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· SUBJECTS OF THE HINTS. . vii
LUKE, ii. 14.
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST; AND ON
EARTH PEACE, GOOD-WILL TO MEN.
THESE were the notes, which angels sang,
1 at the birth of the Messiah, to a company of shepherds, as they watched their flocks. In the midst of the quiet folemnity of night (that night in which their Saviour was born), a sudden brightness shone around them, and a heavenly form appearing in the midst of it, dispelled their fears. Be not afraid, said the angel : behoid I bring you glad lidings 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. . VOL. III.
As the angel spake, the light was suddenly filled with a multitude of the heavenly host, who joined their voices in one triumphant song, Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good-will
to men. · These words shall be the subject of the following discourse. But first I should wish you to observe, from the circumstances just related, how little all worldly distinctions appeared in the light of God. The foolish world admires riches and honours: but you see, God estimates things by other meafures. He did not send his heavenly messengers to tell these glad tidings to the princes, and great men of the earth; but he sent them to a humble company of pious shepherds; Mhewing, that he regards the good disposition, not the station in life--and that, wherever this is found, however humble the condition, there also is found the true favourite of God.
Cloath yourselves therefore with the holy difpositions of these shepherds—their piety, and love for truth, their innocence of manners, and attention to the holy messages of God, and then conceive the same joyfultidings brought to you, which were brought to them. Unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Glory therefore
to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good-will to man..
These words let me now explain. The Melfiah's coming, you see, is here represented, as producing the glory of God; and peace and goodwill among men--that is, its first object was to fit us for heaven-its next to make us happy in our passage to it.
The glory of God is an expression taken from human things, as all our expressions must be taken that relate to God. We can only explain such. things as we do not know, by comparing them with things we do know. Literally speaking, it is impossible that any thing we can do, can advance the glory of God: but God is pleased to consider those things as his glory, which advance the true glory of mankind-their pious and religious lives. And thus in our church fervice, we properly pray, that we may live godly, righteous, and sober lives, to the glory of God's holy name.
Now the Christian religion alone instructs uś how to give glory to God. You have often heard in what manner the glory of God was debased in heathen times, by the worship of stocks and stones. B Z