The wakeful shepherds, near
Were watchful for the morn;
But better news from heaven was brought,
Your Saviour Christ is born.
In Bethlem-town the infant lies,
Within a place obscure,
O little Bethlem, poor in walls,
But rich in furniture!
Since heaven is now come down
Hither the angels fly!
Hark, how the heavenly choir doth sing
Glory to God on High!
The news is spread, the church is glad,
Simeon, o’ercome with joy,
Sings with the infant in his arms,
now let thy servant die.
Wise men from far beheld the star,
Which was their faithful guide,
Until it pointed forth the Babe,
And Him they glorified.
Do heaven and earth rejoice and sing—
Shall we our Christ deny?
He’s born for us, and we for Him:
Glory to god on high.
Sermon on god and mammon.
I never asked questions about the private affairs of any of my parishioners, except of themselves individually upon occasion of their asking me for advice, and some consequent necessity for knowing more than they told me. Hence, I believe, they became the more willing that I should know. But I heard a good many things from others, notwithstanding, for I could not be constantly closing the lips of the communicative as I had done those of Jane Rogers. And amongst other things, I learned that Miss Oldcastle went most Sundays to the neighbouring town of Addicehead to church. Now I had often heard of the ability of the rector, and although I had never met him, was prepared to find him a cultivated, if not an original man. Still, if I must be honest, which I hope I must, I confess that I heard the news with a pang, in analysing which I discovered the chief component to be jealousy. It was no use asking myself why I should be jealous: there the ugly thing was. So I went and told God I was ashamed, and begged Him to deliver me from the evil, because His was the kingdom and the power and the glory. And He took my part against myself, for He waits to be gracious. Perhaps the reader may, however, suspect a deeper cause for this feeling (to which I would rather not give the true name again) than a merely professional one.
But there was one stray sheep of my flock that appeared in church for the first time on the morning of Christmas Day—Catherine Weir. She did not sit beside her father, but in the most shadowy corner of the church—near the organ loft, however. She could have seen her father if she had looked up, but she kept her eyes down the whole time, and never even lifted them to me. The spot on one cheek was much brighter than that on the other, and made her look very ill.