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is most deserving of blame. Hence we should naturally expect to find in the fathers and mothers of families, the best patterns of that character upon which our Saviour pronounced his first blessing, and I should hope that this reasonable expectation is not often disappointed.

But not only was the Gospel preached especially to the poor in every sense of that term, but also from that class of persons were selected those, who were commissioned to spread it abroad amongst all nations. And here again we cannot fail to perceive the total want of resemblance between this proceeding, and the usual course of human transactions. That a few humble fishermen of Galilee should have been appointed to effect an important change in the religion of their own country, and totally to subvert that of all their surrounding powerful neighbours, even of that proud people by whom they themselves were held in subjection, to this hour excites our utmost astonishment. And their success (such as it was) upon any merely human principles is utterly inexplicable. No adequate solution has yet been given of it, but that which the Scriptures afford. That super

natural assistance was imparted to the Apostles, and that in their preaching, the Lord was working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.

In political affairs remarkable changes have usually been effected by persons in the higher ranks of life; by the timely display of great talents for war or government, which have enabled them to exercise great influence over their fellow-creatures. But so far from the Apostles having had any assistance of this kind, all such power was every where arrayed against them. And if they and their immediate successors ultimately succeeded in establishing the dominion of the Gospel over the minds of the rulers of the earth, it was not by inculcating resistance but submission to their temporal authority, and carefully distinguishing between the obedience due unto God, and that which may lawfully be paid unto men. Nevertheless their progress was in the order which might naturally be expected. There was nothing in their doctrines calculated to make an immediate and strong impression upon the superior classes of society. On the contrary the unwillingness to receive instruction from those whom they regarded as so

much inferior to themselves, must have formed no inconsiderable obstacle to their success.Accordingly we are not at all surprised when we find St. Paul telling the Corinthians, that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble were called; but that God had chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. Had the celebrated historian to whom I have already adverted considered this passage, and the true spirit of the Christian Dispensation, he would probably have expressed less surprise and concern than he has done, that it was overlooked or rejected by Seneca, the Plinies, Tacitus, and the other sages whom he enumerates'. He would have perceived that they were amongst the very last persons, who were likely to be attracted by the simplicity of the Gospel, and the unassuming though original and striking character of its preachers. He might naturally have accounted for the effects of their philosophical prejudices, only by reflecting more deeply and candidly upon his own. It is with much more justice that

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he comments upon what was actually achieved by such apparently inadequate instruments, when he observes, that "the lower we depress the temporal condition of the first Christians, the more reason we shall find to admire their merit and success 1." We may judge by the writings and actions of St. Paul alone, with what ardour and energy the preaching of the Gospel was conducted by himself and the other Apostles. Could any merely human object have stimulated such men to such exertions and sacrifices as they made and endured? Yet they had absolutely no human objects whatever. Their avowed motives and their real purposes must have been the same. There is no room for any intermediate supposition. What but the workings of a mind intensely agitated by the contemplation of Divine things, could have produced such expressions as these? Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things. And again-Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,

1 Gibbon, c. xv.

forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. And what an entire devotion of himself to the great work in which he was engaged is apparent in these words! And now behold I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.

Such was the man who with reference to this great undertaking, describes himself as poor yet making many rich. What was the nature of that Gospel then, as it more particularly regarded those persons, to whom our Lord in the text declared it was preached? In what sense could it be said to make them rich? The answer is obvious. It made them rich in the knowledge of religious truth. If they were Jews, it improved and corrected their notions of the nature and attributes of

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