The Star and the Wise Men

   (No. 1698)

   Delivered on Lord's-Day Morning, December 24th, 1882, by


   At the [1]Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

   "Now Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the
   king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying,
   Where is he that is born King of the Jews'? for we have seen his star
   in the east, and are come to worship him. When they had heard the king,
   they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went
   before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
   When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."혰
   Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10.

   SEE, DEAR FRIENDS, the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ even in his state
   of humiliation! He is born of lowly parents, laid in a manger, and
   wrapped in swaddling bands; but, lo! the principalities and powers in
   the heavenly places are in commotion. First, one angel descends to
   proclaim the advent of the new-born King and suddenly there is with him
   a multitude of the heavenly host singing glory unto God. Nor was the
   commotion confined to the spirits above; for in the heavens which
   overhang this card, there is a stir. A star is deputed on behalf of all
   the stars, as if he were the envoy and plenipotentiary of all worlds to
   represent them before their King. This star is put in commission to
   wait upon the Lord, to be his herald to men afar off, his usher to
   conduct them to his presence, and his body-guard to sentinel his
   cradle. Earth, too, is stirred. Shepherds have come to pay the homage
   of simple-minded ones: with all love and joy they bow before the
   mysterious child; and after them from afar come the choice and flower
   of their generation, the most studious minds of the age. Making a long
   and difficult journey, they too at last arrive, the representatives of
   the Gentiles. Lo! the kings of Seba and Sheba offer gifts혰gold,
   frankincense, and myrrh. Wise men, the leaders of their peoples, bow
   down before him, and pay homage to the Son of God. Wherever Christ is
   he is honorable. "Unto you that believe he is honor." In the day of
   small things, when the cause of God is denied entertainment, and is
   hidden away with things which are despised, it is still most glorious.
   Christ, though a child, is still King of kings; though among the oxen,
   he is still distinguished by his star.

   Beloved friends, if wise men of old came to Jesus and worshipped,
   should not we come also? My intense desire this morning is that we all
   may pay homage to him of whom we sing, "Unto us a child is born; unto
   us a son is given." Let those of us who have long worshipped, worship
   anew with yet lowlier reverence and intenser love. And God grant-oh,
   that he would grant it!혰that some who are far off from him spiritually,
   as the Magi were far off locally, may come to-day and ask, "Where is he
   that is born King of the Jews? for we have come to worship him." May
   feet that have been accustomed to broad roads, but unaccustomed to the
   narrow path, this day pursue that way till they see Jesus, and how
   before him with all their hearts, finding salvation in him. These wise
   men came naturally, traversing the desert; let us come spiritually,
   leaving our sins. These were guided by the sight of a star; let us be
   guided by faith in the divine Spirit, by the teaching of his word and
   all those blessed lights which the Lord uses to conduct men to himself.
   Only let us come to Jesus. It was well to come unto the babe Jesus, led
   by the feeble beams of a star; you shall find it still more blessed to
   come to him now that he is exalted in the highest heavens, and by his
   own light reveals his own perfect glory. Delay not, for this day he
   cries, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will
   give you rest."

   This morning let us try to do three things. First, let us gather light
   from this star; secondly, let us gather wisdom from those wise men; and
   thirdly, let us act as wise men helped by our own particular star.

   I. First, then, LET US GATHER LIGHT FROM THIS STAR. May the Spirit of
   the Lord enable us so to do.

   I suppose you have each one his own imagination as to what this star
   was. It would seem to have been altogether supernatural, and not a
   star, or a comet of the ordinary kind. It was not a constellation, nor
   a singular conjunction of planets: there is nothing in the Scriptures
   to support such a conjecture. In all probability it was not a star in
   the sense in which we now speak of stars: for we find that it moved
   before the wise men, then suddenly disappeared, and again shone forth
   to move before them. It could not have been a star in the upper spheres
   like others, for such movements would not have been possible. Some have
   supposed that the wise men went in the direction in which the star
   shone forth in the heavens, and followed the changes of its position:
   but it could not in that case have been said that it stood over the
   place where the young child was. If the star was at its zenith over
   Bethlehem, it would have been in its zenith over Jerusalem too; for the
   distance is so small that it would not have been possible to observe
   any difference in the position of the star in the two places. It must
   have been a star occupying quite another sphere from that in which the
   planets revolve. We believe it to have been a luminous appearance in
   mid-air; probably akin to that which led the children of Israel through
   the wilderness, which was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
   Whether it was seen in the daylight or not we cannot tell. Chrysostom
   and the early fathers are wonderfully positive about many things which
   Scripture leaves in doubt, but as these eminent divines drew upon their
   imagination for their facts, we are not under bonds to follow them.
   They aver that this star was so bright as to be visible all day long.
   If so, we can imagine the wise men travelling day and night; but if it
   could be seen only by night, the picture before us grows far more
   singular and weird혰like as we see these easterns quietly pursuing their
   star-lit way, resting perforce when the sun was up, but noiselessly
   hurrying at night through slumbering lands. These questions are not of
   much importance to us, and therefore we will not dwell long upon them.

   Only here is a first lesson: if it should ever be that men should fail
   to preach the gospel, God can conduct souls to his Son by a star. Ah!
   say not only by a star, but by a stone, a bird, a blade of grass, a
   drop of dew.

   "Remember that Omnipotence
   Has servants everywhere."

   Therefore, despond not when you hear that one minister has ceased to
   preach the gospel, or that another is fighting against the viral truth
   of God. Their apostasy shall be to their own loss rather than to the
   hurt of Jesus and his church; and, sad though it be to see the lamps of
   the sanctuary put out, yet God is not dependent upon human lights, he
   is the Shekinah light of his own holy place. Mortal tongues, if they
   refuse to preach his word, shall have their places supplied by books in
   the running brooks and sermons in stones. The beam shall cry out of the
   wall, and the timber shall answer it. When chief priests and scribes
   have all gone out of the way, the Lord puts stars into commission, and
   once more in very deed the heavens are telling the glory of God, and
   the firmament is showing his handiwork. Sooner than lack speakers for
   the incarnate God, mountains and hills shall learn eloquence and break
   forth into testimony. Jehovah's message shall be made known to the
   utmost ends of the earth. God shall save his own elect; he shall give
   to Christ to see of the travail of his soul and to be satisfied. His
   counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. Hallelujah!

   Now, when the Lord does use a star to be his minister, what is the
   order of his ministry? We may learn by this enquiry what kind of
   ministry God would have ours to be if we are stars in his right hand.
   We also shine as lights in the world: let us see how to do it.

   We notice, first, that star-preaching is all about Christ. We do not
   know what the color of the star was, nor the shape of the star, nor to
   what magnitude it had attained; these items are not recorded, but what
   is recorded is of much more importance; the wise men said혰"We have seen
   his star." Then the star which the Lord will use to lead men to Jesus
   must be Christ's own star. The faithful minister, like this star,
   belongs to Christ; he is Christ's own man in the most emphatic sense.
   Before we can expect to be made a blessing, dear friends, we must
   ourselves be blessed of the Lord. If we would cause others to belong,
   to Jesus, we must belong wholly to Jesus ourselves. Every beam in that
   star shone forth for Jesus. It was his star, always, and only, and
   altogether. It shone not for itself, but only as his star: as such it
   was known and spoken of혰"we have seen his star." As I have already
   said, there is no note taken of any peculiarity that it had except this
   one, that it was the star of the King. I wish that you and I, whatever
   our eccentricities or personalities may be, may never make so much of
   them as to attract men's attention to them. May people never dwell upon
   our attainments or our deficiencies, but may they always observe this
   one thing, that we are men of God, that we are ambassadors of Christ,
   that we are Christ's servants, and do not attempt to shine for
   ourselves, or to make ourselves conspicuous; but that we labor to shine
   for him, that his way may be known upon earth, his saving health among
   all people. Brother, it is well for us to forget ourselves in our
   message, to sink ourselves in our Master. We know the names of several
   of the stars, yet they may each one envy that star which remains
   anonymous, but can never be forgotten because men who sought the King
   of Israel knew it as "his star." Though you be but a very little star,
   twinkling for Jesus; however feeble your light may be, be it plain that
   you are his star, so that if men wonder what you are, they may never
   wonder whose you are, for on your very forefront it shall be written,
   "Whose I am and whom I serve." God will not lead men to Christ by us
   unless we are Christ's heartily, wholly, unreservedly. In his temple
   our Lord uses no borrowed vessels; every bowl before the altar must be
   his own. It is not consistent with the glory of God for him to use
   borrowed vessels. He is not so poor as that comes to. This lesson is
   worthy of all acceptation. Are you in a hurry to preach, young man? Are
   you sure you are Christ's? Do you think it must be a fine thing to hold
   a company or people listening to your words? Have you looked at it in
   another light,? Have you weighed the responsibility of having to speak
   as Christ would have you speak, and of yielding yourself in your entire
   personality to the utterance of the mind of God? You must be
   consecrated and concentrated if you hope to be used or the Lord. If you
   have one ray, or ten thousand rays, all must shine with the one design
   of guiding men to Jesus. You have nothing now to do with any object,
   subject, design, or endeavor, but Jesus only: in him, and for him, and
   to him must you live henceforth, or you will never be chosen of the
   Lord to conduct either wise men or babes to Jesus. See ye well to it
   that perfect consecration be yours.

   Note next that true star-preaching leads to Christ. The star was
   Christ's star itself, but it also led others to Christ. It did this
   very much because it moved in that direction. It is a sad thing when a
   preacher is like a sign-post pointing the way but never following it,
   on his own account. Such were those chief priests at Jerusalem: they
   could tell where Christ was born, but they never went to worship him;
   they were indifferent altogether to him and to his birth. The star that
   leads to Christ must always be going to Christ. Men are far better
   drawn by example than driven by exhortation. Personal piety alone can
   be owned of God to the production of piety in others. "Go," say you;
   but they will not go. Say "come," and lead the way: then they will
   come. Do not the sheep follow the shepherd? He who would lead others to
   Christ should go before them himself, having his face towards his
   Master, his eyes towards his Master, his steps toward his Master, his
   heart towards his Master. We are so to live that we may without
   boasting exhort those around us to have us for an example. Oh, that all
   who think themselves to be stars would themselves diligently move
   towards the Lord Jesus. The star in the east led wise men to Christ
   because it went that way itself: there is a wisdom in example which
   truly wise men are quick to perceive. This star had such an influence
   upon the chosen men that they could not but follow it: it charmed them
   across the desert. Such a charm may reside in you and in me, and we may
   exercise a powerful ministry over many hearts, being to them as
   loadstones, drawing them to the Lord Jesus. Happy privilege! We would
   not, merely show the road, but induce our neighbors to enter upon it.
   We read of one of old, not that they told him of Jesus, but that "they
   brought him to Jesus." We are not only to tell the story of the cross,
   but we are to persuade men to fly to the Crucified One for salvation.
   Did not the king in the parable say to his servants, "Compel them to
   come in." Assuredly he girds his own messengers with such a compelling
   power that men cannot hold out any longer, but must follow their lead
   and bow at the King's feet. The star did not draw, "as it were with a
   cart rope," nor by any force, material and physical; yet it drew these
   wise men from the remote east right to the manger of the new-born
   child. And so, though we have no arm of the law to help us, nor
   patronage, nor pomp of eloquence, nor parade of learning, yet we have a
   spiritual power by which we draw to Jesus thousands who are our joy and
   crown. The man sent of God comes forth from the divine presence
   permeated with a power which makes men turn to the Savior and live. Oh!
   that such power might go forth from all God's ministers yea, from all
   God's servants engaged in street-preaching, in Sunday-schools, in
   tract-visitation, and in every form of holy service. God uses those
   whose aim and intent it is to draw men to Christ. He puts his Spirit
   into them, by which Spirit they are helped to set forth the Lord Jesus
   as so lovely and desirable that men run to him and accept his glorious
   salvation. It is a small thing to shine, but it is a great thing to
   draw. Any cast-away may be brilliant; but only the real saint will be
   attractive for Jesus. I would not pray to be an orator, but I do pray
   to be a soul-winner. Do not aim, beloved brethren, at anything short of
   leading men to Jesus. Do not be satisfied to lead them to orthodox
   doctrine, or merely to bring them to a belief in those views which you
   hold to be Scriptural, valuable as that way be. It is to the person of
   the incarnate God that we must bring them to his feet we must conduct
   them that they may worship him: our mission is not accomplished, it is
   a total failure, unless we conduct our hearers to the house where Jesus
   dwells, and then stand over them, keeping watch over their souls for
   Jesu's sake.

   Once more, the star which God used in this case was a star that stopped
   at Jesus: it went before the wise men till it brought them to Jesus,
   and then it stood still over the place where the young child was. I
   admire the manner of this star. There are remarkable stars in the
   theological sky at the present, time: they have led men to Jesus, so
   they say, and now they lead them into regions beyond, of yet
   undeveloped thought. The gospel of the Puritans is "old-fashioned";
   these men have discovered that it is unsuitable for the enlarged
   intellects of the times; and so these stars would guide us further
   still. To this order of wandering stars I do not belong myself, and I
   trust I never shall. Progress beyond the gospel I have no desire for.
   "God forbid that I should glory save ill the cross of our Lord Jesus
   Christ." When the star had come to the place where the young child was,
   it stood still: and so should the gracious mind become settled, fixed,
   immovable. The wise men knew where to find that star, and where to find
   the young child by it: so be it with us. Oh, you that have hitherto
   been diligent in leading souls to Christ, never indulge for a single
   moment the notion that you need a broader philosophy or a deeper
   spirituality than are to be found in Jesus. Abide in him. Cry, "Oh God,
   my heart is fixed. My heart is fixed." There is nothing beyond Christ
   which is worth a moment's thought. Do not lose your paradise in Christ
   for another taste of that tree of knowledge of good-and-evil which
   ruined our first parents. Stick you to the old points: your one subject
   Christ, your one object to bring men to Christ, your one glory the
   glory of Christ. Standing by your Lord, and there alone, from this day
   to the last day, you will secure a happy, honored, and holy life. They
   said of Greece after her fall that it had become so ruined that you
   might search for Greece in Greece and fail to find it: I fear I must
   say that some professed preachers of the gospel have roamed so far away
   from it that you cannot find the gospel in their gospel, nor Christ
   himself in the Christ they preach. So far have some diverged from the
   grand essential soul-saving truth beyond which no man ought to dare to
   think of going, that they retain nothing of Christianity but the name.
   All that is beyond truth is a lie; anything beyond revelation is at
   best a minor matter, and most probably is an old wives' fable, even
   though he may be of the masculine gender who invented it. Stand you to
   your colors you who hope to be used of the Lord. Abide so that men
   shall find you in twenty years' time shining for Jesus and pointing to
   the place where the Savior is to be found, even as you are doing now.
   Let Jesus Christ be your ultimatum. Your work is done when you bring
   souls to Jesus, and help to keep them there, by being yourself
   "steadfast, unmovable." Be not carried away from the hope of your
   calling; but hold fast even the form of sound words, for it may be that
   in letting go the form you may lose the substance also.

   II. Now that we have somewhat rejoiced in the light of the star, let us
   see if we can GATHER WISDOM FROM THE WISE MEN. Perhaps you have heard
   the "much speaking" of tradition as to who they were, whence they came,
   and how they traveled. In the Greek church, I believe, they know their
   number, their names, the character of their retinue, and what kind of
   ornaments were on their dromedaries' necks. Details which are not found
   in the word of God you may believe or not, at your pleasure, and you
   will be wise if our pleasure is not to believe too much. We only know
   that they were Magi, wise men from the East, possibly of the old Parsee
   religion혰watchers if not worshippers of the stars. We will not
   speculate about them, but learn from them.

   They did not content themselves with admiring the star and comparing it
   with other stars, and taking notes as to the exact date of its
   appearance, and how many times it twinkled, and when it moved, and all
   that; but they practically used the teaching of the star. Many are
   hearers and admirers of God's servants, but they are not wise enough to
   make fit and proper use of the preaching. They notice the peculiarity
   of the preacher's language, how much he is like one divine, how much he
   is unlike another; whether he coughs too often, or speaks too much in
   his throat; whether he is too loud or too low; whether he has not a
   provincial tone, whether there may not be about him a commonness of
   speech approaching to vulgarity; or, on the other hand, whether he may
   not be too florid in his diction. Such fooleries as these are the
   constant observations of men for whose souls we labor. They are
   perishing, and yet toying with such small matters With many it is all
   they go to the house of God for, to criticise in this paltry fashion. I
   have even seen them come to this place with opera glasses, as if they
   came hither to inspect an actor who lived and labored to arouse their
   leisure hours. Such is the sport of fools; but these were wise men, and
   therefore practical men. They did not become star-gazers, and stop at
   the point of admiring the remarkable star; but they said, "Where is he
   that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east,
   and are come to worship him." They set out at once to find the now-born
   King, of whose coming the star was the signal. Oh, my dear hearers, how
   I wish that you were all wise in this same manner! I would sooner
   preach the dullest sermon that was ever preached than preach the most
   brilliant that was ever spoken if I could by that poor sermon lead you
   quite away from myself to seek the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the one
   thing I care about. Will you never gratify me by enquiring after my
   Lord and Master? I long to hear you say, "What is the man talking
   about? He speaks about a Savior; we will have that Savior for
   ourselves. He talks about pardon through the blood of Christ; he speaks
   about God coming down among men to save them; we will find out if there
   is any reality in this pardon, any truth in this salvation. We will
   seek Jesus, and find for ourselves the blessings which are reported to
   be laid up in him." If I heard you all saying this I should be ready to
   die of joy.

   Is not this a good day on which to set out to find your Savior? Some of
   you that have postponed it long, would it not be well to set out at
   once ere this expiring year has seen its last day? These wise men
   appear to have set out as soon as they discovered the star: they were
   not among those who have time to waste in needless delays. "There is
   the star," said they; "away we go beneath its guidance. We are not
   satisfied with a star, we go to find the King whose star it is!" And so
   they set out to find Christ immediately and resolutely.

   Being wise men, they persevered in their search after him. We cannot
   tell how far they journeyed. Travelling was extremely difficult in
   those times. There were hostile tribes to avoid, the broad rivers of
   the Tigris and the Euphrates to cross, and trackless deserts to
   penetrate; but they made nothing of difficulty or danger. They set out
   for Jerusalem, and to Jerusalem they came, seeking the King of the
   Jews. If it be true that God has taken upon himself our nature, we
   ought to resolve to find him, let it cost what it may. If we must
   circumnavigate the globe to find a Savior, the distance and the expense
   ought to be nothing so long as we may but reach him. Were the Christ in
   the bowels of the earth, or in the heights of heaven we ought not to
   rest till we come at him. Everything that was necessary for their
   expedition the wise men soon gathered together, regardless of expense;
   and off they went following the star that they might discover the
   Prince of the kings of the earth.

   At length they came to Jerusalem, and here new trials awaited them. It
   must have been a great trouble to them when they asked, "Where is he
   that is born King of the Jews?" and the people shook their heads as if
   they thought the question an idle one. Neither rich nor poor in the
   metropolitan city knew anything of Israel's King. The ribald multitude
   replied, "Herod is king of the Jews. Mind how you speak of another
   king, or your head may have to answer for it. The tyrant brooks no
   rival." The wise men must have been more astonished still when they
   found that Herod was troubled. They were glad to think that he was born
   who was to usher in the age or gold; but Herod's face grew blacker than
   ever at the bare mention of a king of the Jews. His eyes flashed, and a
   thundercloud was upon his brow; a dark deed of murder will come of it,
   though for the moment he conceals his malice. There is tumult all
   through the streets of Jerusalem, for no man knows what grim Herod may
   do now that he has been roused by the question, "Where is he that is
   born King of the Jews? Thus there was a ferment in Jerusalem, beginning
   at the palace; but this did not deter the wise men from their search
   for the promised Prince. They did not pack up their bales and go back
   and say, "It is useless to try to discover this questionable personage
   who is unknown even in the country of which he is King, and who appears
   to "be terribly unwelcome to those who are to be his subjects. We must
   leave to another day the solution of the question: "Where is he that is
   born King of the Jews?'"

   These earnest-minded seekers were not dispirited by the clergy and the
   learned men when they came together. To the chief priests and scribes
   the question was put, and they answered the enquiry as to where Christ
   would be born, but not a mother's son among them would go with the wise
   men to find this new-born King. Strange apathy! Alas, how common! Those
   who should have been leaders were no leaders; they would not even be
   followers of that which is good, for they had no heart towards Christ.
   The wise men rose superior to this serious discouragement. If the
   clergy would not help them they would go to Jesus by themselves. Oh,
   dear friend, if you are wise you will say, "I will find Christ alone if
   none will join me: if I dig to the center, I will find him; if I fly to
   the sun, I will find him; if all men put me off, I will find him; if
   the ministers of the gospel appear indifferent to me, I will find him:
   the kingdom of heaven or old suffered violence, and the violent took it
   by force, and so will I." The first Christians had to leave all the
   authorized teachers of the day behind, and to come out by themselves:
   it will be no strange thing if you should have to do the same. Happy
   will it be if you are determined to go through floods and flames to
   find Christ; for he will be found of you. Thus these men were wise
   because, having started on the search, they persevered in it till they
   found the Lord and worshipped him.

   Notice that they were wise because, when they again saw the star, "they
   rejoiced with exceeding great joy." While enquiring among the priests
   at Jerusalem they were perplexed, but when the star shone out again,
   they were at ease and full of joy: this joy they expressed, so that the
   evangelist recorded it. In these days very wise people think it
   necessary to repress all emotion, and appear like men of stone or ice.
   No matter what happens, they are stoical, and raised far above the
   enthusiasm of the vulgar. It is wonderful how fashions change, and
   folly stands for philosophy. But these wise men were children enough to
   be glad when their perplexity was over, and the clear light shone
   forth. It is a good sign when a man is not ashamed to be happy because
   he hears a plain, unmistakable testimony for the Lord Jesus. It is good
   to see the great man come down from his pedestal, and, like a little
   child, rejoice to hear the simple story of the cross. Give me the
   hearer who looks not for fineries, but cries out, "Lead me to Jesus. I
   want a guide to Jesus, and nothing else will suit me." Why, truly, if
   men did but know the value of things they would rejoice more to see a
   preacher of the gospel than a king. If the feet of the heralds of
   salvation be blessed, how much more their tongues when they tell out
   the tidings of a Savior. These wise men, with all their mystic learning
   were not ashamed to rejoice because a little star lent them its beams
   to conduct them to Jesus. We unite with them in rejoicing over a clear
   gospel ministry. For us all else is darkness, sorrow, and vexation of
   spirit; but that which leads us to our own glorious Lord is spirit, and
   light, and life. Better the sun should not shine than that a clear
   gospel should not be preached. We reckon that a country flourishes or
   decays according as gospel light is revealed or withdrawn.

   Now follow these wise men a little further. They have come to the house
   where the young child is. What will they do? Will they stand looking at
   the star? No: they enter in. The star stands still, but they are not
   afraid to lose its radiance, and behold the Sun of righteousness. They
   did not cry, "We see the star, and that is enough for us; we have
   followed the star, and it is all we need to do." Not at all. They lift,
   the latch, and enter the lowly residence of the babe. They see the star
   no longer, and they have no need to see it, for there is he that is
   born King of the Jews. Now the true Light has shone upon them from the
   face of the child; they behold the incarnate God. Oh, friends! how wise
   you will be if, when you have been led to Christ by any man, you do not
   rest in his leadership, but must see Christ for yourselves. How much I
   long that you may enter into the fellowship of the mystery, pass
   through the door, and come and behold the young child, and bow before
   him. Our woe is that so many are so unwise. We are only their guides,
   but they are apt to make us their end. We point the way, but they do
   not follow the road; they stand gazing upon us. The star is gone; it
   did its work, and passed away: Jesus remains, and the wise men live in
   him. Will any of you be so foolish as to think only of the dying
   preacher, and forget the ever-living Savior? Come, be wise, and hasten
   to your Lord at once.

   These men were wise, last of all혰and I commend their example to
   you-because when they saw the child they worshipped. Theirs was not
   curiosity gratified, but devotion exercised. We, too, must worship the
   Savior, or we shall never be saved by him. He has not come to put away
   our sins, and yet to leave us ungodly and self-willed. Oh you that have
   never worshipped the Christ of God, may you be led to do so at once! He
   is God over all, blessed for ever, adore him! Was God ever seen in such
   a worshipful form before? Behold he bows the heavens; he rides upon the
   wings of the wind; he scatters flames of fire; he speaks, and his dread
   artillery shakes the hills: you worship in terror. Who would not adore
   the great and terrible Jehovah? But is it not much better to behold him
   here, allied to your nature, wrapped like other children in swaddling
   clothes, tender, feeble, next akin to your own self? Will you not
   worship God when he thus comes down to you and becomes your brother,
   born for your salvation? Here nature itself suggests worship: O may
   grace produce it! Let us hasten to worship where shepherds and wise men
   and angels have led the way.

   Here let my sermon come to a pause even as the star did. Enter the
   house and worship! Forget the preacher. Let the starlight shine for
   other eyes. Jesus was born that you might be born again. He lived that
   you might live. He died that you might die to sin. He is risen, and
   to-day he maketh intercession for transgressors that they may be
   reconciled to God through him. Come, then; believe, trust, rejoice,
   adore! If you have neither gold, frankincense, nor myrrh, bring your
   faith, your love, your repentance, and falling down before the Son of
   God pay him the reverence of your hearts.

   III. And now I turn to my third and last point, which is this: LET US
   ACT AS WISE MEN UNDER THE LIGHT OF OUR STAR. We too have received light
   to lead us to the Savior: I might say that for us many stars have shone
   to that blessed end. I will, however, on this point content myself with
   asking questions.

   Do you not think that there is some light for you in your particular
   vocation, some call from God in your calling? Listen to me, and then
   listen to God. These men were watchers of the stars; therefore a star
   was used to call them. Certain other men soon after were fishermen; and
   by means of an amazing take of fish the Lord Jesus made them aware of
   his superior power, and then he called them to become fishers of men.
   For a star-gazer a star; for a fisherman a fish. The Master-Fisher hath
   a bait for each one of his elect, and oftentimes he selects a point in
   their own calling to be the barb of the hook. Were you busy yesterday
   at your counter? Did you bear no voice saying "Buy the truth and sell
   it not"? When you closed the shop last night did you not bethink
   yourself that soon you must close it for the last time? Do you make
   bread? and do you never ask yourself, "Has my soul eaten the bread of
   heaven?" Are you a farmer? do you till the soil? Has God never spoken
   to you by those furrowed fields and these changing seasons, and made
   you wish that your heart might be tilled and sown.? Listen! God is
   speaking! Hear, ye deaf; for there are voices everywhere calling you to
   heaven. You need not go miles about to find a link between you and
   everlasting mercy: the telegraphic wires are on either side of the
   road, God and human souls are near each other. How I wish that your
   common vocation would be viewed by you as concealing within itself the
   door to your high vocation. Oh that the Holy Spirit would turn your
   favourite pursuits into opportunities for his gracious work upon you.
   If not among the stars, yet among the flowers of the garden, or the
   cattle of the hills, or the waves of the sea may he find a net in which
   to enclose you for Christ. I wish that those of you who conclude that
   your calling could never draw you to Christ would make a point of
   seeing whether it might not be so. We are to learn from ants, and
   swallows, and cranes, and conies; surely we need never be short of
   tutors. It did seem that a star was an unlikely thing to head a
   procession of eastern sages, and yet it was the best guide that could
   be found; and so it may seem that your trade is an unlikely thing to
   bring you to Jesus, and yet the Lord may so use it. There may be a
   message from the Lord to thee in many a left-handed providence; a voice
   for wisdom may come to thee from the month of an ass; a call to a holy
   life may startle thee from a bush, a warning may flash upon thee from a
   wall, or a vision may impress thee in the silence of night when deep
   sleep falleth upon men. Only be thou ready to hear and God will find a
   way of speaking to thee. Answer the question as the wise men would have
   answered it, and say, "Yes, in our calling there is a call to Christ."

   Then, again, what should you and I do better in this life than seek
   after Christ! The wise men thought all other pursuits of small account
   compared with this. "Who is going to attend to that observatory and
   watch the rest of the stars?" They shake their heads, and say they do
   not know: these things must wait; they have seen his star, and they are
   going to worship him. But who will attend to their wives and families,
   and all besides, while they make this long journey? They reply that
   every lesser thing must be subordinate to the highest thing. Matters
   must be taken in proportion, and the search after the King of the Jews,
   who is the desire of all nations, is so out of all proportion great
   that all the rest must go. Are not you, also, wise enough to judge in
   this sensible fashion? Do you not think, dear friends, it would be well
   to use all to-morrow in seeking Jesus? It will be a leisure day, could
   you spend it better than in Seeking your Redeemer? If you were to take
   a week, and give it wholly to your own soul, and to seeking Christ,
   would it not be well spent? How can you live with your soul in
   jeopardy? Oh that you would say, "I must get this matter right; it is
   an all-important business, and I must see it secure." This would be no
   more than common-sense. If you are driving, and a trace is broken, do
   you not stop the horse, and get the harness right? How, then, can you
   go on with the chariot of life when all its harness is out of order,
   and a fall means eternal ruin? If you will stop driving to arrange a
   buckle for fear of accident, I would beg of you to stop anything and
   everything to see to the safety of your soul. See how the engineer
   looks to the safety-valve: are you content to run more desperate risks?
   If your house were not insured, and you carried on a hazardous trade,
   the probability is you would feel extremely anxious until you had
   arranged that matter: but your soul is uninsured, and it may burn for
   ever,혰will you not give heed to it? I beseech you be just to
   yourself,혰kind to yourself. Oh! see to your eternal well-being. You are
   not certain that you will get home to dinner to-day. Life is frail as a
   cobweb. You may be in hell before yon clock strikes one! Remember that.
   There is not a step between you and everlasting destruction from the
   presence of God if you are as yet unregenerate; and your only hope is
   to find the Savior, trust the Savior, obey the Savior. Wherefore, like
   these wise men, put everything on one side, and set out now upon an
   earnest, resolute, persevering endeavor to find Jesus. I was about to
   say혰resolve to find Jesus, or to die; but I will change the words, and
   say혰resolve to find him, and live.

   When we do come near to Jesus, let us ask ourselves this question, "Do
   we see more in Jesus than other people do?" for if we do, we are God's
   elect taught of God, illuminated by his Spirit. We read in the
   Scriptures that when these wise men saw the young child they fell down
   and worshipped him. Other people might have come in and seen the child,
   and said, "Many children are as interesting as this poor woman's babe."
   Ay, but as these men looked, they saw: all eyes are not so blessed.
   Eyes that see are gifts from the All-seeing One. Carnal eyes are blind;
   but these men saw the Infinite in the infant; the Godhead gleaming
   through the manhood; the glory hiding beneath the swaddling bands.
   Undoubtedly there was a spiritual splendor about this matchless child!
   We read that Moses' father and mother saw that he was a "goodly child";
   they saw he was "fair unto God," says the original. But when these
   elect men saw that holy thing which is called the Son of the Highest,
   they discovered in him a glory all unknown before. Then was his star in
   the ascendant to them: he became their all in all, and they worshipped
   with all their hearts. Have you discovered such glory in Christ? "Oh!"
   says one, "you are always harping upon Christ and his glory. You are a
   man of one idea!" Precisely so. My one idea is that he is "altogether
   lovely," and that there is nothing out of heaven nor in heaven that can
   be compared with him even in his lowest and weakest estate. Have you
   ever seen as much as that in Jesus? If so, you are the Lord's; go you,
   and rejoice in him. If not, pray God to open your eyes until, like the
   wise men, you see and worship.

   Lastly, learn from these wise men that when they worshipped they did
   not permit it to be a mere empty-handed adoration. Ask yourself, "What
   shall I render unto the Lord?" Bowing before the young child, they
   offered "gold, frankincense and myrrh," the best of metals and the best
   of spices; an offering to the King of gold; an offering to the priest
   of frankincense; an offering to the child of myrrh. Wise men are
   liberal men. Consecration is the best education. To-day it is thought
   to be wise to be always receiving; but the Savior said, "It is more
   blessed to give than to receive." God judges our hearts by that which
   spontaneously comes from them: hence the sweet cane bought with money
   is acceptable to him when given freely. He doth not tax his saints or
   weary them with incense; but he delights to see in them that true love
   which cannot express itself in mere words, but must use gold and myrrh,
   works of love and deeds of self-denial, to be the emblems of its
   gratitude. Brothers, you will never get into the heart of happiness
   till you become unselfish and generous; you have but chewed the husks
   of religion which are often bitter, you have never eaten of the sweet
   kernel until you have felt the love of God constraining you to make
   sacrifice. There is nothing in the true believer's power which he would
   not do for his Lord: nothing in our substance which we would not give
   to him, nothing in ourselves which we would not devote to his service.

   God give to you all grace to come to Jesus, even though it be by the
   starlight of this Sermon, for his love's sake! Amen.