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said, forced upon us to-day. We cannot help thinking of the son's loss, and the son's increased responsibilities, at the critical age of ripening manhood, when deprived as he is of the wise guidance of his father.
And if we think of the son's loss to-day—if we feel, as we all do, for him, and for all the other, members of his Royal house, his brethren and sisters—what must we feel for her whose loss is the greatest of all!
Truly, with one silent, unconcerted assent, does this whole nation offer to their Sovereign their most respectful, and reverent, and profound sympathy. No news so interests us now as news about the Queen. We watch with no prying curiosity, but with the anxiety of true love, for every notice of her health that is allowed to get abroad. Nor do we only read these bulletins with
eagerness, but there goes up, I am sure, on her behalf, from many of our hearts, from the hearts of thousands of her people, the same prayer
the prayer we have used to-day. May God hear it in heaven, and do! May it please Him, indeed, to behold with His favour our most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria! may Hestrengthen her, as He only can, by His Holy Spirit ! may He rule her heart in His faith, fear, and love, that
may evermore have affiance in Him; and find in Him a Father of the fatherless, and the God of the widow !
And in the Prince Consort himself, in his premature removal, what a loss have we all had ! It is not for me to speak, what others will say far better to-morrow, in many a church and cathedral throughout England, the just praises of the illustrious dead. And I but repeat what has already found expression in every variety of form, when I say, that he for whom we mourn deserves all our
-that he was, as far as man can be, blameless in his high position--a good husband, a good father, a kind friend, a true lover of his adopted country--that he goes down to his honoured grave leaving behind him no enemies — leaving a name to which not even rumour has affixed a single stain - which is associated with numberless acts of intelligent benevolence, which, as the years go on, will shine brighter and brighter in our history, and command from our children's children, as it does from us this day, the homage of their heartfelt respect, admiration, and love!
For all reasons, then, as I have said, the present is a day of pain; and, being such, how can we be invited to rejoice? how can we do anything but sorrow? What pleasure can we
take, and not feel self-reproached — without the thought again and again recurring, that our Queen's Christmas “is emptied of all joy”- that, by the inscrutable decree of the Almighty, she has been plunged into the bitterest human grief – that or ever her tender, loving spirit, has
had time to rally, from a former shock, a second yet more heavy has fallen—that, while the mourning garments for her illustrious mother are not yet laid aside, she has been called to put on the still more dreary weeds of widowhood!
Yes, it must indeed occur to you all,— What have we to do with joy now?
But, brethren, though our usual mirth at Christmas must be for this year clouded, there is still a rejoicing that is right, and fitting for us to indulge, and that is joy in the Lord-joy at the birth of a Saviour-joy at the heavenly tidings of
peace and good-will-joy at the coming to us of Him who is Emmanuel, God with us! For such a cause we may, and ought to rejoice, yea, even in the midst of our country's grief. Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice !
And in what way? How shall we show ourselves joyful before the Lord the King? Why, first of all, by coming to worship Him, coming into His courts with gladness. On Christmasday this is the duty of us all. To pass this day
well, to pass it happily, we should set apart some portion of it for prayer and praise — for public prayer and praise. Not one should be away when our Church calls us to hear again the story of that wonderful birth, to lift up our hands in the sanctuary, and to praise the Lord !
Nor is it only by coming to church to join in His worship, that we shall show our joy at the birth of a Saviour, but also by partaking together of the Holy Feast which He has commanded us. There is, you know, an especial preface in our Communion Service for Christmas-day. We laud and magnify God's glorious Name, because He did give Jesus Christ, His only Son, to be born for us as at this time : while, further on the service, we all unite in singing, "Glory to God on high, and on earth peace, good-will towards men.” And are not these the very tidings of Christmas ? Is not the service of which they form a part, a service suited to this season? Can any one who seriously considers the matter fail to be convinced, that it is his bounden duty, as at other times, so most particularly at Christmas, to be a Communicant ? Come then, brethren, I pray you, all who can, to the Holy Supper on that day-come, that it may be seen that you joy in God, through Jesus Christ, through whom you have now received the atonement !come, that before this year quite closes, our hearts may be knit together, in peace and love, through our common fellowship with the Redeemer--come, that we may find rest for our unquiet souls, the assurance of God's mercy-grace to help us in the time of need!
Again, another shape which our joy should take at Christmas-even this present Christmas — will be the ministering to the necessity of our poorer brethren. And I need not say much about this. There is, I gladly admit, much done here, as in almost every parish throughout the land, to provide food, and clothing, and fuel for the poor at Christmas. At this blessed season men's hearts warm towards each other more than at another time. And no one feels quite at ease in partaking of the good cheer which the season brings, who has not done something to extend the benefit of it to others—something to increase the comfort, and lighten the burden of his fellow-men. To do good, then, and to distribute, forget not.—He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord.Blessed is the man that provideth for the sick and needy; the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble !
Lastly, let Christmas-day be kept by us all as a day of peace, and good-will- a day on which we will mutually forgive every one his brother their trespasses.