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the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

These wonderful things were talked of


all over the country; and the people who heard of them felt great fear. And they said, "What manner of child shall this be?"

The hand of God was upon this child, and He made him grow in wisdom and virtue. God was preparing him for the great work He had appointed him to do. John dwelt in the solitary deserts, and lived upon locusts and wild honey. At length the time came for him to declare the coming of the Messiah. He told the people that Jesus was this Messiah; and that He was the Lamb of God, who was to take away the sins of the world.


FOR some time Mary lived happily at Nazareth. But when Joseph saw what was likely to happen to her, he was full

of trouble; for Mary had not told him what the angel said to her. Joseph resolved not to live any longer with Mary. But whilst he was thinking of putting her away, God sent an angel to tell him, in a dream, not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife; for that she was to be the mother of the Saviour. The angel said, "Thou shalt call His name JESUS," which means a saviour; "for He shall save His people from their sins." When Joseph heard this, he was comforted; and he obeyed the commands of God; for he was a good man. Mary and Joseph lived together very happily. While they were waiting for God to fulfil His promise, the Emperor Augustus made a law that all the world should be taxed. Every person was to go to his own city to be taxed. Joseph and Mary were both of

the race of David; and they went to Bethlehem, where King David was born. When they reached the town, it was so full of people that they could not find any room in the inn; so that they were obliged to lodge in a stable.

It was there (oh, never forget, my dear children, but remember always with gratitude and humility,)—it was there that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born. It was thus He came into the world, that we might learn to be humble. Let us give all praise to the eternal God.

The blessed Virgin Mary took her holy Child, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in the manger.

Thus, four thousand years after the world was made, the Son of God was born, as a man, in the greatest poverty. His birth was in the night, when all was still, and without any pomp.

Here we see that Jesus, who was greater

than all kings, had only a poor stable for His palace, and a manger for His cradle. Jesus Christ, who made every thing, and was worshipped by the angels in heaven, was surrounded in His birthplace by vile animals. Such was the holy will of His Father. It was not what the Jews expected, but was what God had foretold by His prophets.

The pomp and grandeur of this world are nothing in the sight of God. In the kingdom which Jesus Christ came to establish on earth, nothing is precious but virtue and goodness. Seek, then, these blessings from your Saviour, that you may live with Him in heaven.


It was at midnight, when the people of Judea had retired to rest, that some poor shepherds were watching their flocks in the fields. Whilst they were watching in the dark night, the angel of God ap

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