CHRISTMAS SERMON. BY REV. A. LOCHMAN d. d.

TEXT. — Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace ; Sood will toward men. Luke ii. 14.

Remarkable events in a nation's history, have been cherished and kept in lively remembrance by setting apart, the days on which they occurred^ as days of memorial, to commemorate them. Thus the birth, exploits and death of great men, statesmen and warriors are kept in continued remembrance. The skill of the painter, the art of the sculptor are had in requisition. The monumental pillar is raised high to their memory, and the eloquence of the orator is called to aid, in keeping in mind and instamping upon the history of nations important events, in which they glory. And why should not the church s^ct as wisely in setting apart certain days, in commemoration of the most remarkable events, in the history of the world's redemption through Jesus Christ ? Days, to keep alive the prominent, fundamental doctrines of our holy religion, such as the birth, death, resurrection, ascension of our Lord, and
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the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost ? Such days have been set apart in the

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earliest ages of the church. Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and Whitsuntide, are held in high esteem and gladly welcomed by all true christians.

• The birth of the Saviour was the most wonderful event the world ever witnessed, and at the same time an event fraught with results so i mportant, so far reaching, that imagination can scarcely conceive, and human thought cannot grasp. The event can never be forgotten. It has been indelibly enstamped, not only upon the pages of history, but upon the
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hearts of untold numbers, who through it have been ripened for glory, and are now beholding Him of whom the angels on Bethlehem's plains sang so

sweetly.

It marks the era of our civil years. Every law

passed by Congress or State Legislature, every proclamation of the President of the United States, or the Executive of our State bears its stamp, every letter you write or receive, every law enacted, every legal instrument of writing, is signed and dated from the year when the Saviour was was born, and when the angels on Bethlehem's plains, trilled their triumphant song, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men." i -

The event of the Saviour's birth, is acknowledged; throughout all- christendo^n, and has been

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176^- CHRISTMaWS SEBJ^ON,

celebrated 'I with appropriate religious exercises fox centauries. In this; congregation, it has been regularly kept for over a century, and during nay min* istry of about forty-six years, neither through sickness or absence have I bee^ prevented once from preaching out regular Christmas Sermon. This soQg.of the angels seems to be prophetic, and sets forth the design of the incarnation of the Son of God, and. the ultimate eflfect of his religion:

I. To brin^gthe greatest revenue of praise to God.
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II. To bring a rebel world to submission to^ afid peAce with God and with thems^lvesy ''on earth peace^

IIL. As ah effect of this peace with Gody to produce goodwill among men.

Good will towards, (or among) men.

I. It brings the highest revenue of praise to God.

a Becjluse it affords the noblest theme of praise.

The angik had long beheld the unveiled glory of the^ Eternal. They basked in the sunshine of his presence; They had seen displays of his attributes-— his power. This was displayed at the creition of the- world, for at Creation's dawn the morning stars sang in harmony. His power and wisdom /blended

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in the creation of man, the master-piece of his handywork, was seen by Angels. They had beheld his justice in the case of the spirits who kept not thei^ first estate and in his judgments upon a guilty world* But never had they beheld his inercy shine so conspicuously as in the incarnation of his dear Son, nor his justice so inflexible, when it wbuld not pass by a single offence without an infinite atonement. Here was a neiv and an exalted theme 6i praise. This is the noblest theme upon which we can dwell, calculated to call forth the highest noties of praise. The incarnation of the Son of God,, is a theme upon which all the redeemed on earth and heaven, men and angels can unite, for all are interest6dinit* True, angels are not interested in it iike^

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mtTif for they nev^r fell and needed not a Redeemer j yet every exhibition of Qod's chif acter, every dis^ play of his love and mercy endear him the ^lore to them,; every addition to their number, every soul
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saved, every sinner rescued affords them a new incentive to praise.

d It wa^ to save sinners, Jesus came into the world, to raise men to the dignity and honu^ of sons of God. This brings the greatest meed of praise to God, because it fits arid qualified' myriads to give him tfee priise ami glory of their salviatiori.

178 CHRISTMAS SERMON,

Thousands and millions, through Christ's humanity, hav6* been raised to His dignity, through his humiliation have been highly exalted, througlh his poverty been made rich, and filled by his grace to swell loud anthems of praise in this world, and still more enrapturing songs of praise among the redeemed above.

II. The birth of Christ was designed to bring a rebel world to submission to, and peace with God.

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Man had risen in rebellion against God, high and heavendaring rebellion, as the apostate angels had done before. But how different the conduct of God. towards them from his conduct to us. Whilst they are bound in chkins of darkness to be reserved unto judgment, to us is sent an ambassador from the court of heaven with offers of peace and pardon, upon terms, honorable alike to God and the sinner j with a glorious plan of salvation, by which'- God might be j^st and the justifier of him th^t beleiveth in Jesus. For*God was in Christ recbncilihg the world untd himself not imputing to men their trespasses. Now offers of peace are made to the world at large, to every individual, to you and to me. Not only are offers made, but God is employing every consideration and motive which can have an- influence with rational beings, beseeching »us to be Tec*

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oncile(i to God. Every penitent beleiving soul shall have peace within, the turbulence of passions shall be stilled, the clamor of conscience shall be hushed, the power of sin be broken, the fear ot death re-

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moved, and the soul be enabled through taith in the Redeemer to look to God, confidently crying Abba Father. The love ol God manifested in thie gift of his son, has conquered many a rebellious heart. Such condescension, such love, such appeals they could not withstand, but have been constrained to submit calnily and willingly to their Saviour. Submission to all God's plans and purposes, this will produce peace with God, within themselves and peace with all around.

III. Another design of the 'incarnation, is to
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produce good will among men.

This however only when men have been brought to reconciliation with God. Whatever natural feelings of synipathy for their fellowmen they niay cherish, whatever good men may do to their fellowmen from any other impulses, it nevertheless remains true:

"A foe to God was ne'er a true friend to man." When men become reconciled to God, they will love each other. Love is a distinguishing trait of christian character. *By this they shall be recognized as disciples of the Lord. The Saviour sets this forth as a

l8o CHRISTMAS SERMON;

test of their cjiscipleship, "By this shall all men^khow? that ye are My disciples, if ye love One anoth6r.' This was especially noted in the first christians. Behold how these christians love one another. This love is however ijot restricted to Iriends, but embraces the whole face of mankind, nor is it a mere emotion and
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feeling, but an active principle. It eradicates everjs evil feeling of anger, passion and envy, prompts us to do good to all, assimilates us to Jesus, who went about doing good.

This love will produce peace and good will notonly among individuals, but also among nations. Nations are already beginning to discard the swor^ and implements of warfare as the means of settlingtheir disputes, and i*esort to arbitration on the principle of equity and justice.

Let all keep in mind the Lord's birth, and as professed dteciples of the Saviour keep in memory the day set apart in the church in remembrajtijce ot' this event, so important to the world at large.^ Let the angel's song, "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will to men," be sung in every land, by every one, and above all, let us -see that Jesus Christ be born in us the hope of glory. -

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