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prejudice, or an implicit confidence in false leaders, shall stumble at the gospel, will be grievously wounded by his fall, and unless he recovers himself, will finally perish. “But on whomsoever this stone shall fall,'' after its elevation in the building, as vengeance will hereafter fall, with accumulated weight, on those who continue in unbelief, “it shall grind him to powder.” Christ, you see, here makes a distinction between different kinds of sinners ; between those who stumble at the stone, and those who despise and reject it. And he makes an answer. able distinction in the punishment: The former are wounded by their fall; the latter are ground to powder. There are some heedless, inattentive creatures, who walk on in the way in which they chance to be led, and seldom consider whither they are go. ing, or where their course will end. These are like men, who stumble at the stone. There are others, who hate the truth, and will not come to it; who despise the gospel, and labour to infuse their own prejudices into the minds of others. These are the mad builders, who push away the chief corner stone and set it at nought. The former will meet a punishment proportionable to their guilt: On the latter, wrath will come to the uttermost. The stone, which in contempt, they roll aside, will fall back upon them, and crush them into ruins. Awful will be the doom of the careless-more so that of the avowid enemies of truth. Since God has wrought so great a work for the salvation of guilty men, to them who neglect this salvation there can be no eşcape. But a still sorer punishment awaits those who tread under foot the Son of God. To them who sin wilfully, after they have received the knowl. edge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacri. fice for sin, but a fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the advera saries.
Let sinners, invited by the grace, and warned by the terrors of the gospel, flee from the wrath to come, and lay hold on eternal life. If you reject the Saviour, To whom will you go?- If you refuse the salvation proposed, What other will you find ?--As sinners, you are dependent on mercy. The mercy of God is revealed—the terms of it are stated assistance is offered-patience is waiting-the Spirit of Grace is striving the day of your probation is hastening to a close. Know, in this your day, the things which belong to your peace, before they are hidden from your eyes.
Marvellous is the work which Jesus has done for you.-Let it not be said of you, as was said of the contemptuous Jews-He marvelled, because of their unbelief.
Shepherds glorifying God for the Birth of a Saviour.
A COMMUNION SERMON.
LUKE ii. 20.
And the shepherds relurned, glorifying and praising God for all
she tkings that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
I HE birth of Jesus Christ was attended with circumstances of solemn majesty and grandeur, as well as of singular poverty and meanness. His parents were in a low condition, but of royal descent. The place of his birth was a small vil. lage, but worthy of notice in ancient prophecy. The apartment was a stable, but attended by angels. The first who received intelligence of his birth, were shepherds in the field ; but the heralds, who announced the event, were a multitude of the heavenly host.
Just before the Saviour's birth, an order from the Roman Emperour, that the whole empire should be numbered and enrolled, obliged all the people to repair to their respective cities. Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, being of the lineage of David,
went, on this occasion, to Bethlehem, which is called the city of David. So great was the concourse of people, that persons, in the poor condition of this happy pair, could find no accommodation in publick houses. They were therefore compelled to seek a shelter in a stable. Here was born that glorious person, who was to redeem a guilty world.
In the neighbouring country, were shepherds attending their flocks: While in their turns they kept the watches of the night, they were suddenly surprised with a light which blazed around them, and the presence of a superior being standing near them.
The heavenly messenger soon calmed their fears. Behold, says he, 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. And this is the sign by which ye shall know him, He is wrapt in swaddling clothes, and lies in a manger.
Scarcely had he delivered his message, when he was joined by a multitude of the heavenly host, who celebrated the wonderful event in an anthem of praise-Glory to God in the highost ; and on earth peace ; good will to men. Having finished their hymn, they disappeared ; they became again invisible; the glory, which shone around, vanished away, and Nature resumed her nightly aspect. · The wondering swains confer together on the unusual scene. They say one to another, Let us go to Bethlehem, and see the things which are come to pass, and which God has made known to us. They believed the heavenly message, but to confirm their faith, they went with haste to the place where the infant lay. Here they found the parents, and here they beheld the person of the newborn Redeemer. They saw him lying in a manger, as the angel had described him. The correspondence of circumstances, with the description, put it beyond a doubt
that this was the promised Messiah. They returned, publishing the joyful news, and glorifying and prais. ing God for all that they had heard and seen.
We will contemplate the things for which, and the manner in which, they glorified God, and will intermingle some practical reflections.
I. We will consider the matters for which they glorified and praised God. These were the things, which they had heard and seen.
1. They glorified God, that the promised Sav, iour was now born..
They seem to have been some of those pious people, who looked for redemption in Israel. In their rural occupation they enjoyed leisure for spiritual contemplation, and for converse with the book of prophecy. Hence they learned, that a Redeem. er was promised to Israel and to the world. Free from that pride and ambition, which possessed the minds of the opulent and great men of the nation, they formed more just ideas of the design and manner of his appearance. That he should be born in such humble circumstances, shocked not their faith, for they were looking, not for temporal grandeur, but for spiritual salvation..
Worldly affections are opposite to the genius of Christ's religion. How can ye believe, says he to the Pharisees, who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour which cometh only from God? They who receive Christ as their Redeemer and Lord, must crucify the flesh, and renounce the world. The simple manners and humble views of the shepherds, were better suited to the spirit of the gospel, than the prospects and refinements of the great.
2. They rejoiced that this Saviour was born for them. The angel says, UNTO You is born this day a Saviour.
Conscious of their impotence and unworthiness,