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Christ as a pattern, He goes before us in the way; as a child He was dutiful and obedient, as a man He was pure and patient and forbearing, and full of active goodness. We are His disciples when we follow in His steps; not when we call Him Lord, Lord, but when we do what He says, act as He did, give up our own ease and pleasure to be of use to our brethren, be as He was, full of mercy and good fruits, seek as He sought God's glory, and care as He cared, not for the praise of men, but for the praise of God, forgive as He forgave His murderers, Bless, and curse not.

This is the imitation of Christ, which is the best form of Christ's religion. Think of it brethren today; think how from that little infart form, all things lovely, and pure, and of good report, all grace, all virtue, were in due course developed, and all for our learning. O! pray on Christmas Day, and pray every day of your lives, that you be conformed to the likeness of your Lord ; that in your words, in your actions, in your whole behaviour, you may shew that (as far as you are concerned) not in vain has the Son of God come; that as He was, so are you in a degree in this world.

Once again Christmas Day is the festival of families. There is in that humble shed at Bethlehem, not Jesus alone, but His mother, and Joseph: when the shepherds entered in " they found Mary and

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Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Others we may imagine were present there, the near kinsmen Zacharia, Elizabeth, and the infant John the Baptist -The Holy Family—and now throughout Christendom, on this day, wherever it is possible, families delight to come together. Christmas Day is looked forward to as the day that brings them once more to the family fireside, and joins them once more in that most holy bond, the bond of home.

So may it ever be ! Family life and family joys derive sacredness from Christmas. It is good, most good for all, that those who at other times are parted, necessarily parted, should meet together and talk over old times, and strengthen old affections, and cheer one another, and rejoice together in the Lord. If on this day our means afford it, it is fit and well that we should fare better than on other days. For He whom we hail was no enemy to social joys. Perfectly human in His wide sympathy, He partook of the rich man's feast, and even on one memorable occasion added to the gladness of it. Parents, children, brothers, it is good still for us all to be together at Christmas, nor do I say a word against our enjoying ourselves as means and opportunities afford; but let us remember there are thousands, aye ! even in happy England, who have no home, no family fireside round which to gather ; let us think of these—the poor and destitute of our brethren-and so

far as we can let us extend to them the joys of Christmas, and by giving of our store, giving gladly, giving ungrudgingly, seek to bring home to their hearts a recollection of what happened to-day, and join them with ourselves in praising and blessing God for His goodness, in that He gave His dear Son, Jesus Christ to be born as at this time for us, and that without spot of sin, to make us clear from all sin; to be unto us the interpreter of His Fatherly mind, the bringer of peace from heaven, “Peace and goodwill towards men." To make us, as many as will receive Him, ourselves also sons of God, as many as believe on His name.

In the words of Nehemiah I would say to you-"Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared, for the day is holy unto the Lord : neither be sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

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SERMON III.

THE VALUE OF LIFE.

(New Pear.)

ISAIAN XXXVIII. 18, 19.

“The grave cannot praise Thee : Death cannot celebrate Thee : The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day."

THESE words form part of the writing of Hezekiah, King of Judah, when he had been sick and was recovered of his sickness. The whole thanksgiving prayer of Hezekiah is very beautiful: and particularly fit for our meditation at this moment, when by the mercy of God, we stand alive and well at the beginning of a New Year. Let us consider it welland first, let me recall to you who Hezekiah was. He was one of the few good Kings of Judah—“He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,

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according to all that his father David did. moved the high places, and cast down the groves, (places in which the revolted Israelites performed idolatrous rites), and he brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for the children of Israel did burn incense unto it, and he called it Nehushtan (serpent of brass). He trusted in the Lord God of Israel: so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from Him: but kept His commandments, as the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him, and prospered him whithersoever he went forth.”

Such is the account we have in the Bible of King Hezekiah-he was a good king, a religious king, a zealous purifier of religion, one who trusted in God with all his heart, and walked faithfully in the way of His commandments.

And it came to pass that Hezekiah was visited with sickness, and that of a dangerous kind. He was told by God's Messenger, the prophet Isaiah, that he should not recover : and bid prepare for his end—“Thus saith the Lord ; Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live.”

And mark what Hezekiah did in this extremity“He turned his face toward the wall." "He turned

“ his face toward the wall," to be out of observation,

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