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heavenly light, and disturbing the harmony of the once beautiful creation.
The promise of a Redeemer was like the breaking of a new day on creation, when the light of the world rose not in the sky, to pass its brief circuit and sink behind the hills; but like a sun that should never set, nor lose its radiance by any obscuring darkness; a light that beats upon the soul, imparting light and hope, and brings us back to the Fatherhood of God.
Numerous prophecies had been made by holy men of old, that a Messiah should be born Who would redeem the world, and the time of fulfilment had arrived, and all Israel was looking forward to the promised event.
It was a matter of small surprise to Herod when word came to him that a Saviour had been born in Bethlehem, who should become King of the Jews. But when he had definitely learned that this promised King was the child of a lowly woman who, too poor to find a place in the inn, was forced to seek shelter among the lowly beasts of the field, he gave no credit to the report, since all Israel had expected the Messiah to make His appearance clothed in splendor, and with a manifestation of power that would prove His heavenly de scent.
To nearly all Jews the manner of Christ's coming was a disappointment, which caused many to reject Him and led finally to His crucifixion. For four thousand years the sun had enlightened the world, nations had arisen, flourished, and decayed.
Already had the Assyrian Empire yielded to the Persian Empire, the Persian Empire had given way to the Grecian, and at length the "Roman," the fourth great Empire in succession, had absorbed all those which preceded, and extended itself over three parts of the known world.
Over this immense territory the same laws prevailed, the same languages were spoken, and peace diffused its blessings.
This was the period foretold in ancient prophecy, and chosen by Divine Providence for laying the foundation of a Kingdom which should never be destroyed, which was destined to break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms. It was now that the Great Personage was to be ushered into the world Who was denominated the “ Prince of Peace," “ the desire of all nations." It was Palestine, the country of the Jews, and the centre of the civilized world, which had been long the scene of miracles and prophecies, that this mighty Person was to grace with His Divine presence.
It was the most enlightened age which had then appeared in the world, while Cæsar Augustus ruled the far-extended dominions of Rome, and Herod, falsely called the Great, presided over the dependent Kingdom of Judea, that this Celestial Character visited the abodes of men.
From the earliest period of recorded time, intimations had been given of Him, and these had been continued till the spirit of prophecy itself was withdrawn from the world.