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reserve for them, in consequence of the zealous efforts of the Magi to find Christ. For God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and he remembers mercy to a thousand generations.*

* Extract from the memoir of Mrs. Judith S. Grant, late missionary to Persia, pp. 176-178:

"The place of her sepulture is within the outer enclosure or court of a Christian church, where, for many centuries, the lamp of truth, if not of vital piety, has been kept burning, though with a dim and flickering light. It is the Church of Mary, the mother of Jesus; and you may be interested to learn the tradition of the Nestorians regarding its history. They are confident of the truth of the general belief that Oroomiah was the residence of the renowned Zoroaster, the reformer of that primitive system of idolatry which found a God in the sun, moon, and stars, and the unextinguished fires on their holy altars. Zoroaster, say the Nestorians, was a disciple of Jeremiah, and having learned from him the promised advent of the Messiah, he taught it to his followers, assuring them that, directed by his star, they would be the first to pay him reverence.

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As their tradition is remarkably corroborated by Abulpharagius, I will quote his language: "Zeradusht (Zoroaster,) the preceptor of the Magi, taught the Persians concerning the manifestations of Christ, and ordered them to bring gifts to him in token of their reverence and submission. He declared that in the latter days a pure virgin should conceive, and that as soon as the child was born a star would appear, blazing, even at noonday, with undiminished lustre. You, my sons,' exclaimed the venerable seer, will perceive its rising before any other nation. As soon, therefore, as you shall see the star, follow it whithersoever it shall lead you, and adore the mysterious child—offering your gifts to him with the profoundest humility. He is the Almighty WORD, which created. the heavens.' 'It came to pass,' say the Nestorians, as Zoroaster predicted. The Magi ("wise men") of Persia were the first to discover the promised star; and, in obedience to their prophet, they hastened to pay their devotions to the new-born King. They took with them gold as a suitable present, if he were an earthly king; but as they had been apprised of his celestial character, they also brought frankincense and myrrh, which they were accustomed to burn as a perfume in their religious adoration.' On their return to the native abode of their prophet at Oroomiah, they brought with them some of the swaddling clothes of the incarnate Divinity, which were subsequently used as a sacred relic in consecrating the first Christian church of this land, which they named in honor of the blessed mother Mary, (Nana Mariam.)"

We have named the Wise men from the East, 'Friends of Christ,' and have given them a prominent place among that honorable number whom we are to consider in these discourses under that name. It is encouraging to notice how little of true faith in Christ, and what imperfect knowledge of him, they probably had when they came to his feet. And yet what consequences have flowed to them in their usefulness, during their lives, in directing the attention of others to Christ, in comforting the mourning people of God, in giving an example of zeal and faith to those who have more knowledge of Christ than they. This teaches us that with whatever motive we seek Christ, or however imperfect and deficient our knowledge of him, we cannot seek in vain, nor will our sincere efforts to know him better fail to be rewarded. "A bruised reed he will not break; and smoking flax he will not quench.”

It deserves a passing notice, in conclusion, that



We cannot suppose that the knowledge of this adoration was withheld from him when he came to years of understanding. What effect might we suppose it would have had on any one of us, had he been told that, when he was an infant, learned men

came in a company and did him reverence; that wise men from the continent of Europe made a pilgrimage to his feet? But the Saviour was subject to his parents, and worked at his trade as a carpenter. When he began his public ministry, and selected his first apostles, did he choose Magi for his ministers? No, but Andrew, and Peter, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and the sons of Zebedee. With what truthfulness and beauty, then, does that gracious invitation to each of us proceed from his lips: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and Take my yoke upon you, and

I will give you rest.

learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and

There is only one

ye shall find rest to your souls." instance in the New Testament in which the Man of Sorrows is said to have rejoiced; and this was in connection with the truth that God had hid the things of his kingdom from the “wise and prudent,” and had "revealed them unto babes." It gratified the benevolence of Christ to think that the humble, unlettered poor of our race were specially the objects of divine compassion, while those who were wise in their own conceit, in consequence of their human learning or gifts, were passed by. When the Saviour, who had had the wise men of the east at his feet, stretches forth his hand, and says, Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God, he excites the confidence and joy of every one

whom he honors with being his ambassador, and he should draw all men unto him.


The title, Friends of Christ,' naturally leads to the inquiry, Am I a friend of Christ? Perhaps every one will readily answer, Yes. Mention some proof of it. Take time, and see if you are a friend of Christ by any such proof as commonly evinces friendship. How much do you pray to Christ? what communion have you with him? how often do you repeat with yourself his precious name? on whom of his disciples have you ever bestowed a gift, a kind word or look, for the reason, and for that reason only, that you believed him to be a friend of Christ? what have you ever done for that cause which is all in this world that Christ holds dear?

It is a truth to which every minister of Christ testifies from personal experience, that every thing which man can do to influence his fellow-men is easier than to make them love Him who is "the chiefest among ten thousand," and "altogether lovely." Amid unsuccessful efforts for this object, saying, Who hath believed our report? and mourning that we can persuade so few to love and honor the Saviour, it is always refreshing and encouraging to look into the New Testament and contemplate the instances of love to Christ as there recorded. It reassures us of the Saviour's infinite excellence; it shows us how the human heart has responded to his

claims upon its love and homage, while the prophecies and promises of the Bible come to our aid, showing that He, whom, having not seen, we love, shall yet be loved and adored on earth and in every land, and by myriads of our race in heaven.

This series of discourses on the Friends of Christ in the New Testament, is begun, therefore, with the view and in the hope of assisting every one, by example, to love and honor the Saviour of the world, to become his friend, and to secure the friendship of Him whose loving kindness is better than life. You will find the question constantly recurring, Are you a friend of Christ? The answer to this question will, at the great harvest of the earth, determine whether the reaping angels shall place us with the wheat or with the tares. The Judge himself will assign, as the reason for the sentence which he will pronounce upon us, the evidence which our present lives afforded whether we were, or were not, his friends.

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