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mission, with which he men; and popular applause should have been received is the grand object of a by a poor oppressed people, vain or knavish disposition. like, what he was in fact, Therefore the Christian is a messenger from heaven. wisely admonished to seek But they railed at him, as that praise which cometh if he had only made that only from God; which is condition worse which was never bestowed upon false bad enough before ; so had merit, and will never be provoked those who were wanting to the true. already enraged, and had 2. From the example of
put a sword into their the Jews, who were only hands to slay them u.” Thus irritated by St. Stephen's the fearful and unbelieving arguments, when they ought (who are sometimes found to have been converted ; amongst the wise ones of see what a dreadful this world) are always dis- thing it is to have our reaposed to discourage and sons for hating and rejectcondemn a zeal for the ing the truth. It is of incause of God and the rights finite consequence that we of His religion, as indiscreet, should enquire what that unseasonable and danger- meaneth,
“they received Whence it follows, not the love of the truth, that if we are called upon that they might be saved x." to act in any public cha- What can be plainer than racter, we must do people truth ? And what is more good against their will, and amiable? And if it saves take the chance of being
us, what in all the world is ungratefully or
even de- half so valuable ? Yet that spitefully treated for it. saving truth is the only None but the mean-spirited,
truth men cannot of themor the ambitious, or the selves understand: and if insipid, or the hypocritical, they do not understand it, are spoken well of by all what fearful commotions
u Exod. v. 21.
x 2 Thess. ii. 10
are raised by it! It is a 1 and reason like an angel : powerful drug, which will nothing could touch him. either embitter and inflame He had an opinion, that the mind y, or restore it to the Christians were wrong,
The bigoted Jew, and deserved to be persethe ancient heathen, the cuted : but opinion is that modern infidel, the man of judgment which levity and pleasure, are all forms of the things of God upon a level, all equally ad- without the grace of God. verse to the Christian plan When Stephen had reaof salvation; all equally soned with his hearers, he restless and impatient when prayed for them; and perthe proofs of it are laid haps the conversion of that before them. Even Paul glorious instrument of God, himself (who from the part the blessed Apostle St. Paul, he took when the blood of might be granted in conthe martyr Stephen was sequence of that prayer. shed, must have been pre- 3. We are lastly to learn sent at the trial) could from the deliverance of hear the martyr's apology the Hebrews under Moses, without being persuaded by which God was pleased to it: that very man, who accomplish by his hand, afterwards struck into the after all the contempt and same way of interpretation, opposition he had met and delighted to apply the with ; that, however the figures of the law as a Church, in bad times, may testimony to Jesus Christ. be corrupted and oppressed, There was a time when he and even averse to its own was not only deaf, but in- deliverance ; yet the counveterate, and as he said, sel of God is sure ; and He exceedingly mad against who hath promised to be the Christians and all with it “ to the end of the their arguments?. Stephen worlda,” will never forsake might look like an angel, its interests. Kings, with
y Stultos facit insanos. Ter.
2 Acts xxvi. 11.
a Matt. xxviii. 20.
their statesmen and politi- | the powers of the world cians, may be jealous of its can proceed no farther rights, and invade them than God shall permit: and without fear or shame : when things are at the nay, the time may come, worst, and seemingly past when the very idea of a remedy, then will the “time Divine Authority, either in of the promise draw nigh b;" priests or kings, shall be as God shall in
rpose in what hateful among Christians, form and manner He sees as Moses and Aaron were best ; and the Church shall to Pharaoh and the magi- be conducted to glory and cians of Egypt: and there liberty, as the afflicted Heare too many amongst us brews were led forth to the already, who cannot speak possession of the land of of it with patience. But | Canaan.
b Acts yii. 17.
ON MIRACLES; PARTICULARLY THE MIRACLES OF THE
NEW TESTAMENT, AS THEY BELONG TO THE FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE OF THE SCRIPTURE.
We are prepared to con- that is, a figure of Christ, sider the miracles of the smitten for our sins, and gospel, as descriptive of giving to a thirsty world something beyond them the waters of life. Moses selves: because we have fed the people with manna; already seen how the mira- but that manna was a figure cles of Moses, for the saving of the “true bread from of the Israelites, are ap- heaven which giveth life plied in the New Testa- unto the world b." These ment, as figures of the things were our examples : saving of all mankind by the miracles wrought for Jesus Christ. Our Saviour them were signs of the applied the lifting up of miracles to be wrought for the serpent by Moses in And as it was under the wilderness, to the lift- the law, so it is under the ing up of Himself upon the gospel : the miracles of Cross, to draw all men unto Christ are not of any priIlim for the cure of their vate interpretation ; but, souls. The Apostle tells us, like the miracles of Moses, that the rock which Moses with a miraculous effect smote, to give drink to carry a miraculous signifithe people, " was Christ a ;” | cation.
b John vi. 32, 33.
a 1 Cor. x. 4.
ON THE FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE &c.
for the right spirit of the gospel, and not understanding of this whole so obvious to common unmatter, we are to consider, derstandings, I have reservthat the name of Jesus was ed it to my last expository given, because He who bore lecture, that you may take it was to save His people advantage of all that has “ from their sins.” Sin is gone before : and when you the great distemper of man, see into the figurative inand salvation from sin istention of the miracles of the great deliverance. The Christ, you will want no want of grace is the greatest more of my instructions want of man, and therefore concerning the language of grace is the greatest gift of the Scripture. God. To save us from sin, The wonders which Jesus and restore us to grace, was Christ wrought upon earth the great work which Jesus in the course of His minisChrist descended from hea-try were all of a particular ven to accomplish. Every sort, because more ends than word and every action of one were to be answered by His life tended either to them. The world was not effect this, or to give us a only to believe the fact of right understanding of it: His heavenly mission, but therefore, when we see Him to understand the design working miraculous cures and object of it. Any suupon men's bodies, we are pernatural act would have still to consider Him as the shewn, that He was invested Saviour of men's souls ; and i with supernatural power ; that He cured their bodies, but as the object of His as a pledge to assure us commission was to thereof.
mankind from their sins, As this is a matter of in- all His miracles were signs finite importance toward the of salvation towards the advancement of a Christian bodies of men; all explanin the true knowledge and I atory of His great work in
• Matt. i. 21.