« ПретходнаНастави »
writ— in our Lord's promise to the thief upon the cross, to be with him in paradise on the very day of his crucifixion; in his commendation of his own spirit, in his last agonies, to the Father; in St. Paul's desire to be absent from the body, that he might be present with his Lord; but, most of all, we may allege the sequel of this same story. The manner in which the miracle was performed made it a solemn appeal to Heaven for the truth of this particular doctrine. Many incidents are recorded which evince the notoriety of the death: Physical causes could have no share in the recovery; for the offensive corpse was not to be approached, and no means were used upon it: Our Lord, standing at the mouth of the cave, called to the dead man, as to one to whom his voice was still audible. His voice was heard, and the call obeyed;
the deceased, in the attire of a corpse, walked out of the sepulchre, in the presence of his relations, who had seen him expire, -in the presence of a concourse of his townsmen, who had been witnesses, some to the interment of the body, some to the grief of the surviving friends. Is it to
be supposed that He who is truth itself would by such a miracle become a party in the scheme of imposture, or set his seal to the dreams of enthusiasm? God forbid that any here should harbour such a suspicion! But let us remember, that the soul's fruition of its separate life is described as a privilege of true believers, of which there is no ground to hope that an unbeliever will partake; for to them only who believe in Jesus, is it promised that "they shall live though they be dead," and that "they shall never die."
Now, to Him that hath called us to this blessed hope of uninterrupted life, terminating in a glorious immortality, to Him with whom the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity, to Him who shall change our vile body, that it may be made like to his glorious body, - to the only begotten Son, with the Father, and Holy Ghost, Three Persons but one God, be ascribed, &c.
MARK, Vii. 26.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophonician by nation.
THE maxim of our great moral poet, that the preponderance of some leading passion in the original constitution of every man's mind is that which gives the character of every individual its peculiar cast and fashion, influencing him in the choice of his profession, in the formation of his affinities and friendships, colouring both his virtues and his vices, and discovering its constant energy in the least as well as the more important actions of his life, that the variety of this predominant principle in various men is the source of that infinite diversity in the inclinations and pursuits of
men which so admirably corresponds with the variety of conditions and employments in social life, and is the means which the wise Author of our nature hath contrived to connect the enjoyment of the individual with the general good, to lessen the evils which would arise to the public from the vices of the individual, and enhance the benefits accruing from his virtues, - the truth of this principle is confirmed, I believe, to every man who ever thinks upon the subject, by his own experience of what passes within himself, and by his observation of what is passing in the world around him. As our blessed Lord was in all things made like unto his brethren, it will be no violation of the respect which is due to the dignity of his person, if, in order to form the better judgment of the transcendent worth and excellence of his character in the condition of a man, we apply the same principles in the study of his singular life which we should employ to analyze the conduct of a mere mortal. And if we take this method, and endeavour to refer the particulars of his conduct, in the various situations in which we find him.
represented by the historians of his life, to some one principle, we cannot but perceive, that the desire of accomplishing the great purpose for, which he came into the world was in him what the ruling passion is in other men.
Two things were to be done for the deliverance of fallen man from the consequences of his guilt: The punishment of sin was to be bought off by the Redeemer's sufferings,
who is therefore said to have bought us with a price; and the manners of men were to be reformed by suitable instruction. From the first commencement of our Lord's public ministry, perhaps from a much earlier period, -the business on which he came had so entirely taken possession of his mind, that he seems in no situation to have lost sight of it for a moment. On the contrary, it was the end to which every action of his life was, not so much by study as by the spontaneous habit of his mind, adjusted. In the greater actions of his life, we find him always pursuing the conduct which might be the most likely to bring on that tragical catastrophe which the scheme