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pressly required to love our neighbour; and, according to our Saviour's own explanation in the parable, every one is our neighbour who needs our aid, and is placed within the reach of our kindness. We are therefore to love our enemies; not indeed with a love of esteem and complacency, which would be impossible, but with a love of benevolence and beneficence; blessing them that curse us, doing good to them that hate us, and praying for them that despitefully use and persecute us. We are also to love sinners, not their sins but their souls, having compassion, and endeavouring to save, pulling them out of the fire. None indeed have such claims upon our pity and compassion as those who were ready to perish for ever; destruction and misery are in their paths. But while, as we have opportunity, we do good unto all men, we are especially to remember them that are of the household of faith. These are related to us by grace: these are one with us by spiritual and everlasting unions. These have peculiar titles to our affection-These we are to love out of a pure heart fervently to love as brethren.


For how is this affection to be exercised? We are to "walk in it." The term intends not only activeness and progressión, but influence and prevalence. When we say a man is in liquor, or in a passion we mean to say that it has the possession and the command of him. We read of "walking in pride;" and we understand by is a man's feeling and behaving vainly and haughtily on all occasions, and in all circumstances. The first Christians "walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost:" the fear and the comfort distinguished, governed, and absorbed them. Walking in love, therefore, intimates the importance of this disposition, and that we should not be satisfied with an ordinary measure of it. We are not to have love in us, but to be in love; to walk in love. It is to be our element, our actuating principle. It is only in proportion as this prevails that our religion can prosper. This is the fulfilling of the law. This is the end of the gospel commandment. It is the bond of perfectness-Therefore "let all your things be done with charity." And how is it enforced? "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us." Does the Apostle mean to make the love of Christ our model? or our motive? or both? Unquestionably both.

He means to make it our model, and to say that we are to love others in the same way he loved us. Our love cannot indeed equal his; but it may, it must resemble it: not indeed in all its acts and qualities, but in its source and nature. He loved us really, and we must love not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. He loved us expensively; so that when rich, for our sakes he became poor, made himself of no reputation, and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. And are we to shun selfdenial? Ánd to make no sacrifices? "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." His love is constant and unchangeable; and we are to continue in his love, and never to grow weary in well-doing.

He means also to make it our motive, and to say, that as he has loved us we are to walk in love, in consequence of this, and because of this. The Apostle does not argue from fear, or mercenariness, or even the allowed hope of reward: but urges a consideration the

most pure and ingenuous; and at the same time the most powerful. A motive strong as death, and which many waters could not quench. A motive whose efficiency he had himself experienced, and which had served to animate him in every duty, and enabled him to take pleasure in every suffering for Christ's sake-" For the love of Christ," says he "constraineth us." He therefore could not enforce even a relative duty without a reference to a motive so tender and efficient: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it-"

-"O bleeding Calvary!

The true morality is love of thee."

And here we may see that the difference between a mere moral preacher and an evangelical preacher is, not that the moral preacher enforces good works, and the evangelical preacher does not; for the latter enforces them as much as the former. But it lies here-Both admonish and exhort; but the one waters dead plants, and the other living ones. The one makes the tree good, that the fruit may be good-while the other is seeking to gather grapes from thorns and figs from thistles. The doctrines and the duties; the holiness and the grace of the Gospel, never are found separate.

DECEMRER 25.-"But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."-Micah v. 2.

SOME persons derive honour from the place in which they were born; others confer celebrity upon it. How many places strove for the honour of Homer's birth. The late emperor of France, while besieging Mantua in Italy, exempted a small neighbouring village from all exactions, in honour of Virgil, whose birthplace it was supposed to be. Nothing can ennoble the Lord Jesus; but he dignities every thing in connexion with him. Capernaum was an insignificant fishing town: yet, because he frequently resided and preached in it, it was exalted unto heaven. Beth-lehem was not remarkable for its buildings, or commerce, or the number of its inhabitants, or fame of any kind. Thus it was "little among the thousands of Judah." But it was aggrandized and immortalized by an event that fixed upon it the eye of inspiration, that drew towards it in the fulness of time a multitude of the heavenly host, and has rendered it dear and memorable to the Church for ever-the nativity of the Messiah. "Out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

Let this teach us not to call any thing common or unclean. Let us guard against those prejudices which are derived from worldly grandeur and glory. Jesus was not born in Rome, or in Jerusalem; but, in accordance with all the circumstances of his abasement, in a small and obscure village. And Joseph the saviour of Egypt was taken from prison; and Moses the king in Jeshurun from the ark of bulrushes; and David the great from the sheepfold. The world was evangelized by fishermen from the lake of Galilee. And Jesus said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because

thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." "Base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are that no flesh should glory in his presence."

When Herod inquired of the chief priests and scribes where Christ should be born, they answered, In Beth-lehem of Judea. When it was rumoured that he came out of Galilee, his enemies immediately said, "Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Beth-lehem, where David was." Thus the place of his birth was not only fixed, but fully known. Yet what could be so unlikely as the accomplishment of the prophecy which had raised this expec ation? When Mary conceived, there was not the least probability of her being delivered at Beth-lehem-She was in Galilee, living at Nazareth. But Augustus issues a decree that all the world should be taxed. This required not only that a certain tribute should be paid, but that every man should go to his own city to be enrolled. Hence Joseph went up to Beth-lehem, and Mary his espoused wife accompanied him, being great with child. "And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." There is always something wonderful in the works of God. We frequently prescribe a course for him, or we expect him to move in a particular direction: but ne brings the blind by a way that they knew not; and leads them in paths which they have not known. While we think he is doing nothing, and his promise seems to fail for evermore, his arrangements are formed, his agents are in motion, his designs are fulfilled, and we exclaim, "What hath God wrought! Let us trust and not teach him; and whenever he has spoken, believe, that if heaven and earth should pass away, his word will not fail,"

"Shall he come forth unto me!"-as if he called him and he came. And he did call him: and he said, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." He had to act with God, and for him; to show forth his righteousness, to vindicate his law, to make reconciliation for the sins of his people, to glorify him on the earth, and to finish the work which he gave him to do. Therefore God calls him "my shepherd." Therefore he says, "I have laid help on one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people."

"Who shall be ruler in Israel?" He came into the world to save sinners; but he is a prince as well as a Saviour. His outward circumstances at his birth, and all through life, seemed to bespeak any thing rather than royal dominion. Yet in this estate he was previously announced: "Behold, my king cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass." And the elements, and all creatures, were at his sovereign control. The winds and the waves, diseases, death, and devils obeyed him. He called Zaccheus, and he came down and received him joyfully. He said to the sons of Zebedee, as they were fishing, and to Matthew as he was sitting at the receipt of custom,

Follow me; and they arose, and, forsaking all, followed him. "Art thou a king, then?" said Pilate. He answered, "I am a king. But my kingdom is not of this world-Then would my servants fightBut now my kingdom is not from hence." The government of all things is indeed upon his shoulder, and he rules in the midst of his enemies, and makes their wrath to praise him. But his people only are in a proper sense his subjects. They are made willing in the day of his power, and from knowledge and attachment resign themselves to his empire; and he not only reigns over them, but in them, by "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

"Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Surely these words imply and express an existence before his incar nation, and eternal existence too. The Evangelist bears the same testimony to this interesting truth: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." The Apostle also says, "He is"-not he was; "he is before all things, and by him all things exist."-It was "the Spirit of Christ" that spake in the prophets. It was Christ the Israelites tempted. It was the reproach of Christ that Moses prized. He appeared in a human form to Joshua and to the patriarchs. But "of old" is not " from everlasting." Who can tell what he did before time had begun to roll? We know that he had a glory with the Father before the world was. We know

"His busy thoughts at first,

On their salvation ran;

Ere sin was form'd, or Adam's dust
Was fashion'd to a man."

One remark results from all this. We see what a wonderful character the Redeemer is, and how constantly the sacred writers combine together his greatness and his abasement. Thus here, while we see him born in Beth-lehem, we behold him the king of glory, whose goings forth were from of old, from everlasting. It is his greatness that displays his goodness. He loved us, and gave himself for us. He is a man of sorrows, but it was because the children were partakers of flesh and blood that he likewise took part of the same. He made himself of no reputation, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Ah! Christians, what you have witnessed to-day will not detract from his glory in your regards. You "know the principle of all this humiliation." You know "THE GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ; how, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich."

DECEMBER 26.-"The consolation of Israel."-Luke il 25 LET us justify this character of the Messiah.

And here to what shall we appeal? To the language of prophecy? Whenever the prophets would comfort the Jews they always led them to his coming and his kingdom. Witness Isaiah: "O`Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah,

Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Witness Zechariah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." Witness Malachi: "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts."

Or shall we appeal to the experience of Old Testament saints? Abraham rejoiced to see his day. Moses esteemed his reproach greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. Job's solace was, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." David, at the thought of describing him, said, "My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer." And what said the angel of the Lord to the shepherds? "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 Saviour, who is Christ the Lord."

That he considered himself as the owner of this title, and as deserving it, is undeniable, from the gracious words which proceeded out of his lips. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."" "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." me ye shall have peace." "I will not leave you comfortless: I will And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."


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And how was he regarded in the first and purest age of the Church? "Whom having," says Peter, "not seen, ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." And says Paul, “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." He makes it one part of the character of the circumcision that they rejoice in Christ Jesus." Yea, he swears upon the certainty of it; "I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily." It would be easy to show from additional passages how the first Christians, taught by inspired teachers, repaired always and only to him for consolation in whatever circumstances they were found.

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And need we wonder at this? What is he? How does the word of truth represent him? Is he not a hiding-place from the storm? The shadow of a great rock in a weary land? A river of waters in a dry place? The bread of life? The robe of righteousness? A light in darkness?

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