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Then it was that the true light became embodied in Jesus Christ, the Sun of righteousness, who, ascending the moral heavens, commanded the darkness of the world to recede, and truth unmixed, all-radiant truth, to stand forth to the view of men, in its pristine glory and majesty. It was then that the rays of divine light became sufficiently condensed to give the human mind a clear vision of the great, the good, and the infinite, and to shed forth an invigorating warmth upon the seed of immortal virtue, confidenee, hope, and joy in the soul. Then man arose to the proper sphere of man. Then began to spring into action those dormant principles and latent energies of the soul which are its crowning glory and dignity, which have since been gaining new accessions of strength and greatness, and have been urging the world onward in every ennobling principle of virtue, grace, and civilization.
The birth of the Savior, in whom was embodied every principle of divine perfection, the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person; the Immanuel, God with us, was the dawn of a new and glorious era to the world of mankind. It was the opening of a new and brighter scene.
in the great drama of human affairs; the startling into being new and noble energies; the waking up of higher and more elevated hopes. It was the birth of salvation, and the dawn of immortality.
Well might its advent awaken joy through the realm, and cause the morning stars to sing together, and all the sons of God to shout for joy. Well might it cause the celestial messenger to hasten down the azure vault to announce the gladdening tidings; and seraphic songsters to burst forth in the lofty anthem of praise, "Glory to God in the highest." Eighteen hundred and forty-five years, according to common chronology, have rolled away since the Savior made his advent into the world. Since that time his light has been gradually rolling over the world, with its allconquering and transforming influence.
The true light, then, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world is christianity. It is suitable that we pause and reflect for a little while on our obligations to almighty God for the invaluable boon of christianity. That we may justly appreciate this subject, let us first consider what christianity is; and secondly, what it has done, is doing, and is destined to do.
I. WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY? It is the great luminary of the soul, so to speak. Human systems and inventions have afforded some apparent light to mankind, but it was not the true light, that which afforded a sure and unerring guide. It was the transient glare of phosphorescent light, cold and fading. But christianity is the true light, which, like the sun, warms, at the same time that it enlightens. It not only pours the light of truth upon the soul, but it warms and invigorates all its better sentiments into life. True and natural light has heat. The rays of our sun, while they illumine our otherwise darkened and dreary world, are, at the same time, accompanied by that warmth indispensable to life. So the true spiritual light, that which beams directly from the great fountain of infinite truth, is attended with the warmth of the celestial flame. Hence it is said, by the great spiritual Teacher, "And that life was the light of men."
Christianity not only reveals mighty truths, and causes the soul to grasp great ideas in its upward faith, but it causes it to feel the living presence of the Divinity. In other words, christianity consists not in faith alone, but in part, in feeling. Deep, ardent feeling at
tends its faith. True, its faith is large, mighty, boundless; but in the magnitude of its operations, it is attended by corresponding feelings of illimitable love, good will, and joy.
Its faith rises up and embraces the throne of God, as the seat of justice, goodness, mercy, and truth; the Infinite himself, as the loving Father of all intelligence, from whom, by whom, and to whom are all things. It sees his omnipotent arm outstretched to control every operation in his unbounded universe -exercising over all a general and particular provdience, numbering the very hairs of the head, notwithstanding their minuteness, and seeming little importance, and noticing the fall of the little helpless sparrow. It is a faith which apprehends a boundless essence of universal good, operating throughout universal dominion, for the good of universal being, which sees all possible power united to infinite wisdom, diffused throughout every part of creation, from the least to the greatest, fulfilling the dictates of pure, unmixed, illimitable love.
Hence, it is a faith which points down the long stream of future time through all scenes of possible occurrences, gradation and change, and shows them all combining in the production of good, present, future, universal, end
less good; because one great energy presides over the whole, and makes them bow to his sovereign sway, and ultimate in his infinitely benevolent designs. It is a faith which looks to the Savior, as the offspring of this boundless law, and its prime minister, ordained to execute its great purpose in harmonizing the moral world, a means to accomplish its grand design in universal happiness and perfection. In him, therefore, it sees all moral intelligences redeemed, and finally purified and saved; all things which pertain to the spiritual man, gathered together in one in Christ, both which are now on the earth, dwelling in the earthly tabernacles, and which are in heaven, already gone to the spirit land, even in him, that God ultimately in the diffusion of his loving spirit and everlasting favor, may be "ALL IN ALL."
At the same time that it contemplates all earthly things as perishing, and sees death and mourning extending their dominion over universal humanity, it looks away to the end of sorrow, and the extinction of death itself, when life, and beauty, and moral perfection shall come forth from the tomb. When
"His own soft hand shall wipe the tears,
And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears,