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“ Accompany me to yonder cemetry. Whose graves do I “see ? In this thy father is interred; in that sleep the remains “ of thy mother. They were Christians. They loved God;

they trusted in the Redeemer'; they practised holiness ; “ and, from this melancholy world, they ascended to heaven. “ In that delightful world, amid all its glories, they wait im

patiently for the arrival of thee, their beloved child, to com“plete their joys. But they wait in vain. Thy path is only “ downward. Thou hast destined thyself to the regions of “ annihilation. Nay, thou wouldst pluek them from the foot “ of the eternal throne ; extinguish their immortal life ; strip “ them of angelic happiness; and hurl' them down to the same dark and desolate abyss. Miserable man ! open

thine “ eyes, if they are not finally closed in moral darkness, and “ see before thee the melancholy regions of woe, where the

groans of anguish resound, and the stream of tears flows “ without intermission, and without end; and where death “ and despair stretch their iron sceptre for ever over the “ dreary solitude ! Dost thou tremble at the prospect? Look “ behind thee, and behold goodness and mercy, twin-born of “ heaven, and arrayed in robes of uncreated light, stand, anx

iously watching thy course, and beckon thee to life ; while, « at their side, Hope, with her lucid finger, points the path “ to immortality, and exclaims, with a smile of transport, “Glory to God in the highest ; peace on earth; and good66 will towards men !?”

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LUKE 11. 10, 11.
And the Angel said unto them, fear not; for behold I bring

you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
~ For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Şa-

viour, which is Christ the Lord.

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In the preceding chapter we are informed, that the Angel Gabriel was sent first to Zacharias, a priest, and afterwards to Mary, a virgin of the family of David, to announce to them, and through them to mankind, the birth of the Saviour. The birth of John the Baptist, his harbinger in the great work of redeeming the world from sin and misery, was also predicted by the same illustrious person, and in the appointed season was accomplished. On this occasion, Zacharias, who had been deprived of his speech, both to punish his unbelief, and to manifest the certainty of the prediction, resumed it in the same miraculous manner, and uttered to those around him a memorable prophecy concerning the child already born, and the more wonderful infant whose birth was approaching.

The context opens with an account of a decree, issued by the Roman Emperor, Augustus Cæsar, requiring all the inhabitants of Judea to enrol their names, for the purpose of being taxed. The ancient prophets, particularly Micah, had foretold, that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. By means perfectly natural and easy, this prophecy was now accomplished. In Judea, the register of every family was, according to custom, kept in the city to which that family was originally attached. Bethlehem was the city of Joseph and Mary, the parents of Christ. In obedience to this decree, therefore, they were necessitated to go up from Nazareth, where they usually lived, to be registered in Bethlehem. While they were here attending on this business, she brought forth her first-born son, the Redeemer of mankind.

At this time there was a number of shepherds in the neighbouring fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. As they were occupied in this employment, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. It cannot be wondered at that they were terrified by this vision, but the Angel soothed their fears, and restored their presence of mind with these remarkable words : « Fear “ not; for behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which “ shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in “ the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And " this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe, wrap

ped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

Immediately there appeared a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, “ Glory to God in the highest, “ and on earth peace; good will towards men.”

Such is a brief recital of the story, of which the text forms an interesting part ; a story wholly singular, recounting events of a wonderful nature, and demanding from mankind the deepest attention.

My design in choosing these words, as the theme of the present discourse, is to endeavour to illustrate the declaration made by the Angel, and to show, that the tidings which he published of the birth of a Saviour, are tidings of great joy to all people.

This doctrine I shall illustrate

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I. From the story which has been summarily recounted.

The person who announced this intelligence to the shepherds of Bethlehem was, it will be remembered, a person of high dignity. He was an inhabitant, and plainly no common one, of the highest heavens. In that happy world he had been formed with powers of an exalted kind; had stood from the beginning before the throne, and in the immediate presence of God; had advanced for a vast period of time in knowledge and virtue, and had been holden in high estimation among Cherubim and Seraphim. Ample knowledge to discern, and an unquestionable disposition to declare, the real nature of the tidings which he proclaimed, were of course united in him, and left no room to doubt the truth of his declarations.

From his own happy residence he came to this world for the very purpose of publishing these tidings to the human race. Delighted with the nature of this intelligence, he was pleased to be the messenger of it to the world, to which it was so interesting. With him came also a train of his immortal companions, all alike astonished and transported by the event which he announced, and all equally delighted to be present at the birth of the stranger, who this night became a visitor to our ruined world.

The same illustrious beings had formerly attended him at the creation, when they sang together, and shouted for joy at the sight of the amazing things which he then accomplished. Their songs they now renewed, and joined together in a hymn more noble, more divine, than had ever before proceeded from their lips.

“ Glory," they sung, “ to God in the highest, , “ and on earth peace; good will towards men.” God, they perfectly well knew, had been always infinitely glorious, and possessed of infinite goodwill to his universe; but his glory was now peculiarly displayed, and his benevolence outshone all its former manifestations. The redemption, renovation, and forgiveness of sinners were an exhibition of divine excellence, which enlarged the views, and elevated the praises, even of angels, after all their preceding acquaintance with the heavenly system. In proclaiming these tidings, also, the Angel and his companions were wholly disinterested. They had never fallen, and needed, therefore, no Saviour to restore them to the favour of God. In that favour they now stood securely, and were assured by the divine goodness of unchangeable holiness and happiness for ever. Still they rejoiced at the prospect of the restoration of the human race to the favour of God, and

to their own happy society. The good, which they now enjoyed and celebrated, was the good of others ; of a race of béb ings united to them only as intelligent creatures of the same God; creatures who had revolted from their Sovereign, and opposed all the wishes and interests of his virtuous subjects. It was, therefore, a joy most benevolently felt in the mere diffusion of happiness,-a happiness made their own by exalted participation and divine sympathy.

It is further to be remembered, that although they came to this world voluntarily, and were joyfully present on this occa sion, yet they were sent hither by their Father and our Father, by their God and our God. Their mission they executed exactly as well as gladly; and disclosed his views as well as

In declaring these to be tidings of great joy, they announced the decision of God himself, and proclaimed the views formed concerning this subject by infinite wisdom and goodness. Through them, therefore, mankind are assured that these are tidings of great joy, not only in the estimation of angels, but also in that of Jehovah.

their own.

II. The situation in which mankind were when these tidings were brought to them, strongly exhibits the truth of the doctrine.

The whole human race were in a state of determined rebellion against God. Since the apostacy of Adam, there is not the least reason to believe, that a single member of his great family has been born with a disposition to obey and glorify his Creator; that even one solitary instance can be found among his numerous progeny, in which a mind, pure and unbiassed, has loved God, cherished righteousness, and hated sin with all, the heart; or that the heavenly character has ever made its appearance, unmixed and unsullied, in this polluted world. On the contrary, the scriptural declarations, which conclude all men under sin, and pronounce every imagination of man's heart to be evil, and only evil, are, and ever have been, completely verified by the concurring experience of all ages and nations.

As thus guilty and rebellious, mankind were condemned by the holy, righteous, and reasonable law which they had vio

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