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the stockings and dress the tree on Christmas morn. The children are awakened by the cry of “Behold the Baboushka !” and spring up hoping to see her before she vanished out of the window. She fancies, the tradition goes, that in each poor
little one whom she warms and feeds she may find the Christ-child, whom she neglected ages ago, but is doomed to eternal disappointment.
III. Ready for the Judgment. Matt. ii. 10. "When
they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” When they saw the star, they rejoiced. A cause of terror to one person is a cause of joy to another. The baying of a hound on his track strikes dismay to a hunted robber in the woods. The same sound would give cheer to a lost child, when he knew it was his father's hound in search of him. It makes all the difference in the world at which end of the cannon you stand when it is being fired in battle. Its belching fire is the same in either case ; but in one instance it is against your enemies, and in the other against you. There is no more terrible thought possible, to the opposer of God, than that the Lord reigneth, and that He is sure to put down all His enemies. There is no thought more comforting than this to the Christian believer. There was an under-witted but a faith-filled Scotch lad in this country, at the time of the great meteoric shower of November, 1833. When on every side men and women were that night in terror at the thought that the hour of final doom had come, this lad's mother aroused him from his sleep with a cry: "Sandy, Sandy, get up, will you? The Day of Judgment has come." Instantly the boy was alive to that call, and was on his feet, shouting, "Glory to God! I'm ready." When the loving followers of Jesus see signs of His appearance, they rejoice with exceeding great joy.
IV. A Boy's Rebuke. Matt. iii. 2. "And saying, Re
pent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In the neighbourhood of Hoddam Castle, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, there was once a tower called the “Tower of Repentance." What gave the tower its name we are not told, but it is said that an English baronet, walking near the castle, saw a shepherd lad lying upon the ground, reading attentively. “What are you reading, lad?” “The Bible, sir.” “The Bible, indeed !” laughed the gentleman ; "then you must be wiser than the parson. Can you tell me the way to heaven?” “Yes, sir, I can,” replied the boy, in no way embarrassed by the mocking tone of the other; "you must go by way of yonder tower.” The gentleman saw that the boy had learned right well the lesson of his book, and, being rebuked, he walked away in silence.
Does the reader know anything of the Tower of Repentance ? If not, let him learn.
A Superstitious Use of Scripture. Matt. iv. 6. “ He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee : and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash
Thy foot against a stone." An instructive instance of the effects which may follow a superstitious use of Scripture is recorded in the life of Mr. Lackington. That celebrated bookseller informs us that, when young, he was at one time locked up to prevent his attending a Methodist meeting in Taunton; and that in a fit of superstition he opened the Bible for directions what to do, and hit upon the above text. “This," says Mr. Lackington, “was quite enough for me; so without a moment's hesitation, I ran up two pairs of stairs to my own room, and out of the window I leaped, to the great terror of my poor mistress.” He was, of course, very severely bruised ; so severely, indeed, as to be confined to his bed during fourteen days.
VI. Following Christ. Matt. iv. 19. “ Follow Me." It is reported in the Bohemian story, that St. Wenceslaus, their king, one winter night going to his devotions in a remote church, barefooted, in the snow and sharpness of unequal and pointed ice, his servant, Redivivus, who reverenced his master's piety, and endeavoured to imitate his affections, began to faint through the violence of the snow and cold, till the king commanded him to follow him, and set his feet in the same footsteps which his feet should mark for him. The servant did so, and either fancied a cure or
found one ; for he followed his prince, helped forward with shame and zeal to his imitation, and by the forming footsteps in the snow. In the same way does the blessed Jesus ; for since our way is troublesome, obscure, full of objection and danger, apt to be mistaken, and to affright our industry, He commands us to mark His footsteps, to tread where His feet have stood; and not only invites us forward by the argument of His example, but He hath trodden down much of the difficulty, and made the way easier and fit for our feet.
VII. Language of the Gospel and the World. MATT. V. 4.
“ Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." THE eloquence of the pulpit shone conspicuously in the introduction of a sermon by the celebrated Massillon, before Louis XIV., King of France, from the above words. The preacher began, “If the world addressed your Majesty from this place, the world would say, 'Blessed is the prince who has never fought, who has filled the universe with his name, who, through the course of a long and flourishing reign, enjoys in splendour all that men admire-extent of conquest, the esteem of his enemies, the love of his people, the wisdom of his laws'; but, sire, the language of the gospel is not the language of the world."
VIII. Comfort to the Mourner. MATT. V. 4. “Blessed
are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." On one occasion Dr. Leifchild wishing to attend evening service, but not being able to preach in his own church, went into an Episcopal chapel and seated himself on a form with a man of humble guise. The sermon was about to commence, and the text taken was, “Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted." He was struck with the exordium, which seemed very familiar to him. He soon recollected that it was part of his own printed sermon on this passage in his volume on the Beatitudes. The whole sermon, indeed, was his, though much shortened. The sentiments never appeared to him to so great advantage ; but this might arise from the place and manner in which they were read.
He saw that the attention of his humble companion was rivetted, and during the sermon tears of sympathy with the mourner described rolled down his cheek; but when in the latter part of the discourse the promise of comfort was dwelt upon, his countenance was lighted up with hope and joy. Dr. Leifchild was so pleased with the effect of his own discourse at second-hand, that he slipped half-a-crown into the man's hand to make sure that, in one sense at least, his comfort should be real.
IX. Soft Answers. Matt. V. 5. " Blessed are the meek :
for they shall inherit the earth." A MISSIONARY in Jamaica was once questioning the little black boys on the meaning of this text, and asked, "Who are the meek?” A boy answered, “ Those who give soft answers to rough questions."
X. Gentle Words. MATT. V. 5. “ Blessed are the meek.” ANTHONY BLANC, one of Felix Neff's earlier converts, was very earnest in winning souls to Christ. The enemies of the gospel were angry at his success, and used alike scoffs and threats against him. One night, as he was returning home from a religious meeting, he was followed by a man in a rage, who struck him a violent blow on the head. “May God forgive and bless you!” was Anthony's quiet and Christian rejoinder. "Ah!” replied his assailant furiously, “if God does not kill you, I'll do it myself !” Some days afterwards Anthony met the same person in a narrow road, where two persons could hardly pass. “Now I shall be struck by him again,” he said to himself. But he was surprised, on approaching; to see this man, once so bitter towards him, reach out his hand, and say to him, in a tremulous voice, “Mr. Blanc, will you forgive me, and let all be over?” Thus, this disciple of Christ, by gentle and peaceful words, had made a friend of an enemy. XI. Peacemakers. MATT. v. 9. “ Blessed are the peace
makers : for they shall be called the children of God." DR. LEIFCHILD preached and published a sermon on the “Peacemaker's Office and Reward," and in it he says: “Heaven is a world of peace—a region of love. A note of discord could not be borne there, and the spirits who struck it were expelled the place. With what joy, then, will he be received into that world whose spirit, while here, assimilated him to it, and whose constant effort it was to transform earth into the image of heaven! He has that which is the bond and perfection of all the Christian virtues. His effort to restore peace may have often proved unsuccessful, and his mediation been rejected; but his disposition, his character, will then be brought out to notice by the great Judge, and draw forth His plaudits. He will stand near to the God of peace, and share the honour of those who will for ever emphatically be pronounced the children of God.'”
XII. A Life of Peace and Kindness. Matt. v. 9.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the chil
dren of God.” DEAN STANLEY said to the crowd of children at Westminster Abbey, on Innocents' Day, December 28th : “I knew once a very famous man, who lived to be very oldwho lived to be eighty-eight. He was always the delight of those about him. He always stood up for what was right. His eye was like an eagle's when it flashed fire at what was wrong. And how early do you think he began to do this? I have an old grammar which belonged to him, all tattered and torn, which he had when a little boy at school; and what do you think I found written, in his own hand, in the very first page? Why, these words: ‘Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, to silence vicious tongues -be just, and fear not. That was his rule all through life, and he was loved and honoured down to the day when he was carried to his grave."
XIII. Nothing Hidden. Matt. v. 16. “Let your light
so shine before men, that they may see your good works.” JULIUS DRUSUS, a Roman tribune, had a house so situated that several of its apartments lay exposed to the view of the neighbourhood. A person came to him, and offered for five talents so to alter it as that it should not be liable to that inconvenience. “I will give thee ten talents,” said Drusus, “if thou canst make my house conspicuous in every