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shining spots, of different sizes, stuck upon it. But is this the case ? No; there is no substance in that dark blue colour,—nothing that the hand can touch. It is all pure ether; and the stars, that seem so crowded together, are many millions of miles from us, and from each other : their size appearing greater or less, as they are nearer to our earth, or farther remove into that high vault of beautiful azure. What supports them, then, and keeps them in such perfect order, that we know where to look for each particular star, nor ever miss one out of its accustomed place? They neither have nor need any other support, than the will of Him who upholdeth all things by the word of his power. He spake, and they were created : he willed them to remain, and they abide. In a moment He could extinguish all their fires, and crush into nothing the glorious objects which his right hand hath made; in a moment could he sweep those glittering worlds from the wide field of ether, and create another universe, but his tender mercy is over all his works, and they remain to tell his praises, and we to study the impressive teaching that they convey.
Look at that broad, pale streak, which runs along the sky, called the milky way. It is formed by an immense number of stars, so very remote, that we cannot distinguish them one from another; yet so bright and so numerous, as to give that lovely appearance of a belt of light. And what are these stars ? Astronomers tell us that each of them is a sun, capable of affording light and heat as powerful as that of our sun, which we know has several other planets, like our earth, to illumine and to warm : and, since we are assured that our God has made nothing in vain, many
suppose that every one of these myriads of suns has its company of worlds ; and those worlds, perhaps, inhabited by rational creatures like ourselves. Oh! what an awful view does this open to us of the greatness, the majesty, the wisdom, the love of God our Saviour! Well might David, when considering the starry, heavens, cry out, “Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him.!" Well may the Seraphim exclaim, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty !"
Would you like to hear the history of a star ? I think that I can tell you one ; very short, but very interesting; and, oh! how precious to you and to me!
The Jews, you know, were God's chosen people. He took them from among all the nations of the earth, and made them acquainted with his great name, and character, and will. Of Him, the Lord Jehovah, we can know nothing but what he is himself pleased to tell us. We cannot look beyond this visible creation, nor discover from it more than that some power, far mightier than ought we can imagine, must have made it, and must still govern it: from the order and beauty of his government, we may be quite satisfied that He is most wise, most strong, and most good. But, beyond this, we can know nothing certainly ; and the only use to be made of this natural knowledge is, to pray to the great unseen Being, that he will be pleased yet farther to reveal himself to our dark understandings. It is for neglecting to do this, that so many millions are condemned, as we learn from Scripture, Acts xiv. 17; xvii. 27; Rom. i. 20, 21.
After the flood, there was but one family left aliye upon the earth, that of Noah; and we are
sure that to them the Lord was fully known. After a while, however, sinful men, not liking to retain God in their knowledge, neglected his service, despised his commands, and at last even forgot his name, and fell to worshipping the sun, moon, stars,-nay, the very beasts and reptiles, stocks and stones, and became altogether the servants of Satan, who is always at work to turn our hearts from God.
In this sad state of things, it pleased the Most High once more to make a revelation of himself to mankind, by calling Abraham from among his idolatrous kindred, and giving him a full knowledge of the salvation that is to come into the world by Jesus Christ; as we read that our Lord said unto the Jews, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.”: John viii. 56. From this time, the Lord continued to distinguish the descendants of Abraham, by giving them prophets, who made known to them all His will, and who constantly testified of the coming of One who should be born among them, and in whom all the kindreds of the earth should be blessed. The rest of the world was in heathen darkness, but the Jews had still the writings of these holy men; and if they had rightly understood and observed them, they would have been prepared, from the least unto the greatest, to welcome the promised Saviour, when he, in the fulness of time, at last appeared.
And how did this long-promised Prince and Saviour appear? We know that he came down from heaven, to wear the likeness of sinful flesh, and to dwell among men, that he might reconcile them to God, and become the conqueror of sin, which had enslaved them-of death, which is the wages and consequence of sin—and of hell,
which is prepared for unholy men. As He says in the book of the prophet Hosea, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues: O grave, I will be thy destruction.” It might be supposed, that One so mighty would come to our world in such majesty and glory as that world had never before seen; that the brightest palace of the most exalted among earth's monarchs would be chosen for his habitation, and the splendour of heaven be made visible below. Far different was the coming of the King of kings ! It pleased him to be born of a lowly maiden, to make a stable his birth-place, and to be cradled in a manger. And while the proud, prejudiced Jews were looking for such a deliverance only as should free their country from the power of the Romans, and exalt them among men, the Messiah came, to be despised and rejected.
“ He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
Far to the east of Judea, however, there dwelt a few who had received a knowledge of the expected coming of this Mighty One. How they obtained it, we do not exactly know. Some of the writings of Moses might have reached their land, or some dispersed Israelites might have carried among them the news of that great promise to which they had been taught to look. Or the prophet Daniel, who was so exactly informed of the time of Christ's coming, and the nature of his office, as we find in the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, might have left some record among them. Daniel's long captivity in Babylon was in many instances over-ruled to the glory of God, in a most signal manner: and this may have been one of its happy effects. The Lord's people are sometimes tempted to complain, that his dealings
with them seem severe and dark: but he never afflicts without some purpose of mercy to them, or to his church. All his ways are faithfulness and truth. The Lord would not leave himself without witness among the Gentiles; and while the wise men were waiting for the promised Saviour, He caused the star to appear-a bright star, distinguished from all the host of heaven, shone over them in their own country; and they knew that it brought intelligence of that great event, the birth of Him who was “ born King of the Jews"--and whom they understood to be so far exalted above all earthly kings, that they directly commenced a long journey, on purpose to worship Him.
Behold, then, these eastern sages, setting out on the most important journey that man can engage in,-to find a Saviour. They knew no more than that such a Saviour was to be found; and to find him they were resolved. Oh! that you and I may be equally determined, and count no toil, no danger, no difficulty worth a thought, so that we may at last come to worship at his feet! We too have our star: for St. Peter says,
“ We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts." We are poor, lost sinners, in danger of eternal death: there is but one Saviour to whom we can flee for refuge; and since God has revealed to us, by his holy word, that such a Deliverer may be found, let us think nothing of earthly friends or earthly possessions, but lift up our eyes to heaven, and, under the guidance of God, diligently seek Him, whom to know is eternal life. We do not need to take a long