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that the Son of God was coming on earth, and that she should be his mother; and that when he was born she was to call his name JESUS, which means “the Saviour.” The angel, then, having delivered his message, went away.

Now Mary was not like Zacharias : she believed all that the angel had told her, and patiently waited till it pleased God to do what he said: accordingly, God, who has never yet made a promise which has not been performed, fulfilled his promise to Mary, and sent his Son to be born of her as a little child ; but just before he was born, it happened that the Emperor of Rome sent a command that every body should

go to the town to which they belonged, to be taxed ; and as Joseph and Mary, being of the tribe of David,

did not belong to the city of Nazareth, they were obliged to go to Bethlehem, the town where their family 'had lived, to be taxed, according to the Emperor's command ; many others, of course, went also, and the little town of Bethlehem was quite crowded when they arrived : they tried, in vain, to get room in the inn, and were at last obliged to take shelter in the stables adjoining.

It was here that the Holy Child was born ; and Mary having wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, laid him in the place out of which horses eat in the stable, called the manger.

And now let us stop for a moment, and observe the first example our Sa viour set before us,-it was Humility, which has been well called the first Christian virtue, because that must be the foundation of all the rest, and as pride is the chief fault of our nature, our Lord chose to give us as his first lesson the example of humility. We must learn then of him to be lowly in heart. He might have been born, if he had chosen, in a royal palace, and been dressed in splendid robes, and have slept on soft and easy cushions : but that would have given us no lesson from his example ; and He therefore chose his birth-place to be a stable, and his cradle a manger, to convince us that He came to save alike the poor and the rich : and, as the greater part of mankind must be poor, His holy examples of contented humility were chiefly addressed to them.

The circumstances of His humble birth warn us against pride and vanity, and foolish, envious longings for

fine clothes, and fine houses, and such other fine things as very few people can possess. Those who have them not, should remember that their Saviour had them not, and be contented ; and those who have them should think how many thousands are without them, and cheerfully distribute their charity, taking care not to set their hearts on those things which were disregarded by the Son of God.

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« Be clothed with humility.” – 1 Peter, v. 5.

19

III.

THE SHEPHERDS.

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In Judea, and other countries where there are wild beasts, the shepherdsmen who take care of sheep obliged to watch their flocks, day and niglit. In England, where you are so happy as to live, there is not so much need to do so, as there are no wild beasts to hurt the flock; but in the country round Bethlehem the shepherds used to keep watch every night.

Now, one night, when all was dark and still, several shepherds were thus keeping watch, when a very bright light shone round about, and at the same time an angel stood before them,

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