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12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

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12. And this shall be a sign to you153153     “Et vous aurez ces enseignes;” — “and you shall have these signs.” The angel meets the prejudice which might naturally hinder the faith of the shepherds; for what a mockery is it, that he, whom God has sent to be the King, and the only Savior, is seen lying in a manger! That the mean and despicable condition in which Christ was might not deter the shepherds from believing in Christ, the angel tells them beforehand what they would see. This method of proceeding, which might appear, to the view of men, absurd and almost ridiculous, the Lord pursues toward us every day. Sending down to us from heaven the word of the Gospel, he enjoins us to embrace Christ crucified, and holds out to us signs in earthly and fading elements, which raise us to the glory of a blessed immortality. Having promised to us spiritual righteousness, he places before our eyes a little water: by a small portion of bread and wine, he seals,154154     “Eternam animi vitam obsignat.”—Our rendering is close. But what is sealed? Is it meant, that the mere act of partaking the Lord's Supper places beyond a doubt the salvation of the worshipper, or even gives to it any additional certainty? In some loose sense of this sort, the phrase is often enough used even by Protestant divines. It is satisfactory to have Calvin's own authority for the meaning of this passage. “Il seelle la promesse.” He seals the promise.” The meaning is, that God ratifies his word. By condescending to employ outward symbols, together with his holy word, for expressing the blessings of salvation he holds out to his people an additional testimony, and in this manner grants a strong confirmation to their faith. — Ed. the eternal life of the soul.155155     It may be proper to exhibit the entire sentence referred to in the former note. “Comme nous ayant promis la justice spirituelle, il nous met devant les yeux un peu d'eau: par un petit morceau de pain et une goutte de vin, il seelle la promesse qu'il a faite de la vie eternelle de nos ames.” — “As, having promised to us spiritual righteousness, he places before our eyes a little water: by a small morsel of bread and a drop of wine, he seals the promise which he has made of the eternal life of our souls.” But if the stable gave no offense whatever to the shepherds, so as to prevent them from going to Christ to obtain salvation, or from yielding to his authority, while he was yet a child; no sign, however mean in itself, ought to hide his glory from our view, or prevent us from offering to him lowly adoration, now that he has ascended to heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father.




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