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repose too much confidence in his goodness and love. He on the contrary labored incessantly to make men think better of the Deity than they did, and to inspire them with a deeper and truer confidence in him. How often did he complain of their little faith, and how many
beautiful methods did he adopt for the purpose of bringing home to their hearts the great facts of the divine goodness and care.
He pointed to the birds of the air which God feeds; to the flowers of the field, which he clothes with matchless beauty; and besought his disciples not to distrust a goodness that could stoop so low. " Are
ye not much better than they, ye of little faith ?" He called them to consider their own parental affection, and to believe that God was much more ready to give his richest gifts to his children, than earthly fathers are to give good things to theirs. He taught that while five sparrows were sold for two far. things, not one of them falls to the ground without our Father, yea, and far more, that the very hairs of heads are all numbered. What a ground of confidence is here opened for weak short-sighted man! He knows that there is one Being above him whose omniscience takes in all creatures and all events, and that Being is his Father. If the Psalmist in the dawn of revelation could say as he has done, “ The Lord is
my shepherd, I shall not want;" the christian in the per
fect day, may well exclaim, “ The Lord is my Father, surely I shall not want."
3. But I pass thirdly to speak of the blessing conferred upon our race in the assurance of a res urrection from the dead. This is a blessing which is so great, and lies so far beyond our comprehension, that we can but very poorly appreciate it, but still we know it to be a blessing of vast richness and worth. We know how instinctively we shrink from death, and with what a chill the very fear of it falls upon our heart. We have watched, our life long, its doings; it has come into our own little, and loved circles; and no one I never lost a friend. Oh the
the grave! How dark and cheerless, and full of gloom! There rest the old and the young; the mother with her yearning heart; the bridegroom and the bride; and there the sweet infant sleeps in its innocence. All go down thither alike, and the dust of the valley covers them all. Are they gone forever? Shall we meet them no more ? These questions have pressed upon all sensitive hearts, upon all thinking minds, in all ages of the world. There had gone up from every land, and hamlet, and heart of the earth, for four thousand years,
the cry, “O, God, is there no salvation from the grave ?" And then came the answer. It proceeded from the manger of Bethlehem! That poor child, that we have seen born in a stable, stood amidst his native hills and proclaimed him
self, to be “the resurrection and the life !” The young Teacher died upon the cross, and was buried. But the grave could not hold him, for he was the Son of God; and on the third day he rose from the dead, and brought life and immortality to light. And now, “as in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive," and “they that are accounted worthy of that world and the resurrection from the dead, shall die no more, but are as the angels, and are children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”
That the christian world derives but little comfort from this great doctrine, is owing to no want of fullness and comfort in it. It is to be ascribed to the errors and false doctrines that are received and cherished in the christian church. For notwithstanding all Christ's teaching, they are still in doubt whether the resurrection is to be regarded as, upon the whole, an infinite blessing or an infinite curse!
4. From the manger of Bethlehem has gone out a new spirit into the world—the spirit of universal philanthropy. Christianity has already broken in pieces and annihilated many of the barbarous institutions of the world; it is sweeping away the partition walls that divide nations and make enemies of men. It is a remarkable fact that Christ was the first to conceive of a universal religion. As he represented God as a universal Father, he of necessity made all men brethren,
and there could of course be nothing in his religion that did not breathe the very spirit of love and good-will. It is hardly possible for us at this distance of eighteen centuries to estimate the influence of Christianity in softening down the tempers, and reforming the conduct, and improving the condition of society and of the individual
The change from the condition of refined Greece and Rome, is great beyond all that you could well conceive. What then must it be from the state of the barbarous nations of our Savior's time? One needs to read the history of ancient times, with direct reference to this point, in order to see the distance at which Christendom now stands, from all that was most cultivated and honored then. Where are many of the bloody institutions of these states ? Where are their gladiatorial shows, where hundreds and thousands of the finest specimens of the manly form were sacrificed to a mad love of slaughter. Gonegone, under the mild and benign influence of the christian religion, and will never return. But I must not dwell on this point. I pass therefore,
5. To observe that we have the strongest assurance that Christianity will continue to go on till it has finally planted itself over the whole earth, and brought its millions and millions of inhabitants to embrace the faith of Jesus of Nazareth, and to rejoice in his salvation. No, nor shall it rest till it has accomplished its great purpose,
effected the holiness and happiness of all man. kind, generations past as well as future.
In reflecting on the introduction of Christianity in the person of its founder, we shall find occasion to admire the wisdom of God who gave us for our Savior one who partook of our nature, and was acquainted with its temptations and infirmities.
It is also worthy of our notice and admiration, that the Savior whom the goodness of the eternal Father provided for us, came in poverty, and was therefore the better qualified to preach glad tidings to the poor,
In reflecting on the Gospel, my brethren, never forget the stable and manger of Bethlehem; never forget the poverty of its great founder, or of those whom he first chose to be his heralds. Never forget that it was among
that he found his first converts, and that for eighteen hun
his religion has made its noblest progress, and performed its most beneficent ministry among
And let this teach us to be humble, to regard all men as worthy of our kindness and love, and finally to go out in imitation of our great Master in doing good.