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Might serve him without fear, in holiness
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby The dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness And in the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace." Perhaps, my love, there never was a burst of more sublime language than the foregoing. It will be sufficient to add, the child grew, and waxed strong in the Spirit. * * *
It will now be necessary to mention, that about this time a decree was proclaimed from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed, (and this tax was first made when Cyrenias was governor of Syria;) and all went to be taxed, every one in his own city.' Joseph and Mary also departed (for the purpose of being taxed) into Judea, and reached the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David. On their arrival, it was found that the place was so crowded, that there was no room at the inn for their residence. They were, therefore, compelled to s
take up their quarters in a stable. It was here Jesus was burn; and his cradle was a manger, his mattress straw.
Then, Mamma, did the world not know of the birth, on account of his parents being so poor, and the poor little babe being so destitute? I am sure, Mamma, had he been born where I was, I would have given him my fine bed.
Thou art my beloved child; I love thee, my darling, because of thy sympathy and compassion. But he, my child, our Saviour, our beloved, adored Jesus, had no where to lay his dear infant head. Ah, my dearest love! if this bosom would have been soft enough, on which thou, my darling child, hast so often slept, Oh ! how should it have caressed that almighty Being! how would these arms have nursed Him, who has done so much for a poor, wretched, sinful creature as I am!
Ah, Mamma, do not cry.
These are the tears of joy, my child, with which many a cheek was suffused, on that day, in Jerusalem.
Then it was known, Mamma?
It happened that some shepherds, my love, were attending their flocks about the time of the birth; when to their surprise and alarm, they were surrounded by the most celestial splendour of glorious
light conceivable; for it was at night they were watching their sheep, when the angel of the Lord came upon them. "Fear not," he exclaimed, "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, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." This glorious vision had no sooner communicated this message, than suddenly, with more than conceivable solemnity and awfulness, the praise of God burst from a multitude in heaven, saying:
"Glory to God in the highest,
And did the shepherds go, Mamma?
O yes, my child, they hastened with all possible speed, and found all that had been told them; and when they recounted their vision to Joseph and Mary, they of course, were astonished, and the latter pondered all these things in her heart.
The shepherds now rumoured all over Judea, what they had seen. Besides, it happened that some wise men of the east came enquiring,
"Where is he that is born King of the Jews?"
The rumour, therefore, soon reached Herod, who was king of the Jews at that time. He, having heard that the Messiah, when he did come, would reign, according to the prophecy, on the throne of David, became alarmed, lest he should be dethroned: the whole of Jerusalem, also, began to be impressed with fear. The king, therefore, without delay, gathered together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, and enquired of them where Christ should be born: who replied, that the prophet had written, in Bethlehem, in Judea; the words of the prophet being as follows:
"And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda,
Art not the least among the princes of Juda:
For oat of thee shall come a Governor
That shall rnle my people Israel.''
And did Herod, Mamma, send to enquire at Bethlehem?
He first, my love, sent for the wise men, whom he heard were proceeding by the direction of the star in the east; of whom he with great diligence enquired at what time this star appeared ; as this was the sign by which these wise men were to know that the Saviour was born, and which was to direct them to his birthplace. The wise men having had a private interview, therefore, with the king, he concluded the conference, commanding them to go to Bethlehem, and search diligently for the young child; and should they prove successful in their search, he directed them to return to him with the information.
Having quitted the presence of Herod, they proceeded, when the star in the east appeared: it went before them, and stood over the stable where Jesus was born; on which the wise men, as may be conceived, were filled with feelings of the utmost joy.
They now entered, and in the presence of Joseph and Mary they fell down and worshipped Jesus; and opening some caskets of treasures, they presented to our beloved infant Lord gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Having performed these oblations, they rose and departed, doubtless to different parts of the earth, to promulgate the glorious news.
And were not Joseph and Mary delighted, Mamma!1
No one but themselves can estimate their feelings, in giving birth to the Star of Bethlehem. I have treasured up some beautiful lines on that glorious birth; they were written by Kirke White. I will repeat them, and then, my sweet child, we must return home, for it is getting late.
•• When marsball'd on the mighty plain,