of Transfiguration, and of which the Apostle John was one of the favoured witnesses. But in a more general view, there was, at all times, around Him a Divine Glory," the glory as of the only begotten of the Father," because He alone of all mankind, had ever the glory of his Father in view. Even in his boyish years, and while He was living in humble subjection to his earthly parents, we yet find him on one memorable occasion making it known that he well understood there was the business of a Heavenly Father which he was still more called upon to perform. When He came forth on the high stage of his mission,-to do the will of that Father was ever the principle uppermost in his mind, and it was this which opened to His pure spirit all the beauty and the perfection of unstained innocence, and all the ardour and the charity of social duty. It was this, too, which gives us the key even of his simplest and most familiar qualities. He cherished every principle and affection natural to man, because He knew them all to be the workmanship of God. He entered into the little avocations of earthly business, and expressed no dissatisfaction against the common views which lead to

them, because He knew that the world and its employments, and its sentiments, amidst all their imperfection and frequent irregularity, is yet the school of trial through which human nature must pass; and it was from this very trust and dependence upon Heaven, that the great enterprise of his mission itself, the instruction and salvation of mankind, while it was ever steadily pursued by him, was yet never hurried on, or beheld through the medium of any deceitful enthusiasm. Man, in his darkest state, He yet felt to be the creature of a merciful and most gracious God; and it was equally his reverence for the good pleasure and the Providence of that God, which made him advance in his work with ardour, or delay it with patience.

It is the happiness of the Christian world, my brethren, of those who have been called to believe on His name, that they are now preparing to hail the Hour of his Birth, and to assemble around the Altar of his Mercy.-It is the most interesting hour of our being.—It is the hour in which all that is gentle and amiable in human affections mingles with the purity and benevolence of Divine, in which the song of

Angels falls on the ears of men engaged in the common offices of the world, and in which the unapproachable glory of Deity itself is veiled in the familiar form of a Babe returning the pressure of maternal love. It is the hour in which we feel that the ear of God is open to every prayer of man, that the limited views of earthly entrea

[ocr errors]

ties may innocently be connected with higher and immortal interests;-and that, when we present before Him the humblest hopes and wishes of ourselves, and of those who are dear to us, He, indeed, listens to us as our indulgent Father. It is, in a word, the hour of domestic and social charities no less than of religious contemplation; but it is ever the perfection of this hour to mingle with the happiness of earth the pure aspirations of Heaven. For this rea

son it is that we are called to the Altar;-that the Saviour of the world there appears to us again in the Innocence of Childhood, and points to the after Holiness of His life, which more than corresponded with so sinless a beginning, and tells us, that Heaven is only obscured to man by his wanderings and his sins,-that all which is simple and beautiful in the original affections of our nature clings to that Higher Region

as to its native clime, and that the eye of Guilt alone has been clouded with the images of doubt and of death!

Is that guilt, alas! common to us all?-He sheds his Blood to wash it away; and while around his altar we mingle our tears of penitence with the symbols of that Blood which was shed, and that Body which was broken, He gently raises us from our knees, and summons us to go on in our way rejoicing, and to " sin no more."

Are we feeble, my brethren, and will the temptations of the world, into which we must again return, mislead us from the road of purity and of Heaven?-Yes,-too assuredly, they will; yet He has revealed to us that Faith " which overcometh the world," and which may best keep us in our way; He has opened our eyes to a reconciled "Father which is in Heaven;" He has shewn us the will of that Father as the light of our path; wherever it leads us, there with Him let us cheerfully follow;-into whatever privations or sufferings, still let us rejoice that we are the objects of that Father's love; and with all the beloved companions of our journey, and from every point and position in which we stand, let us

submit ourselves, and all our interests, to His gracious pleasure, and pray that the Spirit which “ proceedeth from the Father and the Son," may impart to us such a measure of


grace and of truth" in the present life, that we may finally attain that glory which awaiteth "the sons of God" in that higher life, into which "the Only Begotten of the Father" hath gone "to prepare a place" for them!


« VorigeDoorgaan »