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example from the sea of error and corruption in which the human race had been for some time immerged. If I reflected on these important subjects in the character of a philosopher, it was the period at which took place the greatest event which ever affected the moral or political world ; an event the repercussion of which still impresses at the present time a principle of motion and life upon the whole intellectual world. It is here that the greatest, the most just, the most wise, the most virtuous, of all men emerged from obscurity, from ignorance and misery ; here was his cradle, here was the theatre of his actions and his affecting discourses. Thence he departed, whilst yet in his youth, with a few obscure and illiterate men, whom he had inspired with confidence in his genius, and with courage for the accomplishment of their mission, which was knowingly to contend against an order of ideas and things not strong enough to resist him, but still strong enough to cause his death. Thence, I repeat, he went forth with confidence to conquer death, and the universal empire of posterity ; thence has flowed Christianity, its source obscure; a drop of water unperceived in the hollow of the rock of Nazareth, from which two sparrows could scarcely allay their thirst, which a single beam of the sun could have absorbed, and which, at the present day, like the vast ocean of mind, has filled every abyss of human wisdom, and bathed with its inexhaustible waves the past, the present, and the future. Did I entertain a doubt of the divinity of that event, still would my soul have been strongly affected on approaching the first theatre on which the glorious deed was enacted, and I should have uncovered my head, and bent my forehead in reverence of that occult and governing will which has made such mighty and important things flow from so weak and so imperceptible a commence
“But, on considering the mysteries of Christianity as a Christian, it was here, under this small portion of the blue firmament, at the bottom of this narrow and sombre valley, under the shadow of this little hill, the old rocks of which appear even at the present day to be all split with the trembling of joy which they experienced in giving birth to and in bearing the infant WORD, or with the shivering of grief which they felt in entombing the WORD crucified; here was the fatal and holy spot of the world which God selected from all eternity, on which his truth, his justice, and his incarnate love, in an infant God, was to descend upon the earth; it was here that the divine breath descended, at its proper time, in a poor cottage, the abode of humble labor, of simplicity of mind, and misfortune; it was here, that within the bosom of a pure and innocent virgin, he gave life to something like herself, sweet, tender, and compassionate; as a man, it was full of suffering, patience, and lamentation; as a God, it was powerful, supernatural, wise, and strong; it was here that the God-man submitted to our ignorance, our weakness, our labor, and our misery, during the obscure years of his retired life, and in some measure entered into the exercises of it, and practised the ways of the world, before he edified it by his word, healed it by his prodigies, and regenerated it by his death; it was here that the heavens opened, from which burst forth upon the world his incarnate spirit, his fulminating word, which was to consume till the end of time all error and iniquity, to try, as in the fire of the crucible, our virtues and our vices, and to kindle before the only holy God that incense which was never afterwards to be extinguished, the incense of the renovated altar, the perfume of universal charity and truth."
Yes, along those ancient plains reverberated the angelic shout, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will to men. There the Word sowed divine seed, and the Spirit made it productive. For eighteen centuries men have seen it blossom and ripen; they recognize the beneficence of a God in the inexhaustible supply, and every where pant to feed on the fruit produced from that tree of life which was removed from the paradise radiant with riches of every kind, and planted in the abode of the wretchedly poor. Lamb of God, thy birthplace was well chosen, and thy first moan seems to say, “ Chil
dren of a fallen race, the night is dark, but the morning breaks ! Liberty is born!”
In the third place, in his advent, Christ was the type of allexalting power and the pledge of universal redemption.
Whenever God wishes to execute some grand result, one of those comprehensive and profound revolutions which leave perpetual traces among mankind, when he would rend down the obscure curtains of his providence, and reveal newer and vaster domains whereon to develop his own almightiness and the expanding faculties of man, - he does not ordinarily choose as instruments those who are armed with power or clothed with authority ; but, in some retired walk of life, on some secluded farm, in some lonely shop, suddenly his potent spirit seizes a rugged worker, unknown, unlettered, void of all force save that which swells in his aspiring soul, and, from that obscurity, go forth trumpet tones to arouse the nations, flame and energy to enlighten and bless mankind. He who possesses all resources, and can readily select from means infinitely diversified, sees fit forever to employ weak things in the destruction of the mighty. Before honor is humility, or a lowly station. Joseph was raised from the prison to the throne. Moses and David were called from the shepherd's fold to feed the inheritance of the Lord. Gideon acknowledged himself to be of “the least of the families of Israel ;” but the great Captain of our salvation arose from an origin still more obscure. It would seem to be the initiatory truth of Christianity, that the lower one descends in humiliation, the higher shall he rise in exaltation. The lower his foundation of humility is laid, the loftier and wider shall his crown of glory shine.
More true greatness is born in hovels than in palaces. All great conservative influences come up from the oppressed and industrious classes. Ordinarily from the husbandman's cottage or the artisan's shop emerge the efficient pioneers of social improvement and national weal. As the exponents and executors of divine purposes, they trample on hoary wrongs, dissolve unholy coalitions, and win deliverance for the down
trodden every where. They are the true nobility of heaven, the born monarchs of mind, whose credentials are manifest in their beneficent deeds, and whose patent of royalty consists in their native grandeur of soul. They are infinitely greater than the kings of physical empire, since they can defy the greatest concentration of martial force, and laugh to scorn the rack and the flame. The god-leavened ponderers on creation, and the god-armed deliverers of their race, always struggle up from the lowest depths of experience, meditation, development, till they obtain a firm hold on the deepest as well as broadest mass: then how these moral Titans will make the mountains shake! They have drunk from every
felt the galling weight of every burden, smarted under every lash; their own wounds have become the inlets through which they im. bibe the pangs of all their brethren in endurance vile, and they rise up in the omnipotence of humanity made divine by its purpose to redeem and disinthrall mankind.
Individual excellence dawns on the world from obscurity, like day from night. The mightiest rivers rise from sources the most occult, and the brightest gems are found in caverns the most obscure. Like Iceland moss, the finest capacities of our race often grow beneath the snow, and must thence be sought. The matured champion is a babeling at first, cradled in poverty, nursed on the bosom of loveliness, invigorated by stern realities, while down on his loneliness heavenly beams are streaming, and filling him with splendors in due time to inundate the globe. It may be that the young heart for a long time lies torn and bleeding in the predestined deliverer, before it has generated momentum adequate to the emergencies he is called to meet. Gently at first gleam angelic thoughts on the darkness of the infant brain; long and silently in the soul mature the incipient purposes of moral warfare, like unfolded flowers in the profoundest depths of the sea ; but by and by they burst on the world's gaze and fill heaven with odors most sweet. Such a heart is born to become the temple of religion the most pure, the diffuser of an influence the most beneficent,
and the tomb in which it goes at length a broken sacrifice to repose, becomes the altar of liberty for all our race.
“'Tis rare in Fame's rich galaxy to shine
Before the orient glories fades and flies." We have observed that all exalting power springs from the dense masses of mankind; that redemption is seldom or never born in the palace but in the hut; and that of this fact Jesus Christ is the highest illustration and the most striking type. We would here add, that the greater the want the greater will be the supply which Providence ever grants to suffering man. Great occasions have never been wanting in great champions; nor have the greatest and best of heroes ever failed in finding fitting scope for the divinest energies they possessed. This palpable and merciful law is of itself sufficient to demonstrate the existence of an infinitely wise and powerful Lawgiver. Its most glorious exemplification was recognized by the wise men who came to Bethlehem. They there found Immanuel, God with us, born at the base of the pyramid of human society, where the masses are broadest and most oppressed, far down there unveiling the Sun of Righteousness, that up through all the superincumbent 'myriads of men, purifying and emancipating beams might shine to diffuse impartial goodness and universal hope. The ancient patriarch saw in his dream a ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Perhaps its foot measured the broad diameter of earth, but its top rested at a single point on the throne of God. Christ came to give substance to that vision, in the presence of all men, as the inspiration of