Matthew 2:5
"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
Sermons
The StarJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 2:1-10
The Happy Misnomer of the Wise Men of the EastP.C. Barker Matthew 2:1-12
The Pilgrimage of the MagiW.F. Adeney Matthew 2:1-12
Childhood of JesusMarcus Dods Matthew 2:1-23
The Honour of a CityR. Tuck Matthew 2:5, 6


Out of thee shall come a Governor. It is not its architecture, or its situation, or its history, or its polity, or its wealth. It is its men. A city is ennobled by the heroes, the poets, the race-leaders, who are born in it. This leads some seven distinct cities to lay claim to be the birthplace of Homer. One of the later psalmists gives expression to this truth, when he says," Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God Of Zion it shall be said, This man and that man was born in her; and the Highest himself shall establish her" (Psalm 87:3-5). Bethlehem was but a little and insignificant town, scarcely more than what we should call a village; not even important for its situation, since it was not on any of the main caravan-routes. And yet it stands out most prominently of all cities in Palestine, save Jerusalem, the capital. Everybody knows Bethlehem. Every traveller must go and see Bethlehem. We should smile at the woeful ignorance of a traveller who did not know enough to compel him to go to Bethlehem. Both the Old Testament and the New give prominence to it, and we may properly call it the twice-honoured city. Descriptions of it, as it was in our Lord's time and now, are at very easy command in modern 'Lives of Christ' and books of travel.

I. HONOURED AS THE BIRTHPLACE OF DAVID. David is the hero of Old Testament history. He is the proper founder of the Jewish monarchy; and is specially commended because he founded it on strictly theocratical lines. He is worthy of honour

(1) for his personal character on the whole;

(2) for his kingly rule, with some marked exceptions;

(3) and he is specially interesting because his reign was distinctly typical of the Messianic reign.

Jerusalem gained honour as the "city of David," Bethlehem as his birthplace. Showing interest in a birthplace is a common sign of our interest in him who was born there. And we even expect to find relations between the genius of the man and the genius of the place.

II. HONOURED AS THE BIRTHPLACE OF DAVID'S GREATER SON. Trace the orderings of Divine providence which brought Mary to Bethlehem. Martin Luther was born unexpectedly at an inn, when his parents were journeying from home. Talk, how you may, the praises of cities, call them "beautiful for situation," record the struggles for liberty of which they may have been the centres, still you must leave the supreme honours for "little Bethlehem." The "Lamb of God," the "Saviour of the world," was born there. - R.T.







Priests and scribes.
Some that are best acquainted with the gospel are practical strangers to it. They are like one who should pore over a map, mastering its geography; marking each sea, lake, river; understanding the position of every range of mountains; learning the names of all the localities indicated, but never visiting them. A living author, describing his journey to the falls of Niagara, says: "I met with a gentleman who told me that he had walked from Boston, a distance of seven hundred miles, to see Niagara. "When within seven miles, he heard what he thought might be the roar of the torrent, and asked a man who was at work on the road if this was so. The man replied that he didn't know; it might be, but he had never been there himself. Yet he had lived within sound of it all his life!" Wonderful stupidity, this! Who does not reprobate such folly? Nevertheless, it is nothing — absolutely nothing — compared with the direr folly which may be witnessed any day that we choose to look around us. Numbers are within sound of " the river of the water of life " without an actual, personal experience of its benefit.

(Rev. T. R. Stevenson.)Like in this to those who built the ark for Noah, providing others with a refuge, themselves perished in the flood; or like to the stones by the road that show the miles, but themselves are not able to move.

( Augustine.)

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