay all together ere they fix their faith. Saw and believed: that is the second.

(iii.) Saw it and were glad too; that is a third adjunct of seeing such a sight. If the seeing of the star again, in the former verse, made them "to rejoice with exceeding great joy," which could unless confirm their hope to find in him, how exceedingly exceeding great joy, gaudio valde valde magno, must it needs be they rejoiced with, when they found him!

(iv.) Saw and worshipped, that should be a fourth; but it is the third and next part of the test, which the time and season now forbids me to look into. Only this to recapitu-late the rest and apply it home.

1. Behold we, first, and admire this sight, the mercy and goodness of our Saviour, thus for us to become a child; to take upon him the infirmities and inconveniences of our nature, even from its first weaknesses; to make himself so accessible to us, so easy to be approached; to vouchsafe to be daily conceived again and born in our souls and spirits; to take upon him besides the rule and guidance over us; to set up his throne in so poor a place as our unworthy souls, amidst so much frailty as and unpreparedness--souls more filthy and stinking, when he first comes to them, than the very stable he was born in, amidst the dung and ordure of the beasts. Behold and see if there were ever goodness like this goodness; see and admire it.

2. See, secondly, and believe it too, The most incredulous [284/285] among the apostles, S. Thomas when he once saw, he believed. See but low the star moves and fixes, and even points us to him; how readily the wise men entertain the sight, and fall down and worship; see how all the prophecies concur and meet in this young Child; see how the world is overspread with this faith, and has so many hundred years continued it, notwithstanding so many persecutions,--and I shall not need to persuade you to play the wise men too, and upon so many testimonies and evidences believe the same.

3. Yet I exhort you, thirdly, to see it and he glad. Heaven rejoiced at it, and the earth was glad; angels sang proper anthems for it; the shepherds joyfully tell it out; the wise men here scarce know how to carry themselves for joy--open all their treasures, and fling about their gifts, to express their gladness. Only Herod and the Jews, Herodian Jews, Jerusalem Jews, men addicted wholly to the pumps and pride and vanity of the city, are troubled at the birth of so humble a Saviour. It is a day of rejoicing, this. It is the Lord's day, "the day which the Lord hath made: let us rejoice," says the Psalmist, "and he glad in it." It is the day of showing himself to us Gentiles, who "sat in darkness and the shadow of death." It is fit, therefore, we should be glad for so great a blessing. It is the day he was baptized in, and that ever useth to be among us a joyful day: great joy and fasting at it. It is a marriage-day; the day he wrought his first miracle upon, when he turned water into wine, on purpose to make us merry--the water of tears into the wine of joy. So many blessings together, so many good tidings in one day,--so many glorious things, so bright a Star, so glorious a Child, so blessed a mother, so miraculous a baptism, so cheerful a miracle, so triumphant a resurrection, all together on one play,- must not, cannot be found out, cannot be seen of Christians so much con-cerned in them all, without perpetual songs of gladness and rejoicing.

I should leave you here, but that we must needs yet see a little, one step farther. See and learn: Is Christ our Saviour here a Child?--See then that we "become like little children," in humility and innocence; we shall not see [285/286] heaven, nor him in it, else, lie tells us. Is he so little? Let not us then think much to be accounted so, to be made so. Is he content to lie in his mother's lap?--Let not us grudge, then, if we have no where else to lie than upon our mother earth. Is he content to partake our weaknesses?---Let not us then he impatient when we fall into sicknesses and infirmities. Is he a Child to be adored and worshipped?--Let us then be careful in all places and at all times to adore and worship him. Will he accept our presents? Let us present our souls and bodies and estates and all to his service; lay all our treasures at his feet, worship him with all that is precious to us, think nothing too precious or good for him. In a word, is he to be found? is he so easy to have access to? "Call we then upon Him whilst he is near, and seek we him while he may be found;" seek we him how he will be found; for always he will not, nor every way he will not.

Follow therefore the wise men's steps: so soon as ever "the day-star arises in our hearts," so soon as ever any heavenly light of holy inspiration shines into us, begin we to set forward, get we out of our own countries, from our sins; arm ourselves against all temptations, against the pleasures, the perfumes, and spices of Arabia Felix of prosperity and honour; against the sandy deserts of Arabia
Deserta--against dryness and dulness, commonly the first temptations that we meet with in our way to Christ, that make us to have little or no relish of it; against the rocky and thievish passage of Arabia Petræa; against the rocks of temptations and afflictions; against the subtleties, and treacheries, and violences of the suggestion of ill companions, wherewith the devil doth waylay us. Get we up to Jeru-salem, the holy city; enquire we there of the word of God, and at "the mouth of the Priest," (which God hath said "shall preserve knowledge" for others' good, whatever for his own;)--ask, I say, and enquire there how we shall find our Christ; rejoice we ever in the light of heaven, walk by it, make much of it, of all holy motions and inspirations; continue in it; and let neither the tediousness of the way, nor the frailty of our own flesh, nor any stormy or tempes-tuous weather, any cross or trouble, nor any winter coldness [286/287] of our own dull bosoms, nor sometimes the loss even of our guides, those heavenly and spiritual comforts, which God sometimes in his secret wisdom withdraws from us,) nor any carnal reason or interest, deter us from our search after this Babe of heaven, after Christ the Saviour; but go on constantly and cheerfully through all these difficulties to the house of God, to the Church of Christ: then shall we be sure to find Him "with his mother"--our souls find him, our affections embrace him; then will he be exalted in us, and exalt us from this house, the Church militant below, to that above, the Church triumphant in the heavens; this Child make us grow from grace to grace, till come to the perfect stature of himself, here of grace, and hereafter of eternal glory.

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