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acknowledging more and more our offences, and being converted to Thee, we may with all our heart forsake sin, and bring forth fruits of righteousness well pleasing to Thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
LUKE ii. 8, 9, 10.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in
the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the
glory of the Lord shone round about them : and they
were sore afraid. And the Angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I
bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
THE work of God, as far as man's salvation is concerned, includes two things equally worthy of our adoration :—the one, the benefit in itself; the other, its application. The one is the gift, which he presents, of his Son, and, together with him, of all other blessings that could accompany this amazing act of love; the other is the knowledge which he affords of that Redeeming Son, to those individuals or nations, whom he judges prepared or worthy to receive him :-the whole means he employs for the manifesting of this “ great salvation,” and for the propagation and triumph of his Gospel.
There is, in these two branches of the divine proceedings, a character of grandeur and magnificence common to both: but, in both, that grandeur and that magnificence lose themselves, as it were, in all that is most humble. The Almighty descends upon earth, in order,
appears, to search out the obscurest, and the most abject forms, wherein to conceal himself from the eyes of the ungodly, who are there incapable of perceiving him.
A helpless child, to whom, in the recesses of a stable, a humble woman hath just given birth, is yet the Son of God, the future Lord of earth and heaven! The world knows him not; the nation which expects him for its