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condly, That this took place at Antioch. Thus the propositions lie in the text; but, in treating of each, it may be more convenient to invert this order, and consider the latter as previous to the other.

Now, if we consider the state of the city of Antioch, before, at the time, and since, the event which is here recorded; from each of these views we may gather some lesson of instruction for ourselves; which ought to be our view in all we read, but especially when we read those books " which are able to make us wise “unto salvation,” and where no one sentence is insignificant. But let us not forget, with all we read and hear concerning religion, to mingle our frequent prayers to the great Author and Fountain of all grace, for that aid and assistance of his Holy Spirit, without which we can do nothing to advantage.

Antioch, the capital of Syria, built about three hundred

years before Christ, had been long the most flourishing city of the East: the most remarkable circumstance of its ancient state, as suiting our present purpose, was its having been the seat and residence of Antiochus, the most cruel and inveterate enemy of the church and people of God; the most direct and eminent type of that Antichrist who was afterwards to appear in the world; spoken of expressly by prophecy in Daniel, chap. xi.; the completion of which you may see at large in the first book of Maccabees, in Josephus, and more briefly in the 79th and 80th psalms. But behold the wisdom, the power, and the providence of God! When his people were brought low, he helped them; he set those bounds to the rage of the adversary which could not be broken through : and, at length, in his appointed time, he erected this first general standard of the Gospel, upon the very spot where his grand

enemy had so long encamped; and from whence his pernicious counsels and enterprises had so far proceeded. The application of this is very suitable to the times in which we now live. We see a powerful combination against the Protestant interest. Our enemies are many and mighty: their designs, we have reason to believe, are deep laid, and their efforts unwearied. Once and again our hopes have been almost swallowed up: and though we, through the singular goodness of God, have hitherto escaped, the storm has fallen heavy upon our brethren abroad. What may be the immediate issue of the present threatening appearances, we know not: but we may encourage ourselves from the experience of past ages, as well as from the sure promises of Scripture, that however the kings of the earth

may assemble, and the rulers take counsel together," Psalm, ii., God“ has a hook in their nose, and a bridle “ in their jaws,” Isa. xxxvii. : and all their force and policy shall at last bring about what they least desire and intend,--the welfare and glory of God's church. He that caused the Christian name to go forth first at Antioch, where the truth of God had been most eminently and successfully opposed, can likewise introduce a temper and worship truly Christian, in those places which at present seem destitute of either. And for this it is our duty continually to pray.

Again, if we consider the state of Antioch at the time the disciples were first called Christians there, we may learn how to form a judgement of our profession. . This city was then luxurious and dissolute to a proverb, even in Asia, where luxury and effeminacy were universally prevalent. Whether this name was assumed by the disciples, or imposed by their enemies, we cannot doubt but that, in common repute, it was a term of

the most extreme reproach and ignominy. Nor can I suppose the worst appellations any sect in succeeding ages has been doomed to bear, have implied half of that contempt which an inhabitant of Antioch or Daphne expressed when he called a man a Christian. If we imagine a set of people, who, at this time, in France, should style themselves the disciples of the late Damien, and be called after his name, we may perhaps form some idea of what the people of Antioch understood by the word Christian. The apostle assures us, that he and his brethren were “ accounted the filth and off

scouring of all things,” 1. Cor. iv. ws nepixald quata toữ κόσμου-πάντων περιψημα. He has chosen two words of the most vile and despicable signification; which, I believe, no two words in our language will fully express. The outward state of things is since changed, and the external profession of Christianity is now no reproach; but let us not imagine the nature of things is changed too. It was then received as a maxim, that “all who “ will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer perse

cution,” 2 Tim. iii. : and it is a truth still, founded upon Scripture, and confirmed by experience. If we know nothing of it in our own cases, it is because our tempers and manners have hitherto been too conformable to that wicked world which in our baptisms we were engaged to renounce. I shall have occasion to speak farther upon this point before I close : in the mean time, here is a test to examine ourselves by. If we could not glory in the Christian name, under the same circumstances as the disciples bore it at Antioch, we are as yet unworthy of it. Let conscience judge.

Once more: Antioch, the city where the Gospel once so flourished, that from thence the whole Christian church received that name by which it is still called, is

Now no more.

It has been a heap of ruins more than five hundred years. The light of the Gospel has been long withdrawn: gaiety and festivity are likewise forgot. Slavery, imposture, and barbarism, have blotted out the resemblance, and even the remembrance, of what it once was. O that our yet happy land could from hence take a timely warning! Our privileges are great ; perhaps greater, all things considered, than any

nation has possessed since the days of Solomon. Our preservation hitherto has been wonderful ; often have we been in extreme danger, but have always found deliverance at hand. Yet let us not be high-minded; our sins and aggravations (it is to be feared) have been, and still are, very great likewise; and God, we see, is no more a respecter of places than of persons. Antioch is ruined, Rev. iii. ; Philadelphia, which received so honourable a testimony from the mouth of the Lord himself, has been long since destroyed. Let us beware of boasting; let us not presume too much on what we are; nor say,

“ the temple of the Lord, the temple of “ the Lord is here,” Jer. vii. ; we are the bulwark of the Protestant interest, and none can hurt us. If the Lord is with us, it is true;

if we “ walk worthy of the “ vocation wherewith we are called," we are safe; but, if otherwise, we know not how soon God may visit us with his heavy judgements, war, famine, discord, or pestilence, till we become a warning to others, as others are now proposed warnings to us. Our liberties, our properties, our religion, are in God's hands : may he incline our hearts to true repentance, lest at length these blessings should be taken from us, and given to a people that will bring forth more fruit.

There is an ambiguity in the original word Xomparicas, which our translation renders called: for, though that is the more general sense it bears in Heathen writers, wherever it occurs in the New Testament, except in this passage, and in Rom. vii. 3. it signifies to be taught or warned by a revelation from heaven. Thus it is spoken of Joseph and the wise men, Matth. ii. ;Simeon, Luke, ii. ; Cornelius, Acts, x.; Noah, Heb. xi.; and elsewhere. It does not therefore appear quite certain from the text, whether the disciples chose this name for themselves, or the wits of the time fixed it upon them as a mark of infamy; or, lastly, whether it was by the special direction of the Spirit of God that they assumed it. But I incline to the latter supposition; partly, because, in those happy days, it was the practice and the privilege of the disciples to ask, and to receive, direction from on high in almost every occurrence; but, chiefly, on account of the excellent instructions couched under this emphatical name, sufficient to direct and to animate those who were to be known by it, in their duty to each other, to God, and to the world. Some of these I propose to infer from the other proposition contained in the 'text, that the first name by which the followers of the Gospel were generally known, was that of Christians.

Hitherto, as they were separated from the world, so they had been divided among themselves; and so strong were the prejudices subsisting between the members of the same body, that we find, in the beginning of this chapter, some of one party contended with the apostle Peter only for eating with those of another. Hence we read the phrases, we of the Jews, they of the Gentiles. But henceforward they are taught to blend and lose the greater distinction of Jew and Gentile, and the lesser divisions of Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, in a denomination derived from him who alone was worthy

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