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poured into their minds. His serious and solemn ada dresses, however, were too pinching and galling to corrupt nature, not to raise the resentment and opposition of the enemies of truth. While therefore some highly applauded his preaching, others secretly murmured and complained; till at length they carried their complaints to the Pharisees and chief priests, who, urged by their own resentment as well as by the importu. nity of others, immediately “sent officers to take him.” The officers, no doubt, were well pleased with their commission, and secretly rejoiced in the prospect of dragging this disturber of their peace, through crowds of exulting enemies, to the place of public justice. But their raised expectations were soon blasted. For, when they came to Christ, who was warmly engaged in preaching the gospel to poor, perishing sinners, they found themselves suddenly arrested by the invisible hand of truth, and secretly constrained to renounce their malignant purposes, and to return to those who sent them, with the painful conviction of the irresistible power and energy of this more than human preacher.—“The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.”

But how did Christ preach, or what did he say, to make such deep impressions on those, who had firmly resolved to resist and oppose the truth? This question, especially at this time, justly deserves particular attention, and naturally leads us to exhibit the character of Christ as a preacher of the gospel.

Whether Christ was superior to all other men, in his personal appearance and his natural powers of persuasion, we shall not pretend to conjecture, since nothing is said concerning these in the sacred oracles. We shall only mention some of his most distinguishing excellencies as a preacher of the gospel, which may be fairly collected from the inspired writers, who have given us the history of his life and character.

First, Christ was a plain preacher. A plain preacher is one who has clear and distinct ideas in his own mind, and who conveys them to the minds of his hearers in plain language. Such a preacher was Christ. His own ideas lay clear and distinct in his own mind. He was master of every subject upon which he preached. He understood the whole system of divinity. He was a member of the council of peace, who devised the plan of redemption. He was acquainted with the whole character and whole council of God. He was mighty in the scriptures, and understood every passage of divine inspiration. He had a thorough knowledge of the frame and constitution of the human mind, and comprehended, at one view, all the characters, circumstances and connexions of mankind, through every period of their existence. And as these views were perfectly clear and familiar to his own mind, so he was able to express himself upon any subject, with the greatest ease and perspicuity; and to exhibit every divine truth in a plain, unstudied style, which is not only intelligible, but agreeable to persons of everỳ character and capacity. Sensible that figurative language is the voice of nature, and þest adapted to explain and illustrate whatever is dark and obscure; he made a free use of images, which spread much light and perspicuity upon all the subjects he handled. He borrowed his images, however, not from music, painting, poetry, or any of the arts which are confined to the learned few; but from the most familiar appearances and productions of nature, which lie open and common to every observer. In the temple, he used those similitudes which were naturally suggested by the various objects there. At Jacob's well, he drew his metaphors from the qualities of water. In the open air, he explained his meaning by the motions of the wind. At seed-time, he borrowed his images from the sower: at harvest, from the reaper; and in the spring, from the birds of the air, the blooming flowers, and the opening foliage. These images he used not for the sake of decorating his style, or embellishing his subject, but for the more important purpose of enlightening and impressing the minds of his hearers. He chose his words, his figures, and all his modes of expression with no other view than to be easily and clearly understood; and in that respect, was the plainest preacher in the world. Hence we are told, what it is natural to suppose and believe, "the common people heard him gladly."

Secondly, Christ was a searching preacher. He aimed directly at the hearts of those, to whom he preached. For this be had a superior advantage. He knew the heart. He was able therefore on every occasion, when the multitudes flocked to hear him preach, to speak to the heart of each individual. This gave his preaching irresistible force and energy. He described the hearts, and thoughts, and characters of men so exactly, that while they heard him preach, they felt their whole souls lie open and naked before an all-sceing eye, which they could neither deceive por escape. In short, he made his hearers feel as men will feel at the day of judgment. This perhaps was the case with respect to the officers. He knew their characters and all their secret intentions, and probably in some part of his discourse, he took occasion to describe and expose just such characters and views as they were conscious to themselves were their own, which made them feel and say, “never man spake like this man.” This however is certain, that hre generally preached according to the peculiar knowiedge he had of the human heart, which enabled him to enter into every man's bosom, and search the inmost recesses of his soul. Hence we read, “Christ knowing their hearis, knowing their thoughts, or knowing their hypocrisy,said this, or that, which was the mošt directly calculated to hit their real characters, and present views and feelings. The inspired writers furnish us with a variety of instances of this nature. His sermon on the mount immediately occurs. Nothing could be better adapted than that was, to search the hearts, and expose the characters and conduct of the shining Pharisees, who neglecting all inward, vital piety, placed the whole of religion in the bare observance of the outward forms and rites of divine worship. As he was preaching to “certain that trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others,” he spake the parable of the Publican and Pharisee, which was directly suited to humble and abase such proud and coiteited hypocrites. When a rich young man very respectfully put this question to him, "Good master what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” he directed him to keep the commandments, and sell all that he had, and give to the poor. This answer exactly reached his case, carried conviction to his conscience, and drew tears from his eyes. At another time, one of the company where he was present, desired him to speak to his brother, to divide the inheritance between them, but instead of replying to his words, he replied to his heart, by reading him a solemn lecture upon covetousness and worldly-mindedness in the parable of the rich fool, who lost his soul by the love of the world. Though he tenderly respected Martha, yet when she complained of her sister's conduct, he severely reproved her own. When he "per. Осса.




ceived the thoughts of his disciples," who had been cherishing ambitious views respecting their relation to him as the promised Messiah, he introduced a little child before them, to convince them of their sio and folly, and to teach them to maintain and cultivate a more meek and humble spirit. And knowing the character of those who desired his opinion concerning the woman taken in adultery, he said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” This pointed answer stung them with guilt and remorse, and therefore we are told, "being convinced by their own conscience, they went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last.”

CHRisT never drew a bow at a venture, but always directed the arrows of truth to the hearts of his hearers. He described the character of the saint, and the character of the sinner, with so much truth and propriety, that every person might easily distinguish the one from the other, and know which belonged to himself. Nay, he did more than this; for he directed every man's eyes inward, and obliged him by the light of truth, to see and feel his own character. This is that peculiar ex. cellence in preaching, for which, "the finest encomium, perhaps, ever bestowed on a preacher, was given by Lewis XIV, to the eloquent Bishop of Clermount, Father Massillon. After hearing him preach at Versailles, he said to him, “Father I have heard many great orators in this chapel; I have been highly pleased with them; but for you, whenever I hear you, I go away displeased with myself; for I see more of my own character."

Thirdly, Christ was a sentimental preacher. His sermons were replete with sentiment. He fed his hearers with knowledge and understanding. He delivered plain, heavy, interesting truths, which not only enlighten the mind, but find the nearest passage to the

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