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temptation, our sympathizing Friend, our most powerful Advocate with the Father. Surely, when we remember this, how entirely the Lord Jesus Christ was a partaker of flesh and blood, and of all which such a participation involves—sin only except—we read the angel’s words with increased joy—it is indeed glad tidings which they tell us, Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord! But if the good tidings of such a Saviour be for all, if it becomes all sorts and conditions of men to whom the good news of Christmas comes, to be glad and rejoice before God, there is one class of men who, perhaps above every other, ought to be in joy to-day, and that classis the poor. Jesus Christ, my brethren, was one of you—poor in worldly goods as the very poorest. As a boy He must have worked with His own hands for His bread. When He grew up and began His public ministry, He had neither house, nor home, nor money, nor rich friends. He must often have known what it was to hunger and want a meal. He had not, He tells us Himself, any certain place where to lay His head. Born in poverty, nursed in poverty, brought up in the ways of poverty, familiar with its trials, sufferings, and privations, the Lord must ever find the easiest access to the hearts of the poor. Yes, and as He was of choice thus poor, so did He, of choice, we must think, adapt His doctrines to the poor. When He spake, He spake so plain that the common people heard Him gladly. The book which contains His
recorded words is a book which, while it has depths that are yet unsounded, while it occupies the study of the wisest and most learned of our kind, is yet much of it within the easy comprehension of the least lettered reader. In it, from end to end, the poor have the Gospel preached to them. Am I, then, wrong in saying that the poor have most cause of all to be glad at Christmas? Is not the Saviour who was born this day in the city of David, in a very especial manner their Saviour P O, my friends, that you would think of this, and the lessons that are thus brought near to you. Learn contentment, learn patience, learn to take cheerfully the hardships of poverty, by looking unto Jesus. In whatever trouble you may be, in whatever affliction, in weariness, in painfulness, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in worse evils than any of these, when neglected or oppressed of your fellow men, be sure you are not left alone to suffer—you have in Jesus Christ a great Fellow-Sufferer—and not only a FellowSufferer, but One who is able to make all these things work together for your good, if you only trust to Him to do it. If you endure, if in your patience ye possess gour souls, all will come right,-your light affliction, which is but for a moment, will work for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Once more. I would not seem, in what I have said, to limit or restrict the rejoicing which belongs to this happy day, to one class only. The good tidings, as I have already observed, are for
us all; for those who are in wealth and worldly pros
perity, as well as for such as are in poverty and distress, Take men in any condition of life, rich or poor, sick or well, sorrowful or glad, and it would be easy to shew that a great and particular benefit, calculated in every case for their individual good, has this day been provided for them by the birth of a Saviour. But I must not enter upon this now. I would only, before concluding, mention the common benefits to mankind that result from His coming into the world. To all alike, then, Christ has come with a message of reconciliation. For all He brings peace. To all, as many as will receive Him, He gives power to break the bond of their sins, to become the sons of God. He is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. From every eye, that is not obstinately closed against Him, He takes away the film, and enables us to see God aright, and to love God, and to walk before Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our life. For all, He has introduced a new law, which, if it were followed, would make all happy, and turn this world of sin into a second Eden. These are common benefits, and call for common acknowledgment. Let us render it now. Let us bless God on our knees this day for shewing us His great Salvation—that Salvation which He has prepared before the face of all people, in which mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss one another' Let us bless God for sending us His Son, His onlybegotten Son, to take our nature upon Him. Nor let us stop with the mere uttering of thanks and praise. Let us put the seal of our lives upon these. Men whom Christ has redeemed, men who in Him are again partakers of the Divine nature, men whose sins are forgiven them, to whose faith heaven has been opened, 0, see that ye walk in some sort answerable to such priceless blessings ! Be it yours not only to look upon the Saviour—as we have done to-day-in His cradle, but to follow in all things the blessed footsteps of His after life; to go with Him where He leads, to take His cross upon you, and to learn of Him; to do all you can to set forward in the world, in that small field of it especially, in which your lot is cast, the great end and object of His comingGlory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men!
SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS.
Isa IAH xxxvii.I. 18, 19.
The grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee : they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise Thee.
THESE words occur in one of the first lessons appointed by our Church for this Sunday. They form part of the writing of Hezekiah when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness.
The whole thanksgiving is very beautiful, and suggests much matter fit for our consideration at this time.
And first let me recall to you some particulars in Hezekiah's history. His character stands out, in the Scripture record, in most favourable contrast with the great majority of the Kings of Judah. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places and cast down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made : for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it, and he called it Nehushter. He