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move his fear of present destruction. Then turning to the twelfth chapter of St. John's gospel, we find it written concerning Jesus of Nazareth, “ These words spake Isaiah WHEN HE SAW HIS GLORY, AND WROTE OF HIM.”
He, therefore, who was thus seen of angels, manifest in the flesh, being formed in fashion as a man, making himself of no reputation, taking upon him the form of a servant, and humbling himself even to the death of the cross, He was the King, the Lord of Hosts, to whom the seraphim could not lift their faces, and of whose glorious holiness they spoke one to another in tones of solemn awe. Great indeed must be the love of those celestial creatures to our fallen race, when they could even rejoice in triumphant songs, because, for our sakes, that terribly glorious King of Heaven had become a “ babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.” Oh, that we could, in any degree, realize what was then seen of angels, that our cold hearts might glow with a portion of gratitude and love to Him! The greatest wonder in re. demption is the frozen indifference with which man contemplates his Redeemer's work. Even the best of men in his best moments must be a spectacle to an. gels through his lukewarm composure, and the feebleness of his efforts to make known to his fellow-sinners what the angels, who themselves gained nothing by it, rushed in troops to communicate, and celebrated with songs of enraptured praise.
They had seen the Lord's Christ, as a mortal infant, his birth-place a stable, and his companions the beasts
of the stall. Under the divine direction, they then proceeded to make known to some of the Lord's peo. ple the miracle of divine love. It is certainly the most exquisite picture in the whole Bible, if we can divest our minds of the absurdly childish idea which our prejudices have probably associated with the appearance of an angel, and portray to ourselves the ma. jesty, no less than the beauty in which those splendid creatures are arrayed, when not walking the earth in the form and the garb of men.
There were “Shepherds' abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night: and lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.” This angelic herald, who came to proclaim his King and theirs, seems to have worn, as it were, his robe of state for the occasion. He 6
came upon them,” probably standing between earth and heaven, as the mighty angel whom David saw, but not armed with a destroying sword; and the brightness that shone in his countenance, a glory derived like that of Moses' face, from contemplating the presence of God, shed a broad light on the group of astonished shepherds, who beheld in a moment the darkness of night turned into the blaze of day; and were terrified at the spectacle of so august a being. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you (Israelites) is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” How grand is the sequel! “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, prai. sing God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men !" It would seem as though the very wonder, not to say consterna. tion, occasioned by seeing the Lord of heaven and earth so abased as they described him to be, 'were lost in the joyful assurance, that since he, the Prince of Peace, was come down to dwell on earth, peace must ensue in all her borders; and that such a token of good will to men was the sure earnest of defeat and destruction to the evil spirits who had so long borne rule over her population. The seed of the woman had appeared; the serpent's head would therefore now be effectually bruised ; and since we may well believe it utterly impossible that angelic natures should conceive the extent to which man's hardened depravity could be driven by Satan, even to the crucifying of the Lord of glory, their benevolent joy knew no draw. back; and with a sudden burst revealing themselves, as they were permitted to do, to those favoured Jews, they filled the visible space with their glorious forms, and poured forth the divine harmony of their combined voices, until ascending in the view of the shepherds, they went away from them into heaven. Upon this scene the mind of infancy always seems to fasten with a peculiar feeling of its tender beauty; and “the child Jesus," the “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger," often becomes the hope of a heart too young to comprehend the nature of its faith-a saving faith, we may not dare to doubt-in many cases where the wilful sin of childhood requires that such a hold should be taken of the atoning Saviour: and when the neglect of those whose general custom it is to defer the work of instructing a soul in the knowledge of God, until long after Satan has set his infernal imps to familiarize it with evil, would have the little one to perish, but for such merciful provision on the part of the Most High for those whom he purposes to remove by an early death, but not before they have sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression.
The next appearance of an angelic watcher over the incarnate Lord, was in a dream to Joseph, warning him. “ Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” Matt. ii. 13. “Until I bring thee word,”—how zealously affected were these heavenly creatures in the good work it was their privilege to labour in! This angel was apprized of the bloody purpose of the tyrant, and knew that he should be permitted to watch the progress of his impious conspiracy against the new-born King, and to convey to the be. lieving guardian of that most sacred charge, tidings of safety, when all peril was past. He seems to have cautioned Joseph against any possible deception from other quarters; he was not to return from Egypt until the same messenger, who now bade him flee thither, should again appear to authorize his quitting it. We may readily assure ourselves that bright squadrons of
the highest angels of God, surrounded those poor fugi. tives, and kept at bay every foe that might have crept on their nocturnal path. Christ was at all times "seen of angels,” and in one way or another they perpetually " ministered unto him.” The assurance of safety, through Herod's death, was at length given by the an. gel in another dream; and once more in the full sense of which the former deliverance had been but a prophetic type, out of Egypt God called his Son.
Of our Lord's early years no record is given, and we are not warranted in supplying the blank from any stores of imagination. Of this we are sure, that the Lord Jesus exhibited alike to angels and to men an all-perfect model of holiness, harmlessness, undefiled purity, perfect obedience, and that glorious righteousness by the imputation of which, all who believe on him are justified from all things: that he magnified the law and made it honourable, showing forth the sublime beauty of that in which man sees, alas ! little to desire, and much to shrink from as grievous and burdensome. Thus he continued, to his thirtieth year, when he went forth to John in the wilderness, to be baptized, and to receive that public testimony from · heaven, the voice of the Almighty God, proclaiming, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ;" while the mysterious spirit descended and abode on him. John beheld this, and others, his disciples, chosen to bear testimony to this solemn anointing of our great High Priest; but their eyes were not opened to behold the glory that surrounded them—the sapphire throne, the fiery cherubim, the innumerable company