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and delightful service on this interesting occasion. Never did Jehovah appear in all respects so glorious in holiness, justice, truth, and wisdom, as in his wonderful love to Adam's guilty polluted race. If God so hates sin that his well-beloved Son shall become man and bear the curse, rather than it shall go unpunished ; and yet so loves sinners as to employ such an expedient, rather than leave them to perish without remedy: if his wisdom could form such a plan of reconciling justice and mercy, and of taking occasion from sin itself to glorify his name in the most distinguished manner: and if his faithfulness accomplishes such a promise as that relating to the incarnation of his own Son for these most gracious purposes : how transcendantly glorious must He be! how worthy of universal love and adoration ! Let all creatures then say, “ Glory “ to God in the highest !"
Angels "rejoice over one sinner that repenteth ;" because every event of this nature is a new display of the divine glory in the work of redemption ; a new trophy of the Redeemer's beneficent victories ; a new worshipper to join the heavenly choir to all eternity ; and a new instrument to excite other sinners to seek for the same blessings. For alas ! men are blind, wilfully blind, to the glory of God in all respects. Even the displays of his being and perfections in the works of creation fail of suitably affecting their hearts : “They glo
rify him not as God, neither are thankful.” But the gospel, professed, adorned, and preached in the world, calls their attention to an interesting subject : and, when “God, who commandeth the
light to shine out of darkness, shines into our
“hearts to give the light of the knowledge of his
glory in the face of Jesus Christ,”? that light is reflected, as it were, on every other object; and we learn by degrees to glorify God, for all the displays which he hath made of himself; and as a “spiritual “ priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, accep“ table to God through Jesus Christ.” Thus sinners on earth are trained up for the worship of heaven ; of which the highest and most delightful strain will be, “Worthy is the Lamb that was “slain, and hath redeemed us to God with his “ blood ;” “Salvation to our God that sitteth on “ the throne, and unto the Lamb. Hallelujah! “Amen!”—The adoring praises of the heavenly host may therefore be also considered, as an affectionate expression of their longing desire that, by the gospel of Christ, the divine glory might fill the earth as well as heaven; while peace with God and with each other should be enjoyed by all its inhabitants, through the adorable good-will shewn to guilty man.—Let us then,
III. Endeavour to bring this matter home to ourselves by some practical deductions.
We may learn from this subject how insignificant all earthly distinctions are, in the judgment of the heavenly host. They see no glory in them, nor dishonour in the want of them. The Lord of all descends to dwell on earth, to be a Prince and Saviour ; and angels celebrate the august event, the most important that had ever occurred from the beginning of the world. But he appears not in an imperial palace, or with the appendages of royalty; but in a stable, and laid in a manger !
And let us not forget that this was the settled purpose of unchangeable wisdom and everlasting love, in order to pour contempt on all that splendour, which we are prone to idolize.
Not only are “vanity and vexation" inscribed on the pomp, wealth, and luxuries of the world, by this remarkable appointment; but they are pronounced mean, ensnaring, and polluting. We should therefore inquire how far our judgment coincides, in this respect, with that of angels and the Lord of angels? The rich and noble should remember that their distinctions are as withering flowers ; at the same time that they are talents entrusted to their stewardship, of which a strict account will shortly be demanded. Let them not then“ be high-minded, or trust in uncertain riches, “ but in the living God.” “Let not the wise
man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man
glory in his riches.” Yea, “ God forbid that” any of us “should glory, save in the cross of our “ Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified “ to us, and we unto the world.”] We should well consider the words of the apostle, “Let the “ brother of low degree rejoice in that he is ex“ alted; but the rich in that he is made low.”— “ Mind not then," my brethren, “ high things, “ but condescend to men of low estate :" cultivate humility, courteousness, indifference about the world, and self-denying beneficence in the midst of abundance: this will abate envy, secure you from the snares and perils of your situation, and render the talents entrusted to you a blessing to
'Jer. ix. 23, 24. Gal. vi. 14.
• James i. 9-11.
many, and more abundantly to yourselves.—“How 'hardly,” says our Lord, “shall they that have “riches enter into the kingdom of God!" But“ the “ things that are impossible with men are possible “ with him." Yet this consideration should excite in you peculiar caution, watchfulness, and prayer, that your riches may not prove the ruin of your immortal souls.
Think, my brethren, of the stable, the carpenter's shop, the feast on barley-bread and small fishes, the well in Samaria, and of him who had not where to lay his head : that you may learn not to despise the poor, lest you reproach your Maker, and disdain the Saviour of the world. Heavenly glory and excellency may be clad in coarse raiment, or lodged in a mean cottage. Learn not to judge of men by outward appearances; but to estimate characters according to their intrinsic worth : and let it not be thought any disparagement to prefer the company of pious Christians, who are almost as poor as their Master chose to be, above that of the most accomplished persons who are strangers to his saving grace.
And, my brethren of low degree, let me exhort you to be contented and patient in your humble condition : watch against envy, repining, coveting, and distrust. Seek the true riches, “ the orna“ment which in the sight of God is of great “price," the “honour that cometh from him," and the pure pleasures which he bestows. With these, the meanest accommodations will make your, hearts thankful: and, if your children be poorly provided for, and you are overlooked in times of difficulty by your neighbours ; think of the virginmother and her holy infant in the stable ; reflect
on your sinfulness; and, instead of murmuring, lift up your hearts in joyful thanksgivings : for few of you are so poor as the divine Saviour of sinners was, during the whole of his humiliation.
But, my friends, what do you think of this lowly Redeemer? Do your ideas of his dignity, excellency, love, and salvation, accord to the views of these holy angels? Or do you see in him no form or comeliness; nor any beauty for which you should desire him? Do you heartily sing,
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on “ earth, good-will towards men ?" or is there nothing in this great event to excite your attention and admiration? You can never be meet for the joys of heaven, unless you learn on earth to see and admire the glories of redeeming love. The songs of angels would grate in your ears, and discompose yonr hearts ; were it possible for you to enter the mansions of the blessed, without having felt
your need of a Saviour, and acquired a disposition to love and adore him. And how will the conduct of angels, who, though they never sinned, and need no pardoning mercy or renewing grace, yet glorify God with all their powers for his love to fallen men, rise up in judgment against the ingratitude and perverseness of perishinig sinners; who make the very condescension of Emmanuel the pretence for refusing him the glory due unto his name.
Let us also inquire how far we resemble these heavenly worshippers in the temper of our minds. Exalted and holy as they are, they despise not sinful worms, “dwelling in houses of clay;" while they adored the Son of God, as tabernacling in human flesh, and thus “made a little lower than