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Home and Home's Teachings.

Home and Home's Teachings.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY Rev. WILLIAM T. WILSON

LATE RECTOR OF THE CHURCH OF THE MEDIATOR
KINGSBRIDGE, NEW YORK


[KiNGSBRIDGE, JAN. 5, 1873,]

" And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all
the things that they had heard and seen." — St. Luke ii. 20.
BY Rev. WILLIAM T. WILSON

LATE RECTOR OF THE CHURCH OF THE MEDIATOR
KINGSBRIDGE, NEW YORK


[KiNGSBRIDGE, JAN. 5, 1873,]

" And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all
the things that they had heard and seen." — St. Luke ii. 20.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 04, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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HOME AD HOME'S TEACHIGS. BY Rev. WILLIAM T. WILSO LATE RECTOR OF THE CHURCH OF THE MEDIATOR KIGSBRIDGE, EW YORK [KiGSBRIDGE, JA. 5, 1873,] " And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen." — St. Luke ii. 20. THE holy Christmas-tide has not yet all gone by, and on this present Sunday, therefore, which is its last lingering day, it is still a Christmas scene and still a Christmas lesson that are brought before us. The Gospel that has been read to you this morning takes up the story of the shepherds where Christmas Day had left it, and completes for us that strangely beautiful and sweet and simple tale. For of all stories in the world it is perhaps the simplest, the sweetest, and the most beautiful. The new evangel — an evangel embracing such mighty themes as wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption — opens with a fair, idyllic picture such as might have be- longed to the long-gone days of human innocence, or to some childlike, pastoral age of which history has no record, and tradition no remembrance ; a picture painted, too, with such simple pathos and power, that all succeeding generations have been moved and melted before it. It has come with us to assume a kind of representative character, to symbolize, as it HOME AD HOME'S TEACHIGS. 39 were, at the outset, the fair, childlike spirit of Chris- tianity; and although our gospel, as it goes on, be-
 
comes sombre and sorrowful, and deepens at last into the world's darkest tragedy, still with every returning Christmas-time we read once more this story of the shepherds, we are reassured again by their human and angelic voices blended in loving uni- son, and feel that this sweet idyl of the evangelist, reviving, as it does, man's dream of his own inno- cence, and holding, moreover, the suggestion of a still nobler innocence that shall return to him again, stands, and must always stand, as an essential part, and that part in the very forefront, too, of a gospel whose glad message is, "Peace, good-will toward man." Men have dreamed many beautiful dreams, and the human imagination has reached some of its highest flights in those myths or legends in which the religious sentiment of various ages and climes has found expression and embodiment, but the difference between the most elaborate pagan and the simplest Christian idyl is this : they have only a local and temporary significance — a significance which has passed away, either wholly or in part, with the age or nation that gave them birth, while our Christian stories have a meaning for all men always and every- where. It is the difference between fancy and inspi- ration ; the difference between the baseless fabric of a dream and the tale which, however poetically and beautifully told, is none the less a tale of truth and soberness. Certainly this story of the shepherds has passed through the crucial test of many centuries, and remains as fresh and fair and sweet for us as for 40 HOME AD HOME' S TEACHIGS. our fathers. Time, which tries all things, has tried this too, and yet has detracted nothing from its strange, persuasive influence. ay, as our years in- crease, we love to linger more and more over this gentle prelude to our gospel. Either the literal
 
narrative of the evangelist, or the familiar words of the Christian hymn, are inseparably associated in our thought with the very name of Christmas. The believer believes in it more deeply with every return- ing festival, finding in it, perhaps, some new and deeper comfort for some new and deeper need. And as for unbelievers, how many of them, did we know their secret thoughts, linger with strange yearning on the old familiar strains, and wish that the story and the song, so sweet and so beautiful, might be for them also, as for others, equally com- forting because equally true. It is not my present purpose, however, to dwell upon this story of the shepherds, but rather to call your attention to a single incident of it. The lesson for Christmas Day left them listening to the angelic song : '' Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will toward men." To-day the Gospel tells us how, when the angels had gone away into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: ''Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass ; " how they went and saw and " found the babe lying in a manger ; " how they *' made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child ; " and how they returned again, " praising and glorifying God for all the things that they had heard and seen." ROME AD HOME'S TEACHIGS. 41 Whither was it that they returned ? And why did they return at all, or at least so soon, and not linger longer about the sacred nursery at ^ethlehem ? They reappear no more on any page of the ew Testament. Are we to conclude, then, that this first and only mention of them was the beginning and the end of their connection with the nativity ?

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