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and your fincerity in applying to yourselves the truths which you hear, be such as become those who listen to the word of life. Who, cried the prophet Isaiah, anticipating the rejection of the preachers of the Gospel by his countrymen; Who hath believed our report (n)? When Jesus Christ appeared, and preached in their synagogues; how few in comparison with the multitudes of his hearers were impressed with durable conviction! If the Jews could fail of being converted by the preaching of the Son of God; how easily may you fail to profit by the preaching of his ministers! Why did the Jews fail of conversion? The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith, with genuine operative faith, in them that heard it (). Be not ye like unto them. If any doctrine declared to you from the pulpit appear hard and strange; do not hastily pronounce it erroneous and unworthy of God. Have you never detected yourself in ignorance? Have you never known yourself blinded by misapprehension and prejudice ? May it not be ignorance, or misapprehension, or prejudice, which prevents you from perceiving the doctrine to be true? Suspend your judge(n) Isaiah, liii. 1. ( Hebr. iv. 2.
ment, until you shall have considered the subject maturely and with impartiality. Consult your Bible deliberately at home. Compare one part of Scripture with another. Why are the inhabitants of Berea honoured with a record of perpetual praise? Because when new doctrines were proposed to them, they searched the Scriptures diligently to learn whether those things were so. The search was not in vain. They discovered that the doctrines were undeniably the doctrines of the word of God. Imitate these wife men in their zeal : follow them in the tract which they pursued in quest of truth. If the result of your examination leaves your doubts unresolved ; have you not friends both intelligent and pious, with whom you may discuss them? Have you not ministers of religion impelled, let us trust, by inclination no less than by duty, privately to confirm your faith by spiritual instruction and counsel? Finally; fupplicate day by day your 'Almighty Father for grace habitually. to exemplify in the busy scenes of life the efficacy of the instruction to which you listened on the Sabbath. In your prayers forget not your ministers. Intercede for them, and in that intercession you intercede for yourselves, that
(utterance may be given unto them that they may open their mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the Gospel, that therein they may speak boldly, as they ought to speak (P). What is our united supplication ? “Make,
we beseech thee, O Almighty God, all bishops and pastors diligently to preach thy holy word, and the people obedi
ently to follow the sam Grant that “ the ministers and stewards of thy myste“ries may prepare and make ready thy
way, by turning the hearts of the disobe“ dient to the wisdom of the just. Grant “ unto us all that we, being called by thy
- holy word, may forthwith give up our« selves obediently to fulfil thy holy com" mandments, through Jesus Christ our « Lord.”
() Ephef. vi. 19, 20.
On Believers and Unbelievers.
Acts, xxviii. 24. And some believed the things which were Spoken ; and
some believed not.
ST. Paul, delivered by his false accusers
in Judea into the hands of the Roman governor, perceived that no prospect of preserving his life remained, but by an appeal unto Cæfar. Exercising therefore the right of a Roman citizen, he demanded to be sent to the Emperor, that by him the cause might be examined and decided. He was accordingly conveyed, as a prisoner, to Rome. His first care, on his arrival in that city, was to assemble his countrymen, the Jews : to satisfy them, that he had never purposed, in appealing unto Cæsar, to exhibit any complaint against the Jewish nation; and distinctly to set before them that faith in Jesus of Nazareth, the promised
Saviour, for which he was an ambassador in bonds. His countrymen replied, that no charge against himself had reached their ears; that they had received but imperfect accounts concerning the doctrine which he professed ; that they knew it, however, to be universally spoken against; and that they were desirous of hearing a full statement of his opinions. A day was appointed. Numbers came to his abode. Earnest for their conversion, and zealous for the glory of his Master, he expounded to them the Scriptures, and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. What was the effect of his labour? Some believed the things which were spoken; and some believed not. Some believed: Why? They could not resist the power and wisdom with which he spoke. They were willing to listen to the truth; therefore their prejudices yielded. They turned their eyes to the light; therefore the light shone not in vain. They discerned in Jesus of Nazareth the undeniable characters of that Messiah, to whom the Law and the Prophets bare witness: they discerned them with joy and thankfulness; therefore they glorified