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25.

eases.

The prophecy here quoted is from evil spirits spoke, conversed, asked the ninth chapter of Isaiah. In its questions, gave answers, and exprimary sense, it related to deliver- pressed their knowledge of Christ, ance from the

army

of Sennacherib. and their fear of him; Mat. viii. 28; St. Matthew points out its farther Luke viii. 27. They are representapplication to the spiritual blessings ed as going out of the bodies of the attendant on the presence and preach- persons possessed, and entering the ing of Christ, in which these words bodies of others ; Mat. viii. 32. received their complete fulfilment. Jesus threatened them, commanded

It is said that our Lord preached them to be silent, to depart, and not in their synagogues. I suppose you to return; Mark i. 25; v. 8; ix. know what the synagogues were.

This could not be said of disTheophilus. Places of worship Nor is there any absurdity among the Jews, in which the Law

in the opinion that those persons and the Prophets were read and were really under the influence of expounded, and prayer was offered demons. It is no more absurd to up every Sabbath.

The services suppose that an angel, or many were under the presidency of certain angels, should have fallen and become superintendents, who frequently in- | wicked, than that so many men vited different members of the con- should. It afforded an opportunity gregation, especially strangers, to for Christ to show his power over the expound the Scriptures, and to enemies of himself and of man, and address the people on religious thus to evince himself qualified to subjects.

meet every enemy of the race, and Reader. Mention is made in verse triumphantly to redeem his people." 24 of 6 persons possessed with devils” He came to destroy the power of or demons.—Read a passage to which Satan; Acts xxvi. 18; Rom. xvi. 20. I point, describing the case of these unhappy persons, to whom frequent allusion is made in the New Testa- READER. We may learn much ment.

from successive portions of this Theophilus. They were “persons passage. under the influence of evil spirits, Leaving Nazareth, from which who had complete possession of their place our Lord was, in fact, rudely faculties, and produced many symp- thrust out. Luke iv. 29.—God justly toms of disease not unlike melancholy, withdraws the means of grace from madness, and epilepsy. Christ and those who continue to slight and the Apostles spoke to them and of reject them; although, in his mercy, them, as such; they addressed them, he often pleads long with such miseand managed them precisely as if rable offenders. Christ left Nazathey were so possessed, leaving their reth, even the town in which he had hearers to infer beyond a doubt that been brought up.

Let us give him such was their real opinion. The a welcome in our hearts, and he will never leave us nor forsake us.-0 | enlivening, reviving and cheering God, make clean our hearts within the souls of those who entertain it, us, and take not thy Holy Spirit how great soever their outward darkfrom us !

ness and distress may be.” He came and dwelt in Capernaum ; Well may the language of this i.e. he made that town his principal verse be applied to ourselves, as the place of resort. If some men refuse inhabitants of a country once heato entertain Christ and his Gospel, then, ignorant, and barbarous ! How others will receive himself and his grievous is the case of those among blessings with open and thankful us, and how great will be their conhearts.

demnation, who sit in darkness even The people which sat in darkness.- while the light of the Gospel is Sad and dangerous was the temporal shining clearly around them! Let condition of that people, before God not such misery and guilt be our own. sent them the deliverance of which We have the light, and well may we Isaiah speaks. Still worse was their rejoice in the light which we possess; spiritual condition when our Lord but let us remember that it is also began his ministry among them. All our solemn duty to walk as children men, by nature, are in darkness; nay, of light! (See John i. 5; 2 Cor. iv. they are sitting in darkness, like the 3, 4). Egyptians of old, of whom it is said Jesus began to preach and to say, that none moved from his place by Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is reason of the plague which wrapped at hand.Repentance is a demand them in impenetrable gloom. To be made by Christ, as well as by his without the knowledge of God, to forerunner. And our Lord not only be deprived of his favour, and to be gives a call to repentance, but also destitute of any means of obtaining bestows power to repent and turn to either the one or the other, is indeed God. Acts v. 31. to be enveloped in thick darkness, He saith unto them, Follow me.-which may be felt. Such is the These were poor, illiterate fisherbenighted and woful condition of men, whom Christ called to be his every man by nature, in this fallen disciples and preachers of the Gosand apostate world. But, it is added, pel; - thus choosing “the foolish that they

things of the world to confound the Saw great light,--und to them, wise." See 1 Cor. i. 26—29. Hence light is sprung up.–Such is the cha- the divine power by which the Gosracter of the Gospel. Christ is “a pel was established in the world was light to lighten the Gentiles, and the rendered the more remarkable. glory of his people Israel." "The But this is no warrant for the ementrance of thy word,” says the ployment of men ignorant of ScripPsalmist, “giveth light"-instruction ture, and of things necessary for the to the ignorant, comfort and joy to right understanding of Scripture, as the wretched; "quickening and preachers of the Gospel in our day. Matthew Henry says very truly, lowers before we are his ambas" This will not justify the bold in- sadors. We must learn Christ trusion of ignorant and unqualified before we preach him; otherwise men into the work of the ministry; we may fish for a livelihood, for extraordinary gifts of knowledge and honour and applause, but not for utterance are not now to be expected, souls; if we be not first enclosed but requisite abilities must be ob- ourselves in the net of the Gospel, tained in an ordinary way; and we can have but small hopes of without a competent measure of bringing in others.” But when these, none are to be admitted to Christ's ministers faithfully preach that service.”

the Gospel, in sincerity, humility, Follovo me.—These disciples had and love, they have many encouragalready become acquainted with ing reasons to hope that their labour Jesus; but now they are called to “will not be in vain in the Lord." devote themselves entirely to give at

Still, however, the blessing and suctendance on his sacred person, and to

cess must be derived from Christ perform the work which he should himself. “Our labour," says Bishop assign to them.-"Even those who Hall, “is only in the cast, Christ's have been called to follow Christ power wholly in the draught. Some have need to be called to follow on,

fish cleave to the rocks, others play and to follow nearer; especially upon the sands, and more wallow in when they are designed for the work the mud; and we shall labour all our of the ministry.” They must follow days and catch nothing, if Christ him in the way of faith, and in the doth not bring our fish to the net, exercise of patience, humility, self-de- and enclose them in it, as well as nial, and all other graces of the Spirit. | assist us in the throwing of it.” I will make you fishers of men.

Let us pray that it may please "It is Christ that qualifies men for

God to give his grace and benediction this work, calls them to it, autho- to Christian ministers, that both by rises them in it, and gives them

their life and doctrine they may set success in it.” The call and teaching forth his glory, and set forward the of the Spirit within the heart, as

salvation of all men. well as an outward call and designa- They left their nets-left their ship tion by the church, are needful to and their father, and followed him.make a good and faithful minister of Observe here the power of the Lord Christ.

Jesus, and the efficacy of his word.— Fishers of men.How beautifully Consider the obedience of his discicharacteristic are these words of the ples, as an act of faith, resembling real nature and effect of the ministe- that of their father Abraham ; Heb. rial office!

See 2 Cor. xii. 1419. xi. 8.-And remember also, that “We must be Christ's disciples,” those who would follow Christ says a pious commentator, “before aright, must leave all to follow him.

are his ministers; his fol- Every Christian must leave all in

we

excuse

affection, must sit loose to all, must Meditate

upon

the last two verses “hate father and mother' (Luke xiv. of this chapter, as containing, at once, 26), i.e. must love them less than proofs of divine power—instances of Christ, must be ready to part with divine mercy and compassion-pathis interest in them rather than with to

terns and spiritual motives to our his interest in Jesus Christ. But own benevolent care of the sick and those who are devoted to the work the afflicted,-in the benefits conof the ministry are, in a special man- ferred upon men by the Redeemer ner, concerned to disentangle them- and Saviour of their souls. selves from all the affairs of this life,

HYMN. that they may give themselves wholly to that work which requires the

Thou whose almighty word

Chaos and darkness heard, whole man.” “Nothing but an in

And took their flight ; dispensable necessity in providing for Hear us, we humbly pray, a family can

a minister's

And, where the Gospel's day

Sheds not its glorious ray, entangling himself with worldly

Let there be light. business." A church ought not to encourage

Thou who didst come to bring

On thy protecting wing a worldly spirit in its ministers,

Healing and light, either by holding out offers of wealth Sight to the inly blind, and honour to those who seek such

Health to the sick in mind;

Oh, now to all mankind things; or by withholding necessary

Let there be light support from those who really seek

Spirit of truth and love, men's souls. It is awful to see some

Life-giving, holy dove, ministers seeking the patronage of

Speed forth thy flight; the great, suing for appointments,

Move o'er the waters' face,

Bearing the lamp of grace, and hunting for preferment, instead

And in earth's darkest place, of acting as fishers of men ; and it is

Let there be light. sad to see others compelled, by dire

O holy and blessed necessity, to neglect, more or less, And glorious Trinity, their proper and favourite employ

Grace, love, and might, ment, in order to earn a livelihood !

Boundless as ocean's tide,

Rolling in fullest pride They brought unto him all sick peo

O'er the world, far and wide, pleand he healed them.—The multi

Let there be light! tude of persons cured, and the great

MARRIOTT. variety of complaints from which they were relieved, are among many other striking attestations to the

$ XIV. reality and extent of our Lord's mi

CHAP. V. 1-12. raculous power; and to the divinity of him who wrought such wonders, Christ beginneth his sermon in the mount: by his own authority, and as an act declaring who are blessed. of his own omnipotence.

AND seeing the multitudes, he

a Mark iii. 13, 20.- Luke vi, 20. See Psa. li. 17. Prov. xvi. 19, & xxix. 23. Is. lvii. 15, & lxvi. 2.-cls. Ixi. 2, 3. Luke vi. 21. John xvi. 20. 2 Cor. i. 7. Rev, xxi, 4.-d Ps. xxxvii. 11-e See Rom. iv. 13.---f Is. lv. 1, & lxv. 13.-g Ps. xli. l; ch. vi. 14. Ma xi 25. Tim. i. 16. Heb. vi. 10. Jam. ii. 13,-h Ps. xv. 2, & xxiv. 4. Heb. xii. 14. il Cor. xiii, 12. John iii. 2, 3.-k 2 Cor. iv. 17. 2 Tim. ii. 12. i l'et. iii 14.I Luke vi. 22 m 1 Pet. iv. 14. + Gr. lying.-» Luke vi. 23. Acts v. 41. Rom. v. 3. Jam. i. 2. 1 Pet. iv. 13. o Neh. ix. 26. 2 Chr. xxxvi. 16; ch. xxiii. 34, 37. Acts vii. 52. 1 Thes. ii. 15.

went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him :

2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their's is the kingdom Reader. We have now arrived at of heaven.

a very important portion of the sacred 4° Blessed are they that record, -our Saviour's Sermon on the

Mount;-a discourse delivered by the mourn : for they shall be com

great Prophet of the church, concernforted.

ing whom it was said by the voice 5 Blessed are the meek: for from heaven, “This is my beloved 'they shall inherit the earth.

Son, hear ye him ;"-a discourse ad6 Blessed are they which do dressed not to any particular class of hunger and thirst after right- his disciples, but (as is plain from eousness : 'for they shall be

they shall be ch. vii. 28, 29) to all the multitudes filled.

who followed him, and, through them,

to all men who should come within 7 Blessed are the merciful:

reach of his instructions. May our 'for they shall obtain mercy.

understandings and our hearts be 8 "Blessed are the pure in

opened to receive instruction dropheart: for 'they shall see God. ping like dew from those sacred lips

9 Blessed are the peace- into which grace was poured without makers: for they shall be called measure! May we hereby become the children of God.

more wise unto salvation; and be 10 Blessed are they which

enabled to grow in grace and in the are persecuted for righteousness' knowledge of our Lord and Saviour

Jesus Christ! sake: for their's is the kingdom

In reading this heavenly discourse, of heaven.

I propose to adopt a method some11 'Blessed are ye, when men what different from that which we shall revile you, and persecute have hitherto pursued. We find you, and shall say all manner of here little room for critical inquiry, *evil against you * falsely, for my or verbal explanation ; so that few sake.

difficulties are likely to arise in the 12 “Rejoice, and be exceed way of interpretation; and I hope to

be able to anticipate any questions of ing glad: for great is your re

this nature which may arise in your ward in heaven: for oso perse- minds, without our usual method of cuted they the prophets which expository discussion. I shall thus were before you.

have a better opportunity of fixing

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