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When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great
joy.-MATTHEW ii. 10.
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid !
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid !
Cold on His cradle the dew-drops are shining ;
Low lies His head, with the beasts of the stall;
Maker, and Monarch, and Saviour of all.
Odours of Edom, and offerings divine ;
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine ?
Vainly with gifts would His favour secure
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid !
Brief life is here our portion ;
short-lived care :
The tearless life, is there. If we have some mixed comforts here, they are scarce enough to sweeten our crosses; or if we have some short and smiling intermissions, it is scarce time enough to breathe us in, and to prepare our tacklings for the next storm. If one wave pass by, another succeeds, and if the night be over, and the day come, yet will it soon be night again. Oh for the blessed tranquillity of that region where there is nothing but sweet continued peace! No succession of joy there, because there is no intermission. Our lives will be but one joy, as
our time will be changed into one eternity. O healthful place where none are sick! O fortunate land, where all are kings! O place most holy, where all are priests! How free a state where none are servants save to their supreme Monarch! For it shall come to pass in that day the Lord shall give us rest from our sorrow, and our fear, and from the hard bondage wherein we served. Hold on, then, a little longer, O my soul; bear with the infirmities of thy earthly tabernacle; endure that share of sorrows that the love of thy Father shall impose; it will be thus but a little while, the sound of thy Redeemer's feet are even at the door, and thine own deliverance nearer than many others.-BAXTER.
The general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are
written in heaven.-HEBREWS xi. 23.
I see them walking in an air of glory,
Whose light doth trample on my days,
Mere glimmerings and decays.
O holy hope and high humility,
High as the heavens above!
To kindle my cold love.
Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just!
Shining nowhere but in the dark !
Of whom the world was not worthy.—HEBREWS xi. 38. Rouse thyself up, O my soul, and consider; can the foresight of glory make others embrace the stake, and welcome the faggot, and kiss the cross, and refuse deliverance ? And can it not make thee cheerful under lesser sufferings ? Can it sweeten the flames to them, and can it not sweeten thy life, or thy sickness, or natural death? If a glimpse could make Moses' face to shine, and Peter on the Mount so transported, and Paul so exalted, and John so wrapt up in the Spirit, why should it not somewhat
revive me with delight ? Doubtless it would, if my thoughts were more believing. Is it not the same heaven which they and I must live in? Is not their God, their Christ, their crown, and mine the same ? Oh, had I such true and clear apprehensions of God, and such a true understanding of His Word as I desire; could I but trust Him as fully in all my straits; could I make God my constant desire and delight, I would not then envy the world their honours or pleasures; nor change my happiness with a Cæsar or Alexander.---BAXTER.
Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be
hereafter.-REVELATION iv. 1.
The soul that loves ascends frequently, and runs familiarly through the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, visiting the patriarchs and prophets, saluting the apostles, admiring the armies of martyrs and confessors. So do thou lead on thy heart, as from street to street, bringing it into the palace of the great King; lead it, as it were, from chamber to chamber, say to it; “Here must I lodge, here must I live, here must I praise, here must I love, and be beloved. I must shortly be one of the heavenly choir; I shall then be better skilled to the music. Amongst this blessed company must I take my place. My voice must join to make up the melody. My tears will then be taken away, my
groans turned to another tune. My cottage of clay will be changed to this palace, and my prison rags to these splendid robes. My sordid flesh shall be put off, and such a sunlike spiritual body put on. “For the former things are done away.” “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God."-ST. AUGUSTINE.
O praise the Lord, all ye nations : praise Him, all ye people.
PSALM cxvii. 1.
Be much in that angelic work of praise. As the most heavenly spirits will have the most heavenly employment, so the more heavenly the employment, the more will it make the spirit heavenly. Though the heart be the fountain of all our actions, and the actions will be usually of the quality of the heart, yet do those actions, by a kind of reflection, work much on the heart from whence they spring. The like, also, may be said of our speeches. So that the work of praising God, being the most heavenly work, is likely to raise us to the most heavenly temper. Singing of praise is a most profitable duty, because it is so delightful, as it were, to God Himself, that He hath made it His people's eternal work, for they shall sing the Song of Moses, and the Song of the Lamb. The richest emblem of heaven that I know upon earth, is, when the people of God, in the deep sense of His excellency and bounty, from hearts