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But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” Whatever were their motives for wishing his longer continuance among them, they are for the present resisted, and a reason is assigned. “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, for therefore am I sent.” Every word here is significant and powerful. “I must preach.” What imposed the necessity ? The commission which he had undertaken to execute; his own sovereign will and pleasure; his own unerring understanding: his own unbounded benevolence; the extensive demands of perishing humanity. “I must preach the kingdom of God.” its descent to earth, its adaptation to the nature and condition of ignorant and guilty men; its divine object, to raise fallen man from earth, from hell, to heaven; its present operation and effect, “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;” its stability, “a kingdom that cannot be moved;” the sovereign grace which confers it, “fear not little flock: for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Such was the glorious subject of Christ's preaching; a subject compared to which the pursuits of avarice, of ambition, and the pride of kings are less than nothing and vanity: a subject that interests not Nazareth, and Capernaum, and the cities of Galilee only, where it was first proclaimed, but the men, the cities, the nations of all ages and generations. On such a narrow and seemingly slender foundation, what a fabric has arisen 2 “This is the Lord's doing, it is marvellous in our eyes.” Let the great object of Christ's mission direct and control our pursuit of every object. He was sent to bring men under the dominion of the kingdom of God; and he has taught us when we pray to say: “Thy kingdom come.” If we enter into the spirit of that petition, it will be our concern that the empire of sin and Satan in our own hearts be completely subVol. IV. 2 H
verted; that peace on earth, and good will among men be promoted; that the kingdoms of this world, become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and that he may reign for ever and ever.
Let us review this portion of our blessed Lord's history, and reflect:
1. The duties of religion, then, and those of ordinary life are intimately united and interwoven; they are perfectly consistent, and yield mutual support. The service of the sanctuary must not be unnecessarily protracted, to the wearying of the flesh, and to become an encroachment on the just, prudent or necessary concerns of the family, and no domestic regards must preclude works of charity and mercy, even to strangers. On the other hand, no attention to civil and domestic affairs, except in cases of urgent necessity, and no works of mercy must plead a dispensation for the nonobservance of the ordinance of God. Under the governance of a well regulated spirit, daily lawful employments become not only a reasonable but a religious service, and the functions necessary to the support of mere animal life, may be performed to the glory of God. And neither the public offices of the temple, nor family order, and devotion must be alleged as an exemption from the obligations of private and personal religion. Indeed all must begin here. For families are composed of individuals, and the churches of Christ of families. To the perfect health of the natural body, the soundness of every member is essential: a perfection, however, rarely to be found, and seldom of long continuance. But the present feebleness, imperfection and disorder of the particular members of that body whereof Christ is the head, are relieved by the prospect of “the perfecting of the saints, of the edifying of the body of Christ,” when “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
2. Can the father of lies speak truth? Yes, when it promises to answer his purpose; and truth itself partakes of the nature of a lie, when it is employed for the purpose of deception. Do devils believe 2 Yes, to their sorrow; “they believe and tremble.” Does Satan give a just testimony to the Son of God? Yes, in hope of bringing it into discredit. Let no one, then, value himself on the mere truth and soundness of his principles, on the exact orthodoxy of his faith. A principle, however excellent, that remains inactive, is of no value, like a mathematical proposition, demonstrably certain, but applied to no use; or a wholesome stream frozen up and stagnating at the very source. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my §. which is in heaven.” “This is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith : Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”
3. Who has not known disease, and danger, and manifold affliction ? And who has not experienced frequent and merciful deliverance 2 The distress came from an unseen hand, and so did the relief. The agent, the instrument was human, was sensible. It was the skill of the physician, it was the power of medicine, it was the sympathy of friendship. But who taught the physician to comprehend my malady, and to reach it? Who gave virtue to the prescribed medicine 2 Who excited compassion in the bosom of my friend? He who rebuked the fever, and it fled; he who laid his hands on the sick, and they were made whole; he who took the dead daughter of the ruler of the synagogue by the hand, and said, “Damsel arise;” and “straightway she arose and walked.” Whether, therefore, health remain unimpaired, or be restored, by natural or extraordinary means; whether deliverance came immediately from God, or be wrought through the instrumentality of second causes, the hand of Deity is equally to be acknowledged; and prolonged life, and renewed strength are to be devoted to Him who “giveth to all life and breath, and all things; for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
...And the Jews’ so was at hand; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oacen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money, sitting : and when he had made a scourge of .#cords, ñ. drove them all out of the §. and the sheep, and the oacen, and poured out the changer's money, and overthrew the tables ; , and said unto them that sold doves, take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandize. And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.–JoHN xi. 13–17. '
BESIDES the usual, universal and fixed measurements of time, all men have a particular and personal standard of calculation and reference, namely, certain incidents of their own lives, to themselves inexpressibly momentous, however uninteresting to the rest of mankind. Thus a mother, with much accuracy and distinctness, refers every other event, of whatever magnitude and importance, to the respective dates of the birth of her children. The expiration of his time, as it is called, that is of his clerkship, or apprenticeship, forms an important epoch in the existence of a young man; and the fate of princes, and the revolutions of empire acquire in his eyes, a peculiar consequence from their relation, in point of time, to that grand revolution in his own little state. The consecration of prelates, and the inauguration of kings