SOME years ago, there lived in the land of Judea a wicked king. His was a pleasant country, and peace and plenty had smiled upon it. But the day of which I write was a dark day, although Nature smiled as the sun's first rays touched the fair hills of Judea. No dark, angry clouds disturbed the mild beauty of the fair blue sky. Gently glided the little brooks as they gracefully wound among the trees, whose bending branches were reflected upon the glassy surface. Sweetly caroled the birds of the forest, and everything united in speaking of the beauties of the day.

Many were the happy ones, who, scattered o'er Judea's plains, welcomed this bright morn. No sad forebodings filled their hearts.

Alas! They dreamed not of the dreadful scenes that this day's sun would witness.

In sweet and peaceful slumber they passed the night, all unconscious that from the kingly halls of Herod had gone forth the bloody mandate that was to spread terror, desolation, and death, throughout all the land of Judea.

The prophet had foretold, years before, that about this time, in the land of Judea, there would be a child born who should be king. When Herod learned that the time had come, and that this child was born, he sent forth and slew all the children in Bethlehem under two years of age. The soldiers were not slow in executing the commands of this wicked king.

Throughout Bethlehem and all the coasts thereof, these unfeeling soldiers went, marking their footsteps with the blood of spotless infancy. Not gently does the silver cord of life loose its hold, but rashly, cruelly it is rent asunder. No more is the innocent prattle of Bethlehem's children heard; it has been changed to the wild cry of the mothers. "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

From every turf, drenched with the blood of earth's innocent ones, there comes a voice calling in loud tones for vengeance upon one of the darkest crimes that stain the pages of history. Many are the lords and tyrants who have dyed their hands and satiated their thirsty spirits with human blood; but none, save this wicked king, ever waged merciless war against innocent babes.

But far from these scenes of death the infant King is borne. Egypt receives the Lord and King of Heaven and earth; and while many babes "sleep the sleep that knows no waking," the Saviour is safely cradled in his mother's arms, secure from the power of the haughty tyrant, who would that not only every creature, but the Creator also, should bow to his will.