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Where sweetly is rehears'd the lowly state
Of Jesus, when his birth was first announced,
In midnight music, by an angel choir,
To Bethlehem's shepherds,* as they watch'd their
flocks. Breathless, the man forlorn listens, and thinks It is a dream. Fuller the voices swell. lie looks, and starts to see, moving along,
• •' And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock 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. And the angel said unto them, Fear not ; for, behold! 1 bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling-cloaths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men." Luke, ii. 8.—14.
The semblance of a fiery wave,* in crescent form,
* " In fome seas, as particularly about the coast of Malabar, as a ship floats along, it seems during the night to be surrounded with fire, and to leave a long tract of light behind it. Whenever the sea is gently agitated, it seems converted into little stars; every drop as it breaks emits light, like bodies electrified in the dark."— Darwin.
Mounts from the ready heap of wither'd leaves:
Thou dost deliver them,—and from the calm,
Let worldly men
They too, tho' cloath'd with power of mighty
works Miraculous, were oft receiv'd with scorn; Oft did their words fall powerless, tho' enforc'd By deeds that mark'd Omnipotence their friend. But when their efforts fail'd, unweariedly They onward went, rejoicing in their course. Like helianthus,* borne on downy wings To distant realms, they frequent fell on soils Barren and thankless; yet oft-times they saw Their labours crown'd with fruit an hundred fold, Saw the new converts testify their faith By works of love,—the slave set free, the sick
* Sun flower. "The seeds of many plants of this kind are furnished with a plume, by which admirable mechanism they are disseminated far from their parent stem."—Darwin.