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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,
Approaching to the land; straightway he sees
A towering whiteness; 'tis the heav'n-fill'd sails
That waft the mission'd men, who have renounc'd
Their homes, their country, nay, almost the world,
Bearing glad tidings to the farthest isles
Of ocean, that the dead shall rise again.
Forward the gleam-girt castle coastwise glides.
It seems as it would pass away. To cry
The wretched man in vain attempts, in vain,
Powerless his voice as in a fearful dream:
Not so his hand; he strikes the flint,—a blaze

* " 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:
The tnasic ceases; accents harsh succeed,
Harsh, hut most grateful; downward drop the

Ingulph'd the anchor sinks; the hoat is launch'd;
But cautious lies aloof till morning dawn:
O then the transport of the man, unus'd
To other human voice beside his own,—
His native tongue to hear! He breathes at home,
Tho' earth's diameter is interpos'd.
Of perils of the sea he has no dread,
Full well assur'd the mission'd bark is safe,
Held in the hollow of th' Almighty's hand.
(And signal thy deliv'rances have been
Of those thy messengers of peace and joy.)
From storms that loudly threaten to unfix
Islands rock-rooted in the ocean's bed,

Thou dost deliver them,—and from the calm,
More dreadful than the storm, when motionless
Upon the purple deep the vessel lies
For days, for nights, illum'd by phospor lamps;
When sea-birds seem in nests of flame to float;
When backward starts the boldest mariner
To see, while o'er the side he leans, his face
As if deep-ting'd with blood.—

Let worldly men
The cause and combatants contemptuous scorn,
And call fanatics them, who hazard health
And life, in testifying of the truth,
Who joy and glory in the cross of Christ!
What were the Galilean fishermen
But messengers commission'd to announce
The resurrection and the life to come?

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.

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