תמונות בעמוד
[ocr errors]


all things unto himself.” He came down from Heaven “ to save sinners," why then do we not go to him for lise, for liberty, for glory? Why do we not“abide in Him," and cling to him as the rock of our salvation, against which “ the gates of hell shall not prevail.” Let us consider that “ the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and that he shall reign for ever and ever.” What glorious promises ! what a prospect for the Christian's exultation ! “This is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.” But for the Saviour, eternal death had been our portion, but

our life is hid with Christ in God.” And though it doth not yet appear what we shall be,” still “ we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

If we do not feel that there is a connexion between us and our blessed Saviour, more durable, more important, more binding than any which can be formed even by the closest ties of consanguinity, we cannot certaintly be “ one with Christ and Christ with us ;" we cannot surely love him as he has loved us, which he so abundantly proved by dying to expiate our guilt. In proportion as we love him less, we shall love the world more; and we are never to forget that they who are the most wedded to the world are the furthest “ absent from the Lord.”

If we felt our connexion with the Redeemer as his earnest and loving disciples, it would never cease fully to engage our hearts, whenever our minds are occupied with the important business of futurity, according to those affecting words of St. Paul. “The love of Christ constraineth us because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead ; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are past away ; behold all things are become new."

Though the blessed Jesus has appeared upon earth and done for man all that a God of infinite justice as well as of infinite mercy can do, consistent with his immutable perfections, still who among us is satisfied ? The present is indeed an occasion in which we naturally direct our thoughts to that truly glorious period when the Lord was at hand,” when there “went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus that all the world should be taxed," which brought Mary the Mother of Jesus from Nazareth to Bethlehem to give birth to the promised Emmanuel, and which miracle of love was celebrated by angels with hymns of joy. Though at this distance of time we are not permitted to be spectators of the first memorable advent of the Son of God-an event which was designed to be witnessed by earlier generations—we nevertheless behold its effects in all their vast and encreasing amplitude. We have seen the glorious gospel of our Redeemer, like a mighty colossus, striding over a benighted world. We have seen the mustard-seed spring up into a vigorous tree, whose branches are fanned by all the winds of Heaven, beneath whose protecting canopy the fowls of the air, of every clime and feather, together with the cattle upon a thousand hills,” may find shelter and repose.

When we look at the depravity which, like a sweeping deluge, overspread the world at the coming of “the Prince of Peace," the idolatry of the Gentile, the depraved worship of the Jew, and the licentiousness of all, can we too fervently adore the Creator for his mercy in sending his beloved, his only begotten, Son upon earth, to take upon himself the infirmities of our flesh, only that he might expiate by an ignominious death the guilt of a degraded world ?

There is indeed much to engage our affections in all the various displays of divine mercy. Had we been angels, pure and sinless angels, still our merits would have fallen far short of God's blessed dispensations. And yet even as rebels against his authority, he has put


it in our power still to reap in eternity the richest harvest of his blessings. For us he has overcome death, and opened the gates of everlasting life. Let me then, in conclusion, exhort you to draw near unto Christ : he “is at hand” to hear and answer your petitions. And betwixt the present and that day when we shall, if it be God's will, all meet to commemorate his birth, let us daily represent to our minds the amazing circumstances of his humble entrance into the world, and his affecting departure out of it; seriously preparing ourselves to partake of the sacrament of his precious body and blood. Whilst with anxious and grateful hearts we celebrate his miraculous birth, may we also unite in commemorating his afflicting death, and endeavour, as far as in us lies, to render all the race of Adam in love with Him who has so signally extended his love to all mankind.



Micah, CHAP. VII. VERSE 1.

Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer.fruits, as the grape-gleanings of the vintage : there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the first-ripe fruit.

In these words the prophet speaks as the representative of the church, pouring forth, as from her, a pathetic lamentation upon the spiritual state of her members; good men being like the gleaning after the summer fruits have been gathered in. There is no cluster to be found, only here and there a solitary grape which the Lord of the harvest had overlooked or left to be plucked by the gleaners. In the Christian church a similar lamentation might be made, for although there may be found something more than a mere gleaning, still the clusters are at all times but too few, and of the “first-ripe fruit" there is an equal scarcity. There is often indeed a good blossom

« הקודםהמשך »