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Two Christmas Messages

Two Christmas Messages

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Published by glennpease

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 04, 2013
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TWO CHRISTMAS MESSAGESBROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.And He turned Him unto His disciples, and said privately , Blessedare the eyes which see the things that ye see : For I tell you, that manyprophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, andhave not seen them ; and to hear those things which ye hear, and havenot heard them. ST. LUKE x. 23, 24.THESE words of the Lord may well come to us asan Advent greeting bearing with them a divineinterpretation of the chequered experience of theyear which is past, bearing with them a divineencouragement for the year which has just begun,The words were originally addressed to the firstmissionaries, to the seventy disciples among otherswho had just returned with joy from the fulfilmentof their charge to prepare the way for the Lord scoming through the cities of the Holy Land. Theseearliest evangelists had given an account of their work in glad thankfulness. The darker future which theirMaster saw clearly was hid from them. But as Hesaw clearly the inevitable sorrow soon to come uponthem, as they could not see it, He saw also a blessingin their faith deeper, fuller, richer than they had yetbeen able to realise. He looked beyond the superficial show to the very heart of things ; and so look ing, He could declare those blessed who were, though2 324 VILLAGE SERMOS mthey knew it not, to suffer for Him loss, persecution,
death.As the words were once spoken, they are spokenstill to the Church in all ages ; as they were oncetrue, they are true still. ay, I will go further andsay that the absolute blessedness which lies in thepossession of a divine revelation freshly opened towilling sight may be pronounced upon us more fullynow and here than on those over whom the words of benediction were first uttered. Let us not, throughany false estimate of what has been taken awayand what has been given, forget the endowmentof later time. The vision and the understanding of the Gospel cannot but grow wider and clearer as theages go on. There are, and there always must beuntil the end, clouds and darkness about the paths of God, but yet the line in which He moves is seen tobe luminous as we look back to the source of light.For the moment our own sorrows and difficulties anddoubts may appear to be overwhelming, but then it isthat we can enter into earlier conflicts with liveliersympathy, and learn from the records of the pastthat the Truth has gained strength by encounteringgreater trials than we have to bear.At first sight indeed, and in regard to that whichis outward and obvious, there was little to justifythe language in which the Lord raised the actualexperience of His humble Galilean followers abovethat of kings and prophets in the commonwealth of Israel. Those who looked at the surface of things inthose days saw the city of God held firmly by theiron grasp of the Roman Emperor ; they saw their ownprinces aliens ; they saw, saddest of all, a corrupt
in VILLAGE SERMOS 25priesthood making a base traffic of the very worshipof the Temple. If they listened to the loudestvoices, they heard stern definitions of ceremonialduties, proud thanksgivings of self- righteousness,mingled perhaps with some sudden outburst of fanatical zeal, or some startling call from thedesert.In all this there was ground only for humiliationand hopelessness, and not for thanksgiving. TheChurch seemed to have become the world ; but still,in the midst of the triumph of worldliness, of thedeadening of faith, there was offered to the simpleand the child -hearted sights better than Solomonhad seen in all his glory, words richer in promisethan Isaiah had spoken.However imperfectly the disciples could as yetapprehend the majesty of Christ s Person, howeverimperfectly they could anticipate the issue of Hiswork, they yet saw Him move in the face of theleaders of the people with the bearing of authority ;they saw Him going about doing good, and healingall that were oppressed of the devil ; they saw Himdispensing the powers of a higher order. Lord, theysaid, even the demons are subject to us in Thy name.And as they followed Him, often in fear and amazement, they heard the message of the Kingdom amessage in which all that is generous in patriotismbecomes contributory to the fulness of a larger life ;they heard the universal call to repentance andfaith which places all men in a living relation toGod, and banishes the dream of inalienable privilegeand meritorious service ; they heard the voice of blessing follow the common joys and duties of earth.

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