AT this Christmas season, when we are celebrating those joyful mysteries which ushered in the Gospel, it seems almost an officious intrusion upon our holiday to engage in any exercise of the reason, even though it be in order to enliven the devotional feelings proper to the holy tide. It is a time of religious rest and spiritual festivity, and even on the ground that discussion is a kind of labour, we seem to have a right to be protected against it. And yet, as the days go on, and thankfulness has had free current and joy has had its fill, it seems allowable too, to look back at length on what has been occupying the heart, and to reason upon it. Nay, we seem to have the highest of possible authorities for doing so; for after two of the joyful mysteries, the third and the fifth, the holy Virgin is said to have done this very thing. Upon the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour, the very feast we have been celebrating, the Evangelist tells us, "Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart"; and after she had found Him in the Temple in the midst of the Doctors, which is the subject of this day's Gospel, "His Mother," we are told, "kept all these words in her heart." Surely, then, it is permitted to me, consistently with the love and adoration due to this happy time of Christmas, to direct your minds, my Brethren, to a consideration which it suggests, not indeed very recondite, on the contrary, obvious to all of us, lying on the very face of the great Mystery, but adapted, I think, both to strengthen the faith and to deepen the love, with which we receive it into our hearts.

Sermons Preached on Various Occasions, no. 6

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